Last night I got the first good night’s sleep I’ve had in a while. I had some very fun, vivid dreams and woke up fairly rested. This needs to happen more often.
Much of my problem is that I don’t allow myself enough sleep. It’s not that I have trouble falling asleep; it’s that I have trouble going to bed. I get into something later in the evening and it turns into, “Well, maybe one more episode/level/chapter/whatever.” Next thing I know, it’s after midnight, I’m overstimulated, and I still gotta get up around 6:30 the next morning.
I’m convinced that correcting my poor sleeping habits will have a significant effect on my other bad habits. Ideally, I’d like to go to bed between 10-11pm so I can wake up well-rested around 6-6:15am. Why get up earlier? To get in some much-needed morning workout time. Maybe jump rope or at least some basic calisthenics. Then I can get to work primed and pumped, as opposed to lurching in, barely lucid.
That, combined with another workout (like cardio or weight training) would aid in getting me to bed on time to start the cycle again. This, of course, is the ideal replacement for my current remedy: Self-medication (read: drinking). In fact, even though it helps me get to sleep at night, it wrecks my morning and thus my entire day, which defeats the whole purpose. Plus I should just drink less anyway; saving it for special occasions and social events. Affects on sleep aside, it’s not been kind to my body or my mind overall.
I obviously know what I should do, so why aren’t I doing it? Well, self-discipline is hard. That sounds like a whiny cop-out, but anyone who’s tried to break a personal habit by themselves knows it’s true. This is one of the benefits I miss from having a girlfriend: You have that other person who cares enough to support your goals and make you accountable for them. I don’t know when I’ll next have that luxury, so until then I’ll continue wrestling with it on my own.
For me, the best method to make or break habits is routine. I need to set up a program for myself and stick to it. The challenge is not in meeting those goals, but creating consequences for when I don’t. Right now, it’s way too easy for me to hit that Snooze button, indulge in drink and comfort foods, and plotz in front of the TV for hours into the night. I’ve just got it too damn good!
What I’ll probably need to design are rewards that I can only reap if I meet my goals. Then the consequence will be missing out on those things, should I slack off. The rewards can be anything between saving money to afford a special treat or building on myself to achieve a career goal. These things may lose their value if my depression kicks back in, but then forming these good habits should theoretically remedy that issue as well.
The things that ail me (in health, morale, career, etc.) and their solutions… They’re all connected. Right now, I’m a tangled mess of a man. What I’m looking for is that one thread that will tie everything together and hold them in place.