The habit that I’m working on is getting up early in the morning. I like being up early. The hard part is breaking through my resistance to stay in bed just a little longer.
For much of my life, getting up early was the norm. I felt out-of-sorts if I stayed in bed very late in the morning. It was almost a moral issue for me, like I was somehow lazy if I slept in.
In trying to relax my compulsive need to get up early, I went too far the other way.
And I developed some unhealthy habits during periods of depression. It’s easier to stay in bed when you don’t feel like you have anything to get up for. When the day seems like it’s going to be one more bad day, why hurry into it? Why not delay it just a little longer?
The thing is, I can get up early when there’s something work related that I have to be up for. And I like being up early, when the air is fresher and the birds are singing and not many others are out and about.
Getting up early is a good habit for me. The earlier I get up, the more time I have for some of the things that I’ve been putting off: writing and exercising, for example. It’s harder for me to be active in the evenings because I’m more tired then.
I’m not talking about not getting proper rest. I’m talking about getting enough sleep but timing it so I get up before the sun is very high in the sky.
Sunday night, I set the alarm clock for 6 a.m. That’s the time that seemed right and doable. I’ve been aiming for it off and on for months, with no luck.
Monday morning, I woke up when the alarm, set to the local NPR station, went off.
And I made that mistake: I pushed the snooze button.
I’ve done that many a time without thinking. I’ve just automatically pushed it. But I did it intentionally this time. I thought I’d push it just once and then get up at 6:11.
I finally got up at 7:16. I was disappointed in myself. I know better than to push that snooze button for one more bit of sleep, just one more. But I had done it anyway.
On the other hand, I was up earlier than I had been in a few days. And I decided that I would take time to go on a short walk, up to the end of my street and back home. It’s just six-tenths of a mile, but it’s enough to get me moving and outside, with the air as cool as it’s going to be all day.
Monday night, I set the alarm for 7 a.m. I thought it was more probable I would get up at 7 than 6.
I’m sorry to say, I pushed the snooze button again and got up even later.
So I’m a work in progress. But I’m still trying.
And I’m thinking about the fact that I can get up when I have an early court case to cover or an early interview. Maybe I need to start thinking of other activities—like exercise, like my own writing, like meditation—as just as important as a work assignment.
Do you push the snooze button? If not, how do you keep yourself from doing it?