I have been trying to reset my schedule this week, to sleep early and rise early, to stay focused on work and even get a little exercise in. Amazingly, it is working! All week I made appointments with other people or with myself that required me to get up by 7.30 or 8am. That may not seem early to many people but given that my habit lately has been to sleep until 9 or 10 that was quite an adjustment. I found a running buddy and managed to go to the gym three times this week, a goal I have failed to meet over and over this fall – until now.
The biggest change I’ve made is to set up a “points” system that allows me to reward good habits. If I do the habit, I get points (different amounts depending on what it is) and then I can “spend” them on specific things I’ve picked out ahead of time. A lot of my rewards are food related! However, I’ve noticed that marking out certain things (like a latte, for instance) as a “reward” has stopped me from just purchasing those things on a whim. Suddenly, the latte is more than just $4, it is equivalent to going for a run. And choosing to spend the money on a latte today means I won’t have points for that knitting pattern I wanted to buy later this week. It is really just another form of currency, but I think the smaller scale makes it easier to weigh the choices. I often have a hard time with small purchases because they seem so inconsequential, so this helps somewhat.
I’m only a week into the system at this point, and I’m kind of exhausted. This seems to be mostly due to the combination of waking earlier and bumping up my exercise level. Hopefully this weekend and next week this feeling will help me get to bed a lot earlier, and once I get a few more hours of sleep I should be ok. As long as I can get through the next week or two without giving up (or sleeping in), I might be able to make this work.
Also encouraging is the amount of time I spent on actual school work this week. Most of it was marking, sure, but that is all done now and I’m free to work on my thesis for the next week or so, distraction-free. This is good news, since I have quite a bit of catching up to do!