It’s summer at last! Let’s take advantage of all that summer has to offer by being more purposeful and deliberate about how we chose to use our time and energy. Here are five steps to help you have a summer of intention and make great memories too.
- First, figure out what is important to you and your family. What interests, experiences or goals would you like to have or do this summer? Brainstorm without censoring so you can pick the most important ones.
- Set goals that are measurable, so you will actually know if you achieve them. Whether you want to learn a new skill, work on a hobby or go on vacation somewhere, decide what is the endgame?
- Since “a goal without a plan is just a wish” as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said in his book, The Little Prince, you’ll need to create a plan for reaching those goals. Start by breaking down each goal into manageable steps then either create a routine or some structure in your day for working on the steps.
A summer plan is designed to change up the hectic routine and add some open time to enjoy the things that are meaningful to you and also make time to be spontaneous. Explore, try new activities, and take time to do nothing, whatever helps you to recharge.
- Next, look at your schedule to see where you can squeeze in summer. Is your vacation already planned? If not, that should be your first priority. We all have the same 168 hours per week, how are you using yours?
Are there any weekly or monthly activities that you can cut down on or bow out of for the summer? Do you have projects you can put on hold? Can you cut down or reduce the stress of those projects by letting go, delaying, picking one day a week or month to work on it or chipping away 20-30 minutes a day at it? Do whatever works for you.
Could you get up an hour earlier? Ease up on the hectic pace and change the routine to see if you can’t gain an hour or two a day for yourself. Block out some time in your planner then if something comes up it will be easier for you to say “No, I am sorry I already have a commitment on that day.” Don’t have a big block of time?
Add some spontaneous, (intentional summer) fun during the week such as:
- breakfast on the deck
- lunch at the park
- a picnic dinner at the beach
- read for 30 minutes in the hammock
- camp out in your own backyard
- walking the beach at night
- riding your bike around the neighborhood
You get the idea. These are the spontaneous activities that only take a few extra minutes to do. Sometimes when we try to think of what to do in the moment, we struggle to think of ideas that aren’t really obvious. Here’s where having a list of activities and ideas that you have thought of before can make deciding so much easier. (It’s helpful for kids to come up with their own lists for when you hear the inevitable, “I’m bored!”) CHADD has an article with tips on helping your kids transition from school to summer. Read it here.
- Practice self-care. The summer is a great time to think about your health. Physical health; do you want to be more active, need to add more fresh, nutritious foods into your diet and/or do you need to get more sleep? Don’t forget your mental health too. What helps you recharge and/or reduce your stress? Want to start meditating, journaling or start a new hobby? Whatever it is, the summer is a great time to begin.
A summer with intention is about finding the balance between setting and working towards goals and being spontaneous. Allow yourself to embrace spontaneity and enjoy the summer season, while still staying true to your intentions. Wishing you an intentional, fun and spontaneous summer!