The 1 Question to Ask Yourself Before You Start a New Week
Mondays arrive with all sorts of scary emotions. In fact, it all starts with Sundays—if you search #sundayblues on Instagram you'll find nearly 208,000 posts of people going through the same thing.
The start of a new week means switching from "recharge" mode to focusing on a stack of responsibilities—and we often greet Monday with our same default emotions.
Back to the grind.I can’t believe I didn’t fix that problem last week. This week is gonna be sooo long/tough/anxiety-producing, etc.
What if that’s not reality, though?
What if you can own your week before you even start it?
The trick is to define your week first—and then watch it fall in line.
Here’s how to do it.
Ask yourself: What does success look like for me this week?
The first step is asking yourself the question above.
This question isn’t about what you want to do or what other people are asking you to do. Look inward and focus on what success looks like FOR YOU. Not your boss or coworker or co-parent—but YOU.
There are tangible benefits to knowing what success looks like.
Research shows that people with clearly defined goals often have higher rates of success. Plus: The act of creating goals can lead to increased motivation, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
Knowing exactly what you need to work on can also help you during those bumpy midweek points or those moments when you stare off into space and ask yourself, “Wait, what was I doing?” (Just me?)
You don't want to constantly be the rabbit searching for the "success" carrot. And you always want to make sure that you're reaching for success on your terms, and not, as Mark D. White, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today, "simply accepting the standards you're 'given.'"
Look at success in all quadrants of your life.
Your "success sentence" doesn’t have to be strictly work-related—maybe you’d feel like the week was a success if you have exciting social plans (or no social plans!), or you cracked open that watercolor set and spent a half hour creating something new.
So you can fill in as much of this sentence as you want:
What does success look like for me this week? Well, in order for this week to be a successful one, I would like to make progress on...at work; I would like to spend time with...; and I would like to finish...before Friday.
Of course, you can change any of these words to suit exactly what matters to you. The goal is to keep your week's accomplishments simple, specific, and concrete—and, most importantly, make sure they're something you can actually achieve within the span of your week.
Notice the pressure and expectations.
The magical thing about setting up your success metrics at the beginning of the week is that you can use it as a filter for what does and doesn't bother you throughout the week.
Say, for instance, you get approached and bogged down with some extra, non-urgent work. Rather than upending your schedule and yelling at yourself, This needs to get done immediately!!!, you can circle back to your success statement from Monday.
Is this task included among what you need to call your week a success? No? Great! Your next step is to schedule the task for a later time, or work on it, but adjust the demands on yourself—you know you don't have to complete this to have a successful week, so…don't.
Celebrate success when you find it.
Finally, at the end of the week, check back in on your success goals from before—did you get close? Did you fall short? If so, can you pinpoint what happened? There's no reason to beat yourself up about it, but knowing what threw you off kilter can help you prevent it from occurring again.
And then there's the most important part of the week: Celebrating yourself when you do reach your goal—and, even more importantly, celebrate yourself for daring to create one in the first place. Because going for it? That's what real success looks like.
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