Two years ago, I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Temple Grandin speak. You may know that Dr. Grandin is one of Time Magazine’s 2010 Most Influential People in the World and she happens to be autistic. One of her lessons that really stuck out to me was when she kept referring back to “Don’t confuse the goal with the process”.

So what is your goal? Is it to start a consistent walking or running routine? Is it to get your Bachelor’s degree? Is it to raise loving, fun children? Is your goal to run under a 4 hour marathon? Whatever your goal, this lesson can help all of us. 

Let’s take the goal of running under a 4 hour marathon. Here is the PROCESS:

  1. Choose a marathon
  2. Sign up for marathon
  3. Choose a training plan
  4. Begin and follow training plan
  5. Do something every day to make you a better runner
  6. Go to marathon
  7. Run a 3:59:59 or better for 26.2 miles = GOAL

What does confusing the process instead of focusing on the goal look like?

Well, let’s say that 2 months into your training, you get a strange calf pain that won’t go away. Your training plan says that you need to run 12 miles today. What do you do? Remember, your goal is to run under 4 hours for a marathon. Running 12 miles on a pained calf will most likely end up in an injury or more pain and may lead to more time off, frustration, and no running for weeks. What if you decide instead to take 3 days or even a week off, do strengthening exercises, stretch 3 times per day, make an appointment with a physical therapist or athletic trainer? Which choice is focused more on the goal?  Which choice is more likely to get you to the finish line? So remember to be flexible in your process and keep your goal in mind.

You go!

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