Having meaningful goals you want to achieve in your life is what keeps you motivated and inspired to stay focused on what is truly important to you. Summertime, with all it’s fun and excitement, can be a wonderful—and oftentimes disastrous—distraction from the momentum you’ve built toward achieving your goals.
Summertime can usher in an energy of excitement as you begin anticipating longer days, warmer temps, and loads of outdoor activities. Family vacations, travel, barbecues, and fun in the sun are all things you may find yourself craving during the winter months. And let’s face it, when summer arrives and there’s fun to be had, you’re far more likely to table your previous commitments in favour of enjoying the season.
There is a powerful quote from the book The Slight Edge, written by Jeff Olson, that reinforces the importance of taking measures to stay on track to achieving our goals. “Here’s the unfortunate and powerfully destructive truth of being incomplete: it keeps the past alive.” It’s a provocative reminder that when you neglect the action needed to accomplish important goals, it prevents you from being, doing, or having what you want in your life. It keeps you stuck in the past. Summers will come and go throughout your life and with each passing year, your abandoned goals move farther from your reach. How many goals have you set and then not followed through on? How many times have you said, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and then you keep putting it off?
If you’ve ever set—and managed to achieve—a meaningful goal, you already know that when you set a goal, you’re going to have to sacrifice something if you hope to reach it. There’s no way around this. When it comes to going after what you want, that sacrifice might be time. You may need to set your alarm earlier or forego time with friends and family. Summertime is usually packed with all kinds of fun activities—from outdoor concerts to ballgames to get-togethers—and there may be times when you need to stay focused on getting your tasks done.
In his book, The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson writes that, “For things to change, you’ve got to change. For things to get better, you’ve got to get better. It’s easy to do. But then, it’s just as easy not to do.” He is pointing out that if you hope to accomplish things that are meaningful, it requires one-pointed focus. You’re going to have to come up with a plan and adhere to it with diligence. He continues by saying, “You don’t have to do impossible extraordinary things to make it happen. But you have to do something.”
The key is to find a harmony between what it is you have your sights set on and still finding the time to enjoy the moment. Here are three ways to avoid summer distractions and stay focused on your goal.
Create a Daily Schedule for Summer Months
If you’re a goal-getter, you have already figured out that it’s important to schedule time for working toward your goal. Chances are you’ve already got a pretty good system down for doing what you do, and you only tend to get thrown off when summer rolls around.
You may need to change things up now that you’re balancing more hours of daylight with just as many daily responsibilities and a lot more planned activities. If your goal is to lose weight or stay fit, get your workout in first thing in the morning and enjoy the rest of your day. If your goal is to launch your new business, you may need to schedule an entire day or two where you focus solely on writing your business plan.
Bear in mind that summertime brings an air of spontaneity and you may need to plan for variables. Again, the idea is to create the space in your summer to savour the season while staying on track.
Do More Things that Increase Your Energy
You may tend to be more active in the summer than you are in other months and that can take a toll on your energy levels. Living it up with friends and family may have you overindulging in food and beverages that leave you feeling heavier the next day. While fun activities like hiking, surfing, or sitting in the sun all afternoon are highly enjoyable, they can also be physically exhausting. If you’re blowing off your routine in favour of painting the town, you’re probably lacking mental clarity and motivation when it comes to making the time to work toward your goal.
While you’re out and about having a ball—as you should be—make sure you’re doing more things that increase your energy. Daily exercise, healthy eating, meditation, laughter, and time in nature are just a few examples. It’s totally acceptable to partake in the good times in the name of the season and do your best to limit things that leave you feeling depleted.
Don’t Think of Distractions as Distractions
Here is an off-the-wall concept. Don’t think of distractions as distractions. Imagine for a moment that the distraction of an invite to the beach with all your friends when you need to hit the gym to stay on track with your health and fitness goals isn’t actually a distraction. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to hit the gym and then meet up with them afterwards.
Distractions are only distractions if you label them as such and allow them to derail you. For example, I go on a six-week vacation to Italy every summer, and I have a goal to publish my first book by the end of summer. I plan several days in my calendar to do book edits, and then my family proposes a spontaneous pool day or they suggest we go check out some medieval ruins in a nearby town. I have the option to reschedule my book edits or tell them to have a great time while I stay inside and write. I can choose to stay focused rather than derailing, or I can consciously renegotiate when I will come back around to completing my work. It always comes down to a choice.
If you’re someone who has more of an issue of creating distractions as a means of avoiding what you know you need to be doing, you may want to seek the support and accountability of a coach to help you stay focused and on track. You’ve heard the saying, “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.” Yet, the destination is part of the journey. In the context of working with goals, the journey is where transformation occurs and is the catalyst for arriving at your desired destination. Achieving your goal is a cause for celebration.
At the end of the day, you want to bring harmony to how you are living so that you can achieve your goals while enjoying life. Avoiding summer distractions can be simple once you find your groove and keep your momentum going. Then, when spontaneity arises, say yes and go have a blast!
“Whatever price you pay, there’s a bigger price to pay for not doing it than the price for doing it. The price of neglect is much worse than the price of discipline.” – The Slight Edge