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Already Failing At New Year's Resolution? Try a Monday Reset

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Monday may be the most unloved day of the week. For many people, it represents returning to work after the relaxation of the weekend.

But Mondays also may be the best day to start a healthy new routine — not just as a New Year’s resolution but at any time of the year.

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Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland say that Mondays should be viewed as a day for fresh starts.

The hashtag #MondayMotivation trends for a reason.

And with New Year’s Day 2020 falling on a Wednesday, this first Monday of the year is the day that many people are kicking off their New Year’s resolutions, 85 percent of which are reportedly health related.

Resetting on Mondays

The Monday Campaigns’ Healthy Monday Reset initiative supports New Year’s resolutions throughout the year.

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The program provides weekly reminders to reinforce habits and actions that can prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other debilitating chronic health conditions, said Ron Hernandez, managing director of the Monday Campaigns.

The “Monday Cues” circulated by the nonprofit can range from reminders to practice deep breathing for 5 to 8 minutes to combat stress as well as recipes for meatless meals and encouragement to increase exercise such as running a “Monday Mile.”

The weekly Monday “resets” are especially useful following weeks where diet, exercise, and wellness goals may have gone unmet.

That can lead to a slump in motivation that contributes to the 20 percent of people who fail or give up on their New Year resolutions in the first two weeks, said Hernandez.

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He noted that research from the Data Decisions Group conducted for the Monday Campaigns found that 73 percent of respondents said that refreshing their intentions every Monday would help them stick to their New Year’s resolutions.

A similar number said the resets help them get back on task after indulging over the weekend.

“If you fall off the wagon, it gives you 52 opportunities to get back on track or refresh your goals,” Hernandez told ishonest.

Why Mondays?

Health-related Google searches peak after the weekend, according to researchers.

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That’s why health-promotion programs such as The Monday Campaigns focus their outreach efforts on the beginning of the work week.

People are more likely to begin new diets and exercise routines, or take positive health steps like quitting smoking or scheduling doctor’s appointments on Mondays than on any other day, according to The Monday Campaigns, which is a public health initiative associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

“There’s a spike in people getting health information on Mondays and Tuesdays more than any other day of the week, and people are also more receptive to the information on those days,” said Hernandez.

Interest in The Monday Campaigns’ Meatless Mondays campaign and other initiatives also rises around the New Year, he noted.

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Beginning the week with healthy behaviors helps to support good intentions throughout the week, according to research from the Data Decisions Group.

“People who commit to changes on a Monday are more likely to continue through the rest of the week,” Hernandez said.

“Mondays are also a cultural concept. People absolutely view it as a beginning,” he added. “There is a percentage of people who view Mondays as something to dread, but also many who see it as an opportunity to get back on track.”

Plenty of Monday programs

This is all true even in a year when the calendar dictates that many people start their new resolutions in the middle of the week.

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Given the low success rate of most resolutions, the first Monday of the new year isn’t too soon to recommit to your goals, said Hernandez.

The Mondays Campaign partners with employers, schools, the media, and community groups to encourage healthy changes.

Affiliated campaigns include Meatless Monday, Kids Cook Monday, the stop-smoking Quit and Stay Quit Monday, Caregiver Monday, Man Up Monday (aimed at raising awareness of sexual health), the exercise-focused DeStress Monday.

There’s also Monday 2000, which encourages adults to reduce their calorie intake to 2,000 per day.

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