By Kayleigh Christina, founder & COO of CLEARSTEM SKINCARE, an anti-acne & anti-aging skincare company increasing skin health globally.

Young woman is lost in metropolitan city at night

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Happiness exists in the journey, not the end result. 

Does this sound familiar? You spend weeks, months, maybe even years working toward a big goal. You think, When I achieve this goal, I will finally feel happy, like I finally made it, and all this hard work was worth it. Then you achieve the goal only to realize the feeling isn’t as overwhelming exciting as you thought it would be. Your mind is already set on the next goal ready to achieve it. 

Or how about when you don’t achieve a goal? It changes your mood, you have thoughts of giving up and you start comparing yourself to others. 

These are all signs that you are focused on the end result goal, and not finding joy in the process of growth. 

To remain in a healthy mindset, we need to understand the power of enjoying the process rather than achieving the goal itself. Growth doesn’t happen by the physical achievement of the goal. It happens while working toward that goal. The ups, downs, pivots and learning lessons are what make achieving the goal worth it in the first place. 

The thought of “I am not enough” runs rampant through society. With the highlight reels on social media, we are in a constant state of comparison and seeing other people’s achievements, comparing them to our own. We need not put all of our happiness into achieving goals but instead in the process. Let’s focus on the constant growth and challenges that are overcome when working to achieve the goals.

Here are three ways to bring more joy into the process. 

Reflect consistently.

Gratitude, excitement and positive experiences: These are the three specific prompts I follow every day in my journal. When we can prime our brains to focus on the positive and break down what happens in our day to enjoy the process, we are telling our brain that’s what we want to focus on. Every morning I journal three things I am grateful for, three things I am excited about and a positive experience that happened in the last 24 hours. 

Celebrate the ‘setbacks.’ 

Instead of waiting to celebrate until you hit a specific sales goal, job promotion or any major goal you have been working toward, choose to turn failures into moments of win and reflection. Celebrate a part of the process, or better yet, celebrate when something goes wrong and you learn more about a process or how to achieve that goal in the future. You may laugh at first, but finding joy in the “mundane” or “setbacks” flips a switch in our brains.

You become so attached to the outcome rather than the process that if you do achieve it, it feels like you already should have, and if you don’t, it’s soul-crushing. Celebrating in the face of a setback pulls us away from the unrealistic expectations and pressures we put on ourselves to constantly be achieving. 

Why? Because setbacks are an opportunity to step up and advance. They challenge us to think differently, pivot and get creative. Working through a setback is more challenging than achieving a goal itself. So, let’s celebrate it. Let’s flip what would normally feel like a negative into a positive.

Celebrating setbacks pushes you to be a better leader, to keep spirits high in challenging times. 

Keep a ‘positivity folder.’

One thing I started to do a few years ago: Whenever I get a positive text, email from a customer or a quote that brightens my mood, I screenshot it and save it to a folder. I call it the positivity folder. When I am having day/weeks where it feels like everything is going wrong, I open up the folder and read through the messages. It helps me to reflect on the challenges I have already overcome and the positive impact I make. Sometimes we all need a reminder that our hard work is recognized and appreciated. That we feel “enough.” Reflecting on these messages remind me of that. It immediately shifts my mood and is a reminder that the process of working towards goals is where the excitement happens. 

There is so much positive energy when you’re building something — so much unknown. Rather than focusing on the end goals and comparing your journey to someone else’s, we should love and appreciate every new learning experience, pivot and change, no matter how big or small. 

So to you, the person with big dreams, reflect on your day, celebrate the setbacks and keep positivity front of mind. Be proud of how have you’ve come and find excitement with the season you are in.

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Roland Millaner