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Soucheray: End of summer goals

I hear so many people comment that the summer went so fast this year. They comment that it wasn't as warm as they like it. Or that they did not complete all of the tasks and goals they had hoped to accomplish in these months.

For Minnesotans, summer is that glorious three-month respite in our very busy lives. It provides the breathing space from the hectic, sometimes chaotic, schedules we arrange for ourselves during the school year.

In these final two weeks before the school year starts, take a step back. Amidst the preparations for yet another busy year, whether we have children in school or not, make it a point in these remaining wonderful days to relax a bit.

It is so easy to feel like we are on a wheel. As long as we keep running, we won't fall off. The problem with this is that we may be running in the wrong direction.

I return to that sentence from author Stephen Covey that I like so much. He wrote, "Don't ask if you are doing this right. Ask if you are doing the right things." In these last few weeks of summer, take time to ask these questions and answer them as honestly as possible.

Doing the right things is very different from doing things right. If we have not paused and seriously thought out what we truly want to be doing with our lives, we may be running in the wrong direction completely. When we allow our greatest gifts to lead us and to direct our paths, we not only find that we have more energy, but we also feel better about our lives and our relationships.

Doing the right things comes from our hearts, not necessarily our heads. Our heads can fool us and convince us of something other than what our heart is trying to tell us. Our heads can persuade us to do something so that we will fit in and others will like us.

When our heads lead us, we can talk ourselves into almost anything. We can rationalize a decision and make ourselves see the advantage of something unwise. This unwise decision could lead us even further from our dreams.

In the remaining days of this season we have the opportunity to reexamine our deepest desires. And we have the time to do something toward making these desires a reality. However, we have to know what these deepest yearnings and aspirations are before we can make any strides toward bringing them to fruition.

Take some time and think of your deepest desire, even if it seems impossible. If it is on your heart, it is not impossible. You have heard the adage, "Where there is a will, there is a way." Apply that to your dream and think of what actions you can take today to bring that dream to life.

You will probably still be on the wheel. In fact, you may be on the wheel for a longer period of time that you had anticipated. However, if you are moving toward your dream, however slowly, this new focus and determination will give you energy. You will find that with your commitment to your dream, through the actions you are taking each day, you will also take on a more positive attitude.

What's more, through this positive attitude, you will find that you gain a greater perspective and commitment to bringing your dream to reality. This, in turn, will also generate more energy, and the cycle will become positive and life-giving.

It is through a process such as this that we form habits. Habits are simply actions that have been repeated and begin to take on a nature of their own. I once read that we get successes through processes. It is through the identified and altered actions that a new process begins to form and bring us to a new place in our lives.

As you can probably see, this change process will require that we take a bit of time to assess where we are and where we want to be. We must figure out the actions we will need to take in order to move toward that goal. And finally, we must be patient with ourselves and the process as it brings us ever-closer to the fulfillment of our dreams.