The long days of summer are here. That time when we make all kinds of promises to ourselves about things that we will accomplish professionally, personally, and physically. The greater number of daylight hours and perhaps the break from the school year routine with lighter commuter traffic makes us feel we have more time available, regardless of the number of work hours that define our week. "This summer I’m going to finish my business plan; organize my closets; cultivate an abundant vegetable garden; train for a half marathon; foster amazing communication with my teenager; lose weight; take a bucket-list trip; summit a few high peaks; get promoted; etc." - - some examples from my own circle of humans. Sound familiar?
For me personally, one of the goals I set for myself this summer is to make significant progress on a writing project that I’ve challenged myself to do. Lately I've been wondering why I haven’t made nearly as much headway as I had intended. However, rather than berating myself and going down the path of negative self talk, I have learned to swiftly shift my thoughts to the things that I AM doing this summer: growing my business; enjoying quality time with dear family and friends; reading; participating in varied sports using my able body; visiting farmers markets; slowing down to admire neighbors' gardens; in other words, I'm being present.
Rather than focusing on what I am not doing, I re-positioned my thought process from "You're Not Writing Enough" to a "This is Where I AM" perspective. We set high standards for ourselves and then feel a sense of defeat when we don't reach our goals on our original timeline. We have a tendency to focus on what we don't achieve rather than what we do. Instead of celebrating the 10k run we completed, we feel disappointed with our time and less worthy for having walked up the steep hill in the middle of the race. How is this serving us?
And yet I acknowledge there is tremendous value in establishing goals and am a goal-setter myself. Having something to work towards is motivating, grounding, and propels us forward. I also like to explore what is beneath the goal. In other words, why is (your goal) your goal? For what reason are you running that 10K? Why is getting promoted important to you? My writing project goal fit nicely into what I thought would be a chunk of available time with few distractions in an environment where the words flowed easily from my brain onto my computer monitor. I wasn't wrong. I made a choice to prioritize other things that felt more fleeting, I simply pressed the slow motion button on my writing which allowed me to experience more of what is in front of me these warm long days. And I feel this is exactly where I want to be, even if it's not precisely where I thought I would be.