I might be in danger of going off into the weeds, as they say, regarding my 17 challenges in ’17. Perhaps it’s not so much as I’ve been going astray as it is that I’m just not meeting the challenges as I hoped I would. And is that the real problem … too much hope and not enough decisive action.
If you’re a new reader or not sure what I’m referring to, here’s a brief refresher. Rather than defining resolutions, goals, or intentions for 2017, I developed 17 challenges through which I hope to break a few bad habits as well as instill some better ones. Each challenge is for three weeks and then I move onto the next one. Below is the list and schedule of the challenges as they stand today. There’ve been no changes from the schedule that appeared in the last post. The challenge that just ended was “7 hours of sleep every night” and the one that started last week is “no snooze on morning alarm”.
The fitness tracker I wear has a sleep monitor among its feature so keeping a log of my sleep time is easy. However, achieving the goal of 7 hours a night was not which is nearly beyond comprehension considering how much control I have in this area. I no longer have young children who will wake me in the middle of the night, I don’t have noisy neighbors with dogs that bark at all hours, nor do I have insomnia or other health problems that impede sleep. Truly, the reason I don’t get a full 7 hours of sleep every night is because I just don’t get myself into bed early enough in consideration of time when I need to get up in the morning.
Even the heighten awareness of this character flaw during the last challenge didn’t make much of difference. During the three weeks of the challenge, I clocked in only 6 nights out of 21 where I got at least 7 hours of sleep. I’d had done the same in the three week period prior to this challenge. My average time of sleep was a little bit higher during the challenge period which I guess shows some effort but overall, I think it was a disappointing outcome.
I’m not giving up, I just need to keep striving for improvement. And to emphasize this point, I’m sharing yet another styling for my leopard pants and little black jacket that I featured in my Up Down All-Around post for February. In this look, I’ve chosen my botanical print tunic (seen first here) and a pair of strappy wedge sandals.
So back on point, it’s a known fact that chronic sleep deprivation has been tied to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. I know that when I’m sleep deprived I tend to eat more than I should and it’s not the healthy stuff, either. I have tricks to compensate for morning fog brain like a set of standard routines I follow to ensure that I don’t forget one of my “get ready for the day” steps when I’m really too tired to function. Insufficient sleep can add years to your look because of the effect on your skin and generally lack of alertness. And the scariest impact is the risk of nodding off at the wheel (and my hour plus commutes are already brutal as it is).
So why with all of this knowledge, has it been so hard for me to get 7 hours of sleep? I think that some of it may be due to FOMO, whether it be a television show or social media. Another is that it can be hard to just call it a day and stop, no matter what. Have you ever noticed that there is an odd energy that comes from being overtired that seems to be missing when you’re well-rested? It’s addictive, isn’t it?
A popular theory from the 1960’s says that it takes 3 weeks to break a bad habit and adapt to a new one. I suppose that might be true if you are just adjusting to a new routine, like the new route after you’ve moved but a habit is a habit for a reason. It feels good, or perhaps comfortable, even if it’s bad for you. To get rid of a bad habit, one must also get rid of the pleasure derived from the habit and learn to accept and enjoy the comfort/pleasure of the good habit.
I’ll continue to work on getting into a regular habit of 7 hours of sleep a night as I continue to work on logging at least 250 steps each hour. I held fast on the first challenge for one month which was better than I thought I’d do and I’m much more mindful of my shopping habits now.
Challenge #4 is focused on a habit that is more about mindset than anything else and related in a way to Challenge #3. Besides the sleep monitor, my fitness wearable also has an alarm/reminder feature where it vibrates and of course, the alarm has a snooze. The alarm is quite effective in waking me up and I would set the time ambitiously to give myself plenty of time get in 3 or 4 snooze cycles. Why was I doing this instead of actually sleeping until the time I needed to get up?
I think that the reason may be rooted in the popular notion that we wake up tired instead of refreshed. With a regular dosing of 7 hours of sleep, I should be feel refreshed in the morning when the alarm goes off hence the reason for this challenge. So far, I’ve only slipped one day so I think I may have more success with this challenge.
More on this subject and the results of this current challenge will be covered in the next 17 Challenges in ’17 post. Until then, I hope that you’re succeeding with the goals/intentions/resolutions you made for 2017 and I’d love it if shared about them.
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