One thing you can do every Sunday to avoid the Monday blues

 

By Michelle Morgan, EVP Director of Client Services

Do you find it hard to get out of bed and get motivated when your Monday alarm goes off? You are not alone. There are several articles that look at the scientific and nonscientific reasons why Mondays are often hard to initiate and get excited about. Whether it is due to a lack of sleep, a lack of healthy eating/routines from the weekend, or a lack of interest in your job, the majority of people simply dread the beginning of the week. What if there was a tool that could get you through that malaise? What if a simple Sunday ritual could change your perspective and outlook?

Below I will share the one thing that I do every Sunday to give my Mondays an extra energetic boost. I will explain what it is and tips on how you can incorporate it into your routine with ease and possibly some enjoyment.

“In order for things to change for you, you must change.”

Knowing the road ahead gives you an advantage. 

With clarity comes energy. As a concept, it’s pretty easy to understand. Clarity has a direct correlation to the ease of achieving goals, which gives you a sense of accomplishment, delivering an energetic boost.

“Although extensive research has shown the benefits of planning, little attention has been paid to the ways people construct plans and their impacts on subsequent goal pursuit.”

– Jooyoung Park, Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at Peking University HSBC Business School

In order to create more clarity in my life, I adopted a habit of making a weekly Outcome Map, identifying and prioritizing specific tasks necessary to accomplish specific outcomes in a simple, fun way, which I will explain in the next section. I will also share with you a small adjustment I made to the process to make it more fun and transform it from a habit to a ritual.

Small changes can have a huge impact.

A simple tool: creating your outcome map

Complexity is the enemy of execution. When you are starting a new habit, it’s important to make it simple, make it sustainable, and make it measurable. Below I will outline a 3-step, outcome-based tool that I have successfully implemented into my Sunday routine:

  1. Identify your outcomes for the week. I prefer the term “outcome” as it refers to a measurable success criteria vs a “goal,” which is a description of a destination. So, what 2-3 outcomes do you want to achieve by the end of the week? If you have a longer term outcome, you can simply carry over from week to week, as long as you have measurable success criteria.

    • I separate my outcomes into 3 categories of improvement: Career, Life/Physical/Spiritual Being, and Love, which includes family, friends, and relationships.

  2. Capture why these specific outcomes are important to you. The reasons you list should be very emotionally driven to ensure the greatest success.  If you don’t have a compelling reason for doing something, it should not be included as a prioritized item because your lack of drive and passion will cause you to de-prioritize the task over time.

  3. List tasks that you will need to do to complete your outcome. These need to be specific, actionable, and measurable.

Below is an example to help you visualize these steps:

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Transforming a habit into a ritual

Now that you have an understanding of how to create your weekly outcome map, I would like to share some tips on how I was able to successfully fit this into my life, with joy.

  • Know what motivates you. At the beginning, I struggled with how to incorporate this into my Sunday routine. I understood the importance of doing this, but I struggled with making time to actually do it. I procrastinated, I made excuses, and at times I thought this was just never going to work. That is when my career coach stepped in to help. She reminded me that I was a highly aesthetic person who loves arts and crafts, and she encouraged me to find a way to create the task of developing my weekly map into a more fun, fulfilling adventure. So, after trying a variety of different approaches, I finally settled on one that stuck. (See picture below.) I purchased a piece of colorful poster board, some colorful sticky notes, and a metallic pen. I now look forward to constructing my map because it builds on my natural creative and crafty instincts. An unexpected added benefit of this approach is that I literally “light up” when I look at it because I easily reflect back to the joy it brought me in the development of it. Would this be a motivational tool for you? Other ideas might be to play your favorite music, choose a comfy chair, burn a candle/incense. The important thing is to combine this task with something you are passionate about, and most likely “de-prioritize” due to other things. This time is for you. Enjoy it!

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  • Decide on when/where you are going to refer back to your map. The work you do on Sunday night needs to be referenced back to your daily life in order to track progress. I already was in the habit of carrying a book filled with mantras that I read every morning on the subway, so I purposely made my map the same size as my book, so I could easily incorporate it into my daily routine. (Extra bonus points for feeling proud of my artwork as other passengers look on with curiosity and intrigue.) Some people like to post on their bathroom mirror and review while brushing their teeth, some prefer a board at their office or close to their door for a quick review before leaving for the day, and some like to create an audio message to listen to while driving. When might you have a few minutes to reflect on your map during the day?

  • Create sustainability. Because this is something you will need to do on a weekly basis, think of ways that you can sustain the practice. For me, the sticky notes allow me to easily remove/reapply items every week. However, I do not remove my tasks until the week is complete, because the simple positive acknowledgement that I am successfully completing tasks is great reinforcement. Some people like to use a dry-erase board and others prefer a digital creation. What are some ideas you might have in terms of re-creating your map on a weekly basis?

  • Reward and reflect. Everyone likes rewards! Think of ways that you can reward yourself for completed tasks and accomplishment of your outcomes. This could be something as simple as taking 5 minutes to play a favorite song, do a happy dance, or simply relish in the positive responses you may be receiving from others that have noticed a difference. It is also important for you to reflect on tasks and/or outcomes that you were not able to complete. Some key questions to ask yourself would be, was the task/timing realistic? Did something change from a priority point of view? Do you need to re-examine “why”? Do you need to enlist people to help you? Once you identify what the challenge is, you can have clarity on how to overcome it.

In summary, one thing you can do every Sunday to avoid the Monday blues is to create more clarity in your life. Clarity is directly correlated to the ease in accomplishing your outcomes. One way that I have been able to achieve this is by developing a simple 3-step outcome map in a fun, fulfilling manner to create a ritual vs a habit of doing this. I have also shared different tips on how to incorporate daily check-ins, sustainable solutions, and rewards that you can incorporate into your new practice. While there are several tools and practices available, I have found that this method works best for me as I continue to experience the positive outcomes that it delivers. I’d love to hear if you have adopted certain rituals that have been equally successful.