Summer Survival Guide Week 2: Setting Goals

During the summer school takes a break, your life do not.

When taking classes our goals are set for us. Class, papers, tests, and deadlines structure the days and weeks. Wesley and discipleship teach us and give us opportunities to explore what is going on in our lives and our faith. What we need to accomplish is set out before us and we are challenged spiritually; however, this structure is not always there during the summer.
 
Don’t under value your time. Sure, three months does not seem like very much time in the long run, but that does not mean it should be cast aside. Your time is something that you have ownership of, no one can give you more or take it away from you. In the summer you have more control over what you do with your time, so it is important to value it by using it effectively. Summer is the perfect opportunity to begin furthering your passions, faith, and identity.

What do you want to do? First step seems fairly obvious: figure out what you want to do. There’s no such thing as a bad goal, as long as it helps you grow. It could be a spiritual goal, like reading a book or two about a topic you are interested in, taking some time to pray and maintain a quiet time every day, or get involved with a new ministry. You might want to do something else, like learn a new skill or be more active. One of my favorite summer goals that I set for myself was to write a short story. This is a time where there is more time in the day to pursue and discover what you are passionate about, and that’s what matters.

Take small steps. A way to not accomplish a goal is to try and do it all at once. If goals were to be obtained instantly then no one would have to set them. One of the most important parts about goal setting is to structure it in a manageable, obtainable way. Let’s use our prayer life as an example. Say you want to pray an hour every day. There are two ways to phrase this goal, option 1: pray an hour every day in the summer or option 2: learn to pray an hour every day. Option 1 is the type of thing that does not set you up for success, it sets the starting bar for the goal very high and has very little margin for error. Option 2 is a more obtainable goal, it can start small, maybe five or ten minutes a day at first and then grows over time so that by the end of the summer you will be accustomed to setting aside more and more time to pray.
 
Follow through. 
Find accountability, tell your friends your goal, talk about it with them. Set goals with one another and build each other up in them. This will make accomplishing your goals easier because you will not be doing it alone.

Don’t get down on yourself. You might miss a day, or two or three. That is ok. Failure is not defined by a slip up. This is why setting manageable goals is important. The importance of setting a Summer goal is not always that you have something to show for it come August, but that you have learned how to set things before you and accomplish them and grown as a person. These are skills that will begin to carry on throughout the rest of your life.

Author | Nathan DeYoung

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