I cannot remember a time when I did not wake up on a Monday morning at least a little disappointed the weekend had come to an end and another week of either work, school, or both was about to begin. It is an interesting phenomenon that the second day of each week seems to manifest such dread and anxiety. A self-evident explanation may be people are upset the weekend is over, ending the time for fun and beginning the time for activities that are less enjoyable, i.e., work and school. In recent years, a trend on social media sites, including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, has arisen to try to help people with their Monday blues. That trend being #MondayMotivation, where people post motivational quotes, post links to pages with inspiring content, or just post entertaining memes. But, does it actually help? Do people feel less dreadful because of something they read on the Internet?
Multiple studies show a variety of reasons that may cause people to feel down on Mondays, including, but not limited to, a disruption in the body’s natural rhythm, loss of a sense of freedom, dislike for one’s job, social anxiety, and lack of preparation for the week ahead. (Caroline Bologna, Experts Explain Why Mondays Are So Psychologically Hard, Huffpost (Nov. 16, 2020), https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-mondays-hard psychologically_l_5fb0375ac5b68baab0fcbf8c.) With this in mind, let’s take a look at what motivation actually is. “Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.” (Kendra Cherry, What Is Motivation?, Verrywell Mind (Apr. 27, 2020), https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-motivation-2795378.) People set goals when they want change in their lives. You do not set a goal unless you want something different for the future, and that is usually because you do not like something about the present. Put another way, “At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.” (Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (2012).) When one is feeling down, feeling at rock bottom, it becomes easier to make a change, to change one’s behavior, than it is to continue feeling down. When at that low state, anything that prompts you toward a goal, or gives you a way out of feeling bad can become motivation.
On those Mondays when you are dreading the week, feeling insecure, feeling down about losing your weekend, that is when you are most susceptible to motivation. Therefore, it makes sense that a simple post online can help motivate you for the rest of the day and the week ahead. In essence, motivation works on the those who need it most. If you are already a motivated person, then some simple tweet or meme is not going to give you energy to conquer the world. On the other hand, if you are struggling to get out of bed Monday morning, then a quick inspirational quote or to-do list might just be the spark you need to get going.
In my opinion, this is why a simple trend like #MotivationMonday has been so successful. It works because of its simplicity. Many people are feeling down on Mondays, and therefore, many people are open to motivation in the first place. So, if you are feeling down on a Monday, perform a quick search of #MotivationMonday on your favorite social media site. What you find may just be the spark you need to get your day and week off to a better start.