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Focusing on the journey rather than the goal

"Aim for the sky, but move slowly, enjoying every step along the way. It is all those little steps that make the journey complete." - Chanda Kochhar

Hi there!


One of these days, I will post these blogs on a schedule. But, I'm feeling Tuesday. Tuesday at 11 am?


Yeah, let's say Tuesday. At 11 am.


Recently, I read the book Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price, an extended argumentative essay on well, why laziness does not exist and why it is entirely founded on industrialism and events that extend even further back than that. The book shares that for hundreds of years, we have been told the more we work and the more we achieve = the more we are worth. Therefore, we find ourselves through productivity, crossing off tasks on our to-do list, physical things we produce (such as books, Youtube videos, or this very blog post), and overall, achieving goals. The book argues, rather strongly, why more work is actually bad for us, and we've all been told a lie.


Simultaneously, while reading this book, I am training for my first marathon. As you might imagine, I am currently being fed vastly contradicting information. The marathon videos I take in are all about crossing the finish line and earning that accomplishment. How to achieve the goal rather than how to get there, and why. It's all about getting up at the crack of dawn, running for hours, pushing yourself past your limits, and as some of these bloggers bluntly put it, avoiding laziness, as though it's a disease.


All in all, these two conflicting lessons have gotten me thinking.


I say we backtrack and use my NaNoWriMo experience as an example. I wrote 50,000 words in a month, and then, well...


I didn't know what to do next.


I achieved my goal. I did what I set out to do. So, now what?


Well, publishing, of course!


So, I made a plan to re-read, revise, edit and then send the work off to publishers in hopes of getting a deal. Giddy and excited, I had a plan. I had a purpose. That is until I realized I was starting the productivity cycle all over again without truly celebrating what I had done. And, to say the least, writing 50,000 words in a month exhausted me. All I wanted to do was play video games, and so I did.


And so I didn't write at all for nearly two months. Not only because I had hit burnout, but also because I realized I didn't like this completed draft. Countless other stories were floating around in my head that I wanted to write instead, but because I was so fixated on the goal of publishing rather than the fun and thrill of writing a story. I didn't do either. I was floating in this weird limbo, unsure what to do. Despite having completed my goal, I felt unfulfilled. And I felt incredibly guilty for "not working hard" toward either goal.


I have always been somewhat ambitious. I strive off of goals and challenges. Otherwise, I sink into deep boredom, something I try desperately to avoid. This drive is what has pushed me to publish three novels, run my first two half marathons, read 100 books in a year, and write for this little blog.


But, in Laziness Does Not Exist, Price argues that running from boredom, constantly striving to achieve more, is us avoiding our core selves. Who we truly are, when the world is quiet, when we are alone, when we have nothing new to work toward, no new goal to talk about. And we just, are.


I love writing, and I love reading, and I love running. And yet, over these past few weeks, I can see how I have turned these beloved hobbies into numbers, stats, achievements, rather than entirely immerse myself in them. And I know I am not the only person who does this: write for the sake of publishing; create meaningful content for the sake of being famous and making an income; read to achieve a goal rather than deeply enjoy and take in each story; run for the sake of completing a marathon, or for a weight loss goal.


Now, don't get me wrong. I think goals and systems are important. They give you direction. They push you to become your most creative, healthiest self. And those achievements, such as passing your reading goal and crossing the finish line... I don't think there will ever be anything that gives us a greater serotonin boost than that.


But, it's about the journey, and I realize this now. The goals are not what give us happiness and purpose, but it is what we do during the little moments during the day, carefully working toward something while simultaneously enjoying each and every moment and day as it comes.


It's about surpassing that writer's block and creating characters you love, escaping into this world that belongs to you and you alone, for now.


It's about living life through someone else's eyes all without rising from your seat, no matter how long that figurative or literal life takes you to get through. It's about leaving each reading session with new wisdom.


It's about every run, not just the last one. It's about the bad ones and the good ones. The 2 miles here, 6 miles there, 11 miles over here, the stretches and aches in between.


It's about the journey.


Because once that goal, that happily ever after, the grand finale comes and goes, the journey will continue far into the future. And what will you be doing, once you've reached the success you have desired for so long? What now, once you make it?


I know that I am still absolutely the biggest hypocrite. I actually have a few exciting goals and challenges I am currently embarking on that I cannot wait to share on here! (And I am literally working toward a marathon, haha.) But, as I am working toward these goals, I am focusing on the experience of getting there rather than the accomplishment in hopes of carrying these new habits and learned ideas with me.


You'll see when I get around to those posts. :)


I hope my jumble of thoughts has provided you with some amount of new insight and has allowed you to reflect on your own goals and journeys. What are you working toward now? Feel free to tell me down below!


Until next time, when I c0mpile a new array of thoughts.


Probably thinking,

Brittney







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