goals

Monday Morning Ritual

Last Monday morning, I got an idea while I was on my way to work.

I was in a grumpy mood. Ever since becoming a parent, I have disliked Mondays. I don’t like leaving my kids to go to work. It sometimes helps if we’ve had a fantastic weekend doing fun things as a family – or sometimes that makes it even harder to get started with the work week.

This school year has been a little bit better than the last two years were. Prior to this school year starting, I also was struggling with the Sunday blues – that feeling of dread and anxiety some people get on Sunday afternoons when they realize they’re about to face five days of work starting Monday morning. But that’s been better since school started in September 2019. I feel a little bit more confident and comfortable at my job this year, and the Sunday blues have been eradicated.

But Monday mornings? Those still suck.

So last Monday, I was on my way to work and I started using speak to text to do some “writing.” I opened up a Word Press post on my phone, hit the microphone button, and just started talking – about Mondays, and about my goals for the day, the week, and the year. It was really helpful. It’s not the first time I’ve done this. Basically, by “writing” a blog post using speak to text while I’m driving, I’m sorting through my thoughts the same way I do when I’m sitting in my armchair at home with my computer on my lap.

That morning, it occurred to me that I really need a Monday morning ritual that centers me and/or gets me excited for the week ahead. And I realized something: a Monday morning is a fabulous time to set an intention for the week ahead.

Here’s a few things I know about myself:

  1. love setting a goal for myself. Be more present. Write more. Exercise daily. Whatever the goal, I love to identify it and write it down somewhere with every intention of achieving it.
  2. I struggle to follow through on my goals. I forget what I’m working toward because I’m distracted by the minutiae of day-to-day life.
  3. One of the only reliable strategies I have to form a new habit is using the strategy (a la Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before) of the Blank Slate. A new house, a new car, a new phone, a new job – I tend to use fresh starts like these as a jumping block for cultivating new and better habits.

When all of these things swirled around and came together, I realized: I can attempt to use my Monday morning commute as a time to reflect and set an intention for my week.

I love this idea. I have so many goals on my mind lately – partly because I’ve been skimming Laura Vanderkam’s book 168 Hours and partly because I’ve been jotting down resolutions for 2020. But when I have lots of goals, it’s hard to bring them all to the forefront of my mind, especially as a busy working parent who’s juggling a lot of responsibilities. If I use Monday mornings as a time to (using speak to text) write about my intentions, I can narrow my focus and zero in on the intention that’s the most crucial for me during that particular week. I’m going to give it a try; we’ll see how it goes.

The funny thing is, writing this post helped me to remember something. When I was in my early twenties, I remember playing a game with two of my college friends. We were on the Staten Island Ferry, and we started talking about what our different friends who be if they were a (fill in the blank). For example: If Kerriann was a holiday, which holiday would she be? If Matt was a subject in school, what subject would he be? It was silly and fun and pointless. And one of the fill-in-the-blank categories we chose was days of the week. We decided that one of our fun-loving party-going friends would be a Saturday night; we decided that one of our even-keeled, reliable friends was a Tuesday. And we – well, it was either all of us, or just me – decided that if I were a day of the week, I’d be a Monday.

This made sense to me, at the time. I loved college, I loved the work I was doing. I didn’t have the pull of little kids at home that I wanted to be with. I invested a lot of energy and enthusiasm into every job, activity, or class I attended. The start of the week never bothered me, because I made the best of everything and I always found something to be excited about.

So funny. I don’t love Mondays currently – but I used to. And it’s because I have always been a person who loves a fresh start and a new week. I’m so glad I remembered this about myself, and I really hope this new habit helps me to start my weeks off with a better outlook on the week ahead.

writings in a planner
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

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