It's the beginning of the first full week of October, and in central New York we've had some pretty funky weather. Last week we had 4 days in a row in the 90's... in September no less, and that was followed by 3 pretty cold days. We all know it's going to get colder and, based on history, we could even have snow before the month is over.

There are a lot of people who let the weather guide their moods. When it's bad, they're sad. When it's good, their spirits are lifted. The problem seems to exacerbate itself when we work traditional 5-day weeks and Monday is the bad day... whether it's just because it's Monday or because the week starts off bad.

We hate Mondays because it's easier to think of bad part of leaving the weekend as opposed to the good part of having a week where we could possibly set the stage for great things to come. We all feel that the pressure comes back on us on Monday.

But bad days can come at any time... pretty much like good days. It's all in how we decide to approach our day and how we decide to interpret whether it's good or bad. Do we let one bad event spoil the entire day or do we find ways to let that stuff happen and then let it go?

If you're one of those people who decides a bad event leads to a bad day it's time to try a different approach. We need to see each day as another opportunity to be productive; we need to see each day as a day of fun! In my aim to help all of us change our mindset, here are five steps to a better week that will help all of us.

1. Get the hard stuff out of the way first.

Many of us see hard to do things as soul crushing. Most of the time it's probably not quite that bad, but sometimes perception is reality.

The best thing to do is get rid of the hardest things first because you'll feel an amazing sense of accomplishment and relief. Anything you do after that will feel pretty easy (unless everything you have to do is hard lol) and you'll find that yourself in a good place instead of a bad mood.

2. Plan your time.

I've found that I get a true sense of accomplishment when I create do-to lists and see each item checked off based on the A-C criteria that almost everyone recommends. The best part about a list is that you can look back at it and realize just how much you did instead of wondering at the end of the day if you did anything at all.

Seeing accomplishments helps your self esteem; self esteem helps you grow in confidence and, radical as it seems, encourages you to aim for your dreams and goals. As long as you have a dream, you're moving in a positive direction and you'll be a hard person to hold back... even from yourself.

3. Listen to some music.

When I'm out of town on consulting assignments I'm listen to music all day. When I'm home, not so much. Yet, I've found that when I remember to turn on music during the day I feel more positive and actually get more things done.

The style of the music doesn't matter; it only has to be something you enjoy that's not overly distracting. If you can listen to loud music and still get work done, it's all good. If you can't concentrate on what you need to do because you're grooving to your favorite tunes all day you'll never get anything done. This means you'll feel good while it's playing but bad later when you realize how much time you wasted.

4. Open the curtains, if not the windows.

When I was home by myself most of the day I only opened the curtains in my office and then only a little bit. Now that my mother's living with me and my wife is working from home the curtains are open all the time. I almost hate to admit it but even when the weather's bad outside I feel better mentally because I feel more a part of the world than I did before.

When the weather's more temperate, I've also gotten accustomed to opening the windows and letting more fresh air in. When it's not allergy season or my grass isn't being cut, it feels pretty wonderful and offers its own type of aroma therapy.

5. Think of things that make you smile rather than your problems.

This might seem a bit pollyanna, but it works. Whenever I feel the need for a mental boost I tend to lean towards some pretty specific things. Thinking and looking at pictures of puppies and happy babies always changes my mood for the better. Thinking about old Warner Brothers cartoons also does the same thing, especially specific lines from certain episodes.

Laughter can be healing, as many studies have shown. It can help heal the brain, promote longevity, and boost the immune system. Some people have said that it's reversed their cancer... although I'd recommend you still follow your doctor's advice on that one.

Those are my five steps to a better week. There are many others you could consider such as eating right, exercising and meeting with friends that are just as strong. What do you do that helps make your week go better? I hope it's not alcohol! 😉

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