Imagine going to a horse race where the horses just ran in whatever direction they wanted, galloping and skipping along aimlessly? Not too many would show up for those races and all bets would be off, for sure. Not only that, it might get downright dangerous. Wild horses certainly have their charm and beauty, but as a rule, they impress no one.
As schools finish up for summer, whether you’re a student, have kids in school, or have been out of school for years, June seems like a time to slow down a bit and regroup. The disciplines we had in the beginning of the year may have slacked by now and we need to rest before we start over again in September.
I like to think of summer as a time to think. To slow down, smell the roses, take a break, and perhaps start planning something new for the future. But if you would like to land in a better place in the future and move toward goals, then you need to round up your herd of wild habits and get serious.
Olympic athletes, opera stars, business moguls, and great actors all have four things thing in common. Here’s what we can learn from them:
Successful people have a vision, a dream. They can see where they want to be. But unlike the nebulous dreams of most people, they set goals to achieve their dreams. And they keep this dream in front of them at all times. They set up action steps to achieve their goal and set up and achieve smaller goals along the way.
So, use the summer to think and to dream. Then put those dreams on paper as goals. Then work to formulate these action steps to get you there. If you want to lose 20 pounds, picture yourself in the outfit you want to wear. Put the goal weight on your calendar. You want to start your own business, write down your goal, and make a list of what you need to do. Unwritten goals rarely materialize. Write them down!
It may seem a little contradictory to talk about kicking back for summer and increasing your discipline… but I’m going there anyway.
Successful people have discipline. They don’t let their feelings rule, but they guide those feelings by reason. And when your plan is on paper and you know what you need to do, it’s easier for reason to guide your emotions effectively. But even more, when your goal is written down and always in front of you, it’s easier for your emotions to get on board with whatever disciplines you need to incorporate. The goal increases and supports your desire, which moves your emotions where they need to be to keep you moving forward.
Let’s face it, things rarely go as planned. There’s usually something or other that gets in the way and tries to derail you. Sometimes it’s circumstances like weather or illness, other times it’s other people who have their own agendas that may conflict with yours and still other times it’s your own weaknesses, fears, laziness and bad habits. Resolve to keep moving forward, even if it means starting over again and again. Perseverance is key to success in all endeavors.
Rare is the athlete, singer, business mogul, or successful actor who got there on their own. If every sports team has a coach (to whom they pay very big bucks), every singer or actor a voice or acting coach and every successful business person a mentor, what makes you think you can do it all on your own?
Now of course, until you have your plan formulated, you may not know what kind of coach you actually need. In fact, you may not even know what goals to set. That’s where a life coach can help you discern your priorities, set goals and set up a plan to achieve them. Once you’re on the right track, a more specific coach may be in order.
The bottom line is whether you want to fly to Mars, sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, or simply organize your home and improve your marriage, the steps are all the same. Use the lazy, hazy days of summer to do some good thinking, set some goals, and consider a coach who can help you move where you want to go.
Allison is also the Founder and President of www.CatholicTherapists.com, a nationwide network of dedicated Catholic therapists.
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