I was talking to one of the trainers at my gym the other day, and he was telling me about something in fitness called a “cheat day.”
A cheat day is basically for people who are on some kind of diet, and the idea is that they can pick one day out of the week to ‘cheat’ and eat pretty much anything they want.
He told me that doing something like this has a lot of benefits not only psychologically but can be great for staying healthy.
It got me thinking. Could having something like a ‘cheat day’ be healthy for our own lives, and somehow improve them?
Applying Cheat Days Into Your Own Life
Image by Tonya StaabI don’t feel like cheat days should be limited to just people who are on diets. I actually see a ton of value coming from something like this, and the best part is: we probably already have a cheat day set for ourselves.
But we can be better at it.
Take me for example, I like to be a little lazy on Sundays. I wake up a little later than normal, skip the gym, go out all day and try to catch some football with a big plate of hot wings later. Oh, and I generally do not work at all on Sundays.
Basically, I break all of my habits and routines I set for myself through the other 6 days of the week. Just for this one day.
And yes, something this crazy — something every “self-development guru” will swear against, helps me in a few different ways:
- I get a break and switch things up on this day
- I get to rest my mind and body more than I do on other days of the week
- Gives me time to look back on what I accomplished over the past week
- Helps me get mentally prepared for the start of the new week
- It really does help me achieve my goals
It’s not that we create cheat days because we’re lazy, or so we can find excuses to not do what we’re supposed to. It’s to give us some time off from the regular routine and allow ourselves to break it, without feeling bad about it.
Kind of like a reward, to keep us sane. And just for one day.
You may think it’s crazy to want to break off from your regular habits. I couldn’t blame you for thinking that having a cheat day would help you develop bad habits more than good ones.
As long as you can discipline yourself and remain consistent throughout the week, you can easily learn how to apply a non-destructive cheat day into your week.
Here are some tips for doing just that:
1. The Day You Pick Is Important
You can’t have a cheat day without picking the right day. Try to pick a day where you don’t usually have too much going on. You’re off from work, you don’t have many comittments, and can easily have a more flexible schedule.
Sunday is pretty much dubbed as a “lazy day” (at least around here it is), but maybe that’s not for you. The only thing that matters about the day you pick is what works best for you. Whether it’s right in the middle of the week, or at the end.
2. Plan Some, Forget Some
On some cheat days, maybe you want to plan a party with some friends or plan a day trip somewhere. Then there are others, where you don’t necessarily have to make plans, but just “go with it.”
Sometimes, the only thing I end up planning is the cheat day itself, not what I’ll actually be doing on the cheat day. And that’s fine. Everyone loves a little advanture right?
3. Don’t Let it Dictate Your Whole Week
Having a cheat day is great, but it’s not something that you should ever live by.
If you find that you’re getting more excited by your cheat day than you are the other days of the week, then it may start interfering with those days. That’s when you know your cheat day is becoming destructive, and you need to consider limiting it or removing it for a while.
That, and you may need to reconsider what you’re doing on your non-cheat days because they should generally be more exciting and fulfilling.
4. Let it Set the Tone for Your Week
A successful cheat day, I feel, is one that will get you ready to take on the rest of the week. You’ll not only be more well-rested, but will have had time to enjoy life and all things you have in it.
That’s really the biggest thing I gain from these days: is that I can really look back and see all that I’ve accomplished and get a sense of pride. Naturally, it will just get you pumped up for the rest of your week.
5. Maybe, A Cheat Day Isn’t For You
We’re all different. Maybe you already have implemented a schedule into your life that you’re happy with. And that’s totally fine. I didn’t write this post to force you to change your routines, just to give you a perspective on something a little different.
What’s Your Cheat Day Look Like?
Think back through the last couple of weeks. Do you remember making any day your cheat day, and sort of breaking away from the norm? Maybe you’ve already established a cheat day, and I’d love to know how it has helped improve yourself. Share your thoughts, opinions and own routines in the comments below!