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An Exercise in Will Power – Level 2

April 12, 2010

So, for a week (and two days, if you want to be really literally about it), I worked on strengthening my will power by making myself get up every morning at 7 am.

I wrote a blog post every morning while I was drinking my coffee and eating my breakfast, because it engaged my mind and made it so I didn’t go straight over the couch in my office and curl up under a blanket. Would it still have counted as will power if I had made myself get out bed at 7, just to curl up on the couch at 7:10? Probably not.

But part of the reason why I so desperately wanted to curl up on the couch so soon after crawling out of bed is that I didn’t change any of my other habits. Including the habit of going to bed after midnight almost every night.

Now it’s true that a lot of people only really need six or seven hours of sleep, but I have found that a full seven hours, no less, is ideal for me. And if I’m going to bed after midnight, that means I’m not falling asleep until 12:30 or 1 am, which means I’m definitely not getting a full seven hours.

For a week, maybe, this is sustainable. The last few days were harder, but it was still sustainable. I’ve been making myself get up at 7 am for almost two weeks now, but this morning, while I got out of bed at 7:10 am, I was definitely curled up on the couch again by 7:30–ostensibly to read a book–and was fast asleep shortly thereafter.

So starting tonight, I’m going to add a new layer to my will power training: I’m going to be lying in bed by 11 pm. If I read, I can only read until 11:30, and then it’s lights out. This will be more challenging that the last will power task, because when Ben is home in the evening, he likes to watch The Daily Show and so it’ll be hard to keep up with the routine. It will be worth it though, because on the days when I was awake enough to enjoy it, I really did like being up at 7 and watching the day break while I worked.

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