Chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer kill over 1.7 million Americans each year and result in billions of dollars of preventable health care expenses and productivity losses. We simply need to change our behaviors and sustain that change. That’s where Monday comes in; it’s the January of every week, the call to action built into every calendar. Research suggests that Monday messaging helps people start and sustain healthy behaviors.
Here are 5 key reasons for organizing health and wellness initiatives around Monday:
- People already use Monday as a day dedicated to health.
- On Monday people set weekly health intentions and are hungry for help.
- The week is the unit of time critical in shaping human destiny, and Monday is its beginning.
- Monday as a new beginning represents a common cultural experience.
- Monday carries negative connotations, which people are trying to overcome.
We asked a nationally projectable sample of 1,500 adults over 25 on what day they were most likely to begin healthy behaviors like exercise, dieting or smoking cessation. They favored Monday by a factor of between 8 and 10. 1 Over half viewed Monday either as a day to get their act together or as a day for a fresh start. 2 By using Monday for the delivery of health messaging you can tap into existing positive associations and behaviors.
On Monday people set weekly health intentions and are hungry for help.
People are realizing that a healthy start on Monday means a healthier week, and they’re looking for help to make it happen. A projected 74% of American adults over twenty-five believe that giving healthy intentions a Monday start will make them more lasting throughout the week. 3 And 70% report being open to Monday messaging to help them uphold healthy intentions. 4 By using Monday for the delivery of health messaging you can help people where they need it most.
Moving through our daily lives we tend to think in terms of weeks. Our calendars reflect this. We use them to keep track of where we should be and where we are going. Each week represents a fresh chance to shape our present and our future. 5 Studies support this. One study found that participants who received weekly prompts―as opposed to prompts every few weeks―were much more likely to engage in the target behavior of walking.6 And many more studies advance the week as an adequate, economical interval of time for the delivery of effective health messaging. 7 By using Monday for the delivery of health messaging you can leverage the power of the week.
For the 66% of Americans who work weekdays, Monday is the perceived beginning of each week. 8 It is an experience an even greater percentage of the population internalizes at an early age in school and carries throughout adulthood. By using Monday for the delivery of health messaging you can frame your cause with one of the few cultural experiences still shared among Americans.
A cultural movement is rising up to combat the negative connotations of Monday by reframing the day in a positive light. 9 Research suggests that the Monday blues derive more from collective expectations than actual experience. While many people – polled Sunday – expected their mood on Monday to be poor, in the moment they reported feeling no better or worse than on any other day. 10 Nevertheless, on Monday the incidence of occupational injuries, strokes, suicides, heart problems and referrals to secondary care spike significantly. Researchers speculate that unhealthy behaviors on the weekend are to blame, along with disturbances in sleep patterns and increased stress. 11 By using Monday for the delivery of health messaging you may make people happier and help extend lives.
1 – 4. FGI Research Survey: nationally projected sample of consumer households and businesses, about 1,500 25+ adults. Percentages not displayed in charts represent respondents who answered questios with either “no preference” or “not applicable.”
5. Zeruabavel E. The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press; 1989.
6. Lombard DN, Lombard TN, Winett RA. “Walking to Meet Health Guidelines: The Effect of Prompting Frequency and Prompt Structure.” Health Psychology 14(2), 1995: 164 – 170.
7. A few relevant studies:
Conn VS, Burks KJ, Minor MA, Mehr Dr. “Randomized Trial of 2 Interventions to Increase Older Women’s Exercise.” American Journal of Health Behavior 27(4), 2003: 380 – 388.
Block G, Block T, Wakimoto P, Block CH. “Demonstration of an E-mailed Worksite Nutrition Intervention Program.” Preventing Chronic Disease 1(4), 2004: A06.
Napolitano MA, Fotheringham M, Tate D, et al. Evaluation of an internet-based physical activity intervention: a preliminary investigation. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2003; 25(2):92-9.
8. McMenamin TM. “A Time to Work: Recent Trends in Shift Work and Flexible Schedules.” Monthly Labor Review 130(12), 2007: 3 – 15.
9. A few manifestations of this movement:
10. A few relevant studies:
Areni CS, Burger M. “Memories of “Bad” Days Are More Biased Than Memories of “Good” Days: Past Saturdays Vary, but Past Mondays Are Always Blue.” Journal of Applied Psychology 38(6), 2008: 1395 – 1415.
Totterdell P, Parkinson B, Briner RB, Reynolds S. Forecasting feelings: The accuracy and effects of self-predictions of mood. Journal of Social Behavior & Personality. 1997; 12(3):631-650.
Stone AA, Hedges SM, Neale JM, Satin MS. Prospective and cross-sectional mood reports offer no evidence of a ‘blue Monday’ phenomenon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1985; 49(1): 129-134.
11. A few relevant studies:
Evan C, Chalmers J, Capewell S, et al. “I don’t like Mondays” – day of the week of coronary heart disease deaths in Scotland: study of routinely collected data. British Medical Journal.2000;320(7229): 218-9
Manfredini R, Casetta I, Paolino E, et al. Monday preference in onset of ischemic stroke. American Journal of Medicine. 2001;111(5): 401-3.
McCleary R, Chew KSY, Hellsten JJ, Flynn-Bransford M. Age- and Sex-Specific Cycles in United States Suicides, 1973 to 1985. American Journal of Public Health. 1991;81(11):1494-1497.