Summer is Coming: Creating Habits to Achieve Your Goals

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**Please excuse the bad Game of Thrones reference in the title. My life is GoT and finals right now.

Summer is on it’s way, and for many of us that means a little more time will be available to spend how we choose. I always treat summer like a halfway New Year’s Eve, reflecting on the year so far and setting new goals;like Spring Cleaning but for the mind and body.

When it comes to setting goals, the creation of the goal is simple. We all know what we want to do better or accomplish, but actually implementing these goals into our lives usually falls flat. I’ve struggled with this for as long as I can remember, and I always end the year upset with myself for not accomplishing what I know I have the ability to achieve. I can’t even count how many times I’ve set the goal to wake up at 7:00 am every morning, but I can count how many times I’ve actually woken up at 7:00 am.

I’ve been reading and watching a lot about goal setting and how to actually achieve these goals. What I imagine will be the key for myself this summer is habituation and planning.

Creating good habits is not easy, but it is necessary for achieving what you want. If you want to get a six pack you could say you’ll go to the gym everyday, but if you don’t implement and set aside time to do so everyday at the same time, it will likely fall through.

To create good habits, we must plan.

Like the future educator I am, I’ll model this idea with my own goals for the summer. Feel free to steal my plans or use them as a template for creating your own.

Start by creating a mind map or tree diagram with the broad goal at the top. Get specific and narrow down this broad goal until you get to tangible goals, not abstract. “Be healthier” is abstract, what does this mean? Whereas, “Learn 1 song on piano a month” is tangible and concrete.

Once you have your tangible goals, it’s time to construct a plan to create good habits. Some of this planning may be inside the map. “Bike to the gym” is a plan of habit that will help me get to the tangible goal of biking 10 miles.

Here’s my general plan:

Here’s a mini plan:

It is also important to remember that everyday won’t be perfect. When creating habits, try everyday to follow through without excuse, that way, when life inevitably happens and sticks a hole in your plan, you will have a tiny reserve of “cheat days” for emergencies. Additionally, you should have a backup plan. For example, if I can’t go to the gym in the morning one day or I wake up late, I will go after work at 6:00 before dinner. If I don’t play piano in the morning, I will practice after dinner or right before bed. Creating a backup plan will also help if you find that you need to change your plan completely, try the backup one!

I am determined to be proud of myself at the end of the summer. I hope you will take some time to write out a plan for yourself. There is no better time to start than today. And keep in mind, the plan you create today is flexible! I may find that I am more free on the weekends than I anticipate and can move 2 gym days to the weekend. It’s okay to not have a perfect plan, but you should create a really good working plan that simply needs some revision as you traverse towards your goal.

All in all,

  • Establish tangible goals
  • Figure out mini goals that will get you to the ending you desire
  • Create a working, flexible, realistic plan and follow through without excuse. Leave cheat days for emergencies
  • Create a backup plan
  • Reflect on your plan. What’s working? What’s going wrong? Adjust accordingly.
  • Focus on establishing good habits and your goals will get closer and closer every day.
  • Lean on others for accountability
  • Set aside time for what is important to you

Remember to love each other, grow, and be kind.

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