The halfway point of the year can be quite sobering. We’ve passed the longest day; the schools are out and we wonder where the first seven months have gone. Those New Year Resolutions and positive intentions set back in January, are a distant memory. Traditionally, summer is when we take some ‘timeout’ to rest and recharge. It’s also the perfect time to refocus and to give your ‘resolutions’ a mid-year boost.
So often we don’t acknowledge what we do well every day, so this is where we start.
So, you may not have become a gym bunny, or devoted the amount of time you intended to self-care, but you are always doing your best, never forget that fact, celebrate it. Remember, it is always about progress in a direction. Small achievements are still achievements. Beating yourself up serves no purpose and it’s a real disabler when it comes to motivation. Acknowledging your achievements, your progress, no matter how minor, creates a platform from which you can build.
There’s a strong case to be made for setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, rather than a big, often overwhelming, and unrealistic goal at the beginning of the year. So starting afresh what would be on your summer ‘goal’ list? Here are some questions to stimulate your imagination.
Most resolutions and goals focus on doing more of something. If our schedules are already full, this is difficult. Equally, just because something is a good idea in January, doesn’t mean it is still valid come July. Make the decision to drop, or consciously do less of something (which is the definition of working smarter anyway!) You might simply drop a ‘goal’ that is no longer important to you. You could make the commitment to eat less junk food, resist the pastry with coffee (one of mine!) spend less time surfing mindlessly online, or restricting your time on social media.
For me, one of the luxuries of summer holidays is a digital detox – no TV, no news and vastly reduced, if not eliminated, social media. It is no coincidence that I feel freer, less stressed, more relaxed and my thinking is clearer.
Getting fitter is usually top of everyone’s New Year Resolution list (it’s the knee-jerk reaction to over-indulgence at Christmas.) I believe it’s easier to exercise, or to simply be more active when the days are brighter and the evenings longer. I often feel we are hot-wired to hibernate in winter, so when the weather is better and the days longer, make the conscious effort to get outdoors and be active. I joined a gym at the beginning of July last year with the goal of getting trimmer for holidays in September. It really worked, plus the gym was quiet, there was no fighting over the treadmill like you would have the first week in January.
It’s also easier to eat lighter and more healthily at this time of year. Crisp salads appeal more during the summer months than on dark, cold January days. Fresh fruit and veg are in abundance over the summer months too.
Self-care and a greater sense of well-being are goals most of us share. Our desire for more ‘me time,’ is about connecting with the core of ourselves, reflecting on what is truly important. For the third successive year, top of my list this summer is going on retreat. Yes, I’m taking myself away for a week of solitude and reflection (no phones, no wi-fi!) It’s the biggest gift I give myself each year and the most rewarding. Over the summer, when we press pause on many habits and routines, what could you do to boost your feelings of well-being, to indulge (guilt-free) in some world-class self-care?
As ever, we when ponder goals, set our intentions, or give our ‘New Year Resolutions’ a mid-year boost, it’s not about the goal itself, it’s about who we become in the process of working towards achieving it. I think this quote, paraphrasing Michael Neil, sums it up best – “The real purpose of a goal is to fall more deeply in love with yourself and with life.” And let’s not forget that we start each day afresh.
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