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planning an intentional summerThink back to the end of the school year when you were a kid and had the entire summer ahead of you! For many of us it was an exciting time to dream of all the fun things we would do and adventures we would have during our break. As we get older, responsibilities tend to crowd out the childlike wonder that comes with summer, but what if we could reclaim just a bit of it?

What if we let our imaginations take flight and listened to what our hearts really want for this summer? We may not be able to do all the things on our summer bucket list (a trip to Hawaii, or vacation at an all inclusive resort), but we may be able to clarify what is important and lean into those things in little ways.

Clarify Your Values

Think about your priorities! If you don’t clarify your values it is easy to allow other people’s values to direct your days. Here are some exercises that can help you think through your values and decide what is really important to you.

  • Take some time to think through what activities you would enjoy this summer, things that bring you life.  Do you notice a theme? What can you discover about your values from the activities that you are drawn to?
  • Use this 10 minute - Live Your Core Values exercise to clarify what is important to you.
  • If you want to explore this issue on a deeper level, check out this Values Test.

Make a Plan

I’ve heard it said that saying ‘yes’ to something, is saying ‘no’ to something else. This is so true in the fast paced society we live in! If we want to live according to our values, not only do we need to know when to say ‘yes,’ but we need to know when to say ‘no’!

  • Choose experiences that align with your values. Start by brainstorming a list of values activities. Then prioritize the list of things you really want to do. (Try to be realistic. Doing too many valued activities can actually create stress and take the joy right out of them!)
  • Figure out what you need to let go of in order to focus on other priorities. You simply can not do it all. Are there things in your life that don’t bring you joy or align with your values? Work on saying ‘no’ to these things. (This can be a hard thing for may people. If you struggle with saying ‘no,’ check out this article.)
  • Once you are able to say ‘no’ to the things you don’t want to do, it is important to take this a step further. Even good things can be a distraction from the best things. We need to think through what we want most in life. Then we can consider saying ‘no’ to some of the things we would like to do, in order to say ‘yes’ to the things we want the most!

Put Everything On Your Calendar.

  • Unless you put it on your calendar, it can easily be forgotten. Days get busy and things slip through the cracks. Before you know it you could be half way through summer without investing in the thing you value.
  • If you want a relaxed summer, put a day at home or a day at the pool on your calendar. When other opportunities come up, don’t be afraid to say that you already have plans for that day!

Ideas in Planning a Meaningful Summer

I hope you have an amazing summer, investing in the things you value most!

Dr. Jamie