It is that time of year when we are flirting with the end of school and the start of summer. Some of us are dreading school being out. Some of us are looking forward to a more relaxed schedule and less traffic. Some of us feel both, equally.

A few years ago in June, I was taking a class from master coach who asked a series of questions that changed the course of my summer:

  • How many years are your children still going to be in the home?
  • How do you want to spend time with them during the summer months?
  • What do you want to be true at the end of the summer? How will you KNOW you achieved that truth?
  • How are you going to move your business forward during this time?

And so on…

Before considering these questions, I had been so focused on DOING — building my business and juggling family life — that I wasn’t really enjoying my kids or my life. (There, I said it.) And I was working really hard, but if I wasn’t happy, why was I working so damn hard?

Through the process of answering her questions, I realized that I wanted to be happy. And, because I always seem to stretch myself beyond what is comfortable, for the first time in my life, I used the word “joyful” to describe what I wanted for myself. Really. I said, “I want the summer of 2014 to be the most joyful summer ever.”

And do you know what? It was.

We still had the usual ups and downs of family life, but with the intention for joy, we found joy everywhere we looked. Everyday moments, like reading books with the kids, or sitting on the porch writing, or going to the pool, had meaning because I gave it meaning: joy. I even created a “joyful journal” to prove it to myself. (You know me, I like evidence.)

I get that not everyone is seeking joy, in particular. But everyone wants more of something. Go ahead, ask yourself two questions and see where you land:

What do you want to be true at the end of the summer? How will you KNOW you achieved that truth?

One thing that can make all the difference, no matter your intention, is to focus on your self-care. Whenever you set goals for yourself, your business and your family, spend some time thinking about how you can care for YOU. You set the tone. You can model how you want to be treated and how others should take care of themselves, too. Speaking from experience here — starting with self-care makes everything easier, and more joyful.

(If you’d like a little self-care kickstart, check out the Events section below to learn more about something I’m super excited about sharing.)

What about you? I’d love to hear from you about your intentions for this summer filled with possibility.

“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
Parker Palmer