Learning a new skill or putting your goal or plan into practice can be exciting. Let’s say you wanted to learn how to play tennis; it’s been something you’ve been meaning to do for years. You finally find the time to do it, so you decide to go all in. You sign up for 8 weeks of lessons. You buy a racquet and tennis balls. You’re ready!
The first few weeks are great. You are learning so much and feel like you’re picking up the basics. You can serve. You know the scoring method. You start to feel like you have the hang of this. But on week four, your instructor kicks it up a notch. He challenges you with new skills and pairs you up with someone who was also a beginner but is clearly better at this than you are. You become frustrated and wonder if it was worth. Your goal to learn how to play tennis in just 8 weeks is tanking-and now you’re considering quitting.
It’s so easy for us to fixate on the end goal. It’s why marriage and babies are pressure points in relationships or why counselors urge high school students to start visiting college their sophomore year of high school. It’s why we want we’re anxious to know what happens at the end of a movie or why we are impatient for the next season of a show that we binge watch (seriously, Game of Thrones, two years?!). We’re so focused on the ending, we forget to enjoy the process or enjoy the present moments we’re afforded.
Instead of getting frustrated that you’re not a tennis pro after four lessons, focus on why you’re playing. You wanted to learn this sport. You think the game is interesting. You’ve even made some new friends. Few people pick up new skills quickly. It’s easy to feel like you’re behind when everyone else is picking up the sport faster than you are. But so what if you are? Focus on enjoying the process and you’ll find you have a whole new perspective on why you started in the first place.
As a Type A personality and someone who doesn’t feel productive unless things are getting checked off the to-do list, it’s easy for me to forget to slow down and enjoy the process. Sometimes I have to take a step back and reflect on why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Enjoy the process!