Advertising
Advertising

The Moan-day Blues: 9 Ways to Reprogram the Way You Think About Monday

The Moan-day Blues: 9 Ways to Reprogram the Way You Think About Monday

Monday. Moan-day!

The very word sends an array of negative emotions scurrying through the hearts and minds of people across the land. Last Friday is a mere memory, the weekend has come and gone, and it’s about to get real again.

It’s going down.

You have raised your sword to do battle once more with the start of the work week. You know that in order to press forward to Friday, you have to break free from the chains of Monday.

Oh Monday, why do we dislike you so?

Advertising

In 2012, a study was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology that concluded people hate Monday just about as much as they hate Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. They seem to like Friday okay, but the rest of the work week is pretty much on the same level as Monday.

Who knew? 

Monday has become universally known and accepted as the most depressing day because of the significant mood swing experienced between Sunday and the first work day of the week.

Let’s reflect a bit, shall we?

There are about 52 Mondays in a year, or about 1,248 hours. Let’s say you work for 40 years. That means you have about 49,920 hours that belong to Monday. That’s roughly 5.6 years.

Advertising

Over five years of our working life is devoted to, yes, Monday.

Five years of your life is far too much time spent disliking a day for something that it represents! So, Monday haters unite. Let’s throw down the gauntlet. We are going to change the way Monday is viewed. It will no longer strike fear in our hearts. It will no longer ruin another Sunday because we are worried about the oncoming Monday. In our best Scarlett O’Hara southern accent, we shall say, “As God is my Witness, we will kick Monday’s butt.”

As far as you’re concerned, it’s just going to be another day you have to get through in order to visit the beloved Friday.

1. Prepare for Monday on Friday.

If you have Monday morning work anxiety, be sure to take care of as many dreadful details that you can on Friday afternoon. Clear your desk, review your calendar for the next week, and handle any small projects that are due Monday morning.

When you walk into your office on Monday, walk into a clean office with no small tasks hanging over your head. Your only goal at that moment is to grab that cuppa joe and get busy meeting Monday head on!

Advertising

2. Have a hard stop at 4 on Sunday and shut down.

By the time 4 p.m. on Sunday rolls around, make sure everything is complete. Have the house cleaned, your work done, and make it a point to stop checking emails. Just enjoy it. It’s time to relax. If you work late into the evening on Sunday, you’ll never be rested on Monday.

3. Start the day with something that gives you energy.

Get your heart pumping first thing Monday morning. Go for a run, a hearty walk, or hit the gym. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain and they trigger a positive feeling in the body. It gives you an energizing outlook for the week.

4. Start the day with something that lifts your spirit.

Meditation is an effective solution to the Monday blues. Recent studies on meditation link the benefits of meditation to health, happiness, and creativity. Meditation can also have an affirmative effect on positive emotions, which reduces overall stress.

5. Make it a point to do something different every Monday.

Break the pattern of monotony. Get a notepad and start numbering from 1–52. Now, write down 52 different things you can do on a Monday. Then, start working through the list. Make sure each item is doable, but make sure each item is diverse enough to make you excited.

That’s a surefire way to step outside of any comfort zone!

Advertising

6. Have date night–with yourself.

After all, you are a pretty hot little number. Whether single or in a relationship, we all need time to ourselves. Take yourself to a movie, dinner, drinks, or check into a hotel. It’s a great way to enjoy your own company and block out the rest of the world.

7. Wear a new outfit on Monday.

What feels better when you get ready for work than knowing you are going to put on some snazzy new outfit? You’ll walk into the office like a Parisian model celebrating Fashion Week.

8. Take the back road to work. 

Get up early so you can take the back way to work. The back road represents back to basics and back to nature. In the broadest sense, “back to basics” means taking the time to refocus on the more essential aspects of your life that may have been neglected during demanding times.

In smooth times, we seem too busy to focus on rudimentary details. But, when times are tough, we should evaluate those things that made us successful and begin implementing those strategies again.

9. Peel back the layers on the onion.

This may be the most vital item of all. A shift in attitude means you have to understand the root cause of discontent for Monday. What’s the real issue here? Be specific. Don’t say that you hate your job. Narrow it down so you understand why specifically you hate your job. Is it your boss? The work? The commute? The culture? Your co-workers?

The question then becomes, what are you going to do about it? If you say nothing, you are sentencing yourself to only partial life satisfaction.

So, what’s your plan to change your situation?  It won’t happen overnight, but if you don’t start developing a plan now, you’re going to waste far too much time overcoming anxiety. It’s just not worth it.

More by this author

Time to Write a New Chapter in Your Life? Five ways to get you started The Moan-day Blues: 9 Ways to Reprogram the Way You Think About Monday Achieving Rock Star Status: 10 Steps that skyrocket you to fame at work Hindsight Hacks: 15 Things I Wish I Knew Right Out of College Turning Wishes into Goals in 3 Easy Steps

Trending in Productivity

1 11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits 2 How Your Attitude Determines Your Success 3 How to Ask for Help When You Need It Most 4 How Much Do You Need to Give Up to Start Over? 5 Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

Advertising

But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

Advertising

The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

Advertising

I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

Advertising

More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

Read Next