Saturday, January 18, 2014

Changing Focus . . .

I resolved several years ago that the only resolution I would ever make is to not make resolutions.  I've stuck with it so far!  But this year I got enthused by reading my sister, Teri's blog.  Teri set "focuses" for the new year - not resolutions which are all-or-nothing, but areas where she wants to focus her attention and make changes.

I got so enthused, in fact, that I started to write my own list of "focuses" for 2014 - but as I wrote, I noticed that, unlike Teri, my focuses were turning into specific goals  - lose 30 pounds, finish my "book" quilt, make five dresses for missionary clothes drive - which are awfully close to resolutions. 

While I pondered that, I visited one of my favorite blogs - Lit and Laundry - which led me to this article, which advocates focusing on "systems" rather than goals. 
What's the difference between goals and systems?
  • If you're a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
  • If you're a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
  • If you're a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month
If I put the emphasis on the goal, two things happen.  First, I judge myself in finite terms, based on the number of goals reached, and consider myself a failure if I don't reach the goal.   
When you're working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, "I'm not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal."  The problem with this mindset is that you're teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next milestone is achieved. 
The second downfall to focusing on the goal is that when I reach it, I quit.  If my goal is to lose thirty pounds rather than to change my attitude toward food and how I eat, when I reach that goal, it's easy to check it off the list and move on - then let the weight come back. 
When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.
In other words, focus on the journey and you will arrive at the destination.  Instead of vowing to lose weight, I focus on eating healthy and being more active, and the pounds come off.  Instead of vowing to finish X number of sewing projects, I take time to be creative every day and projects are completed. And I enjoy myself more and chastise myself less

So, I resolve to make 2014 the year that I quit worrying about reaching goals and focus on the journey - and enjoy every day.


  1. Tami what a wonderful post! I'm pinning it!

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head with this one!

  3. Sis, I agree and I think we will have a great year!

  4. Love the idea of having a focus rather than a goal. I would say, then, that my focus this year is on getting healthier instead of going on a diet or exercising every day. Definitely more doable!

  5. Focusing on the journey is the most important thing. I had to LOL when I read this. My only personal goal this year it to lose 30 pounds :) I fell off the wagon last week, got back on and have lost 5 pounds. I'm not focusing on the weight goal, I'm focusing on controlling my calories, which sounds like the same thing but it's not, it's just keeping me out of unhealthy restaurants!