If you were to line up at the starting line and run a 100 meter sprint against another person like you, it’s a coin toss who’d win. If you were to run the same race against someone who was faster, more adept, trained constantly, and was generally more athletic than you, the odds are heavily stacked against you. Now, if you were to line up at the 80 meter mark while this athletic person had to start from zero, you’d probably win barring any extenuating circumstances like pulling your hammy in the first 10 meters. Think of this race (where you get a generous head start) as you versus your upcoming workweek. Do you (the non-athletic regular person) start Monday morning lined up at the starting line with the week (the athletic badass) and just run, only to see things fall apart pretty quickly? Or do you implement Sunday rituals to get a generous start, so you can stay one step ahead? Which would you go with? Starting at the same line, or getting an enormous head start?
At its core, life is savvy and ruthless – it’s smarter, faster, and doesn’t slow down for you. Time isn’t necessarily bias either – the same 24 hours pass at the exact same rate for everyone, even if you’d beg to differ. If you want to have a shot at kicking your workweek’s ass before it overtakes you, you need a head start.
And it starts the day before, when you implement your Sunday rituals. There’s few things more important than starting your week off on the right foot, and here’s five ways you can do Sunday the right way to help you start from the 80 meter line while your week has to start from zero.
Spend The Time Reflecting on Your Accomplishments and Shortcomings
Before you can begin focusing on the upcoming week and how you’ll completely dominate work, you need to take a breather and spend a bit of time looking back at how the week just went.
Hopefully, you accomplished some of what you wanted to. But you also fell short in other areas, right? Take note of the accomplishments for a good mental boost, but spend time pinpointing the shortcomings to give you a chance to really see where you can potentially put more effort. At the end of the day, life is like a game of Sorry!: you can move forwards, but also backwards. You have to adjust all the time.
Humans are creatures of habit and it’s easy to get stuck in a bad one. So at the end of the week, it’s time to reflect and spend a little more effort seeing where you came up short and figure out why. Was it laziness? Lack of interest? Your habit of flipping on the TV after coming home? A few last minute emergencies? The latter is life – it happens and you can’t put too much weight on it. But if you don’t adjust after suffering from the first three reasons (like laziness, lack of interest, or engaging in bad habits), nothing will change and you’ll get the same results.
A missile approaching its target is scarily accurate. It has to be, because the risks are too great otherwise. But in the path to get there, it has to constantly make small adjustments on its way, ensuring it reaches the intended destination to a T. They’re tiny adjustments and at any given time, the missile is probably less than 0.5% off. But imagine if the missile didn’t correct itself. That 0.5% compounded adds up, and it’s guaranteed it would completely whiff on locking in.
Your adjustments aren’t much different; as the week and months go by, you need to take the time to calibrate and make sure you stay on target. A fine tuning at the end of every week is a great way to keep things on track and adjust what you need.
Set Your Intention(s) For The Week
Think of your intentions as tied to your goals. In fact, they’re basically interchangeable. Long-term goals are broken down into shorter-term goals at various stages. For instance, if you have a one-year goal, you’ll need to break that down into monthly goals, and then weekly, and then daily goals.
You need to set out and mentally prepare yourself for what you’re about to undertake. This helps give you a mental boost and a little dose of motivation. Figure out what exactly you’re trying to work towards this week, and before you actually begin breaking out the daily stuff (see below), you’ll want to know what your general goal(s) is/are. This article isn’t about how to set goals, but here’s a hint: what do you want to accomplish in life? What are your passions? What are thing you want to say you’ve done?
Set them, and stick with them. This Sunday ritual is the gasoline for your fire.
Plan Your Upcoming Week
Get a planner.
Are you a pencil and paper kinda person? Do you laugh in the face of the old school Shakespearean way and prefer 21st century technology to help plan? Go for it. Neither is right or wrong.
How much you plan is up to you. If you’re Type A, you’ll probably plan it down to the hour, giving each activity a set amount of time. If you’re Type B, you probably leave the entire thing blank, and hence why you’re reading this article. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
You’ve got seven days to fill, working around what you set as your goals/intentions and your other responsibilities. For most of us, responsibilities mean a full-time job, school, kids, a partner, family, hobbies, and more. If you’re single, you get a little slack because no one is breathing down your neck. This is a blessing, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Use Less Screen
You spend so much time in front of a monitor, a TV, and your cell phone, your eyes are literally crying from the overexposure. Don’t believe it? Shut your eyes for a few seconds when they feel dry, and watch the waterworks start.
Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to give up some of that screen time, after all. More than helping give your eyes a little break, it actually gives your brain a little break, too. You’d think mindlessly tuning out watching TV gives you a mental break, but there’s a component that’s rarely talked about: the idea of breaking a pattern to help reset.
You see, you’re so used to letting your eyes bake in front of a screen, that actually not letting your eyes bake in front of a screen helps your brain think differently. And when you’re ready to restart the workweek, it can help you feel more refreshed since you took a breather.
Don’t Sleep In
Most Sunday rituals (or weekend rituals) argue against waking up early and using the time to sleep in a bit.
But sleeping in on a Sunday is the fastest way to screwing up your Monday routine. If you sleep in Sunday morning, that only means you’re getting to bed way later Sunday night than you’d want. Then you’re tired as shit on Monday. You sleep in one day just to sleep way too little the next.
Try to get to bed earlier Saturday and wake up earlier Sunday to help keep your schedule somewhat on track. If you normally get up at 5 AM during the week, then maybe give yourself a little slack and don’t get up that early Sunday. But sleeping in until 8 won’t do you much good either.
With Sunday rituals in place, you’re setting yourself up for owning the upcoming workweek. With a proven plan in place, you’re simply making sure that you aren’t using your other responsibilities as an excuse for why you can’t accomplish what you want.