I suck at Sundays.
My outlook on Sundays is a slowly ticking time bomb towards an anxiety-induced mental list of missed opportunities, unfulfilled accomplishments and another day categorized by monotony and routine. I can feel it almost immediately when I wake up. It’s usually around 930 to 10 am when I finally get up (believe me the rest was needed) and I immediately regret the wasted hours that have gone by (again the rest was needed but still).
All of those wonderful plans and small accomplishments that there’s no way I have enough time to dedicate to during the week just don’t seem to happen. They are the activities and goals that more closely reflect my actual desires in life rather than the “maintenance work” I put energy into Monday through Friday.
That Friday night brain is so hopeful and filled with motivated good intent. Finally the weekend. Two days of unsupervised time where my work parents aren’t checking to make sure I am following the rules. But then it hits. Sunday mid-afternoon. 3pm. Too early to close up the day but not enough time to do much of consequence. It is at this juncture I discover that I have royally betrayed Friday after work me and further delayed my hopes and dreams. So what the hell happened? Let’s look at what I didn’t do.
I Didn’t: Communicate
If you are going to ever achieve any goals or dreams you should get the communication down. Communication with yourself about what you really want and what needs to happen to get there. Communicate with those who would be there to support you. If you keep everything to yourself how will they know to what you want to accomplish and then how to be your support that you are going to most definitely need.
Now I am not saying go and give every little detail to everyone you hold near and dear. They don’t need to know every step and every thought you have because quite frankly if we all did that we might just freak each other out completely. What you should do though is be honest about what you might need from them. You aren’t going to demand or insist on things. Instead what you should be doing is share your dream and get some feedback. Find out what they think. Most likely they will see how much you want to accomplish your goal and will want to help. Hell, they will likely ask you what you would need to get there without you ever opening your mouth about it. From there you can work together to make it work.
Communication is incredibly important. Like most things in life, it is much more difficult going it alone. For those in relationships (especially living together) you need to share. You might find yourself really frustrated with your own struggles and when your partner needs something from you and all day you have been trying to avoid the soul-crushing 3 pm Sunday out of your mouth might come something you regret saying. If you haven’t communicated they aren’t going to know what just happened. Solitary goals and dreams are rarely purely solitary.
I Didn’t have an: Intentional goal
Remember that part of communicating where I said don’t demand but share. Keep that up but demand something from yourself. Be intentional about what you want to do. I could have an easily gone with titling this section “Battling the Routine Monster”. Routines are creators of ruts. They are comfort zones that allow us to maintain our lives and stay safe. We have found a pattern that allows us to get things done that we have to get done and nothing more than that. It’s not to say that what we do in our routines doesn’t need to get done or is inherently bad but they do rarely push us towards change or improvement. Most routines are typically made of chores with maybe a splash of leisure (eat dinner out on Saturday night or watch some Netflix). Goals are something new and something you want to be better at. For most of us routinely improving and accomplishing our goals isn’t our reality. In turn most of us won’t find it in what we already do.
The simplest way of being intentional towards your goal is to declare it. However, you want to do that is up to you. It can be written on your home whiteboard in the office. On a notecard on the dash of your car. Make it the background of your phone. Whatever you do do something that makes it physically real to you. If its something you can bump into or physically touch it can lend itself to being much more present and tangible.
Be clear about what you want to accomplish. Break it down into what it is, how you will get to it and most importantly why. The why is going to be your motivation fuel. Your internal engine that will keep you on track and moving forward. Ask yourself why and then when you answer that why ask why of the answer you just gave. Rarely is the first answer the true motivation. If anything goals are a reflection of our true selves coming out in bits and pieces and you want to get to the meat of you.
I Didn’t have a: Positive Mindset
You know what your goal is and you have a good grasp on why you’re doing it. You’ve communicated to your support group and everybody is on the same track. What comes next is at some point whether its right away or down the road is frustration, doubt and perceived slow failure. Friday after work me didn’t have that perception yet but Sunday 3pm me did.
The goal is set and the planning seems perfect. Everything has been accounted for and you get a rush of determination and excitement once you start. But then something happens. You have family plans come up or that commitment you made a while back that you totally forgot about lands smack dab in the middle of your scheduled time. You might miss a day for whatever reason or heaven forbid you got a cold and just couldn’t find the energy. Whatever it ends up being you get knocked off track and are now doubting if you are ever going to be able to actually follow through. This is the mindset that kills goals. You need a new mindset. Something kinder and gentler on yourself with forgiveness.
Before you even begin you need to settle with yourself that somedays its just not going to work. But keep it to just that. On that date, at that time it just wasn’t in the cards. There will be another go round and you will again go into it with the same intention of following through. Its ok me I knew you wanted to. Let’s try again tomorrow ok.
Each and every time you go to put more work into that goal the first thing you should do is review where you were at the beginning (or before you started), what you have accomplished so far (even if its just the hours or minutes you’ve put in) and what you are doing now. Do this again when you finish the day.
If you review and you haven’t made any new progress take notice then of what you have done. Even if that progress has stalled remember it is work you have finished. At one point that progress didn’t exist until you made it happen. Acknowledge even the smallest increments of progress and view it the same as if you had an all-day marathon of amazing work.
I suck at Sundays and I will probably still suck at them for awhile. I will argue that they are the real low point of the week. Forget people having “a case of the Mondays” (Office Space you are amazing) its the Sundays that are the real menace. But they don’t have to be. In fact, no one day has to be the bain of your existence. Make a little progress each day towards your goals, don’t go it alone and be your own partner and not your own critic.