A Case of the Mondays
A friend just posted that she loves Mondays. Huh? Who loves Mondays? For many, Mondays signify the end of time off from work, with the next possible respite five days away. “I wish it were Sunday. Because that’s my fun day.” Mondays represent the mountain of work to be accomplished before the rapidly approaching deadlines. Query: How come deadlines rapidly approach, but quitting time on Friday remains so far away? Uh-Oh. Sounds like someone’s got a case of the Mondays.
The post about Monday-loving included an explanation. Mondays remain brimmed to the top with opportunity. So much can be accomplished. So much can be addressed. But wait. There’s more. Mondays are the chance to re-set and even defy expectations. Each Monday is a new beginning and should be met with zeal and excitement.
So, my friend is the ultimate glass half-full persona. That mountain of work is waiting to be bulldozed over. What deadlines? Every project will be completed early and new projects can be added! With the entire week still ahead, so very much can be done. She dresses herself in 38 pieces of flair just to express herself about the joy Mondays can bring.
Apparently, this past Monday was no ordinary “I shall conquer the week” Monday. Instead, being the first Monday of the year, it was the Super Bowl of Mondays. The focus could not possibly be contained to a mere week. The first Monday of the year includes an analysis of the entire year to come. What can, or rather shall, be accomplished this year? Not a single page of the calendar has yet to turn. With so very much time and promise ahead, identify these grandiose goals — and get started.
Setting expectations on the first Monday of the year is akin to making New Year’s Resolutions. I have previously written on such resolutions and admit to some level of intrigue as to both what we resolve and the why we even bother to make resolutions.
For my friend, resolutions are easy. She appears to make them every Monday morning. With excitement, she awaits the first Monday of the year well-prepared for her grand resolutions. But for the rest of us, when asked in December if we will make resolutions, about one half of us say we will do so. When asked in January if we actually made any New Year’s Resolutions, that figure drops to one third of us.
The figure I found meaningful, however, related to the inquiry whether people kept their resolutions, at least partially. Surprising to me was that 60% of folks to some degree kept their New Year’s Resolutions. I appreciate that included within this 60% figure are the Two Bobs who resolved to exercise more, went to the gym on January 1 and 2, and then returned to the Party Size bag of Doritos and Bowl games rather than the treadmill. But, the percentage includes others who critically and candidly evaluated their own circumstances and considered Bob’s question: “What do you say you do here?”
To me, making resolutions is about the recognition of a need to improve. Resolutions represent hope in ourselves that we will be better and will accomplish our objectives. We incentivize ourselves when making resolutions.
Keeping resolutions is different. To maintain a resolution, we have to acknowledge what we do and how we do it. Take for example one of the top annual New Year’s Resolutions: getting more exercise. First, we must acknowledge the current status of getting to the gym one time a week and a lengthy bicycle ride on the weekend. Only then can we determine the “more” of hitting the gym three times a week and an even longer bicycle ride. The even harder part follows in setting a realistic and attainable schedule to meet these new goals.
The absence of any of these steps results in New Year’s Resolutions remaining aspirational. I suggest that the 20% who keep their resolutions follow a formula incorporating these types of measures. And as to those who maintain their resolutions more than two days at the gym, I suggest that they develop or improve upon their habits.
When your thinking changes so that Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays become your “gym days”, then you have a new routine or a habit. When you regularly refuse toasty, crusty garlic bread with your dinner because “it is a carb”, you have a new habit. If we can make the matters routine part of our habits, we have the chance to succeed in keeping our resolutions— whether New Year’s or Monday morning varieties.
I understand that 60% of those who at least partially keep their resolutions applies to the 33% of us who actually make New Year’s Resolutions. Translated: roughly only 20% of us make and even partially maintain our resolutions. That figure strikes as me as low when setting and striving to keep New Year’s Resolutions appears positive for us. Identified New Year’s Resolutions work toward bettering ourselves in the form of more exercise, greater weight loss, less time on electronics or more family time. There are no readily identifiable negative or destructive resolutions which appear on any list of New Year’s Resolutions. Completing the laboratory for evil experiments or finishing the manifesto on hatred never crack the Top Ten.
So, assuming the positive influence of resolutions, we should strive to improve upon that 20% participation rate. One method is to return to our Monday-loving friend. Each week, and then each year, she sets goals after reviewing where she stands at that moment in time. This week, it is A, B and C. Next week, it may become A again, and then X and Y. Setting these goals allows her to then develop that plan to tackle each project and most probably keeps her focused on the objectives. Sure, some weeks the printer will say paper jam when there is no paper jam and some weeks the printer will quit with the message PC Load Letter, whatever that means. There is always next Monday to reset and manage those expectations.
I classified the Monday-lover as viewing the glass half full. That observation remains true enough, but she also teaches us how to eat an elephant with her practice of weekly resolutions. If the New Year’s Resolution is to eat an elephant, the task may appear too challenging or daunting with so much elephant. Most may give up without even trying. However, if your Monday resolution is to take one bite of elephant each day that week, it may appear achievable. With each Monday resolution, more elephant disappears.
OK. I will give it a shot. Set the stage for grand resolutions at New Years. And, seek to manage those resolutions through smaller, more readily achievable goals along the way. However, given Monday’s reputation which cannot so readily be altered, I might choose another day of the week for these smaller resolutions. Fridays have a positive reputation. Oh, and remember, next Friday is Hawaiian shirt day! Happy New Year! Now go make some belated resolutions.