Introducing my first habit
Welcome to The Habit Tracker! If you’ve read the ‘About’ page, then you know that I started tracking my habits in January 2019 (just 3 months before this post was written) as part of my New Years Resolution. What you might not have gotten from the ‘About’ page is that I chose my first habit out of necessity. I found myself waking up late and groggy every morning, causing me to rush to work. Obviously, this was causing me a lot of stress. So, my first habit was to wake up every weekday at 6am and every weekend at 7am.
This seems kind of obvious to me now, but just telling myself I was now going to wake up at 6am/7am wasn’t really the smartest way to go about it. I didn’t change anything other than my mentality, and because of this, I still couldn’t wake up the way I wanted to. Something else needed to change.
Disclaimer: I’m a bit of a research-o-holic; so, almost everything that I post will probably have some form of research attached to it. I hope that’s okay.
I started my research by googling “how to wake up early.” Simple enough. I found another habits blog called “zen habits” where I found some pretty great advice. Here are a few tips that helped me personally, but be sure to check out the post to see if some of their other tips will be useful for you. The tips I used:
- Allow yourself to sleep earlier.
- Put your alarm clock far from you bed.
- Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm.
The solutions…or so I thought
Looking back at it now, it should have been obvious to me that going to sleep at a more regularly scheduled time would help me to wake up on time. But in my head, the problem was with waking up, not going to sleep. However, once I realized this, I did something I wish I hadn’t done—I added another habit. Now, I was tracking two habits: wake up at 6/7 am and be in bed by 9:30/10:30 pm. On top of adding the new habit, I also moved my phone across the room so that I would have to get up to turn off my alarm and I tried to take showers in the morning, rather than the afternoon. These last two things helped a lot. I found myself mindlessly going to my phone and trudging to the shower, where the hot water would eventually wake me up.
The (second) problem
These solutions actually did help for a while. I was able to wake up early and and actually did feel refreshed. But soon, I got cocky, and despite having read that you should never have more than one habit at a time, I thought I could do it. After 30 days of doing pretty well with my two habits, I decided to add third habit (we’ll talk more about this habit later). This habit was an easy one to do, which only made more cocky. After about 15 days, I decided to add another habit. If you’ve been keeping count, that makes four habits! If you’re thinking that a disaster is about to ensue, you’d be correct. Within two weeks, my first two habits started to derail. This last habit was a big one, and it took all of my thought to work through the problems I was encountering.
The (final) solution
At this point in my journey, I had been doing my first two habits for almost 60 days. Seeing that progress fade before my eyes was painful. I knew that something needed to be done. I decided to take my own advice and take a step back. It hurt, feeling like I was going to lose months worth of progress. I put it off for a few days out of disappointment, but then I remembered that sometimes, in order to move forward, you have to be willing to take a step back.
At first, I got rid of all of my habits except “wake up at 6/7”, but I found myself running into the same problem I had in the beginning. Even though my sleep schedule had become regular, the end of daylight saving time, really messed with my rhythm. I didn’t want to fall into old habits, so I decided to think about what else I could do. Waking up on time (and feeling rested) was still my top priority (with work and all). During my brainstorming, I remembered how well showers had helped me wake up in the past. In the end, I decided to make my new habit was to take a shower at 6/7 every morning.
By choosing this habit, I’m able to more easily wake up in the morning, and I no longer feel that these last few months were a waste. I’m using knowledge that I gained over the last few months to move forward, and that’s all we can do in this journey of change, so I’m content.
This new habit has only been in place for a few days (as of 3/17/19) but check out my Facebook and Instagram pages for quick updates on how it’s going. Also, be sure to look for my updates on blog, as they’re posted!