It takes a strong person to commit to doing something seven days a week. Especially when it’s something challenging. Honestly, I’m rarely strong enough myself. And that’s coming from someone that writes about goals, sets goals, and teaches others about goals.
Seven days a week is a major undertaking. Though most don’t see it that way. At least, not when they get started.
Their decision often goes something like this…
It’s a Sunday evening.
You’re on the tail-end of a three-day bender, pounding sweets like you’re trying to beat the world record for shoving chocolates in your mouth. And then, sugar-crashed and irritable, you vow that enough is enough.
Starting Monday your new goal goes into effect: Consume zero grams of sugar every single day.
The first week
Monday arrives and is, of course, easy.
You still have the lingering annoyance from yesterday on your mind, so you have no difficulty avoiding all things sugary. Tuesday is easy, but a little bit less. You forgot how much you enjoy coffee creamer.
Wednesday and Thursday aren’t bad. Not great, but not bad.
Then the weekend arrives.
Oh Saturday, how you used to love your Saturday morning chocolate croissants. And now, here you are, eating eggs. Which, hey eggs are great, but they’re no croissant.
You finish your eggs and move through the rest of your day a little dead inside.
Sunday follows suit. Just like that, Monday arrives once again. One week from the start of this madness and all you can think about are the croissants you missed out on, the little joys you’ve deprived yourself of over the last week.
The second week
Another Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. What’s the difference. It’s all the same. As Saturday nears once again, you want to cry. You can’t do eggs again. You won’t.
And then, you break.
It’s Friday and enough is enough. With a deranged look in your eye, you manage to find every sugary thing within a 50-yard radius. Like a buffet of your own self-loathing, you feast on everything you’ve been craving for the past two weeks.
If you didn’t earn a medal for binging on that first Sunday, you surely deserve one today.
Daily is tough
Looking at that story, you can substitute no sugar for:
- Daily exercising,
- Anything, really.
Forcing yourself to do something or not do something every single day, 365 days a year, is incredibly tough. At least when it comes to your goals.
Mind you, I’m not talking about addiction (something I am in no way qualified to speak to), I’m talking about goals.
A common mistake
In my experience, and what I see most people make the mistake of doing, is setting a goal with way too ambitious of a frequency.
As in, seven days a week.
As in, I will run five miles each day, seven days a week. I will make 100 cold calls a day, seven days a week. I will swim for one hour per day, seven days a week.
And I get it. You want to aim high. But the problem lies in week two. When, after a number of days with no reprieve, your mind breaks. You quit, throw the books in the fire along with your running shoes, and roast marshmallows over the remains.
In other words, it’s not sustainable.
Option one: make it easy
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It is doable, but you need to be deliberate about the implementation.
The goals that I’ve had the most success with doing seven days a week are generally “easy.” Both in regards to the time required and the action needed. For instance, one of my current goals that I do daily is spend at least five minutes each day thinking of things I’m grateful for.
The time spend is minimal. Only five minutes.
The action required is minimal. I can do it while running, driving, or getting dressed. It’s non-intrusive.
So that’s one option.
Option two: ease into it
The other option is to ease into it. Particularly in the case of more daunting goals, like giving up sugar, as-in the story that started this whole thing off. Because, especially at the beginning, you need the mental release.
You won’t feel like it when you start out, but after a week or two, maybe even three, you’ll need it. And if you don’t take it, you’ll snap.
And no one wants that.
When to add more
Instead, start small and gradually add more with time. If you want to start reading, set a goal to read five pages a day, three days a week. Then after a month or two, tack on another day. After another month or two, see how you feel and add an additional day if you’d like.
Most people don’t do it that way though. They start big, crash after a week, then go to zero.
Yet you don’t have to. Instead, ease into it. You can certainly get to seven days a week if you so choose, but take your time getting there. Keep sustainability in mind.
My own shortcoming
I’ve written a lot about my nutrition goal: consume less than ten net grams of carbohydrates each day, five days a week.
To be honest, it’s been a bit of a mess. If you follow along with my goal reports at all, you’ll see that the goal has changed a great deal. That’s because I, arrogantly, pushed myself too much too soon. I tried doing it five days a week, then six, then seven. All in a short period of time. I was determined, I was driven, I was going to make it work!
And then, I broke, almost quitting the goal altogether.
I needed a pause. I needed a mental release. Something I wasn’t getting at seven days a week. All I could think about were cookies.
Getting back to seven
Now, could I see myself working my way back to seven days a week? Absolutely. Especially if it seems to promise greater results.
However, I wouldn’t recommend going straight to that point. Instead, I’d ease into it. Maybe over the course of several months. And then, once the lifestyle feels second nature to me, I’d test out that seventh day and go from there.
I’m still very much finding the right fit for this one, though as of this writing and like I said, I’ve resettled into five days a week for the time being.
Moving forward at (less than) seven days a week
With your own goals, I know you want to start at 100%. I know you want to go from where you are to where you want to be as quickly as possible. But know that if you push yourself too hard, you’ll burn out before making any progress.
So instead, work your way up to seven days. Start at four days a week, or five, or one. Give yourself the time to figure things out before committing to a lifestyle that you’ve never tried before.
Go enjoy your croissants.