Daily Progress – Habit #1 Establishing Consistent Bedtime/Waketime

I described my plan for my first habit (into bed by 10:00 p.m. and out of bed by 6:00 a.m.) in my last post. This is my first report.

Bedtime challenges:
I forgot my daughter’s dance workshop lasted until 9:30 p.m., which meant I had to go pick her up when she was done, and it’s not like she can just walk out to the car at exactly 9:30; she needs a few minutes to gather her things. Then we made a stop to get her something to drink, so by the time we got home it was almost 10:00 p.m. I’m not the kind of mom who can say, “Oh well, g’night, see you tomorrow!” I have to hang out with my little girl for a few minutes at least! So I didn’t make it to bed by my deadline – it was actually a little bit past 10:30. The dance workshop is all week, so this will be the challenge every night.

What worked:
Even though I didn’t want to go to bed the instant I got home with my daughter, I went ahead and got into my pajamas so that I was ready for bed. That was surprisingly helpful, and here’s why:

In the normal evening routine at my house, my husband goes to bed fairly early. That means the master bedroom and bath are dark and I have to tiptoe around when I go in there. When I am fully dressed, and he is already in bed, I tend to procrastinate going into the bedroom because I don’t like the tiptoeing around in the dark, bumping my foot on his shoes on the floor, tripping on the laundry basket, and feeling around in the dark for the bathroom door. Once I’ve crossed that minefield, I can turn on the light in the bathroom, but I still have to be sneaky quiet. If I wake him, he growls at me. Like a bear. A sleeping bear.

Here is a picture of my master bedroom after my husband has gone to bed.
Here is a picture of my master bedroom after my husband has gone to bed.

Once I’m finally ready to climb into bed, I have to traverse the dark room again, past the shoes and laundry basket, take a hard left at the treadmill, usually identifying it by stubbing it with my toe, to climb into my side of the bed. If, earlier in the day, I left my purse or a book on my side of the bed, it will still be there for me to discover by lying down on it. Often my sleeping bear growls at me again. I really, really, don’t enjoy going in there and stumbling around, so I just don’t go in there and it gets to be 11:00 p.m. and then 12:00 a.m. and then 1:00 a.m. before I finally face the gauntlet.

To be clear, this is not the sum total of my going to bed problems. But it’s an element and putting on my pajamas while the master bedroom was accessible to me was a huge help. I also took a minute to make sure my side of the bed was ready for me, fluffed the pillows and pulled down the covers. Once I was ready for bed, I simply slipped quietly into the darkened room and into my bed. I will plan on making that part of my bedtime habit.

Waketime challenges:
I was actually awake before my alarm went off! This never happens. I checked the time about 5:40 a.m. and opted to lay there awake with my eyes closed until my alarm when off at 6:00. Then, of course, I was suddenly drowsy and didn’t want to open my eyes and leap from my covers to start the day. Funny how that works. But, I wish I had just gone ahead and gotten up, and here’s why:

I have a phone addiction. My alarm is on my phone and since I put my hand on my phone as soon as the alarm sounds, I may as well keep it in my hand and look at it! I equate checking my email and social media first thing in the morning to reading a morning newspaper – I just want to know what’s going on today. But this morning I spent at least 30-40 minutes playing with my phone after I was up, time I should have been spending getting ready for work. I wish I had gone ahead and gotten up as soon as I was awake at 5:40, because if I had, I could have spent 20 guilt-free minutes playing on my phone before I officially “had” to be up at 6:00.

What worked:
Apparently, going to bed at a decent hour and sleeping all night makes it a lot easier to get up in the morning! Despite the time wasted looking at my phone, I was able to leave the house in time to get to work by 8:00 a.m.

This is what time I left the house! Plenty of time to get to the office, provided I don't turn around to obsessively check the state of the garage door.
This is what time I left the house! Plenty of time to get to the office by 8:00 a.m., provided I don’t turn around to obsessively check the state of the garage door.

What would have worked better:
I still had some laundry in the washing machine that I needed to deal with in the morning. The night before, I had about an hour before I needed to go pick up my daughter after her dance workshop, and I didn’t feel like was enough time to start anything… so I played on my phone. See the trend? Next time, I need to use that hour to take care of the laundry so I am not trying to get something dry before I can finish getting dressed in the morning!

Also, could I have been self-sabotaging when I felt the need, a few blocks from home, to turn back and check to make sure the garage door had gone down? I wasted at least 5 minutes on that this morning. If I had a dollar for every time I felt compelled to drive back to the house and make sure the garage door went down, I would be a lot less worried about my daughter’s college tuition. I need to figure out how to NOT have to do that!

Finally, between wasting time playing on the phone, dealing with wet laundry, and making two trips down the street to check on the state of my garage door, I didn’t pick up any breakfast. That never works out well. Among the many good habits I need to cultivate, eating proper meals at proper times is a major one.

In summary, day one of the Establishing Consistent Bedtime/Waketime Habit went pretty well. There were some problem areas to work on, but that’s why I am here. I hope to develop some good morning and nighttime routines to help, and grow from there.

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