Summer can be elusive. It shines so brightly in the distance, with such expectation and hope, and then seems to disappear almost as soon as it begins. In work and in play, many people have high expectations for what they'll be able to achieve in the summer. Some are looking to finish what was left incomplete, others are looking to get ahead, and still others are looking to invest some quality time. Last week I wrote about how to meet all your summer work goals. This week, I explore the same question on the personal side. As summer grows ever closer to ending, how can you be sure that you meet all the individual goals you set?
Whether you want to spend more time with your children, achieve a new workout milestone, or clean out your garage, you actually can do it all without going crazy. But to do so will require careful planning and active time management. This may be even more difficult because of the emotions that can arise around personal objectives.
Stop fretting over what isn't done, and start putting that energy to positive use. Here's how to put aside emotions and achieve all the unique goals you set for yourself:
1. Hit Pause
It may sound counterintuitive to start a list about taking action with an instruction to stop, but it's the truth. The best thing you can do to start towards completing your goals is to take a step back and gather yourself. What do you want to achieve, and what do you need to achieve? When you look back at this summer, what would be the biggest wasted opportunity? I know you want a sexy beach body, but is that more important than taking your kid to a ballgame just like your dad used to? Determine what the real goal should be. Do you really want to reconnect with that old friend who drifted away long ago, or are you actually just angry at another better friend for something petty, and looking for a replacement? Make sure your effort is directed where it should be.
2. Plan With Others
If your goal is to achieve something you need to do, but don't necessarily want to do, try to find a buddy to make it more tolerable. Maybe this means attending a thrice-weekly 6am workout with your spouse. It might mean starting a nightly accountability email check in with a friend. Whatever it is, get it on both of your calendars, now, and have consequences for both of you if you don't show up. If your goal requires someone else's presence, do everything you can to make their schedule work with you. To ensure compliance, make it as convenient as possible for them. This has the added benefit of putting them in the right mood during your time together. Are you determined to spend more quality time with your mom? Ask her for calendar options, and you pick from her choices.
3. Manage Expectations
Make sure the other people in your life understand what you're trying to achieve and why it's important to you. Give them details on how your journey may impact your time, and theirs. This way they know, explicitly and in advance, what they can expect from you. They may be working on similar journeys that require your time and input, so approach them with the same respect you would hope to receive. Letting them know ahead of time eases many worries and arguments later on. You may even find that they turn into great supporters of yours.
4. Make It Fun
Whether your goal is truly individual in nature or can be done with others, make it enjoyable for everyone involved. Try to make a game out of as much as you can. Build rewards into your plan. Organize celebrations for a group achievement. At the end, make a point of thanking those who helped you along the way, even those involved indirectly. You'll find next summer's goals don't seem so daunting when you have a crowd of supporters looking forward to working with you and cheering you along.