To our ancestors, spring held special meaning. As the earth birthed buds and blossoms, people rejoiced at the end of the colder, darker months and the promise of rebirth. They left us frescoes, poetry, and other creative works celebrating spring’s glory. With COVID-19 letting up a little — maybe — our summer will look a little brighter. Here are five tips for tackling your toughest goals this summer.
We may live in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but our inherent love for the season of rebirth and vitality hasn’t changed. When daylight savings time finally ends, most of us willingly sacrifice an hour of sleep to feel more alert, alive and assured. And once our circadian rhythms get into a groove, we take advantage of spring’s good vibes by heading outdoors, not to mention giving dust bunnies the boot.
This spring, make the most of your natural energy boost and elevated mood to tackle all those dusty, built-up bucket list goals. Not sure how or where to start? Whether your goals skew professional or personal, use these tips to tackle your toughest tasks this season:
1. Get Out of Your Head.
Have you ever spent so much time thinking about what you needed to do that you actually never moved an inch? Though you could chalk up the phenomenon to pure procrastination, take a second gander at your motivations. You might not be lazy at all, just trapped in a cycle of analysis paralysis.
Analysis paralysis happens when you overthink things to the point of being unable to make decisions or take action. For example, rather than seeing a work project as a series of smaller undertakings, you try to take in the whole shebang at once. Unsurprisingly, your brain shuts down, and you backburner the assignment.
How can you escape inactivity caused by excessive contemplation? Pick a large project you’ve put off. Don’t view it as a giant problem; divide it into manageable bits. Work on one item at a time. You’ll find the process easier to manage mentally.
2. Put Yourself on a Schedule.
Plenty of pediatricians tell first-time parents to create a family schedule for the benefit of the infant and everyone else in the household. Why? Schedules create routines, and routines beget comfort and production.
Of course, you’re not a baby. Far from it: You’re an adult with bills to pay and goals to achieve. Maybe you spent the winter plunked in front of your television after sunset. Perhaps you allowed your exercise regimen to evaporate. Springtime offers the perfect opportunity to commit to a healthier schedule that will enable you to go to bed each night, knowing you made progress toward your goals.
What if you’re working unpredictable hours? You can still keep up a dependable, productive lifestyle pattern despite the chaos. For instance, vow to eat breakfast when you wake up, whether that’s at 4 a.m. or noon.
Think about the evenings, too. Build an hour before bedtime into your calendar to forgo screen time instead of journaling, reading, or another non-device activity. Oh, and expect to spend most of the season solidifying your habit. Science says it takes about 66 days for routines to stick.
3. Reward Yourself at Milestones.
Even as the birds warble and the tulips flourish, you might find yourself losing steam in your efforts to realize your deepest ambitions. Head off self-sabotage by scheduling rewards into your agenda.
At momentous turning points, such as landing an interview at your top employer candidate, treat yourself to a reward. That way, you’ll boost your motivation to continue toward the next landmark occasion.
Make sure your reward doesn’t undermine your successes, though. Wolfing down an ice cream cone after every gym visit is indulgent and won’t contribute to your well-being. On the other hand, buying a pair of cool workout shoes after sticking with a nourishing meal plan for three weeks could be exactly what you need to stay the course right through Halloween.
4. Make Progress Every Day.
Your dreams aren’t going to come to fruition unless you continue to move in their direction. That’s like wanting to drive to the grocery store but sitting motionless in your car. You can wish you were shopping for toilet paper and hand sanitizer all you want, but you’re not going anywhere until you step on the gas.
Indeed, you might find it tough to accomplish even the tiniest assignment some days. Nonetheless, try your hardest. Let’s say you want to finally sell products or services through a side hustle. Even if you just spend 15-30 minutes a day researching frugal digital marketing strategies, developing your social media presence, or marking up a business plan, you’ve moved forward productively.
Still not convinced that minuscule movements add up? Watch a garden snail sometime. Snails don’t move fast, but they can get far by going a millimeter at a time. It seems, too, that nature is never is a vast hurry either.
5. Let Yourself Be Human — But Don’t Let Yourself Give in.
It’s a fact of life: You’re bound to hit hiccups as you go for your goals. That’s not just alright — it’s downright expected.
When you experience a setback, permit yourself to regroup. Yes, use some highly motivational “high” thoughts to keep your head straight. Acknowledge the core problem and figure out whether you can avoid similar obstacles over the coming months. If you can, make plans to avoid those pitfalls. If you can’t, move ahead with a watchful eye.
Be kind to yourself but firm in your resolve. To err is human, but erring is not an excuse to stop pushing toward the things you want to achieve. Pick up where you left off and start over. When a May thunderstorm knocks a nest out of an oak tree, the sparrow finds another place to call home. You can be that resilient, too.
Forget about dealing with dark commutes and frost-covered windshields. Instead, ride spring’s grand appearance into a summer of possibilities and productivity.