Creating momentum – with rest

As you can see in the picture I almost reached my goal this week of getting up in the morning of every workday before 7 am, which I defined in my last post. The one failure I had this week even happened on the first day, where I got up at 7 but could not help myself from snoozing for 15 more minutes. At that point I could have ended my little endeavor since I already failed my goal. And in the past I would have done this more often than being persistent like this week. Usually I would have snoozed until 8 or even later, since I already slept too long. And what are a few minutes more? I have to say that through posting my goal for this week in my last post I tried to keep the failure to a minimum and make it better in the coming days.

Having to write the time in big numbers on a whiteboard had an impact on my commitment, too. Much more then the times I typed this numbers into my smart-phone where only I could see them and easily hide from the typed-in times, by not opening the app where I put them. By writing the times on a whiteboard I could not escape from seeing them. Moreover, the task of having to write these numbers by hand gave me more motivation of getting up and avoiding the “painful” task of writing a bad number then I would have had if I tracked the time passively with a wrist fitness tracker or smart-phone app. So if you want to make a change like breaking the habit of sleeping in, I think it is worth a try keeping track of your results by your own handwriting. At least for me it worked well and better than the times I tried out different methods.

Okay, I got up earlier in the morning this week, but this is only half the battle. One some days I was quite tired the whole day, because I got into bed too late. Therefore I will extend my method of the previous week to also track the time I go to sleep. My aim will be to rest my brain for at least seven hours on workdays and give it some more rest on the weekend. From personnel experience, I know that seven hours are still not enough for me, but in the past it often has been around six or six and a half hours. And once again I try to maintain the strategy of taking smaller steps instead of directly aim for an optimal eight or seven and a half.

I believe that the optimal amount of sleep differs from person to person, but I always have a hard time believing people who say they need only five to six hours daily. Are they really well rested or did they forget how that feels like? Because there have been some time periods where I also had forgotten that feeling of well rest. Recently I had the luxury of experiencing it more often. And now I want to work towards having it daily. It is possible for me to get through the week with only six hours of sleep per day and you can easily make up for it on the weekend with one good eight or nine hour sleep. But on Thursdays and Fridays I don’t feel so great in this kinds of weeks. After watching this TED talk about our brain activity during sleep, I automatically imagine to walk around with a lot of garbage in my head that did not get cleared out during my sleep.

When you watch the linked talk you will probably get more suggestions of talks about how you can be more successful by simply sleeping more. There are also a lot of sleep deprivation studies out there like this one, which concludes that being sleep deprived with six or less hours a day for 14 consecutive days is as bad as staying up for two days straight. But no matter what motivation you need to take enough rest, in the end it is all about how you feel with the rest you get and I feel too damn tired during the day with only six hours of rest. So this week is about extending my last week’s endeavor and creating more momentum in changing my habits by simply resting more.

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