12 Action Steps for a Renewed Perspective

Hard to believe, but the summer months are fast approaching. Whether you’re a recent graduate, maybe taking summer school classes, looking for a summer job, or perhaps anticipating having some vacation time, your thoughts are likely turning to questions about how you might spend the long twelve weeks of summer. Maybe you’ll be in town, or maybe you’ll be taking a real break and having a complete change of scenery.

No matter what lies ahead for you in the coming months, you may quite possibly be out of your normal routine for a while. Whether you’ve had a daily or weekly practice of some sort during the rest of the year — exercising, reading a good book, writing spiritual affirmations, creating a night out with old friends or even volunteering with an organization so you can make new friends — continuing a daily practice during this often less structured time of year will keep you focused, centered and feeling curious and refreshed as you tackle your summer activities.

Take Charge Today

In honor of the 12 weeks of summer, here are 12 Zen-like “action steps” you can attempt as an alternative to your own weekly practice in place the rest of the year. Hopefully, they will help you clarify what you value in your life, and maybe see things with some new perspectives. Although written quite simply, they are certainly thought-provoking. According to the urban dictionary’s definition:

One way to think of Zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates total togetherness of body and mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.

Here’s your summer schedule:

  • Week 1: Do one thing at a time
  • Week 2: Do it slowly and deliberately
  • Week 3: Do it completely
  • Week 4: Do less
  • Week 5: Put space between things
  • Week 6: Develop rituals
  • Week 7: Designate time for certain things
  • Week 8: Devote time to sitting
  • Week 9: Smile and serve others
  • Week 10: Make cleaning and cooking become meditation
  • Week 11: Think about what is necessary
  • Week 12: Live simply

Create a journal of your thoughts and feelings as you purposefully focus on each practice each week. Make note of what themes may be emerging for you. Do the weekly practices come easily to you, or do they feel like chores you dread? Jot down what you think your reactions may mean for you and how you’re living your life. What are you learning during this summer practice? How does it differ from what you’re learning from your daily or weekly practice the rest of the year? Or are there no differences at all?

This exercise is meant to get you thinking, and hopefully feeling relaxed and refreshed in both body and mind. I’d love to learn what insights you’ve gained at the end of these 12 weeks of summer.

Please feel free to email your comments to Barbara@thriveworks.com, or simply post them below.

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