Forget a Summer Bucket List! Do This Instead.

Summer is upon us! That means sunny cookouts, river dips, outdoor concerts, vegan ice cream experiments, and fun with friends! Hooray! It also means you’re probably getting a summer bucket list ready.

Why Summer a Bucket List is Overrated

Many of us make a big summer bucket list every year, only to stroll into fall having completed almost none of our goals. If you look through my old journals, you’ll see wild lists titled Summer 2015, Summer 2016 and Summer 2017, all crammed with ideas, projects, trips, and self-improvements I’d like to make over the three month season.

And almost every year, I completed almost none of them.

No one wants to end the summer feeling like a failure. So this summer, don’t get caught in that same overambitious trap. When your summer bucket list looms too large, it can actually make you less productive and less successful.

The very act of planning to accomplish too many goals can be the thing that stands in our way. Here’s what you should do instead.

Set one big, slightly scary goal for your summer. Just one.

Yes, we all have a lot of goals, but summer is not the time to wear all those hats. Choose one big goal for yourself instead of creating a whole, daunting summer bucket list

Maybe your summer goal is to read 10 books. Maybe you want to write that memoir. Maybe you want to finally drop some pounds by cleaning up your diet. Maybe you’ve dreamed of starting a side hustle business. Now is the time to focus on ONE of those goals.

Sorry, you can’t give full attention to all of them. That will leave you deep in September with a handful of half-baked ventures—having read only a book and a half, eaten a few more veggies, and journaled for three weeks about how you could start your business. That’s not really the change or success any of us are looking for.

If you truly want to progress, you need to choose only one goal and dedicate your summer to it, whole-heartedly.

That could mean setting aside a dedicated one to five hours a week to work on a project or being even more immersive and taking time off work. But if you want to succeed, you need to narrow your focus and set one massive summer goal for yourself. There will never be a better time.

Happy successful sportswoman raising arms to the sky

Make it specific and attainable.

Don’t just claim you want to run faster. That’s a loose goal. Say you want to run a five-minute mile.

Don’t just casually tell friends that you want to learn German. Anyone can learn a few phrases and claim they learned some German over the summer—that’s an easy out. Say you want to be conversational in German by the end of the summer.

If you truly want to succeed, be specific about your goals and know your limits. The more specific and honest you are with yourself, the less wiggle room you leave for failure in a few months.

Read more about setting SMART goals, so you can craft a summer goal that you’ll follow through on.

But also a little scary.

If your goal didn’t take you a little bit out of your comfort zone, you probably would have done it already. Stop playing things so safe and take a little risk. You are capable of incredible things. You just need to build the confidence and trust in yourself.

Challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone this summer, whether it’s a professional artist’s workshop halfway across the globe or learning how to swim despite your fear of water.

Scooting just beyond your comfort zone is the best way to ensure personal growth. And that’s all success really is, isn’t it?

friendship concept, man and dog sitting together on the beach

More isn’t always better. Dream big, and use these three months to make one vision a reality. Not only will you feel more accomplished, you’ll actually be more accomplished than you would if you had tried to tackle your entire list. So go get it! Ditch the summer bucket list, take charge of your summer and achieve one of your dreams!

What’s your summer goal? Share with our supportive community below!

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Images via Thinkstock.


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Val P
Val P5 months ago


Euge L
Euge Lu8 months ago

Good idea!

Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins8 months ago

My goal this summer is to have watched 100 documentaries.

Greta L
Alice L8 months ago

thank you

Vincent T
Past Member 9 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Shirley P
Shirley P10 months ago


Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan Hill10 months ago


Kathy G
Kathy G10 months ago

Thank you

Ruth S
Ruth S10 months ago