In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of our goals. But we must remember that life is not just about reaching one destination after another. It’s about cherishing the present moment, making conscious decisions each day, and embracing the small steps that lead us towards our goals. Annie Dillard once wisely said, “How we spend our days is how we spend our life.”
In this blog post, we’ll continue to explore the GOLDEN formula, a practical guide that helps us navigate the toughest of times with resilience and empowerment. This method focuses on healing and moving through adversities, while also emphasizing the importance of living our best lives now. The six steps of the GOLDEN formula:
Grieve any losses or setbacks
Observe what has worked in the past
Love and care for ourselves
Determine our purpose and motivations
Enjoy the process of growth and learning
kNow our own worth
One thing I know to be true is that if we only live from goal to goal, we only have memories of that goal, but what about all the life in between? We are missing out on all the small steps that led us to that point. I have a really exaggerated example of this.
Conquering the Paralympics, yet Feeling Hollow: My Personal Journey
The 2018 Winter Paralympic Games were supposed to be the pinnacle of my life, the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice.The Games were all I thought about, every part of my life became my training. I was constantly visualizing, preparing, and training for the Paralympics.
When the day finally came, and I won my two gold medals, I was surprised by how I felt. On one hand I celebrated this momentous achievement, but on the other l was struck with a gnawing sense of relief and emptiness. In the aftermath of that triumph, I found myself wondering: what now? What was left for me to achieve? And more importantly, had all that sacrifice been worth it?
I sacrificed my mental health, time with my family, hobbies, friendships, and so much more to achieve my goal only to later feel empty and unfulfilled. I was sold this belief that in order to achieve your dreams you had to sacrifice. I believed it was the only way; work hard and one day it’ll pay off. I was under the impression that the gold medals were going to fix me, to elevate my life, to change how I felt about myself on the inside, and I was so wrong.
If you’re an internet user then you probably have heard the gurus preach to enjoy the process, but how? I tried so hard to follow the quote: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”. But I couldn’t stop fixating on the destination because if I lost sight, wouldn’t that mean I am directionless? Less driven? Less motivated? If I stopped fixating on my future would that mean I was giving up?
For the first time, I was able to see that the destination is not what defines me, it was the journey all along. In a few short weeks, I went from winning the Paralympics to crying in my therapist’s office about the pain in my chest I needed alleviated. Achieving my life goal at the time was supposed to fix my self-worth, not show me all the areas I lacked.
Transforming Goal-Setting: Letting Go of Attachment, Prioritizing Process, Cultivating Mindfulness, and Nurturing Self-Worth
Since the 2018 Paralympics, I have changed the way I approach my goals. I was on a mission to no longer miss out on the simple joys of life for an achievement. I needed to know that I could let go of self sacrificing my mental health, time with my family, and the pleasures of life in order to be successful. I wanted to put in the work, but have a blast along the way. During this time of self discovery I learned a few things I would love to share with you:
Release attachment: Instead of fixating on the goal or outcome, allow yourself to work towards it for the experience of being the person who does the activity. This shift in mindset allows you to live in the moment and freely experience the present.When I catch myself fixating on a goal or outcome, I take both my hands, hold them out in front of me with my palms faced up, and spread my fingers as a visual reminder to release the outcome. I am releasing my attachment, even if just for a moment, to feel the present moment again.
Pick goals based on the process: Choose goals based on the process you want to experience rather than the end result. If you do not want to have the life it takes to achieve a goal, then maybe that goal is not set right for you. Life is lived in the process, not just in achievement.
Practice mindfulness: Even a moment of mindfulness creates a ripple effect of calm. It is a practice that requires patience and effort, but it is worth the time it takes to be in it. If you need help on where to start here is a link to my blog post on beginners guide to mindfulness: CLICK HERE
Find self-worth within yourself: Self-worth needs to be found within yourself, and sometimes, it requires healing the most painful parts of your past. It has taken me years of therapy, EMDR, and getting into my childhood traumas to really see the awesome person I am, goal achievements or not. Like most things in life, there is no end goal, and we are always a work in progress, but doing work to feel a little better each day creates leaps and bounds in how we show up in the present moment.
Enjoying the journey requires self-reflection, compassion, and great healing. The more you see that there is work to be done within yourself to live more peacefully, the more control you have to live how you wish.
In between the 2018 Paralympics and the 2022 Paralympics, my focus was on enjoying the process and releasing the destination. I proved to myself that not only did I have a mentally healthy Games where I can proudly say I enjoyed the process of being there, but I was still able to walk away with a gold and a bronze. Living in peace during the journey of achieving your goals does not require self-sacrifice to be successful.
Applying the ‘Enjoying the Process’ Mentality to Various Areas of Life
For A new career: These tools can be used to avoid burnout and promote a healthier work-life balance. The idea of not fixating on the destination and instead focusing on the experience can help you choose a career that aligns with your values and passions. Setting goals based on the process and not just the outcome can also help you avoid setting goals that may not be the right fit for you. Being mindful of the present moment and releasing attachment to outcomes can help you stay present and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the stress of work.
For Relationships: These tools can be used to promote better communication and healthier connections. Being present in the moment can help you actively listen to your partner and understand their needs. Releasing attachment to outcomes can also help you avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your relationship to reach certain milestones or goals. Practicing mindfulness and self-reflection can help you identify and work on any underlying issues or traumas that may be affecting your relationships. Finally, enjoying the journey and the process of building a relationship can help you appreciate and value your partner and the relationship more fully.
The Importance of Cherishing the Present Moment
Life is not just about reaching one destination after another, but about cherishing the present moment, making conscious decisions each day, and embracing the small steps that lead us towards our goals. The GOLDEN formula is a practical guide that helps us navigate the toughest of times with resilience and empowerment.When it comes to Enjoying the process It’s essential to release attachment to outcomes, choose goals based on the process, practice mindfulness, and find self-worth within ourselves. Enjoying the journey requires self-reflection, compassion, and great healing, and it allows us to live more peacefully and have control over our lives.
Remember that life is lived in the process, not just in achievement and if we only focus on achieving our goals, we miss out on the beauty and richness of life in between. So let’s live intentionally, cherish each moment, and use the GOLDEN formula to empower ourselves through both the highs and lows. I look forward to seeing you in the next and final blog post of the GOLDEN formula where we learn to K(N)ow Our Worth as we already are.