How to Create Your Joy Plan for This Summer

Michelle Wax, Founder of American Happiness Project

May 2021

Michelle Wax mountains2

What do you want to create more of this summer?

More joy? More inner peace? More excitement? More focus?

With summer quickly approaching, it’s important to set your intentions and routines to ensure that whatever you’d like to create more of is a priority and top of mind. Setting your intentions and routines doesn’t have to be a massive overhaul of your current life — in fact, it only takes a few minutes to do.

Here are a few ways to create more joy and happiness this summer that are simple to implement:

1. Choose a Theme for Each Month

A fun exercise to kick off the season is to choose a theme for the summer or for each summer month. What’s your intention? How do you want to feel this summer? What do you want to accomplish? You can even choose an Episode Title for each month, or each week, just like a TV show has an episode title for every show. I recommend scheduling in time each week to realign with your theme and/or episode title and make sure you’re staying on track as the weeks progress.

2. Schedule in Appreciation & Celebration

I recommend scheduling 20 minutes each week that you dedicate to appreciating and celebrating the people in your life, as well as yourself. This could come in the form of writing an appreciation postcard, sending an email to a coworker that you admire, or sending a text message to a friend in your life.

In addition to celebrating and appreciating others around you, make sure you also celebrate yourself. What are you proud of from the past week or past month? Dedicate a set amount of time in your calendar or create an alarm on your phone so that you don’t forget this important step each week.

3. Start Your Morning on Your Own Terms

A top habit we’ve discovered in our research across the USA is that happy and fulfilled people consistently start their mornings on their own terms. This doesn’t have to be a long morning routine, it simply is taking some time — whether it be 1 minute or 20 minutes — to start the day off positively.

A simply way to do this is by asking yourself 3 morning questions immediately upon waking up:

What can I look forward to today? What has the potential to stress me out today, and how will I choose to respond to it? How do I want to feel at the end of the day, and what do I need to do (or not do) to make that a reality?

Asking yourself these simple morning questions allows you to start the day proactively in a short amount of time – you can even answer them in your head while brushing your teeth!

4. Lock in the Small Moments

Throughout filming the American Happiness documentary, a major theme that arose is that the small things, really are the big things. So often we place most of our focus on the bigger moments or goals in life, when so many small moments are happening all day every day that we can enjoy.

Something I love to do when I’m having an amazing moment, whether that be sitting on my porch with my morning coffee or feeling the sunshine on my face, is to lock in the moment. I will pause, and say to myself — “Michelle, let’s lock this moment in”. I then take a deep breath and take a mental snapshot of what I’m experiencing – the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes happening at that moment. It’s a great exercise to slow down and appreciate the really small moments in life.

Michelle Wax is the founder of American Happiness Project, a movement across 50 states focused on creating more joy, energy, and connection in the everyday. Wax works with top companies, organizations, and schools across the USA to help teams thrive in uncertainty, use stress to their advantage, and create positive mindsets through workshops and accountability programs. She produced the American Happiness Documentary in 2019, and leads the CONNECTION community.

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