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An Exercise in Will Power: Day 5

April 6, 2010

Last night it stormed really hard as I was falling asleep. Despite it being later than I wanted to be going to bed (just after midnight), I kept myself awake just to hear the rain falling.

I sort of paid for it this morning, when I woke up at 6:40, decided not to get up early, and then didn’t get up until 7:10 after my alarm had gone off three times. Part of the original plan, of course, was getting up at the first alarm, no questions, but that’s okay.

One interesting thing that I’ve discovered about will power is that, once you start working to strengthening it, you find that your willpower strengthens in many other areas, not just the one that you’re focusing on.

For example: since I got laid off and started working from home just over two months ago, aspects of my scheduled habits have changed. Because I don’t have to get up and walk out the door in the morning, I keep forgetting to brush my teeth. My old habit was to wake up, get breakfast and coffee, get dressed, brush my teeth, put on my shoes and walk out the door. I still wake up, get breakfast and coffee, and get dressed, but they don’t happen all in a row like they used to, and because I’m not thinking ahead to being out in the world for eight or nine hours, I don’t brush my teeth.

This is particularly distressing because, about a year and a half ago, I spent $2000 to fill cavities caused by drinking too much Mountain Dew in college. Despite having private insurance (it was called something else, but I’m pretty sure it was Medicaid), I had to pay for the dental work mostly out of pocket. Because I didn’t have $2000 just laying around, the work went on credit. We JUST finished paying it off a month ago. Because of the initial expense, and because the dentist warned me about how much more vulnerable my teeth might be, I’ve been trying to be very good about keeping my teeth healthy since then.

And it’s not as though I never think about it in the mornings. (I still brush them religiously at night.) I think, “Oh, I should brush my teeth,” and then I just… don’t. Well, since about Day 3, every time I’ve said to myself, “I should brush my teeth,” I’ve stood up, walked to the bathroom, and done it.

Willpower. What a marvelous thing.

I was also successful in not taking my fiction book (Speaker for the Dead) with me to bed, which is a major victory, and I’m almost finished with a project that, five days ago, I wasn’t sure would ever be done.

If you’re new here and interested in reading how this got started and what I’ve accomplished on previous days:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

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