It’s Sunday! The end of the weekend and the beginning of a new week! For a lot of people, Sunday can be a time of anxiety and disappointment. It’s a time when you reflect on the awesome weekend you had and hesitate going into the week and facing a nasty case of the Mondays.
But what if you had something to look forward to? What if you spent a little bit of focused time on Sunday preparing yourself for the week in a way that made you excited and motivated to start strong?
Let me introduce you to Set Yourself Sundays!
I’ve been using this strategy for as long as I can remember. I’m not actually sure I know where I picked it up but it’s definitely evolved over the years to meet my needs and so that I can be much more focused and productive with my time. It’s something that I do habitually. When I don’t, I feel as though I’m not in control of my week and very unfocused on the goals I have and the tasks I need to achieve.
Basically what I’m telling you is that by taking a focused 30 minutes on Sunday to set up your week, prioritize your priorities and write down your goals will not only change how you start your week, it will also improve how much you achieve in that week and how you feel at the end of it. It’s a way to monitor your goals and to reflect at the end of the week on ways to continually grow and develop yourself.
Here’s how it works:
I recommend that you pick yourself up a physical agenda or calendar for this. There’s some great research out there that shows the connection between actually writing things down (using pen and paper) and achievement. In his book, The ONE Thing, Gary Keller tells us that when you write down your goals you are almost 40% more likely to accomplish them. What’s even more impressive is that if you share those goals with someone else as a way to hold yourself accountable that number jumps up to almost 77%.
It’s a great case for not only writing down your priorities and goals each week, but also for sharing them with someone who can hold you to them.
Step 1: Prioritize your priorities.
Take some time to first go through the process of prioritizing your priorities. This is the first and most important step. By ensuring that you have your priorities set right at the beginning, any goals you want to achieve or tasks that need to be accomplished can be properly prioritized and you’ll have a clear understanding of what’s important to you and where you’ll put your time this week.
If you’re not totally sure what I’m talking about, check out yesterday’s post on it and then do that before going on to the next step.
After you’ve listed your priorities in order of prioritization, the next step is to then start to list 3-5 goals or tasks you want to achieve.
For example, if one of your priorities is health & wellness, your goals might be:
· Be active for at least 20 minutes every day
· Drink 8 glasses of water each day
· Be in bed by 9:30pm and up by 5am four days this week.
It’s important that you make these goals things that you can easily measure and check off each day. What that means is that if you were active for at least 20 minutes on Monday, it gets a check mark. If you weren’t, it doesn’t.
Don’t do what I did when I first started out doing this either. When I first started this I would write up to ten (sometimes unrealistic) goals. This was way too much and just ended up disappointing me more than empowering me.
Something I’ve started to do within the last year is limit myself to the three most important things I should be doing for each priority. In his book, Keller actually recommends you narrow it down to the ONE most important thing by asking the following question:
“What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else becomes easier or unnecessary?”
So that should be first. As you write down your priorities and reflect on what you want or have to accomplish that week asking this question will help you stay focused on what’s most important. Try it.
Step 3: Appointments, Events and Commitments to others
On the calendar side of your agenda (see picture below), write down any appointments, events, or commitments to others you have each day. This should include things like going to the gym, spending time with friends, work obligations, etc.
By doing this, you can visually map out your week and cross-reference that with your priorities and goals. If you’ve got a lot of work-related events that week, chances are you’re not going to be able to hit the gym 4 days (unless you’re getting up early…which I recommend) or spend as much time with friends and family as you’d like. If that’s the case, you may want to consider counter-balancing things like not being able to go to the gym as much with something like really focusing on eating healthy and staying hydrated. Another example would be phoning friends while you’re out walking the dog or texting/emailing them early in the morning with a note of gratitude.
By doing a double check here, you’ll be able to see whether or not the goals you’ve set out for yourself are realistic and achievable.
Step 4: Monitor as you go.
As you go through your week, start and end each day by looking at your agenda and checking off the things you achieved that day. For example, if you got 20 minutes of exercise or activity in, then give it a check mark. If not, don’t.
At the end of the week (you can do this Sunday before you start to set yourself up again), reflect on what you achieved, what you didn’t and possible reasons or explanations for this. Did you set too many goals? Were they unrealistic given the amount of time you actually had. If so, use what you’ve learned to set more realistic goals for the next week (for example, reading for 1 hour each day might go down to reading for 30 minutes each day or reading for 1 hour three days out of seven).
Step 5: Reflect on the week and set it up again.
The last step, as mentioned above, is to reflect on your week and what you’ve accomplished, what challenges you faced, what you learned from these challenges and how you’ll use them in the new week to move forward and grow. This can be done in a journal or by sharing this with a performance partner (something we’ll talk about later this week).
This is an awareness and success tool. By taking focused time to set up your week, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for success. By taking the time to reflect on and adapt your goals, when necessary, you’re continuously learning about yourself and growing toward your fullest potential.
Keep Living Big,
Matt Tod is an international speaker, leadership facilitator, writer and lover of all things Zombie-related.