So I went to bed later than I would’ve liked yesterday, but I thought I’d still get a good night’s sleep- which I think I did. My alarm went off at 730am, which I woke to, but I didn’t get out of bed. I really ought to do the “lie down in bed and practice getting up when the alarm goes off” thing. I lingered in bed until 830– and at 9am I got my phone out and started doing random nonsense– FB, Twitter, and now it’s 10am and the wife is in the shower so I have to wait for her before I can leave. Completely sabotaged my own plan to wake up early and get some work done before “regular” hours. The one thing I’m doing slightly differently is– instead of continuing to waste time, I’ve decided to write a word vomit. No zero days, remember? If I get it out of the way earlier in the day, then I won’t have to do it before I go to bed. The fewer things I leave till the end of the day, the more confidently and comfortably I can go to bed early.
But yeah, I really need to practice getting up fast. I was telling my wife how I feel really lethargic in the morning– like my brain’s not there, like I don’t have enough cognitive energy or resources to make the decision to leave the bed. I feel drowsy, like I’d collapse or something. Intellectually I’m guessing this isn’t the case. I’m writing this right now despite being really groggy, probably because I made the decision in advance that this should happen.
So some of my advance decisions play out the way I want them to, and some of them don’t. I think if I develop a better understanding of how that works, I should be able to make more successful advance decisions, and that should allow me to fulfill more of my responsibilities in less time. That would reduce the burden and pressure on my day-to-day life and I’d be happier, healthier, better able to contribute, all that good stuff.
Okay, so what’s the difference? Well, with the vomits I know there’s a piece of paper that I need to fill out. I started an X effect (7 weeks of daily X’s) in a piece of paper that I keep in my wallet. Also, I’ve done vomits before– 300+ of them– so I can reasonably do one on autopilot. I think that’s actually the more challenging thing. I think the reason I don’t wake up early and get out of bed early is because I don’t have enough experience doing it. The only time I did it successfully was when I was in the army, and that was when there were a whole bunch of other guys in the room with me, and we all had to get out and get prepped up and downstairs at the parade square else we’d get in trouble.
But that’s an interesting data point, isn’t it? It means that I AM physically capable of getting up. I just need certain environmental cues that are somehow lacking in my current situation. Well… we’d also go to sleep really early in the army, so I’m sure that helped. But there were nights where I was sleepless, and yet would wake up early anyway. (I’d get drowsy later in the day if we were in lectures or something, but again– context makes so much of a difference.)
I hate to say “if you’re not doing it, it means you don’t want it badly enough”. I think that’s one of the most annoying things anybody could possibly say. There are all sorts of people who are good at doing things despite not really wanting it very badly (say, if all your family and friends and peers ate really healthily, you’d be born into that world and be really good at it even if you never really gave much of a thought as to what healthy eating might be necessary for). Similarly there are people who really want to do something but they just haven’t gotten all the variables right. Lifestyle change is especially complicated– there are many different things you have to do and change all at once, and you have to hold another bunch of things constant… it’s definitely more things than an individual can do in a given instance, because if you could turn your life around just by wishing it hard enough and taking a few steps in a given instance, then you’d have done it already. The hard part is following through, sticking to it, day after day even though the moods change, the weather in your head changes, etc.
So explanations aside– why haven’t I taught myself to wake up early? I keep hoping that this time will be different. I keep hoping I’ll get better at banging my head through the wall. Clearly my approach is insufficient. And when I wake up, now I get pretty good at holding my phone and then turning off the alarm, (I think. This time I know I heard the alarm. Sometimes it feels like I don’t hear it.) But the problem is that I’m still in bed, and the only way I can solve this problem is to get out of bed.
This in turn seems to be part of a larger problem where I deliberate too long on things. I was listening to Alan Watts on YouTube and he talked about how in the Zen tradition (or in some Zen traditions), there’s this sense of– if something needs to be done, you do it immediately. You don’t wait, you don’t hesitate. Now if that was a habit in other aspects of life, doing everything now instead of later, then it wouldn’t be a problem. It seems like impulsiveness in action is better, most of the time, than putting things off (if you know that they must be done). I suppose where I typically get tripped up is– I tell myself that I don’t really know if something must be done. We don’t ever really know anything anyway, do we?
Well, I’ll think about that one. I think writing notes to myself in my wallet will really help. I’ll do it after I’m showered.