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Trust the Process is More Than Just a Buzz Phrase. It’s a Mindset

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor

I have been hearing the phrase ‘trust the process’ a lot lately. I recently had weight loss surgery, and in the support group on Facebook, whenever someone complains about slow progress, one answer is inevitably ‘trust the process.’

What does that phrase even mean? It seems like it’s becoming the latest buzz phrase for many situations, but it is actually phenomenal advice that could help you get through nearly any struggle. There are many benefits to trusting the process that will improve your life.

Trusting the process means you value yourself enough to stop stressing about things you can’t control. There is no use obsessing over the steps of the process you can’t change, and sometimes the best response is to let it go and hope for the best.

“When you do things the right way it will take longer, just trust the process!” ― Hopal Green

Where did the phrase come from?

It all started in the NBA when Sam Hinkie took control of the 76ers. The team had a terrible record, and he was determined to improve the team. He developed a “process,” that according to Khadrice Rollins, was “Hinkie’s plan to find the best way to acquire top talent for the team by getting as many assets—draft picks, young players, players with trade- and team-friendly contracts—as possible, and using them in a way to bring in a superstar player.” His approach received a lot of pushback until it started working and people started quoting his philosophy!

The slogan itself became a locker room chant and a fan favorite slogan, but it really took off into mainstream life when Tony Wroten used it during an interview with ESPN’s Pablo Torre. If it started as a sports slogan, why is it used in a weight loss group on Facebook, in self-help articles, and everything in between? The answer is because it works, and it improves your perception of a challenge you might be facing.

“They tell us every game, every day, ‘Trust the Process. Just continue to build.” ― Tony Wroten

How does trusting the process work?

The beauty is that a process is a repeatable set of steps or decisions that anyone can make to achieve duplicatable results. For instance, everyone in my Facebook group has had the same surgery. That is step one in the process. Step two is to follow all the post-op diet restrictions and guidelines. Step three is to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices. The common goal everyone is seeking is to lose weight.

However, we are all individuals, and there are so many factors that are specific to our DNA, bodies, and lifestyles that affect weight loss. Someone might lose lots of weight in the beginning, or they might have longer stalls in between weight loss, or they might lose weight at a slower pace. Without fail this question gets posted daily:

“I’m 3 months out and I haven’t lost any weight this week. What am I doing wrong, my friend lost 5 pounds?”

Let’s look at the process:

  • Did you have surgery? CHECK.
  • Did you follow all the post-op guidelines about water, protein, and calorie intake? CHECK.
  • Have you made some lifestyle changes with food choices and exercise? CHECK.

Maybe your progress isn’t as fast as someone else’s, and that is ok. It isn’t about the time it takes to reach your goal, but rather that you reach it. The progress and the steps you take matter. Trust the process and eventually you will get there! Now, that doesn’t mean that maybe you need to make a few adjustments, but it means you do not have to worry about it and make yourself stressed.

“It is more important to go slow and gain the lessons you need along the journey than to rush the process and arrive at your destination empty.” ― Germany Kent

Trusting the process is good for your health

Everyone knows that extra stress, and worry is not good for them. Trusting the process has several health benefits because it means that you worry less about the things you can not change. The first benefit is that you are calmer. According to the University of Michigan, being calm and relaxed doesn’t just impact your stress level. It also has physical implications, like less tension and more flexibility in your muscles. Trusting the process is essential for your physical health, but that isn’t the only benefit.

Placing your trust in the process also helps you build some mental health skills like patience, gratitude, and resilience. The fruits of trusting the process do not always happen in our desired time frame, sometimes it can take longer than we would like.

Learning to be patient helps build character and improves your overall attitude. Facing challenges with patience helps you live in the moment and learn to be grateful for where you are now. It also gives us time to be grateful for the smaller victories and how far we have come.

The process is not without its hiccups and challenges, and facing those with patience and gratitude helps you build resiliency. As you face and overcome challenges, you will also build faith in yourself. According to Kendra Cherry (reviewed by Amy Morin, LCSW), “Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with stress and hardship. It is the mental reservoir of strength that people are able to call on in times of need to carry them through without falling apart. Psychologists believe that resilient individuals are better able to handle such adversity and rebuild their lives after a catastrophe.”

“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.” ― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

Trusting the process helps you live a life of purpose

Trusting the process helps you better adapt to change. Sometimes that openness to change can be just the thing that helps us get on the right path. When we trust the process and become comfortable waiting for things, and not being afraid of change, it becomes easier to find our overall purpose in this life.

Every one of us has a purpose and deserves to live to our greatest potential. According to the staff at the University of Minnesota, “Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, offer a sense of direction and create meaning. For some people, purpose is connected to vocation—meaningful, satisfying work.” Purpose doesn’t just pertain to what we do for work. It can also mean the responsibilities we feel to our family and friends. For others, it could be the quest to find meaning through spirituality or religious beliefs.

No two purposes are alike as it is unique to the individual, just like individual results from trusting the process. No two paths are ever identical. Purposes can shift and develop throughout life in response to the developing priorities and changes in your experiences. This is another reason becoming more open to change is a benefit of trusting the process. Keep an open mind always and be flexible in where life is taking you.

“Trust the timing of your life. Keep focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, be kind, and follow your heart. Doors will open effortlessly, but first, you have to be ready to walk through.”― Brittany Burgunder

Trust the process is a way of building and creating the best version of you. Letting go of stress and worry, and using that energy to improve life skills will get you much further than stressing about why something isn’t happening as fast as you might want it to.

Give yourself permission to value who you are and what you bring to the challenge that you are facing. It’s more than just a catchy phrase. It is a mindset that brings you growth and personal development and improves your overall wellbeing.

When was one time you followed the process and allowed yourself to be calm and relaxed? Share your thoughts in the comment section below! It is easy for us to see someone else’s success, just like the people in my support group, who get upset that someone has lost 100 pounds in the time it took them to lose 50. There are so many reasons that might happen, but the bottom line is that they still lost 50 pounds!

Trust the process, tweak it if you want to put in a little more effort, but don’t get discouraged and sabotage yourself. Just keep going, one day at a time, and one foot in front of the other. You will get there, and it will all have been worth it.

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