Do you remember your New Year’s resolutions—to eat better and exercise more, perhaps? Or did they bite the dust a few months ago? If you’ve fallen off the wagon of good intentions, it’s never too late to get back on, whatever the date on the calendar. And you can, of course, create new resolutions year-round.
Mondays are a particularly good day to revisit your resolutions, according to a joint public health initiative from Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Syracuse universities called the Monday Campaigns. That’s the day of the week when most people transition back to a more structured routine—and when they are more likely to search for health-related information on the Internet, start a diet or exercise program, quit smoking, and make doctor’s appointments. Mondays offer a “fresh start” for many people to “get their act together,” according to a survey of 1,500 adults—an opportunity to celebrate a “mini-New Year” 52 times a year.
The idea of a kick-starting Monday arose from research at the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins. Though not all studies are consistent, there’s evidence “that periodic prompts can effectively enhance diet, weight loss, and exercise behaviors,” with one study showing that weekly prompts were better than prompts given every three weeks.
Here’s the gist of what to do on Mondays:
- Hit the reset button. Forget what happened (or didn’t happen) over the weekend.
- Set your intentions for the week. Be specific and make your goals attainable in small actionable steps (such as “I will take a 30-minute walk three times this week,” “I will add a cup of vegetables to my dinners,” or “I will drink water in place of soda”).
- Get everyone on board. Informing friends and family of your intentions makes you more accountable, and enlisting others as social support helps motivate you to stick with the plan.
- Keep at it. But if you lose your way, get back on track the next day—or at least by the next Monday.
There are lots of ways to get motivated on Mondays. In addition to the more general Healthy Monday Campaign, the initiative also includes Meatless Monday, Move It Monday, DeStress Monday, and Quit and Stay Quit Monday. For more information and to sign up for free weekly Healthy Monday tips, go to The Monday Campaigns.
University of California