Good habits come in all shapes and sizes. When you’re trying to change your life to a healthier one there’s no shortage of advice. It can be overwhelming. However, before trying to completely overhaul your life I suggest starting with a few Sunday habits. In my experience, there are specific habits you can do on Sundays that’ll jumpstart healthy habits during the week.
Back in the day, Sunday was a day of rest – dare I say, a lazy day? Prior to children, and becoming a professional, I’d often spend Saturdays however I want and then sleep in on Sundays without a worry in the world. After waking up I’d make my way to the couch to enjoy whatever movie marathon was on TNT – hopefully a Rocky marathon. I don’t remember what the rest of the day would look like but I can guarantee it wasn’t productive. 20 years ago I wasn’t worried about meal planning, grocery shopping, meal prep, when I would exercise, my schedule for the week, or keeping my house in order. Far from it. All I cared about was being a 20-something college student.
Fast forward to today and life looks very different. I have 2 daughters to take care of, a business and house to manage, and a body that needs to be kept healthy and in shape. My days are very busy. Long gone are the lazy days of college life. Anyway, the older (and busier) I’ve become the more I recognize Sunday is a very important day of the week.
Back in 2010, is when I changed my life to a healthier one. I started to watch portion sizes, eat healthier foods, exercise, and get my life in order. However, as a busy working mom those good habits didn’t just take place overnight. They also didn’t happen without planning. Eating healthy meant I needed to plan my meals and meal prep. Exercise meant I needed to prioritize the time. Also, I discovered that “losing weight” wasn’t just about food and exercise, I needed to get my entire life in order if I wanted to make permanent healthy changes.
Throughout my weight loss journey, the biggest lesson I learned is if I wanted good habits to form, and more importantly stick, I needed to plan for it. That’s when I stopped watching Rocky marathons and started using Sundays to set myself up for success during the week.
The absolute best way to be productive Monday – Friday is to use Sundays to prepare ahead of time. I’m not saying you need to spend your entire day getting ready for the week. But, I do think taking a few hours on a Sunday morning will help you stick to good habits during the week and accomplish goals. To be honest, I enjoy my Sundays better when I take time in the morning to prepare. I feel accomplished and can relax knowing I’m ready for the week.
Healthy Sunday Habits
Of course, meal prep made the list. It’s the #1 habit I recommend to anyone trying to eat healthier, lose weight, reduce stress, and generally increase their happiness. Trust me, during the week, when life’s crazy you’ll be thankful you took the time to prepare meals and snacks ahead of time. I can go on and on about meal prep. If you’re interested in learning more then check out these meal prep posts:
If there’s only one Sunday habit I think you should start it’s definitely meal prep.
**just a quick note. Obviously with meal prep you need to meal plan and grocery shop too. I do not recommend doing all three on a Sunday. Meal plan during the week, grocery shop on Friday or Saturday, and then save meal prep for Sunday. If you try to do all 3 on Sunday you’ll be exhausted and won’t have time or energy for anything else.
Review your schedule for the week.
It’s important to be aware of your schedule because this keeps you on track. Often we don’t stick with our meal plan or exercise schedule because something “came up” or “we forgot” about something. For example, you put a healthy chicken casserole on the meal plan for Wednesday. Maybe you prepped a couple components of the recipe so it’s ready to be put together and cook. However, it still takes an hour to bake and around 3:00pm you realize you won’t be home until 7:30pm. Now you’re panicking because you need dinner ready for when the kids get home or it’s going to be chaos. To make things easier you pick up a pizza or subs. Now, the casserole doesn’t get made AND you just blew your calories for the day with pizza, not to mention the extra $40 you didn’t plan on spending. I’m not saying situations like this can always be prevented but I do know taking 15 minutes on Sunday to review your schedule for the week can prevent more than a few instances of schedule sabotage.
Schedule in more than dance class and doctor’s appointments.
One of my favorite sayings as an adult is “if it’s not in my schedule, then it doesn’t exist”. Over the years I’ve learned to use my calendar for more than doctor’s appointments. This has kept things that are important to me a priority. It also keeps us intentional and mindful with everything that needs to get done during the week. For example, blocking time for exercise or when you’ll go grocery shopping. I even put habits like “stop eating” in my calendar to remind me to stop eating at 7:00pm. You can also put reminders into your calendar for taking meals out of the freezer or setting the crockpot. Some people put their daily meals in their calendar. Whatever will keep you moving forward on good habits can be set as a reminder in your calendar.
Once the week starts it’s very easy to forget everything we need to do. Therefore, taking time on Sunday to schedule things that you want to make a priority will be very helpful.
Put together a to-do list.
It’s not uncommon for Friday to come around and feel like “what did I even accomplish this week”. Sure life was hectic, and you were busy, but you don’t feel like any progress was made with goals. This is where a to-do list is very helpful. I’ve learned not to depend on my brain to keep track of my schedule or what needs to be done. On Sunday, after I look at my calendar and schedule in priorities then I make my to-do list. I write out everything I want to get done that week both personally and professionally. You certainly can put together a to-do list at night (and sometimes I do that) but using Sunday to get it out of the way frees up time at night during the week to focus on other things.
The goal with a to-do list is to wake up ready to work. There’s no wandering around thinking “what was that one thing I wanted to do”. With a to-do list you simply just move through the list. And quite honestly, it’s very fulfilling to get to Friday and see all the tasks checked off.
You might be thinking “what the heck does laundry have to do with creating a healthier lifestyle”. Well, like I said earlier it’s not just about food and exercise. Think about what Monday morning feels like when you’re bedroom looks like a laundry bomb went off. I know seeing loads of laundry all over the place stresses me out. I feel overwhelmed and I can’t move forward until laundry is cleaned, folded, and put away. The stress of piled up laundry keeps me in a hot zone and away from other goals.
When I take care of laundry on Sunday then I can start Monday ahead of the game. This isn’t to say I don’t do laundry during the week, because I do try to keep up with it, but I always make sure to start Monday with laundry complete.
Organize outfits for the week.
This is more for my kids than me – I work at home so my outfits are flexible. My kids are old enough to organize their own outfits so I’m more like the supervisor of this task.
Starting the mornings without outfits ready will surely result in meltdowns. This causes us to be late which then catapults me right into a hot zone. We don’t have time for breakfast, someone forgets a lunch, and the list goes on and on. From there I’m stressed and not really caring about making healthier choices. Can you see why organizing outfits ahead of time is important?
Taking Sunday to get laundry done and outfits organized reduces stress during the week. When stress is at a minimum, especially in the morning, I’m more likely to make healthier choices throughout the day. Can you relate?
If I don’t get to outfits on Sunday then I make sure to do this the night before. Regardless, we need to wake up in the morning knowing what to wear.
Do a quick tidy of the house
I think it’s really important to start Monday with a clean slate. I’m a big believer in if you start your morning strong than you have a strong day. Same goes for the week. If you start Monday on the right foot then you’re more like to make good decisions through the week.
You don’t want to wake up Monday morning with dishes in sink, the table full of papers, and blankets thrown all over the floor. All this will do is take our attention away from that to-do list we put together. Taking 20 – 30 minutes on Sunday to quickly tidy up the house will set you up for a productive Monday.
Here are some tasks I do to tidy up:
- Clean dishes
- Fold blankets
- Have kids put away their belongings
- Throw out junk mail/papers
- Do a quick vacuum
Eat healthy and get a good night’s sleep.
Like I said earlier, it’s important to start Monday feeling refreshed and ready to start the week. It’s very difficult to do that if you don’t get enough sleep or have a tummy ache from eating too many goodies the night before. Think about the way you feel when overtired. It’s likely you can’t focus, crave junk food, and have no energy to work out. Getting enough sleep plays a huge role in creating and sustaining healthy good habits.
My advice, if possible, is to use Friday or Saturday night to enjoy any splurges. On Sunday make healthy food choices and get to bed at a decent time. I know it’s easier said than done but remember change only happens with change. Good habits don’t magically happen – you need to make it work.
The absolute best way to find time, be more productive, and see real change is to make the most out of your Sundays along with mastering your mornings.
Now you might be wondering how someone does everything I talked about and still has time to relax on Sunday. I understand. Of course, we still need time to relax.
My advice is to wake up early. This way you can get everything done by early afternoon and you don’t feel like you wasted your day cooking and cleaning. Plus, I think it’s easier to meal prep while everyone is still sleeping.
Another tip is to get the family involved. I’m not the only one in my household that can do laundry, or run a vacuum, so while I prepare meals or go over my calendar I put the kiddos to work.
Keep in mind, incorporating these good habits on Sunday will save time and stress during the week. So taking a few extra hours is worth it in the long run. And like I said in the beginning, you’ll enjoy Sunday much more when everything is done for the week – that’s when you can truly relax!
Other good habits to adopt during the week.