The Ultimate Guide to a Summer Bucket List

Monday, June 20, 2016

It is important to set goals for yourself in every season of life, not just on New Years Day. Therefore, for the third year in a row, I have created a summer bucket list. This season, with its lack of a consistent schedule and need for spontaneity, can be hard for someone like me who relies on a todo list and planner at all times. Though the warm weather definitely calls for a little R&R, we need to not fall into the tempting trap of laziness and sleeping until noon each day. While many of us have the privilege of daily relaxation, others are up and out the door by 8 am or earlier each day. Yet, that too, should not keep us from having a summer of adventures. Remember that these "adventures" are not confined to foreign places and Instagramable destinations, but can be found wherever you are and and in your current situation.

The 12 things on my 2016 summer bucket list are as follows:

01 | Read 10 books (almost 3 complete, 7 more to go)
02 | Revamp blog website (check!)
03 | Exercise 3+ times/week
04 | Roadtrip 
05 | Weekly Meal Prep
06 | More Picnics
07 | Movies in the Park
08 | Go on a Rooftop
09 | "The Gr8 Big (Scary) Room Clean-out"
10 | Print Photos Weekly
11 | Berry Picking (check!)
12 | Document Hillcrest (my neighborhood) 

Now, my personal tricks to the trade when creating a summer bucket list:

01 | Be specific. As with any goal, the more specific, the more likely we are to complete the task. Instead of simply stating "Print photos more often", I chose the wording of "weekly". This way, I know that by the Sunday of each week, I should have logged onto the Walgreens App on my phone and chosen 10 of my favorite photos from the week. Another tip- include numbers. Not just "a lot" of books, but 10. Not just "exercise", but exercise 3x/week. Whether is it written or just mentally accounted for, being specific really just means simplifying. And simple is always better. 

02 | Be intentional. For me, there is nothing worse that having an incomplete todo list. When creating your own list, think of people who you will complete the goal with or if it is something you want to do by yourself. For example, when I wrote "Roadtrip", I knew I wanted to do this with my friend, Abigail. So the very next week we starting planning the where & when of this trip. Now, this Friday (!!!), we are heading to Nashville for four days! Then, when I wrote "document Hillcrest", I knew this was something I wanted to complete on my own since photography is truly a single-person sport. Therefore, on days I work until 5 pm, I take my camera and by the time I get to my neighborhood at 5:30 pm, the lighting is perfect and I can snap a few shots. Whatever your task is, ask yourself, who will I do this with?where and how can I complete this goal? and what materials do I need to make it happen?.

03 | Make the list creative & display it. I chose to watercolor some typography in my current favorite colors, and wrote each goal in a fun font. Even the process of creating the list was enjoyable since I love practicing hand-written fonts and various typography. Yet, if you do not get as excited as me about fonts (and thank God-- because, I'm obsessed), then opt for creating your list on the computer. has a variety of fonts to choose from that you can download for free. Add color, add personality-- make it yours. After your creation is complete, display it a place where you can continually be inspired by it. I chose my wall beside my desk since that is where I do the majority of my work and plan the day. For you it may be on your door as you walk out of the house, in your car (idea: how cute would a mini-poster be?!), or on your bedside table. Wherever it is, allow it to have a space of its own.

04 Make "have-to" tasks more enjoyable. Here's the thing: there is always a creative hack around mundane tasks. Even in the summer, we still have boring todo's. These tasks are normally only accompanied by sighs and grumbling. For me, this meant what I am calling "The Gr8 Big (Scary) Room Clean-out" since I head off to college in August. Yet, I am already planning on spending one day (yes, one) with my mom, a very large diet coke, and a killer playlist while going through the contents of my room. Other "have-to" tasks for me include revamping my blog website (which is now complete, but took a lot of time & googling "how to ___"), exercising 3x/week, weekly meal prep, and reading 10 books. Though each of these tasks are definitely considered "first world problems", it is still difficult to sit down and perform them. Therefore, be creative. Think of simple ways to make the ordinary fun-- whether that be a reward once completed or a friend to check it off with. 

05 | Give yourself a break! If you are simply skimming this post, I urge you to read this point because it is SO important. I recently listened to The Lively Show's podcast episode with Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love and many others). Then listened to it again. And again. The message was so beautifully worded, and there was much to learn from her wisdom. A piece that really struct me the second time around was her urging us to be kinder to ourselves. This demand is not something that is taught to us regularly, but is so significant to a joy-filled life. She makes the point of this (paraphrased, a lot): So what if you haven't been to the gym in a week? Be kind to yourself. Tell yourself you are only human. And that you will try better next time. But that for now, there is no use in beating yourself up on a small imperfection. And guess what-- we are given the gift of Today over and over again. Let us use it to the best of our ability. Reach out to a friend, eat an apple over a bag of chips, hug your mom. Be kind to yourself. 

I know what you are thinking: CRAP- it is already the end of June. It is too late to have time to complain about this or start every sentence with "I wish...", but it is not too late to take a few moments brain-storming and writing down some summer goals. Maybe it is just three tasks, or maybe it is 50. Either way, this is a way we can be intentional in our life during a season often characterized by the word "break". Guess what? We are not about that life. We are about a life to the fullest-- one with adventure, experience, and grace.

What is on your Summer Bucket List? Let me know in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. I adore your list! Your goals are fabulous and I'm honestly obsessed with how you lettered it! Am I correct in guessing that you used a watercolor pen? I really want to pick one of those up!
    Being specific in goals helps SO MUCH. Oh my word. When my goals are too vague, I get absolutely nothing done. Still working on number 5- I'm a total perfectionist, but I'm trying to be a bit kinder with myself. ; )
    Lovely post, Cate!


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