As the school year wraps up and we head into summer, it can be difficult to find a new rhythm. This is especially challenging as COVID-19 has interrupted our lives, causing us to be finishing school from home instead of on campus. This transition to staying at home on top of the transition from school to summer might have left you feeling a bit unmotivated and overwhelmed. Amidst all of the crazy, here are three simple tips you can implement to reduce that stressed feeling and regain control of your summer.
- Redefine success. In school, everything is defined in terms of grades and amounts. However, success isn’t confined to the work you do; it is found in Christ and in the life He has called you to live. Maybe a goal can be to spend more time with your family, cook dinner once a week, or read just for fun. Goals do not have to look impressive; they simply have to contribute to your overall growth. Maybe this means that success looks like taking more walks, more naps, or more time to breathe. Don’t try to take a scholastic pattern of thought (that scores equal success) and apply it to your whole life, but instead seek God and follow His guidance. As you think of the summer, what types of success mean the most in your life during this season?
- Start small, simple, and specific. Instead of a massive, generic list of all of the things you want to accomplish, try writing out your top three summer goals. What three things would you feel pleased with having accomplished at the end of the summer? These should not be massive, but can be as small as keeping a plant alive or cultivating a hobby. Next, make these goals simple. For instance, if your cooking skills peak at a pb & j, don’t try to become the world’s greatest chef this summer. Instead, learn how to cook five new meals, or make one meal per week. Make these goals specific by articulating the details of your goal. For example, if you want to work on your artistic skills this summer, have a goal of “drawing for ten minutes for five days of the week” or “learning ten different brush strokes.” By making your goals specific, you’ll be able to see your progress and growth better because your goals will be clearly defined. Goals do not need to be complicated to be effective. By making your goals small, simple, and specific, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
- Include others. Working with other people has always been important, but it is especially crucial during this stay-at-home season. Include others in your goals by telling them about them! Perhaps talk with a friend about how excited you are to work on your music goal, or share with your family about your goal to cook them a meal once a week (you’ll be getting many smiles!). Also, include others in the process of achieving your goals by thinking inclusively. Incorporating others is still possible during this pandemic; we’ve just got to think creatively. For example, some friends and I did a virtual workout the other day where we all called each other and then watched the same workout video. Even though we were working out in our own homes, we completed the workout together and felt connected. Try having virtual painting nights, study sessions, or calling a friend during your evening walk. By including others, you’ll stay motivated and connected as you achieve your goals.
Remember, your goals do not have to look like anyone else’s. You might be working a full-time job this summer or busy taking care of siblings, so remember that goals do not have to be big in order to be important. Even deciding to spend five minutes a day on one goal will contribute to your overall growth. Goals are your goals for your growth, so think outside of the box and try some new things this summer!