You made your resolution — this year was finally going to be the year you lost weight. But then your neighbor stopped by with a plate of cookies, and well, your resolve didn’t even last a day. Maybe next year?
But instead of looking at your resolutions as a sweeping year-long project, what if you concentrated on making healthy changes every Monday? That way, if you slip up and dive into that pile of cookies, another chance to get it right is just a few days away.
It’s called the Healthy Monday Reset, and the idea is to send you into the week with a fresh mindset.
“What we really want people to do is implement a mindset change. If you think about the New Year’s resolution, you pick one day a year to start changes and if you fall off the wagon, it’s another year,” explained Ron Hernandez, the managing director of The Monday Campaigns.
“But with Monday, you have 52 opportunities in a year. If you fall short one week, there’s always an opportunity right around the corner, so you don’t have to wait that long to make a change,” he said.
This, Hernandez added, is something you can really integrate: “‘Monday, I will make better choices.'”
A study conducted with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that people often describe Monday as the day they are seeking out health information.
“Monday becomes a cue, and if you start off the week well, you’re more likely to keep going through the rest of the week,” he said.
The Monday Campaigns recently surveyed nearly 1,000 adults with Data Decisions Group. Sixty percent of the group was white, 14% black and 18% Hispanic. The remaining 8% identified as “other.”
Only about one-quarter of respondents said they kept their resolutions all year long. Twenty percent made it just two weeks.
Some of the challenges they reported were staying on track, a lack of discipline, getting started and not seeing results fast enough.
Three-quarters of respondents said they thought refreshing their goals every Monday might help them maintain their resolutions.
Samantha Heller, a registered dietician with NYU Langone Health in New York City, likes the idea of weekly goals. They’re more realistic, more achievable and less daunting than a year-long resolution, she said.
“You can use the Monday reset to reflect and learn. If my goal is to have vegetables every day for lunch, how did I do? If I managed three days, that’s good, but how can I plan so I’ll do better? People often make resolutions whether they’re prepared to do the work or not, but making a successful change takes thoughtful planning,” Heller said.
So, if you want to meet that vegetable every day for lunch goal, you have to plan time to shop, and then to prepare your lunches. “Learn to make a plan and set aside the time to reach your goal. You set aside time to get your hair done. Set aside time to achieve your goals,” Heller said.
And, if you didn’t reach your goal this week, look back at what works and then start fresh again on Monday. She said it’s important to be kind to yourself if you slip up.
“Change is difficult and there’s no quick fix. Start taking it step by step. You can’t walk on to a tennis court for the first time and start playing a Wimbledon-level match,” she explained.
“Use Mondays to reassess, learn and start doing something to be a happy, healthier person,” Heller added.
For more advice on making healthy changes, visit the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.