Anyone who has read my blog knows that I have a very hard time getting up in the mornings. I am not a morning person at all. While I often have good intentions of going to bed early and waking up naturally at six, it never works out for me. I live in fear that I am going to sleep through the early meetings that are scheduled. (For some reasons, administrators tend to be larks.)
This past Wednesday, our regular 9:45 meeting was rescheduled for 8:30. Tuesday night, I set five alarms. I’m serious. FIVE. One on my iPad. One on my iPhone. And three regular ones, with sounds that varied from gentle bird songs to a jarring fire alarm. (If you are interested, I can give you a detailed history of the alarm clocks that I’ve used and abused during the years.)
The good news is that I made it to the meeting. The bad news is that I have another such meeting this Friday, and I will go through the same anxious procedure. And I’m pretty sure that one day, I won’t make it.
While I have other good habits I need to adopt, being able to get up when the alarm goes off will make the biggest positive difference in my life right now. So when I saw the book Tiny Habits by Stanford behavior scientist, B. J. Fogg, I had to buy it.
First, he made me feel better by stating that motivation alone is not enough. I am extremely motivated to get up on time in the mornings. But for most people, motivation is not enough. In my case, I have warring motivations: One is to get up on time. The other is to read one more chapter before I go to sleep.
He argues that what we need to consider are the easiest steps we can take to get us on the right track. For me, I needed to make some changes in my environment. And that is what I am doing.
I’ve started with my phone and tablet. At night, I now charge one downstairs and one in the other bedroom. This eliminates the bad habit of just checking my email or the news after I put down my book and before I turn out the light. And Fogg was right. It has been easy to do. And I get to sleep faster.
I’m pretty sure that this night owl is never going to become a lark. But I’m already planning to start adding in reading time so that my bedtime is really sleep time. And I’m even considering to read less-exciting books at night, so I won’t be tempted to keep turning pages.
Setting up your environment for success can really be effective, and it can be used in all sorts of situations (personal habits, work, classrooms).
(And I hope, in a month or two, I’ll have some alarm clocks to give away.)