When you first start working towards a goal, it can be difficult to keep going. The path to success is rarely linear. That’s where mantras like “trust the process” come in. But what does it mean and where does it come from? Let’s dive in.
What does trust the process mean?
When you’re working towards a goal, you won’t always see instant results. It takes time, effort, and even failure to accomplish the things that are important to you. In the beginning, it can be hard to see the progress that you’re making. It might feel like all that hard work is a waste.
When you choose to trust the process, you’re opting to believe that all your hard work will be worth it.
When you run a marathon, you can’t just teleport to the end of the race. You need to make every step on your own. At first, you won’t be able to see the finish line, but you have to trust that if you keep going, you’ll get there.
Think of something you want to achieve in life. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, or you’d like to get a better job. What are you doing to work towards the things that you want? Many people never try to reach towards what they want because it feels like getting there would be impossible.
Trusting the process is a crucial component of personal development. It asks you to set a goal and to make a plan to achieve that goal. At first, that goal will seem far away, but as you continue to follow your plan, you’ll get closer and closer.
Where Does “Trust the Process” Come From?
This mantra was popularized by Sam Hinkie, the former general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. Hinkie wanted to rebuild the Sixers after a losing season. He made short-term sacrifices and traded some of the top players on the team in exchange for top draft picks. He also cheaply drafted free agents, in the hopes that these players could eventually become an important part of the team.
Initially, this caused the team to struggle, but Hinkie stuck to his plan, trading away more players for more top picks. Eventually, Hinkie was able to draft players like Joel Embiid. Because he was patient, and because he believed in his plan, he was able to create the team he had wanted from the start.
How to Trust the Process In Your Daily Life
While this phrase originated in the world of baseball, it’s something you can apply to all aspects of your life. All you have to do is figure out what you want to achieve and make a plan that will get you towards that goal. Even when things are tough, you’ll have to be patient and stick to the plan that you laid out.
Of course, making a plan and working towards a long-term goal is easier said than done. In order to trust the process in your life, you need to:
Break a Big Goal Into Micro Goals
Set a long-term goal. From there, break that goal down into smaller steps, and then break those steps down into even smaller steps. Doing this will help you to create an effective plan, and it will also give you smaller, more attainable goals you can focus on as you work towards your big goal.
Say you’d like to buy a house. In order to do this, you’ll need to accomplish a number of things. You’ll need to research the housing market and find the area you’d like to buy in. You’ll need to build your credit so that you can get approved for a home loan. You’ll need to save up money for a down payment.
Look at what you need to work towards and set goals for yourself each week. For example, you could put a certain amount of money into savings every week. Setting and achieving micro goals will help you to see that you’re working towards something big. It’s also an effective way to aim for a goal that might be years off.
Find Ways to Track Your Progress
When you only make a little bit of progress at a time, it can be hard to see how much you’ve actually done. Incremental progress is still progress, but it isn’t necessarily something that is easy to notice. That’s why it’s important to document where you started and what you’ve accomplished.
Develop a system to track where you are right now, what you want to work towards, and what you’ve done to work towards that goal each day. You could take daily photos, keep a journal, or use some sort of tracking tool.
When you start to feel discouraged, you should look back to where you were when you started this journey. From there, look at where you are right now. You might be astonished to realize how much progress you’ve actually made.
Focus on the Factors That You Can Change
There are a lot of things in life you have no say over. You can’t control the world around you. You can’t control what other people do. While that might leave you feeling helpless, it’s important to remember that there’s one thing you can always control: your own actions.
Don’t worry about the things you’re unable to change. Instead, put your attention on yourself. What can you do differently? By letting go of things out of your control and learning to let things be, you’ll be able to see how much you’re actually capable of.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Even if you make a solid plan that you consistently work towards, you’re going to make some missteps. Don’t hold yourself to an impossible standard. Instead, try to treat your mistakes as a learning tool.
Failure can be frustrating, but it can also be informative. If you tried to do something, and it didn’t go the way that you wanted to, take the time to assess what you did wrong. Why did you fail? What would you do differently next time? Use the knowledge that you’ve accumulated to refine your plan.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
People often underestimate how much their attitude can shape their lives. If you waste a lot of time on negative self-talk or fixate on what you don’t have, you’ll have a pessimistic outlook. Optimism is essential when you’re trusting in the process. You need to believe that if you keep working, you’ll see results.
Staying positive isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself maintain a positive mindset. At the start of each day, look in the mirror and repeat an affirmation. For example, you could say something like “I’m hardworking and will achieve my goals.” If you keep repeating it, you’ll eventually start to believe it.
The Benefits of Trusting the Process
If you limit yourself to things that you can do quickly and easily, you’ll accomplish less. By asking yourself to trust the process, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to look beyond where you are right now. Instead, you’ll look at where you want to be and how you can get there.
Trusting the process requires you to be patient and positive, but it doesn’t ask you to have blind faith. Instead, it’s about finding a way to build towards something that might take a lot of time and effort. You might not get there quickly, but if you keep on working, you’ll eventually get there.
When you actively work towards the things you want, you’ll find that it’s easier to manage your stress. Small setbacks don’t feel like a big deal when you focus on the big picture. You’ll feel more confident, more resilient, and more open to change.
It’s easy to go through life obsessing over what you wish you had. However, if you stop focusing on the factors that are out of your control and look at what you can change instead, you’ll feel like you’re in charge of your own life. Our futures aren’t set in stone. If you’re willing to work at it, you can shape your own destiny.