Finally, it’s summer break. Time to recover and rejuvenate. And to get your motivation back. You need the time to recover, but summer will slip away before you know it. First, take the time to relax, and then set a date to get yourself ready for the fall so you can bring your passion back to your job.

Need some ideas to spark your motivation? Eric Barker gives some great advice in his article How to Stop Being Lazy and Get More Done – 5 Expert Secrets. While being stressed and exhausted is more our issue than being lazy, his tips will work to help us get on track for a successful school year. Here are his 5 with my usual comments:

  1. Define Goals Properly – Barker recommends four steps to get clear on your goals.

Frame goals as an “end” not a means –By identifying what we want to get, we don’t focus on the boring, “don’t feel like it” steps. We want our goals to excite us, not feel like an added burden.

Keep goals abstract – Rather than focusing on the “How” something is going to get done (more inline with SMART goals), think about your “Why” as you write them.

Set “approach” goals, not “avoidance goals – Keep it positive. Don’t focus on the negatives, such as not doing something. Be aware of the outcome you’re working towards. Bonus points for being clear about how this aligns with your Mission and Vision.

Make goals intrinsic, not extrinsic – Don’t make this about what you think you should be doing. What is it you want to be doing? What excites your passion? Creating a goal from this adds to your ongoing motivation.

2. Set a Target – This is where you can be specific. By when will you start? When do you want to finish? What are some of your target numbers – students reached, modules completed, teacher collaborations. Be clear on the steps you wish to accomplish. And as an additional recommendation, make the steps small so you get lots of wins along the way. The goal and a target together support your motivation.

3. Monitor Your Progress – Keep track of all the targets you achieve. It spurs you on. This is why I keep a Success Journal next to my computer. You can create a spreadsheet, keep a log, reward yourself. Whatever works, so you see the steps you’re taking.

4. Beware the Long Middle – Life is a marathon and so are goals for the school year. As the days go by, it can get harder to keep pushing through, and this is where you can lose that motivation. Every so often, pause and note how much you have accomplished. Barker recommends you “shorten the middle.” If you’ve been tracking progress monthly, switch to weekly. If weekly, switch to daily. The extra boost will help. When you are past the midpoint, look ahead and note how close you are to your goal.

5. Think about Your Future Self – This is an important shift that allows you to look at the bigger picture. Baker writes that thinking about our future results allows us to make better choices in the present. Reflect on the difference between how you’ll feel about yourself if you keep putting off the hard work rather than going for something you are passionate about.

Wherever you are on your summer break, this is a short reminder that you can have fun and still be productive. And when the school year does begin again, these five tips can keep you going. Recovery is important. But set a date to get motivated for fall. Put it on your calendar. Set an alarm. The important thing is get started.

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