College Graduates: Follow These 7 Habits and You'll Have Your Most Productive Summer Yet
No, not for graduating. That's meh. That's expected.
Congratulations for exiting the Training Area of life and entering the real world. Now, the game begins for real.
Habit 1: Wake Yourself Up (Keep Your Alarm)
Now that the world is your oyster, it's time for you to make something of yourself. And let me tell you, most college graduates get started on the wrong foot because they think of that first summer as "chill time." They think they deserve a break.
Well, while the rest of your peers are basking in their most recent achievement, it's time for you (ambitious person with a dream) to reinvent yourself.
You're out of school. You no longer have someone looking over your shoulder, telling you what's due and when. Your future is yours to create. So, how do you do that? Continue to embrace the day. Don't be one of those college grads that sleeps in until noon and stays out until four in the morning.
Set your alarm. Wake up early.
Habit 2: Start Eating Healthy (Consistently)
Chances are, you spent your college career fluctuating between cafeteria food, frozen dinners, Domino's pizza, and weird detox drinks with the hopes of recovering from the night before.
That sort of lifestyle is not sustainable.
Now that you're on your own, it's time to learn what an avocado is (and how you cut one open). It's time to start making your lunch at home and bringing it to work with you. It's time to consider using glasses instead of drinking directly from the carton. These things take time.
Part of long-term success, happiness, and just personal wellness is knowing what your body needs on a regular basis. So, instead of postponing this learning curve, start now.
Spoonfuls of peanut butter for breakfast are no longer acceptable.
Habit 3: Pick Up A Book (Never Stop Reading)
Alright, if you think that just because you're out of school your reading days are over, think again. You should be reading for the rest of your life.
Oh, I don't know. Maybe because books are the single most valuable knowledge source on our planet dating back centuries? Maybe because your brain doesn't get the same exercise from your Instagram feed as it does a well-written page? Maybe because you are your greatest asset, and if you stop feeding your brain it will wither away?
So many people stop reading after they get out of school.
Don't be one of those people.
Read. For your own sake. 10 pages a day, minimum.
Habit 4: Exercise (Don't Be A Couch Potato)
So many people spend their summers on the couch, watching TV.
What a waste.
You are young. You are full of potential. Exercise is another one of those long-term habits you're going to have to form at some point, and trust me when I say it's far better to be preventative about your health than reactionary.
Start with 20 push-ups a day. Then 30. Maybe get a gym membership. Get back into running. Join a recreational soccer team. Do something to get yourself moving, interacting with positive people, and getting in the habit of staying active.
You'd be amazed how many people settle into their first cubicle job, and then wake up with back pain thirty years later.
Habit 5: Only Spend Time With People Who Deserve It
In college, friendships tend to be based on proximity.
You have more freedom now. Audit the people in your life and decide who is worth keeping around, and who you need to leave behind. This is so, so important, because the people you spend the most time with end up affecting you and your habits the most.
If you hang out with lazy people, you too will be lazy. Conversely, if you hang around driven people, you too will be more driven.
Take a hard look and who you're currently giving your time to, and whether or not they play a vital role in helping you get to where it is you want to go.
If they don't, leave them.
You can find better friends, trust me.
Habit 6: Master Your Craft (Practice Every Day)
While everyone else is defining their summer schedule by what festivals they're attending, you should consider what craft it is you want to master.
Pick something. Maybe you already have an interest. Maybe you are curious and willing to try something new. Whatever it is, do it every day. Commit to a three-month-long exploration. Doesn't matter what it is, just promise yourself that for the entire summer, you will practice.
Why the entire summer?
Because 3 committed months will teach you more about yourself than anything else in the world.
If you can practice one thing every day for three months, you will learn the value of discipline. And once you learn the value of discipline, you can apply that to anything you want in life--and become successful at it.
If you can learn this your first summer out of college, you will be so much farther ahead.
Habit 7: Visualize Your Future (But Don't Sweat It Either)
Every twenty-something struggles with the same thing: impatience.
This summer, visualize where it is you want to go in life. See it clearly in your mind. Think about what it will take to get there. Consider what you could be doing now to make that path more feasible. Imagine it, believe in it, and make that vision part of your daily routine.
At the same time, don't sweat the process.
Don't fall into that trap of thinking, "I'm not there yet. I don't know if I'll ever get there. I probably won't. I'm hopeless."
It's a quick fall, and those negative thoughts lead nowhere.
Instead, visualize your own success, but be patient with yourself in the process. You don't have to have it all figured out. You just need to keep moving, learning, and adjusting.
You'll get there when the time is right.
So, work hard today. Do what you have to do.
But also, enjoy the journey.
The mission of Next Steps Navigation is helping college graduates navigate the ups and downs of finding their place in the world, by finding their right next step. Recognizing the huge gap between getting a college degree and the realities of entering the workforce, we developed our coaching program to help families navigate this critical transition. We’ll meet you where you are and get you pointed in the right direction to choose a job – and a life – that you love.