3 Simple Summer Strategies To Stick With Your Good Habits

Summer is here, and you’ve got habits on the mind.

Maybe you’re wondering how to stick with your current habits within the fluidity of the summer months.

Perhaps you’re thinking about new habits you want to adopt and how to fit them within your unpredictable schedule.

And maybe you want to break some habits this season, but you’re not quite sure how to make that happen.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, then you’re in luck.

I’m addressing all that and more in my 2-part Summer Habit Series, which you’ll find on episodes 98 and 99 of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast.

Put these strategies to use and make the most of your summer months while maintaining momentum on your big goals.

Listen to episode 98 below or stream it on your favorite podcasting app here:

Then check back next week for part two of the series. You don’t want to miss it!

Prefer to read? No problem. Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.

Listen To The Podcast Here!

In This Episode, You Will… 

  • Get clarity on which habits you want to maintain, adopt, or break this summer.
  • Uncover the motivation and commitment to stick with your habits no matter what.
  • Create strategies to navigate any obstacles that might prevent you from creating the forward momentum you want.

Links From The Podcast

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Episode #98: 3 Simple Summer Strategies To Stick With Your Good Habits (Transcript)

Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 98 of the podcast. How are ya? How are your summer plans going? If you missed last week’s episode, Episode 97, we talked all about how to plan out your ideal summer. We explored how to make sure you’re showing up intentionally to a summer that you are super excited about. So if you missed Episode 97, make sure you pop back and check it out so you can make the most of your summer this year. 

Now, continuing with this theme, we are exploring the topic of habits and how to maintain your good habits or establish new habits during the summer months. 

Because here’s the deal. One concern that I often hear from clients is, “how am I supposed to maintain these habits that I’ve been working toward now that summer is here?” Or “now that summer is here, and everything is so flexible and fluid, how can I possibly maintain my new habits?” In other words, since there’s often less structure to our days during the summer months, our brains start questioning how we can possible establish or maintain our good habits since our regular routines start shifting.

And on the other side of the coin, I also hear people question why they would want to maintain their habits in the first place. From this perspective, the brain offers thoughts like, “it’s supposed to be summer! It’s supposed to be freer and more flexible! Why not just relax? Why not put aside all of these rigid habits and routines so I can just enjoy the freedom of the summer?” 

And of course, you can do that you can absolutely do that. You can absolutely set aside your regular routines and soak up the flexibility of the summer. In fact, whether you choose to maintain the habits you’ve been working toward throughout the year, or you choose to press pause and put them aside, OR you choose to add additional habits throughout the summer is great! But whatever it is you choose, I encourage you to be intentional about it. Decide ahead of time what you want to do and go all in. 

Structure Within The Fluidity

Now with all of that being said, I definitely have my own opinions on the matter. Perhaps not surprisingly, I lean toward maintaining some habits or routines during the summer months. The reason why I think this is so beneficial is that they do help provide that sense of structure in this otherwise more fluid quarter of the year. By creating that semblance of structure, it helps us simultaneously keep moving toward our goals while also allowing ourselves to fully enjoy the greater flexibility of these summer months. 

Now, as I sat down to create the outline for this episode, I realized I had quite a bit to share, so rather than talking all-things habits for one super-long episode, I thought I would divide it up into two parts. By the end of this episode, in part one, you’ll decide on the habits you want to establish, maintain, alter, or abandon during the summer months. We’ll take a deep dive into the reasons why you chose those particular habits so you can uncover the motivation and commitment you need to stick with it. And we’ll identify potential obstacles and map out clear strategies so you’re ready to navigate any hurdle that comes your way. 

Then next week, in part two, we’re getting into the specifics. What is the step-by-step process to establishing new habits, maintaining current habits OR breaking old habits, so even during the fluidity of the summer months, you know you’re creating the momentum you want. 

Identify Habit Excuses

Now as I mentioned, there is often some worry or uncertainty surrounding our habits whenever our usual routines change. I often hear from clients thoughts like “it’s really hard to stick with my habits whenever the school year ends.” Or “I can’t stick to my habits in the summer. It’s so unpredictable.” And – in fact – when the holiday season comes up, I hear something very similar.  “How can I possibly stick with my good habits when there are all these parties and work schedules have changed, etc.”

So our brains basically start getting really sneaky. And they offer all of these excuses and all of these worst-case scenarios, and we start questioning ourselves. We wonder if it’s even worth the energy to stick with it. We start thinking we should hit pause on our habits and our goals and not deal with them until we get back into our “regular routine.” 

So first of all, let’s just take a minute and recognize that this is totally normal when our brains do this. And it’s especially for those of you listening to this podcast, because I know you. I know that you have a high performer, go getter brain, many of you with a dash of perfectionism in the mix, and your brain doesn’t want to think about failing, right? And for my fellow ADHDers or those of us who might struggle with follow through, we already have so many stories and beliefs about ourselves that we don’t stick with anything and we never follow through. So we question why this time would be different. 

We Don’t Want To “Fail”

And because we all seem to be allergic to the idea of “failing,” our brain tries to convince us that it’s better to quit ahead of time. We don’t want to fail. We don’t want to drop the ball. And our brain says, why even bother trying this season. Let’s just wait. Let’s just wait until things return to normal so we don’t have to risk feeling embarrassed or disappointed if we do fail. So again, we want to throw in the towel. 

And during all of this time, our brain is just trying to keep us safe, right? If we fail ahead of time, we don’t have to feel that negative emotion later. So if you’re hearing your brain offer thoughts like, “well, what’s the point? summer is so unpredictable anyway?” Or “I’ve never been able to stick to anything in the past, so why is now different?” Or “the summer is so hard for staying consistent, why should I even try this time?” As I say, nearly every podcast, nothing has gone wrong.

Hearing these thoughts is not a sign that you should quit. These thoughts are not a sign that you should give up. My brain offers me these thoughts all of the time. The difference is that I just don’t believe them anymore. I say to my brain, “your opinion is noted.” “Thank you, but I’ve decided to stick with it anyway. Watch me.” 

Why Do I Want To Keep This Habit?

Now, after you’ve identified the common excuses that your brain wants to offer, it’s time to get clear on why you’ve decided to go all-in. It’s time to gain clairty on why you’re willing to stick with these habits that you’ve worked so hard to establish this year. Similarly, you want to get clear on why you want to adopt any new habits or routines for the summer months. And alternatively, you want to figure out why you’ve decided to pause or alter one of your current habits for the summer months ahead. 

And we want to do this because it allows us to pause and check in with ourselves. It allows us to ensure that we like our reasons for doing the thing. In other words, are we sticking to this habit or doing this new routine because we think we “have to” or we “need to” or we “should be” sticking with it?” 

I’m telling you, should energy is never good energy. Oh, that rhymes! Should energy is never good energy. So we want to check in and make sure that we like our reasons why we are either adding a new habit or maintaining a current habit or changing or stopping a habit. 

Questions For Clarity

So how do we do that? Well, I want to offer you a handful of questions to help you explore and get clarity on this for yourself. And I encourage you to start with the broad question of “why?” “Why do I want to adopt this new habit or maintain this current habit? Or stop doing this other habit?” Give yourself some space to explore here, and once you’ve uncovered your reasons, check in with yourself. Do you like them? Do you like your reasons?

So do I like my reasons for maintaining my habit of daily scheduling throughout the summer? Or do I like my reasons for continuing to get up early and exercise first thing in the morning? Do I like my reasons for keeping my focused work time from 2:00-4:00 every afternoon like I did in the winter? 

Now some of these you may find your answer is yes. And that’s great; then stick with it. But some of them you may find that your answer is no, I don’t like my reasons. And that is where you want to pause get curious. Maybe you don’t like your reasons for sticking to your focus time from 2:00-4:00. Perhaps your reason for choosing that time in the winter is that’s when your youngest naps and your older child was in afternoon kindergarten. But now that it’s the summer, and everyone’s scheduled have changed a bit, you may find that you don’t love those reasons anymore. 

This isn’t a problem; it’s just an indication that you might want to make a shift. Maybe you want to make an alteration and have your focused work time earlier in the morning, or maybe you break it up into smaller blocks of time with one in the morning and one after the kids go-to bed. Maybe you shorten the time altogether. All of these answers are good answers, as long as you like your reasons for them. 

Now the next question that I encourage you to explore as you consider whether you want to stick with a habit or adopt a new habit is this: “why do I value doing this thing over that thing?”

For example, “why do I value getting up and exercising first thing in the morning at 5:00 over  staying up late and watching Netflix or reading or scrolling social media?” In other words, “why do I value doing this habit over this alternative competing habit?” 

So if I stick with my getting up early and exercising habits, maybe I ask myself: Why do I value getting up at 5:00 to exercise instead of staying up late?” And when I answer that question, my answer is: Summer is really hot. When I exercise earlier, it’s much easier. Plus I like my quiet mornings, and I feel way more focused during that time. So for me, I would like those reasons. So for you, when you think about sticking with your habit, check-in and ask yourself: “Why do I value doing this habit over some of the other competing habits that might come up?” 

Now, I also encourage you to explore the question, “Why do I want to stick with this even when it seems hard and even when my toddler brain is throwing a tantrum?” Because I promise you, at some time during this summer, you will likely hit a spell where you just don’t want to. And there will be days that you miss or that you do imperfectly or that you give in to the toddler’s tantrumt. So what do you want to tell yourself when this starts happening multiple days in a row? What can you think to yourself to help you recall why you’re doing this habit in the first place?

Because remember, you’ve intentionally choose this habit. You went through your reasons, and you like your reasons. Your executive brain – your prefrontal cortext wants you to stick with it. So make these reasons really clear in your mind. In fact, I would write them down and have them ready to go. That way, when it gets hard, you can pull up that list and remind yourself why you’re willing to stick with it no matter what. 

And then the final question that I recommend you explore is “how does this tie in with my theme for the summer? So in last week’s episode, we talked about the idea of choosing a theme for your summer. So whether it’s a word, or a phrase, or a quote, or song, having this theme is a great way to check-in with ourselves and ensure that we are using our time in a way that aligns with our bigger picture goals. It helps us do a gut check to ensure we’re making the most of our summer months in a way that we want to. 

So as you think about these habits that you either want to keep or that you want to introduce or that you want to alter or pause, you can assess how it fits with your summer theme. For example, as I mentioned last week, my theme was inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “it’s a happy talent to know how to play.” And I’m using that theme of play as a lens to help me make decisions about the next few months ahead. 

In my situation, I might ask myself, “how do my current habits or the new habits that I want to introduce support my theme of carefree play?” And one of the habits that I want to introduce is eating lunch out on my deck every day. That way I can get some fresh air and play around with Bruno for a little bit. It’s a nice recharge halfway through the day. So for me, I see that as complementing my theme of play. 

So what about you? When you think about the habits you want to establish or the habits that you want to maintain, how are they in alignment with your theme for the summer? And again, if you haven’t listened to Episode 97, make sure you go back and check that out so you know what your theme is as well. 

Black And White Thinking

Once you have clarity on you summer habits, then it’s time to think ahead. We want to anticipate potential obstacles that might get in the way of following through on these habits . Once we identify those obstacles, then we can create strategies that we have ready to go ahead of time. Now, one overarching obstacle that I think everyone would benefit from having on their radar is all or nothing thinking.

As I mentioned, as go-getters and ADHDers, it’s really easy for us to slip into all or nothing thinking. In other words: I have to be perfect, or I’m not going to do it at all. I have to do it 100%, or I don’t do it. it’s an A+ or it’s an F. There is no in between. This is black and white all or nothing, perfectionist thinking. And this thinking can really hold us back in a lot of areas, but especially within the area of habits.

In fact, I sat for a while trying to think of any situation where it’s better to not do a habit at all than it is to do it sometimes, and I literally couldn’t think of anything. I mean, if you want to walk early every morning before it gets too hot, and you do it two days instead of your planned five each morning before work, it’s still two more days of walking the no days. For me, I call that a win. 

If you want to journal out on your deck every morning with your iced coffee, and you do it once a week instead of seven times, you still did it once. And the last time I checked, one time is still more than no times. Again, I call it a win; it’s still better than nothing. Plus habits don’t have to be daily. I think we sometimes think that our habits have to be similarly all or nothing every single day or not at all. Maybe you want to do something once per week. If that’s true, amazing. Schedule it in your calendar so you know when you’re going to do it. This will help ensure that it happens. 

So be careful; if you notice your brain saying it has to be done perfectly or not at all. Or if you’re thinking it’s all or nothing, all days or zero days, check in with yourself. Because chances are, it’s nothing more than a thought error. It’s just your brain playing a trick on you. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, it can be absolutely somewhere in between. In fact, that’s how we grow. 

Identify Your Obstacles

In addition to this general obstacle of all or nothing thinking, you can also lookout for specific obstacles. What might get in the way of your particular habits. In fact, I encourage you to think about this throughout the week ahead. Think about the habits that you want to maintain. When do you anticipate it being a challenge to stick with them? When do you anticipate your routine getting interrupted? Are you traveling at particular times that might throw off your routine? Do you have kids who will be out of camp or out of activities? Will the weather come into play? Do you have company coming to visit? Think about all of the different times when obstacles might pop up. 

Also, if you used the strategies from last week’s episode and planned out your summer, take a look at those upcoming activities and plans that you have in store. What might your brain identify as an obstacle in the coming months? List everything out. And then once you have that list of all the potential obstacles, then it’s time to create a plan for each. 

This is where we get to return to this concept of if-then planning. As a reminder, we’re basically creating contingency plans: If this happens, then I do this.

If I want to maintain my vegan diet, then I will bring a dish to parties that I know I can eat. Or if I want to practice breathwork five days a week and I have a house full of guests. Then I will carve out some quiet time outside of the house or early morning for 30 minutes. This helps ensure that I create that space for myself.

So spend a bit of time identifying those potential obstacles as you think about your habits this summer. Once you have them clear in your mind, create if-then plans to set yourself up for success and keep moving forward. 

Recap

Alright, so here are your marching orders for part one of our summer habit series: 

  1. Get clear on the habits you want to maintain, adopt, or alter, for the summer months ahead. Additionally, make sure you like your reasons for them.
  2. Dig into the questions we explored today. Remember why you’re willing to stick with these habits no matter what. When we can get clear on our Why, it helps us calm our toddler brain. It allows us to stick with our habits even when things get hard.
  3. Identify the potential obstacles that might get in the way of maintaining your habits. Whether it’s the general all-or-nothing thinking or more specific scenarios for your particular habits. Take some time to identify the obstacles and then create some strategies ahead of time with if-then planning to keep you moving forward. 

And then make sure you check back next week. If you’re new around here, hit the little subscribe button on your app! We’re diving into the specific with part two. We’re talking about the step-by-step process to establish your new habits. You’ll learn how to maintain your current habits OR break old habits. That way, even during the fluidity of these summer months, you know you’re creating the momentum you want.

 

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