How to Find the Joy in Mondays

Filed under: Getting the Most out of Life!
It’s Monday.  The day that brings distress to many, judging by memes like these:
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For me, Monday is a chance to start fresh. Shake of any frustrations of the past week, get started on something new, and look forward to something new; you never know what the next week will bring.

I wasn’t always like this. I used to dislike Mondays but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate every day, Mondays included. I believe it’s because it takes time to truly understand yourself, the world, and your place in it. As you get older, you begin to appreciate every day, even the shit days, because each day is an opportunity to see something new, learn more about the world, love someone a little bit longer, and be happy to just be.  In fact, I’ve come to learn that happiness is a choice. You can dwell on all the shit that is wrong with your life and the world or you can make the best of what you have, work to make things better, be joyful, and realize that every day you wake up (with the physical ability to move, the mental ability to ponder the great mysteries of the universe, and the emotional ability to love someone/thing) it is a good day!

Now, before you puke at my overly sunny disposition, let me add that I cannot stand it when someone preaches ‘mindfulness’ to me. That word drives me batty. Mindfulness, blech. But, an overused word notwithstanding, choosing to keep on the sunny side just makes for a nicer life (and fewer frown lines). Since I started making an effort to see the glass as half-full (in my early 30s), I have had more opportunities come my way, made deeper friendships, and enjoyed my life more. There are still blips on the happiness radar that harsh my vibe, but there are minimal and all I need to do is go for a walk with my trusty canine companion and my upbeat outlook returns.

Yikes! I just realized this post is the equivalent of a 20-minute millennial’s vlog – 19 minutes of random yak-flapping before getting to the point. So, enough of that, here’s the point of today’s post.

Everybody needs an “ASG—Arbitrary Stupid Goal”.

This is a wonderful philosophy that is not new but perfectly defined by Kenny Shopsin, father of Tamara Shopsin, whose memoir Arbitrary Stupid Goal is one of the best things I’ve read in several years. Witty and engaging, with wonderfully deep emotion that doesn’t come across as sappy or melancholy.

An ASG is defined as: A goal that isn’t too important, makes you live in the moment, and still gives you a driving force. This driving force is a way to get around the fact that we will all die and there is no real point to life.

While this could devolve into an existential crisis, let’s focus on the fun aspect. An ASG is NOT your raison d’être. It’s just a little something you have to look forward to to keep you moving forward and it’s a great little tool to get your Monday going. I’ve used ASGs every day for years and didn’t realize it until I read Tamara Shopsin’s memoir. Here are my tried and true ASGs – all small things to look forward to doing, seeing, experiencing. These never fail me.

  • Write down the quote of the day from www.brainyquote.com. If you don’t like the main quote, scroll down the page for topic-related quotes. This ASG can help you discover new authors, philosophers, and artists.
  • Take a POTD (photo of the day). It can be a photo of your coffee cup, dog, view from your window, or anything else you see. This ASG is fun because it can be something you can turn into a year-long project to watch the evolution of your kids, pets, nature, etc.
  • Organize/clean something. This may not be your cup of tea, but if you are like me and love organizing, this ASG is extremely satisfying. Pick a drawer, or a closet, or a basket of stuff and review, organize, cull, or clean.
  • Send someone a note, electronic or otherwise. Write a line or two to a friend in another state/country on some fine stationery, text a motivating message to a loved one, or email a joke to a co-worker. This ASG can help you make time for friends and family, which is always a good thing.
  • Take a walk (or a run) and try to beat your time or distance from the last time. This ASG gets you moving and gives you the opportunity to see something new. It may be  a flower that wasn’t blooming the day before, it may be a new car the neighbor has, or it may be a new route you take. Double-down on this ASG and keep a little notebook of the new things you see each day.
  • Try a new recipe. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Take a usual dish and see how you can alter it to make something new. This ASG can go miles in cleaning out the pantry and enhancing your creative kitchen capabilities.
  • Try a new outfit combination. Shop your closet and put together items you haven’t paired before. This ASG can help you on the road to creating a minimal, versatile wardrobe.
  • Finally, my favorite ASG (it’s travel-related so, of course, it’s my favorite) – Research a place you haven’t been to but want to go. Set aside 5 minutes in your day to learn about a destination that you would love to cross off your travel list. Travel forums like TripAdvisor are great for learning about a place and seeing traveler photos. Use Google Street View Collections to find your destination; likely there will be panoramic photos and other images you can enjoy.  Or, just head over to Google Maps and you can play Where’s  Waldo? this week making for a unique ASG (can you find him at least once a day?).
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    There you have it! How to make Monday a great day! All these ASGs can give you something to look forward to on a Monday or any other day of the week.  I hope you got something out of this post and I would love to read about your ASGs. Please post them in the comments and, as always, thanks for stopping by!

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