Choice Decision Making Goal Setting Tips Success

Which Is More Important For Success: The Right Goal Or The Right Process?

The other day I was in a funky local cafe.

And part of their cool vibe was having paperback books you could read while hanging out there.

I spotted one of my fave books so I picked it up and flipped it open.

It was Atomic Habits by James Clear (and exceptionally great book).

I started reading the section that I had randomly flicked it open to and started to chuckle to myself.

I LOVE synchronicity and coincidence (which I consider means my alignment is good). 

The reason I chuckled is because I was reading a book on my Kindle earlier in the day by Scott Adams (the creator of the Dilbert comic strips), and he not only mentioned the same thing, but referenced back to James Clear and Atomic Habits as another person that agrees with this concept.

Therefore, I took that as a nudge that I need to share their insights and observations with you.

So here we go.

The Insight & Observation

Essentially, both of these guys said the same thing.

They suggested that ‘the PROCESS’ trumps GOALS.

What they mean by that is working on the PROCESS might be more important than working on the GOAL.

Now my take is a little bit more fusion, but I do agree the process is absolutely essential when it comes to actually achieving things, or experiencing SUCCESS. 

James Clear used a great example.

He said that if in a game of basketball, someone is fixed on the ‘Goal’ (winning the game) and spend all their time looking at the score board, that is very unlikely to help them WIN the game. Winning the game is more likely to be influenced by the ‘Process’ (strong attack and defence, getting the ball in the hoop, not fouling, etc.)

This makes a lot of sense. 

The other really important point they both raised was you can feel ‘Success’ before you reach your Goal, if you are committed to your process. 

If you successfully complete ‘the process’ for a day, you get to feel great about it (before the destination is reached).

Let me share with you my formula for the relationship between Goals and Process

Goals and Process Relationship

Having clear goals is really important, because they give you direction, and allow you to decide on what to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ too.

That’s a major energy saver.

Plus clear Goals prime the reticular activating system (RAS) so the brain is more likely to filter out sensory inputs, aligned with the Goal (if you maintain that vision).

The next 2 Steps for my goal getting process are: 

   2)    Establish your WHY, and if the Goal does not have a big enough WHY, bin it and start again.

   3)    Establish who you need TO BECOME to attain that level of Goal (i.e. more courageous, reliable, flexible, consistent, disciplined, etc.).

There needs to be a match between your Goal and your Mindset, Attitude and Behaviours.

THEN we get into the 3 steps for me which are about nailing the PROCESS.

   4)    Work out your HOW.

   5)    Put your how’s into ACTION.

   6)    Then, based on feedback, continue to TEST & ADJUST.

The PROCESS is about figuring out the BEST Plan.

But you don’t know if it is the best plan until you take ACTION.

(You also don’t get results without action)

ACTION gives you (real world) FEEDBACK.

Then you need to have the courage and flexibility to adjust your Process (step 4 to 6), so you enhance the possibility of your Success.

In Summary

My personal Goal Getting PROCESS in action, and using the 6 steps, looks like this:

I get really CLEAR of my Goal and WHY I want it.

Then I check in to see if I need to upgrade my mindset, attitudes and behaviours to reach that Goal.

Next I get into figuring out the HOW.

Then it is into ACTION, so I can get relevant FEEDBACK, and finally ADJUSTaccordingly.

I get clear of my Goal, then I get into the Process, and then at regular intervals I check back in on the Goal, and then I get back into to the Process.

Set Goal > complete Process > review Goal > adjust Process > review Goal > complete Process … until I reach the Result I desire.

My Parting word

I LOVE the idea that if we are committed to the PROCESS we can feel successful before we reach our Goals

This is essential for our daily joy and fulfilment.

It also is likely to keep us inspired (and dopamine drip-fed to use a term from Scott Adams), so we maintain our forward momentum.

The Process is really important, once you figure out what you want.

And I agree that most of our attention (maybe 80%) needs to be focused on the process (especially daily) if we want to achieve some big stuff in life.

One of my daily ‘Processes’ is my Morning Rituals, which are designed to meet my Goals of having a solid Foundation + experiencing optimum health and vitality.

If my Process is effective, I don’t need to spend too much time focused on the Goal.  

If I figured out that A + B + C = Result.

Then I just need to focus on doing A, B and C, and the Result will take care of itself.

You know I am big on Strategies, and that’s because they are just another name for Process.

Anyway, I know that you have this now, so let’s call it a wrap.

Have a process focused day and then feel it unfolding into a ‘successful’ week.

Take care,


PS: Have you read or listened to this book yet? 18 Ways We Make Life WAY Harder Than It Needs To Be

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