Which are your short-term and long-term goals? Maybe you want to be promoted, or perhaps you want to win some sports tournament. These are the things that drive us forward and keep us motivated.

However, as paradoxical as it may seem, focusing only on these goals does not help us to be more productive or improve our current skill. If we are constantly thinking about them, they are only a burden that puts pressure on our shoulders, a reminder that we haven’t reached that level yet.

Don’t Focus on Your Main Objectives

This is why we say to focus on the process, and not the results. Let’s say that you make a list of your main goals: Be Promoted, Write a Book, Win a Marathon. These are admirable goals. But now take a look at your list. How does any of the information there help you actually achieve those goals?

You guessed it, it does not help one bit. What you can start by doing is making a second list, with the items that will help you accomplish those objectives.

We also suggest taking a look at the BubblesPlanner app for making lists, available for iPhone. One of the great features it has is that it allows you to divide a task into sub-tasks, and further divide the sub-tasks if you wish. This feature fits exactly with what we’re saying.

Focus on the Process

Let’s get back to the second list, the list of sub-tasks. These tasks are the actual process, the steps you can control and that will get you closer to your objective. They will get you closer, but the outcome is not guaranteed. For example, let’s consider you want to win a marathon.

Every day you can take some actions that will increase your chances of winning. Let’s say you practice running for an hour in the morning, then take a rest, eat something, go to the gym in the afternoon, and so on. These tasks are all part of your sub-list. Meanwhile, you’re ignoring your main objective.

By the end of the month, when the marathon finally gets underway, you will be well-prepared and have good chances of winning. But there is no guarantee. Another runner may have practiced a bit harder than you, or maybe he just had a better night sleep the day before. Either way, you can rest easy and know you just gave it your absolute best because you practiced without hesitation, just focusing on the process.

If you just focus on the results, you’ll be under constant pressure during training, during work, or any other activity. This prevents you from performing at your very best, and actually puts you further away from your objectives.