Summer is the Season for Self-Improvement

June 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

As the days elongate and the Spring rains subside, what remains is the perfect time to improve ourselves. I’ve always found Spring break and Summer to be my favorite training seasons when it comes to track. Both have uninterrupted training possibilities and rest periods longer than normal which allow for optimal recovery. We can train harder, longer, and more frequently than before – what more could a runner want?

But self-improvement doesn’t just end with the physical, Summer allows for an all encompassing improvement cycle which begs the question: who needs a New Years resolution when you can revolutionize yourself over Summer? This Summer, my goals are as follows:

  • Gain 10 lbs of muscle
  • Read 20 more pages of classical lit each day (at least)
  • Memorize 100 more Chinese characters
  • Raise $500 for Spark the Wave
  • Strengthen my relationship w/ my family
  • Continue to learn css and redesign this blog
  • Write more frequently and honestly
  • Become more of a community initiator

These goals span  from the tangible and quantifiable to the ambiguous but exciting and they’re just what my Summer needs. I can only go for so long without doing much, even laying on the beach (OCNJ!) for more than three days pains me though I enjoy myself more than enough while living off of fresh fruit smoothies, the best pizza on the east coast, and a few somethings I call pieces of heaven. Seriously, click these next two links and be taken to the healthiest/simplest dessert and the most sinful dessert on the boardwalk – banana whip and monkey bread. But I digress.

The oh-so delicious, better than ice cream, banana whip!

Perhaps your goals are less quantifiable, but still very important such as gaining confidence, self-respect, or become a better person… maybe it’s a boyfriend you’re looking for. The thing is, goals are a fantastic start, determining what your goal is is essential to succeeding but determining how to get there is even better. So as you begin your Summer of self-improvement, here are a few thoughts to help you become the new you!

1. Determine what is possible and go for it.
If you want to transform yourself from an average guy into a Greek God like body builder over the course of the next 3 months – try going after a more achievable goal. You will never become a body builder in as little as 3 months but you can make big improvements nevertheless. Find out what’s achievable, then do it!

2. Write down the steps you’ll take to achieve your goal.
This allows you to have a plan of attack to follow as you go along. Best part is, if you get off track, knowing the steps you need to succeed will help you hop back on all the more quickly. If you want to gain muscle, think of broad steps such as – eating more calories, more protein, lifting regularly, then define them one by one. To eat more calories try consuming two spoonfulls of peanut butter a day and some flax seed oil to boost your caloric intake. Or if you want to gain muscle mass in a certain area, write down the exercises you need to do for that area.

Try eating some monkey bread for an easy 600+ calories

3. Remind yourself of your goal.
Oprah has a “dream board,” others have a goal chart, but no matter what you call them anyone can make them! Using a few pieces of paper or large boards, write your goals down (with images) and place them in well traveled areas for you to see everyday. Try placing them as your desktop background, inside a cabinet you open every day, etc… The repetition of goals will help you maintain your motivation and achieve them.

4. Determine how to rate your success.
While some improvements are easily determinable, such as gaining muscle or reading 20 more pages of classical lit, some are a little harder to gauge – especially when trying to make yourself a better person. Look back to the steps taken to achieve your goal and determine how many of them you take on a regular basis to rate how successful you are.

5. Mark down progress and praise yourself!
Everyone deserves a good pat on the back especially when following through with their efforts to improve themselves so make the time to congratulate yourself. Praise your achievements and if you happen to fall off the progress you wanted to make, use it to motivate you – not weigh you down!

With 3 months to go, who knows what we can do – but I know one things for sure, I better start working on my goals! Best of luck to all of you trying to accomplish yours!

Feel like commenting? He’res a question to start you off: What are your Summer goals?


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§ 2 Responses to Summer is the Season for Self-Improvement

  • JC says:

    Comments are a bit slow, so I guess I’ll be the first to answer your question. First, a couple comments…Research shows that people that write down their goals are more likely to achieve them than those that don’t write their goals down – it creates a contract mentality with yourself. Nice job demonstrating possible ways to do this. Second, be careful with the calorie count if trying to gain muscle weight. Get a professional to help you figure out what and how much you should eat if this is your goal. I’m an assistant manager for an upscale health club and have seen people gain muscle AND fat because they took in too much protein/calories relative to their activity level.

    now to answer your question. My summer goals aren’t as ambitious as yours. Knowing you, why isn’t that a surprise?
    1. – Like you, I want to get in better shape. Hoping to drop my 5k time from the last couple years by doing so – shooting for an 18:30 or faster (the days of running under 16:00 are long gone). I also want to put some muscle on but won’t be doing it with the aid of diet habits.
    2. – I want to travel a bit within the northeast to see more of the natural sights – looking at western Mass, northern VT, and eastern NY this year – through biking and hiking. Also looking to see Philly…never been there (check your email about that).
    3. – I’m always looking to make myself a better coach, so will spend some time putting together improved training plans for next fall and fostering strong relations with team members. I also maintain a team website, so will be updating that as needed.
    4. – Read – I read more this past week than I read during the entire indoor and outdoor track seasons combined.

    Already checked off my list…spending time with the ‘rents. They live in another state, so don’t see them much. Took a four day weekend last wkend and met them in the middle in western NY.

    Aren’t summers great?

  • Jacob Woods says:

    As always, great advice written with such elegance!

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