Have you ever felt, toward the end of a summer, that you wished you’d done more with the season? Designing your summer is about taking advantage of the season and making it distinctive. Life feels richer and more memorable when each season of the year feels special in some way.
This idea comes from a quote by the writer Robertson Davies, who says:
“Every man makes his own summer. The season has no character of its own, unless one is a farmer with a professional concern for the weather. Circumstances have not allowed me to make a good summer for myself this year…My summer has been overcast by my own heaviness of spirit. I have not had any adventures, and adventures are what make a summer.”
For many of us, summer means good weather and more hours of sunlight, less structured schedules, time off from school or work. These weeks and months present an opportunity to break out of our normal routines and have adventures (whatever that means for us).
Planning ways to make your summer stand out doesn’t require taking a vacation or scheduling something exotic. You might make a list of places to visit, choose a theme for the season, make a summer reading list, or aim to spend more time outside.
One useful way to think about this is to ask yourself: What do I want to do more of this summer? What do I want to do less of?
However you choose to design your summer, the Happier™ app offers tools that can help.
- Use the Don’t Break the Chain tool to check off every day you take a walk
- Use the Numbers Tracker tool to track how many hours you spend outside
- Use the Photo Log tool to document your adventures
- Record a highlight of each day with the One-Sentence Journal tool
- Check in every day you read with the Accountability Partners tool
Your aims might be:
- Visit a certain number of parks
- Spend a certain number of hours outside
- Check off a summer reading list
- Enjoy local summer produce
- Block out time for a creative project or hobby
- Ask your kids for a highlight of the day each evening
- Make progress on tasks around your home
- Train for a race
- Plan and save for a trip or vacation
Summer can also present potential pitfalls and loopholes for maintaining good habits. Our schedules might change, we might go on vacation, our priorities for how we spend our time might change, we may be faced with temptation. The trick to staying on track? Decide ahead of time which habits you’d like to maintain, which you want to modify, and which you can take a break from (and give yourself a return date). You can also make planned exceptions—exceptions to a habit that you decide on ahead of time with specific limitations—to avoid feelings of deprivation or rigidity.
The Happier app will feature tips, prompts, and ideas for designing your summer all season long. If you don’t already have the app, you can try it for free by tracking a single aim, or subscribe to track multiple aims.