Sticking to summer goals

We've nearly done it! The school year is wrapping up and summer vacation is just around the corner. If you're anything like me, you've spent the last eight months thinking about all things you'll do once you're free of classes and homework. You've probably also had a few conversations that have ended like this:

“Oh, yeah, I totally want to do that! I'm kind of busy right now, but it'll for sure happen once I'm done with school!"

There is only one problem: can you guarantee that it will for sure happen once you're done with school?

Making goals and then following through with them is probably one of the hardest things to do, especially when it's entirely up to you. The school year at least provides pressure to get something done. When left to your own devices, it can be so easy to decide that you'd rather binge watch something on Netflix or take a nap.

From someone who knows the grips of procrastination all too well, here are some tips on how to keep the summer goals you make:

1. Think about what you really want to do.

How many of your goals are things you actually want to do, and how many are things you feel like you should do?

A lot of the time, I feel like I really should check out all of the shows my friends recommend to me over the course of the year, but I don't really want to. I write them down, tell my friends I'll definitely look into it, then feel really bad when I purposefully fill my schedule with other things. That bad feeling will then follow me throughout the whole summer. It ends up being more of a nuisance than a constructive goal.

So, be honest with yourself! If you make a goal that only caters to the people around you, don't do it! Pursue the things that make you feel happy and satisfied with your day.

2. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

When summer first starts, it feels like it will last forever. Three months is a super long time, right? Just imagine all the things you can accomplish! OK, enough joking around.

You know that those few precious weeks you have will just fly by. Before you know it, it'll be September again, and you'll be asking yourself, “Oh, where did the time go?"

Let's be realistic. You have a very finite amount of time to utilize this summer. You're probably not going to have the time to do every single thing on your bucket list, so don't plan like you do. It's probably in your best interest to pick a small handful of things that you really want to get done and stick to those. If you find that you have time, you can always add more!

3. Planners and lists are your friends.

You can't trust your brain to keep every ounce of information organized. It's too busy remembering embarrassing moments from your youth and puzzling through the several different podcasts you listen to. That's why it's useful to write down the things you want to remember in space you can access easily! This could be your phone, a journal, or some other kind of planner (colorful pens and pencils are optional but encouraged).

It might seem a little strange to use a planner while you're not in school, but I promise you that it's worth it. Even if you're not the type to plan out your days ahead of time, it's incredibly useful to have a list of things you want to work on. If you can't keep your eye on the prize, you'll never get anything done!

4. Allow yourself to be flexible.

That all being said, don't be too hard on yourself. There are going to be some days when you can't finish everything you set out to. That's OK! Sometimes other stuff comes up. Sometimes you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. You have to allow for the little things that may inhibit your progress. It's hard to plan for everything when life is constantly throwing new things at you.

If you need to take a day just for yourself to do nothing productive, go for it! There's nothing wrong with giving yourself the time to rest and reset. Plus, you can't be on top of your game all the time. Go easy on yourself, build your energy back up, then try again with new gusto.

I know that you can do it!

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