5 Secrets to Summer Satisfaction

By David A. Edwards

Church Magazines

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This summer doesn’t have to be a bummer.

Summer’s coming.1

Do you want a boring summer or a roaring summer?

Do you want your summer to leave an impression in the couch, or do you want it to leave an impression on your life?

Imagine if a time traveler came (in a time machine that looks like a car, a phone box, or whatever you like) and took you to see your post-summer self. What would you see? Would you see a happy, motivated, refreshed young person with a boatload of memories and accomplishments? Or would you see a young person who looks pretty much the same as you do right now, only with an expression that betrays a vague sense of regret over lost opportunities?

The big secret to summer satisfaction is to know what you really want and how to get it.

You may think, “That’s easy. I want to binge-watch all five seasons of The Fairy Angst Chronicles, and the way to do it is to sit myself down and not get up.”

But knowing what you really want means searching your innermost desires—the things that really stir within you. This includes the good things you desire for both yourself and others, not just in the moment but in the long run. It also means being mindful of the kind of person you want to be and the kinds of things you want to do or be capable of doing—and what it takes to get there.

Entertainment is fine, of course. So are recreation and amusement. But as you look forward to summer, try to see beyond these things. If you do, you’ll find that there are some small and simple ways to bring real satisfaction to your summer.

Here are five ideas that may mean the difference between meh and yeah! for you this summer.

1. Strengthen your Strengths

rowing

Photograph by Robert Casey

Ideas

Are you a great athlete, musician, artist, woodworker? Are you strong in scripture reading, daily prayer, or service? Great! Decide now to do things to stay strong—and get even stronger. You could:

  • Sign up for a class, workshop, summer camp, or summer job in your chosen field.

  • Resolve to spend at least 30 minutes each day strengthening your strengths.

  • Find out if there’s an award, certification, or other accomplishment you can aim for during the summer. Or just make one up and ask someone to help you track your progress so you can give yourself a reward for completing certain requirements.

  • Watch a series of online educational videos to improve a skill.

Example

One young man was already pretty mechanically inclined and was a quick learner. His dad asked him to learn how to fix a problem with the car, so he spent some time watching online videos on auto repair. The next thing his dad knew, the car was fixed.

How to Start

  • Identify a strength.

  • Set an end-of-summer goal.

  • Set weekly goals.

  • Set daily goals.

2. Compound your Interests

Ideas

Are you interested in cars? Are you interested in poetry too? Spend some time thinking about how you can combine these interests into a single activity. This sort of creative thinking can be fun and can yield some surprisingly practical and innovative results.

Example

One young man was interested in the outdoors as well as in making some money for a mission (and some for spending), so he got a job at a national park for the summer.

A young woman was interested in both drawing and computers, so one summer she decided to combine those interests by learning all about a computer software suite for drawing and image editing. This summer activity led her to her eventual career in graphic design.

How to Start

  • Identify an interest.

  • Identify another interest.

  • Think of an idea to combine them.

  • Set an end-of-summer goal.

  • Set weekly goals.

  • Set daily goals.

3. Find a Mentor

Ideas

There are probably lots of things you don’t know how to do but would like to know how to do. Find someone who can teach you how to do one of those things. It could be:

  • A parent or grandparent (an added bonus is strengthening multigenerational bonds).

  • A boss at a summer job.

  • A coach or teacher in a class, workshop, or summer camp.

  • A sibling or friend.

Example

One young woman learned sewing from her grandmother one summer. They forged a stronger bond and made some great clothes for the new school year.

How to Start

  • Identify something you’d like to learn.

  • Identify someone who could help you learn it.

  • Set an end-of-summer goal.

  • Figure out which days you can meet so you can learn from your mentor.

  • Set weekly goals.

  • Set daily goals.

4. Form a Team

young men serving

Photograph by Cody Bell

Ideas

Are you and your friends (or quorum or class) a dream team? a super squad? Do you want to be? Then band together for an awesome undertaking this summer. You could:

  • Form a musical group.

  • Co-author a screenplay.

  • Clean up people’s yards or houses.

  • Start a babysitting service.

  • Create an inspirational video to share online (and send the link to the New Era).

Example

One group of young men built a canoe together and planned a trip in it one summer. In the process, they learned some valuable skills, had fun, and reached out to include less-active young men from their quorum.

How to Start

  • Identify something that you and some friends can work on together.

  • Figure out which days you can work on it together.

  • Set an end-of-summer goal.

  • Set weekly goals.

  • Set daily goals.

5. Bless for Success

young woman reading with little girl

Photograph by Christina Smith

Ideas

The activities you choose for this summer will be filled with opportunities to bless others. You just have to be aware of that fact and inject the spirit of service into whatever you do. Think of how what you’re learning blesses both you and others. Learning a new skill or building on an existing one can mean being more helpful, delightful, or inspiring to someone, whether it’s your family, friends, employer, or contacts on social media. And remember, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

Example

One young man took his newfound interest in landscaping and applied it to his own house, beautifying the yard and delighting his parents.

How to Start

  • Identify people you can serve this summer.

  • Identify what they need that you can help with.

  • Think of when you can help.

  • Set an end-of-summer goal.

  • Set weekly goals.

  • Set daily goals.

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Note

  1. 1.

    This is, of course, technically true for both the northern and southern hemisphere. It’s just that in the southern hemisphere, summer is a little further off. To our southern hemisphere readers: Just put this article aside for a few months and then read it in October so you can start preparing for the long summer holidays.