Why it’s important to make summer plans for yourself and how to do it

Have you made summer plans for yourself? If you’re like most smart and caring women, you probably made plans for loved ones but haven’t given much thought to what you might want to do for YOU.

summer plans for yourself

Photo by Erik Dungan

Whether it’s a vacation to spend time with your parents, or summer camps for your children, I have a hunch those types of plans are set.

But, have you considered what you might like to do this summer?

Rather than squeezing some “me” time here and there. Let’s take a moment to consider what might be right for you this coming season.

Why make summer plans for yourself

I don’t believe in long-term planning. I find it helpful to sketch out the kind of person you want to be and envision how you might want to brighten your corner of the world, and then make yearly or quarterly plans. But, it’s hard to make plans beyond that because things happen.

Making plans for the summer, in particular, is helpful because, for most of us who live in the US, there is a disruption in our schedule. Kids are out of school; employers offer shortened weekly schedules; and warmer weather activities commence.

Most importantly, if we are not intentional about carving out some plans for ourselves, someone else is likely to snatch our time away from us.

How to Make Summer Plans for Yourself

Let’s break this down into two broad steps.

Step 1: Assess where you are right now.

Set a timer for 2-5 minutes. Then, ask yourself: “How am I feeling?”

Then listen to your mind, heart, and body.

Step 2: Depending on your answer…

If you are feeling depleted or burnt out, focus on recharging your own batteries.

To do this, please check out:

Once you feel a bit rested then come back to this article.

If you have some energy, focus on what you want.

Again, this might feel indulgent but it is not. This is the proper way to do “self-care.” Don’t let the ads and general media fool you. Self-care is not heading out for an occasional spa day (although that can be nice!). Self-care is making the choice to value your well-being or the day-to-day actions you take to nurture yourself.

I also believe deep down you know what you want (and need). But, often we don’t take the time to listen to that voice within us.

Therefore this summer, let’s focus on just one small achievable project that would feed you. We’re only focusing on one small project at a time so for two important reasons:

  1. By focusing on one project you say “yes” to, you can more easily say “no” to everything else. (Check out “Ten tips for Saying No” you have a very hard time doing so.)
  2. By focusing on a small project, you’re more likely to get a small win that can lift your mood to motivate you to do more.

While a small project that feeds your soul can widely vary, it usually centers around one or more of the following themes.

  • Mastery: building up a skill
  • Connection: nurturing relationships that matter
  • Creativity: expressing oneself more freely

(Note: These are categories are similar to the ones Cal Newport has shared on his blog and on his podcast. I’ve adapted them a bit to better suit women and what I have learned from my clients.)

To give you some ideas on summer plans for yourself, here are some examples for a small projects based on loosely on conversations I had recently with some smart and caring women:

  • A young artist said she feels she should read more but couldn’t get herself to do so. It turned out that she thought she should be reading certain types of books she had no interest in. Once she gave herself permission, she found she loved reading graphic novels and began delving deeper into that art and story-telling form.
  • A busy mom said she has so many ideas she can’t settle on one project. Should she say “yes” to a volunteer opportunity, should she look for a part-time job, should she work on remodeling a section of her home, the list was was very long. Rather than try to consider all of the options, we decided she should choose the most immediate one and work on it for just the next few days. Since she had to give an answer to the non-profit, she focused on whether or not she should say yes. She scheduled a conversation with some contacts she knew in the field and read some recommended resources. She ultimately decided not to do it. We celebrated her decision. From there, she more easily moved on to another small project.
  • A professional with a full-time job came up with an exciting idea for a side hustle. It very quickly attracted customers and she could see that there were several different ways she could move forward. For her, we decided that her project would be to make a choice of which direction to take. We set up a deadline and she identified what she needed to learn in order to make that decision.

Your turn

How will you make summer plans for yourself? What are your body and soul telling you? How will you nurture yourself this summer? How will you rest and recharge? What small project might you tackle?

If you want more suggestions or need more guidance, please consider taking this class:

When you’re busy or taking care of everyone else’s needs, it’s hard to focus on your own priorities. Whether you long to change careers or start painting again, whether you want more time for important relationships or launch a new business, it isn’t easy.

Designed for smart and caring people short on time, this self-study course shows you why conventional advice hasn’t been helping you and what to do instead.

With short video lessons and easy worksheets, you’ll master The Lighthouse Method®. By spending just 1 hour per week for 4 weeks, you’ll learn to reclaim time, remove self-doubt, and rediscover what brings you joy.

Learn more

This is an updated version of an article published in June 2021.