We’ve all been there. It’s Monday evening, and the first day of the workweek just did not go as planned. Maybe you slept through your alarm, missed your workout, and forgot to pack a lunch. Or maybe you pressed snooze on purpose, grabbed coffee instead of a gym session, and couldn’t resist the call of pizza in the cafeteria. I’ve been there. Often.
Or maybe your 11 a.m. meeting goes over time, and you can’t run those errands over lunch like you needed to, which means that your quiet evening at home has turned into a mad dash to Target, Trader Joe’s, and the bank. Been there.
And I’ve told myself that since I blew my Monday, I might as well wait until the next Monday to get back on track. I should just relax into the fog of a rushed, frantic week with pints of ice cream, oversleeping accidentally-on-purpose, and skipping the gym. Then, next Monday, I can really do it right. I just need to get to next Monday.
This is so stupid, so self-defeating, so damaging. Perfection isn’t necessary or even really attainable. The perfect week does not exist, no matter how much planning you do.
I need this reminder. Often. I’m betting you do, too. As the great Miley Cyrus once said: “Nobody’s perfect. I gotta work it.”
Here’s to a new week: a new chance at being better than we were the week before. When I totally eff up a Monday (or a Wednesday!), here’s what I do to get back on track.
- Let myself wallow.
Just for a minute! But I let myself, usually on my drive home, think about the ways that the day went wrong. I think about why I made the choices I did and how ANNOYED I am about it. If I skipped my workout, was it because I was genuinely sore and tired, or was it because I was feeling lazy (um, prob the second one)? Understanding my motivation helps me to figure out how to make more positive decisions the next day.
Often, if I have a freelance deadline early in the week, I’ll try to write for a couple of hours early Monday morning. This means that the deadline is off my back, and I can enjoy my week (and watch TV with Grant that evening). When I sleep through my early morning, I’m really punishing my evening self. I then have to come home from a full day of work and write some more. Reminding myself of that consequence helps me to make more fruitful choices next time.
- Drink an obscene amount of water.
Nothing helps me feel more like I’m in control than getting my preferred amount of water every day. Lots of water makes my skin clearer, my belly less bloated, and my mind sharper. In a day where my choices felt negative, this is an easy way to reset.
- Make a plan.
Saying that I want to do better tomorrow is useless if I don’t make a plan to make it happen. I grab my little notebook and plan the next morning. What time am I waking up, what time do I need to leave, and what needs to be in my bag?
If that plan includes a gym bag, I’ll often pack it the night before or at least mentally pick out an outfit that I’ll pack in the morning. I usually don’t pack my lunch in the evening, but I do think about what I’ll pack in the morning, so I’m not going at it blind.
- Eat a healthy dinner.
Even if my bad Monday was because of a missed deadline and not three break room donuts, eating a healthy dinner is a good reset. It’s a positive button on the end of a day. Plus, eating a lighter dinner means that the next goal will the all the more achievable ⬇⬇⬇.
- Get to bed on time.
If I want to kick tomorrow’s ass, I have to go to bed on time. For me, this means 9:30 or 9:45. Making this a priority for the evening (and skipping that next episode of The Leftovers) means I’ll be able to pop out of bed in the morning, ready to hit the gym or get some writing done.
Reminder to myself: Being perfect isn’t possible, but being my best self is. To feel my best, I need to sleep a lot, drink a ton of water, and read and write and sweat on most days.
One lunchtime pizza on a Monday isn’t going to break those habits, even if it might make me feel like taking an afternoon desk nap. Skipping the gym once shouldn’t lead to skipping it daily.
I’m not perfect, and I’m not trying to be. That reminder feels powerful when we all spend entire days running ourselves ragged, striving for the next, the biggest, the best.
Reminder to myself: Perfection isn’t attainable. Goals are. Happiness is. So Monday was the worst? OK. Get back up. Dust off. And keep going.
What are your Monday pitfalls? How do you reset for a better week?