The Happiness Explorer
How to… get more joy from the process
I was recently asked this question by a follower on my Instagram account. How can you be less attached to the outcome and enjoy the process? My followers are people who want to get the most out of life whilst also being their happiest, so it’s a question I am often asked.
Have you ever worked towards a goal or wanted something so much that the process was painful and unenjoyable because what you wanted wasn’t arriving quick enough? If you are an ambitious person, or a person who wants the most out of life, or someone who just desperately wants their life to change — waiting for the change to happen can be uncomfortable.
I love making things happen in my life but I’ve also learned that ‘making’ things happen hasn’t always been the best approach — in fact, it’s had an impact on my happiness because I stopped enjoying the life that was happening!
It’s no lie that changing your life requires effort, working hard and taking action. Anyone who has started a business, run a marathon, become a parent, lost their job, gone through a break up, given up alcohol, paid off their debts or pulled themselves up and out of a dark hole will tell you that it didn’t happen without dedication and focus.
Creating change to be better is amazing — I am here for it all. What I want for you, however, is to find a way to enjoy not just the outcome, but the process too and there are three main reasons why. When you let go of the outcome to enjoy the process:
1. It happens faster
When you clock-watch at work, counting down the minutes until you can go home because you don’t like your job, the time goes more slowly. What you want (the end of the day) feels further away from you. When you are enjoying something, time disappears because you are being present and in the moment. When we want change to occur it’s usually because we want to feel happier. The truth is that happiness attracts more happiness, so if in the quest for more happiness you are making yourself stressed, anxious, angry or overwhelmed, you are pushing more happiness further and further away.
2. You see more opportunities
If you are too focused on the outcome (meaning you are living in the future) you will miss what is happening around you. Have you ever noticed how your day goes differently when you’re not stuck in your head? Maybe you smile at more strangers or notice something different about a building, or remember an idea you had.
When you’re thinking only about what you can create in the future you’ll miss what’s right in front of you now. Sometimes life can be nudging you to take a different direction, or speak to someone or research something. If you’re too stuck to your plan you may miss these subtle whispers which are trying to make it easier for you.
3. You grow more
What I have noticed in my clients and my own life is that whilst reaching the outcome is a wonderful accomplishment, what we are most grateful for is the growth we have acquired. I hear this from my students on my 12-month accredited life coach training course. At the beginning of the course, they are dreaming about having clients and running their own business but by the end of the course what they are most grateful for is who they have become in the process.
It’s important to acknowledge and see the growth that is occurring along that way because that is the outcome in process. That is what is happening. And once it has happened it won’t feel as good as you expect anyway because you missed it all happening by wanting it to have happened. But when something has happened it’s done and finished. Be in the process.
So here’s how to do it:
1. Set your intention on the outcome.
2. Feel excited about it coming into your life.
3. Then let it go by accepting your current position in life.
4. Focus on what you can be grateful for currently.
5. Break your goal down and set yourself free of the action that comes tomorrow.
6. Be in a state of joy as you focus on the action that comes today.
7. Celebrate the small wins.
8. Acknowledge the growth that is happening in you now. Remember that you don’t know for sure that your outcome will make you happier (you are making an educated guess) so if you place too much expectation on arriving there and feeling happy, you will only set yourself up for disappointment.
It’s rarely the outcome that creates happiness, it’s who you have become in the process.