Every New Year, I hear a lot about resolutions. I consider myself generally self-motivated and do my best to address bad habits when I realize them popping up, and not usually waiting for a specific time like the new year to tackle them. However, there is one bad habit that I’ve had my entire life that I still have trouble breaking: waking up early on a regular basis.
In normal times, I had no trouble waking up early when something exciting was happening, like a big event or catching an early flight. However, I’ve never been able to regularly wake up on time for everyday life, like going to work or class on time. This habit has just gotten worse in self-isolation, when I could literally roll out of bed and check-in to work without putting on a face of makeup or donning real clothes.
So, in the spirit of the New Year, I decided to take a week to meet one simple goal: wake up before 9AM on every work day. (Yes, this is something that I was not doing previously but I should have been! Things are getting bad!) Read on to see how my week went…
Day 1 (Monday)
I did a pretty intense weight lifting workout the day before and it left me a little more sore than usual. Though I was in bed and ready to sleep a lot earlier than usual, I tossed and turned for longer than expected and, as a result, my sleep wasn’t as restful as I wanted it to be.
All that to say… I barely made my goal this morning. I ignored my 7:25AM alarm, then pushed my next alarms back from 8:00AM, to 8:20AM, to 8:30AM, to 8:45AM, when I realized I only had 15 minutes to meet my goal and finally shuffled out of bed.
Day 2 (Tuesday)
I got up at 8:30AM this morning – still before my 9AM goal, but even still, a lot later than I was hoping.
I was more conscious about reading before bed and turned in a lot earlier than the night before, and didn’t toss and turn as much either. My sleep was actually pretty restful! However, I think my alarm caught me in the middle of a REM cycle, and it was hard to pull myself out. As a result, I found myself in another snooze-wake cycle. Truthfully, the only thing that kept me from sleeping in early was the desire to “beat” the previous day’s wake-up time!
(Honestly, if that’s the only thing that keeps me out of bed this week – then I’ll be waking up at 7:30 in no time!)
Day 3 (Wednesday)
I failed! I jumped out of bed at exactly 9AM this morning.
This morning, I noticed that the quality of my sleep has improved tremendously. I haven’t been waking up in the middle of the night. I’ve also been falling asleep significantly quicker than I had been in the past. I am chalking this up to two factors: my increased focus on sleep hygiene and my humidifier.
The flip side to this, as I mentioned previously, is that it feels even harder to get out of bed when my alarm interrupts a deep sleep cycle. At first, I thought it was because of my sore muscles after hard workouts, but nope! It’s just me!
Day 4 (Thursday)
I failed again, and got out of bed at 9:15AM.
Today, I learned that my boyfriend’s behavior actually influences my own much more than I thought it would. He started a new job this week and woke up early for the first three days of the week in order to drive into the office. It was a lot easier for me to force myself out of bed when he was already out at a decent time. However, when we’re both working remotely, we both have a tendency to sleep in as long as possible. I wish I had the willpower to get out of bed on my own…
Another day, another fail – I got out of bed shortly after 9AM.
I was hoping that writing these blog posts would help motivate me to get out of bed, but once I started missing my goal, it was really hard to turn things around. I distinctly remember laying in bed before my alarm went off for the fifth time, thinking, “I already missed the last two days, why bother today?“
I am weak!
I was hoping that the combination of (1) the changes that I wanted to consciously incorporate into my nightly routine and (2) knowing that I would be writing this post would finally push me over the edge and motivate me to finally wake up at a reasonable time. However, despite my best efforts (and yes, waking up at 9:15AM when I should be ready to work by 9AM is an improvement), it did not work!
As disappointed as I am in myself, I was able to take away from lessons that I can keep in mind moving forward (or when I try this challenge again):
- Knowing that I would be writing this blog post did help… at least, for the first two days. I’m already mentally preparing for another round, hoping the knowledge that I fell flat on my face the first time around will keep me from failing again.
- I became more aware of factors that did help my sleep a lot, including running my humidifier while I sleep and having a wind-down period away from my computer before bed.
- Similarly, I became more aware of factors that did not help my sleep, including alcohol and staying up reading late into the night.
I’m hoping to try this challenge again in the near future – just because I want to be serious about this resolution in the new year!