Good evening, everyone!
Ahhhh, Monday again. Everyone knows the dread that accompanies this particular day of the week like a storm-cloud casting a perpetual shadow. But why? Why are Mondays so….Monday?
At its core, Mondays feel like this because of the way we approach them, which means that, if we approach them differently, we can change Mondays from the most dreaded to the most anticipated day of the week. Here are five quick tips to help make your Mondays a little less Monday-ish.
Plan your week ahead of time, ideally on Friday.
One of the worst parts about Mondays is the scramble, the attempt to reorient our brains and get back on track. If you have your week planned out ahead of time, then that takes one major aspect of Monday-stress away. Plus, if you do this at the end of day on Friday, you’ll have that mental reassurance that you’re ahead of schedule, which will let you enjoy your weekends even more!
This is also true with your workout plans for the week. A lot of people stress about needing to make it into the gym X number of times a week, so why not plan out ahead of time when you’re going to come in and what you’re going to do while you’re here?
2. Build a rockin’ playlist.
Don’t underestimate the power that music has on our psychological state. Everyone has had a bad day resurrected just by hearing that one song that we loved ten years ago. So, go ahead! Build yourself a playlist full of happy music to listen to either on your way to work or while on the job.
While you’re at it, make yourself a great workout playlist, too! The benefits of music to working out are nearing endless. Music has been shown to: provide a good type of distraction, specifically from physical discomfort associated with working out; it helps put you in “the zone”; it puts you in a better mood; it can literally increase your effort.
3. Look at the week and what’s to come as a challenge.
By thinking about the tasks ahead of your as challenges instead of simply items to check off of a list, you create a psychological shift. This is especially true if you have even the slightest competitive streak. Studies have shown that approaching tasks as challenges encourages one to go beyond the minimum required work and also yields more positive psychological responses to completing said tasks.
Think about Monday as another chance to make progress in your fitness and health journey. Maybe last week had its stumbling points and didn’t go as well as you wanted, but that’s in the past now and Monday has given you another chance to make positive steps forward. Maybe last week was one of your best weeks in the gym and the kitchen! Well, this Monday is a chance to build on that success and keep up the progress or do even better this week.
4. Measure Your Progress.
It’s hard to tell how much progress you’re making if you can’t quantify it. Tracking your progress not only helps you see how much you’ve accomplished, but the very act of tracking something subconsciously encourages you to do better. This is one of the reasons that step-trackers are helpful for so many people. The simple act of having one’s steps tracked encourages one to walk more.
With fitness, tracking is essential, regardless of what type of working out you are doing. Are you a treadmill junky? Well, how will you know that you are improving if you don’t remember where you started? At the end of your time on the mill, write down your stats (distance, incline, calories, average speed, etc.) in a log. Keep doing this and strive to improve over time. Eventually you’ll be able to look back on where you started and you’ll be amazed how far you’ve come.
5. Do the difficult tasks first.
Motivation, energy, and willpower are limited resources. Studies have shown that the more mental exerted you are, the weaker your willpower is. Use this knowledge to your advantage and accomplish your hardest tasks earliest. This is again why planning your week out ahead of time is advantageous. How can you know what your most difficult task is if you don’t know what your tasks are ahead of time?
Once again, this is true in the gym, too. For the most part, you want to start your workout (after a warmup, of course) with the most challenging activity. That’s why exercises like the squat and deadlift frequently happen towards the beginning of a workout. Knock these out when your energy, focus, and willpower are at their highest levels.
We hoped this help give you ideas as to how to crush your Mondays. We'd also love to hear from you! If you've worked with us at Relentless Fitness through personal training or coaching, we'd love to hear your thoughts and reviews.
Thank you all very much and have a productive and happy week,
Your Trainer Team