Wait, What? Goal Setting on Summer Vacation?

My Summer Office/Oasis
My Summer Office/Oasis

When the mornings of making school lunches and playing bus stop roulette have ceased. Which stop will we make today before the school bus has left the neighborhood? When the backpacks have been unloaded and put away, I start counting down the days until we head to the Oregon Coast where I can do some goal setting.

“Wait, what? Why in the Sam Hill is Carrie talking about goal setting and summer vacation in the same sentence? I plan to zone out on my summer vacation.”

Why yes, that’s it. I believe “zoning out” is the best way to goal set. To let the chatter of our everyday lives die down. To let our minds wander and land on ideas and thoughts about our life’s desires that had been drowned out and forgotten.

My Co-Worker
My Co-Worker

On a dream day of goal setting at the Oregon Coast, I rise before anyone else (except my canine companion who, even though he was supposed to be for the kids, has imprinted on me as his one true master,) and saunter up to my favorite coffee shop. I could make my own coffee but something about going to a regular spot where other people are drinking their coffee and staring out at the ocean perks up my deep thoughts. With coffee in a mittened hand and down parka zipped up, I stroll along the beach. The pounding of the waves presses down the chitty chat and allows the bigger thoughts to rise to the surface.

Once I circle back to the house, the reverie is over. It’s on to a day of surfside festivities, but there is an hour or so before the dinnertime ritual begins when I can sneak away again. I haul a chair onto the back deck and turn it toward the sun. With a book in hand, I lean back and close my eyes. In the distance, I can hear the surf and the seagulls. Occasionally, the clicking of a bike chain passes by. I doze and let thoughts percolate. Usually, I land on one that makes me sit up and say, “Yes, now I remember. That’s what I want to accomplish during this fleeting life of mine.”

Pensive“This goal setting is serious stuff.”

I won’t see much of the Oregon Coast this summer. I’m not going much farther than the end of my driveway between now and when the school bell rings again. I am going to be head down working hard to accomplish the goals that percolated up during past summers. I’m sending the kids off for a week or two, but I will be in my office every morning. And I’m good with that. I want that. I’m ready to bring to life and share with you the projects I’m working hard to create.

And I want that for you too. For all of us.

In each of my weekly posts in July, I will share my goals with you and how I arrived at them. Many of you have kindly told me that you feel inspired by posts such as these. That hearing how I’m moving toward goals in my life encourages you to move toward your goals in your life. And I hope that if you’re not sure of your goals that my stories will help bring your own life’s desires up to the surface while you’re lying on a beach or by a river somewhere.

If you’re like me and will be spending most of your summer in town, I hope you can create a little oasis in your backyard or on your back deck where you can find a bit of solace in the long evenings.

On Duty
Protecting my master round-the-clock.

As I said in last week’s post, I believe that all of us can make a difference in the world by doing things that make us feel alive. For some that may be scaling a mountain or changing careers, for others, it may be training to run a 5K race in support of a favorite cause or canning string beans. Whatever it is that makes you excited to hop out of bed early in the morning and work hard even in the depths of summer when it feels like everyone else is on an exotic vacation…that’s what you need to do.

With love,


  1. Melinda says:

    Loved every word! How do your posts always choke me up? Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Both of your summer vacation options sound ideal. Sometimes you do have to work through summer though and it’s an indulgence of its own when you are working on something you love and really want to accomplish.
    We are into winter here, and having a goal for myself is helping me to avoid the temptation of going straight home to bed after my post work run. I am pushing myself to work despite the dark and the cold and I feel better for it.
    Good luck with your summer goals Carrie and I can’t wait to follow along.

    • As I was writing this, Amy, I was thinking of you and others on the flip side of the earth, in the midst of winter right now instead of summer. Thank you so much for sharing how you are pushing through to accomplish your goals despite the short, dark days. And I love how you wrote that sometimes working on something you love is an indulgence of its own.

  3. Dear Carrie:
    I look forward to all your emails…you inspire me. I will be counting the days to read anirher post of yours.
    Thank you. May the waves and winds be goid to your heart so you accomplish your goals.

  4. You are inspiring, dear friend. I cannot wait to see what is ahead for you … and read all about it.

    I will miss the Oregon coast this summer! 🙂

  5. Very inspiring read. So true what gets up rise up in the morning is usually where our true passion lies.

  6. The first step in the right direction is to take time out, find a peaceful place and set goals. I also agree a backyard oasis can be an excellent way to get away from it all and refocus on your goals.

    • With all of the distractions in our busy world, I think you’re right when you say “refocus” on your goals. Usually, deep down, we know what we want, it’s just challenging to find the space to articulate them. Thank you for leaving your thoughts, Jill.