2 Steps To Summer Happiness

Last Updated May 30, 2011 3:58 PM EDT

Along with many BNET readers who volunteered for time makeovers (as a result of this post), I spent last week logging my time. As I looked at my non-work hours, I started to see a potential problem. You can have grand ideas for things you'd like to try, but how can you make sure you'll go from intention to reality?

Keeping a public time log is one approach. My kids and I might not have wound up at the pool one night if I didn't know I'd have to account for that time.

But if you're not planning on sharing the minutes of your life with total strangers, here are two other steps for squeezing happiness out of the more leisurely hours many of us have during summer:

1. Plan it in. Putting fun activities on your calendar -- just as you'd schedule your work meetings -- vastly increases the chances that they will happen. You may know you'd like to go strawberry picking with your kids, but if that's only an idea, July will be here soon enough, and all the strawberries will be picked or withered. If you schedule strawberry picking in, however, you'll check the hours on local pick-your-own farms, build strawberries into your mental model of, say, Saturday June 4th, and look forward to that experience every time you see the entry reminding you of your intention. However, the most important step for going from intention to reality is to...

2. Do it anyway. Make these three words your mantra. Because even if "strawberry picking” is on your calendar, when you wake up on Saturday morning, you may not be bouncing with energy. The kids may want to watch a movie, and there are always more emails you could be sending, not to mention a yard that needs mowing and a garage that really needs to be cleaned out. The temptation will be to stay put.

But here's the thing. You'll always be tired. Movies will always be there, and the garage will be messy until the apocalypse comes. But summer days and strawberries are more fleeting. You will draw energy from fun experiences. So act the way you want to feel, and you will feel that way soon enough.

How are you building more happiness into your summer?

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Photo courtesy flickr user, Manchester-Monkey