Any plans for weekend?
Consider these scenarios and the similarities in them:
· You keep eating healthy food during the week but when the weekend comes, you diet mainly consists of junk food
· You wake up early during the weekdays, but on weekends you tend to wake up late, thus losing your productivity
· You have implemented a healthy habit of drinking water while you work, but you “forget” this habit when it’s the weekend
If this is you, then welcome to the club! I have experienced these same things myself.
In fact, I felt I wasn’t honest to myself. I was living with the productive and healthy habits only 80% at a time.
I knew I had to change. Otherwise the remainder 20% of the time would ruin my good habits and the benefits I got from them.
You feel you owe it to yourself
When I was looking at my own behaviours, I realized something important: I felt like I had earned slipping from good habits on the weekends.
Because I had already followed these good habits for 80% of the time, I would be entitled for taking it easier by the end of the week.
With this feeling, I also felt that I had to reward myself from following the habits from Monday to Friday. In other words, not only saw weekends as recovery time from my busy days, it was also vacation time from my healthy habits too.
This was shown by eating a lot of junk food and other sugary foods, sleeping late, drinking water if I remembered to and pretty much tossing the good habits out of the window.
But hey … it’s wasn’t a big deal – I had earned it! Right?
The missing structure
Finally I understood that I was devaluing my good habits by living carelessly 20% of the time.
After closer examination of the situation, I finally understood what was really causing my different behavior between weekdays and weekends: the structure.
I noticed that when it was a workday, my days were pretty much programmed: I woke up early (around 6.30 AM), worked on my ideas, had a talk with my family, ate breakfast and started my day fresh.
During the work day I had regular breaks, ate healthy snacks on regular basis and sipped some water every once in a while.
Eventually I would come back home from work, exercise and spend time with my family.
When it was a weekend, things were completely different. The structure that weekdays (my working days) provided was gone and it was replaced by certain habits, which didn’t make me healthier or feel better.
There was definitely a different structure “in motion” during the weekends. On the other hand, the weekdays had a structure, providing clear limits and boundaries, which made executing healthy habits easier.
Change your strategies for weekends
So, is it possible to unify the behaviours and habits of weekdays for the weekends too? Yes it is!
However, it doesn’t happen without some careful observation first. This is also what I did by noticing why my weekdays were more organized than the weekends.
Take a good look at your weekday patterns and what you do differently at other times. This helps you to understand why you are behaving in a certain way.
Also, attach your habits to your goals. Remember the end reason why you are executing a habit in the first place, so that following it on weekends becomes easier.
Next, set the routines specifically for the weekends. Understand that the nature of weekends is a bit different than during the weekdays, so you might want to adjust your routines accordingly.
Finally, try to make the habits as automatic as possible. For instance, I have taken this approach when implementing the water drinking habit some time ago.
Blueprint for good weekend habits
With the information I just laid out above, here are the steps to take when implementing good weekday habits on weekends:
1. Compare the weekdays and the weekends.
One of the most crucial steps for implementing good habits and creating solid structure for my non-weekday times was to go to bed and start waking up early – at the same time every day.
I used to stay up late and sleep in during the weekends. Because my sleeping patterns had changed, I had difficulties of getting sleep on Sunday nights. This made me very tired on Mondays – right when I was supposed to return to work fully rested.
I wanted to get rid of Monday’s tiredness. The only way to do it create a similar weekday structure when the sleeping was concerned was by unifying my sleeping times.
You should analyse the differences between your weekday and weekend habits and be aware of them. With this information, it’s easier to create the uniform routines for the weekends too.
2. Adjust the rules for the weekend.
Weekends are different “animals” when it comes to your time usage. Whereas in the weekdays your schedule is probably tight, this may not be the case during the weekends.
On the other hand, this is understandable since you want to loosen up a bit after a busy week at your work. However, it doesn’t mean that you should become too relaxed – especially when it comes to your good habits.
Considering that the weekends are different, adjust the rules accordingly.
For instance, I admit that I slip a bit from my healthy eating habits during the weekends, but it doesn’t mean that I’m overeating sweets, donuts, ice cream or drinking bottles and bottles of beer.
I allow eating some unhealthy food – but in moderation. In fact, I like to make my own sweets if possible (raw chocolate, home-made granola with organic honey, home-made ice cream …).
With this flexibility, I’m not too hard on myself. Otherwise I would probably fall into unhealthy habits completely and that’s something I don’t want.
3. Remember end goals and rewards.
There are basically three ways to make your habits stick:
· You repeat your new habits long enough so that they become automatic
· You make them compelling enough so that you want to follow them without any effort
· Make yourself accountable
All of these factors have helped me to form new habits and keep the good ones during the weekends as well.
The more compelling reason you have to execute a habit, the better chances there are that they’ll stick. And when you add in the accountability component to the mix, it makes you to stick with your good habits even tighter.
Let’s illustrate this with an example. As I mentioned earlier, my sleeping times weren’t consistent. I woke, slept in and woke up late during the weekends.
In order to change this behaviour, I took a compelling goal (work on my new project) and attached that to a habit (waking up early). That particular goal was the motivator to keep on executing the habit – by waking up early every morning at 06.30 AM.
The accountability comes into play in two ways.
First, in order to keep my project updated, I have to prepare reports and talk to people. My aim of completing this project by Sunday, made me occupied the whole weekend.
The other way that accountability works is coaching. I use to coach and impart my learning to younger ones. Whenever I have a call from them, I want to make sure I provide them something informative.
In order to make my weekends as productive as weekdays, I want to wake-up early and take advantage of that time by collecting valuable information.
With these three components, creating and implementing habits becomes easier.
4. Set reminders for your mobile phone or calendar.
This is really part of the step #3, but I wanted to express it separately.
In order to remember your new habit, make it easier for yourself by setting notifications to your mobile phone or your calendar. (At least make use of those reminders)
These notifications help you to remember the new habit, thus preventing you from accidentally ruining your new emerging habits for the weekends.
Once you integrate these new habits to your mind, you realize that you don’t need the reminders anymore and you can execute the new habit automatically on the weekends too.
As we concluded, it’s very easy to skip the good habits we have implemented when it’s a weekend.
However, things don’t have to be this way and with simple steps, we can actually implement the healthy habits on weekends as well.
Over to you: How do you make sure that your good habits are not ruined during the weekends so that you have this to say –