February is almost here!!! And I am actually ready for it. By March, I will be asleep on time, (nearly) every night, and I will feel awesome. Watch out people! I might actually be peppy! Who knows?!?!
So yeah. I am trying out a habit stack. The idea is that you take a small, finite action and tack it onto a current habit. It can more quickly become habitual in this way. I have to do dishes every day, and it is usually the last thing I do every day before I am ready to unwind for ten minutes before bed (Yes. For ten minutes. I have no time…). Okay, I exaggerate, and I waste some time, so I always feel like I have no time. But I am working on that with this 52 Card Experiment.
My habit stack is intended to help me get in bed on time. Thus far over the course of my life I have mostly tried to berate myself into getting into bed on time, but this has yet to be effective, so I will try this research backed approach. After I finish the dishes, I will begin the stack below. I may try to do all five at once, but I will only hold myself accountable for adding one new task to the stack each week, so that I don’t overwhelm myself and also so I stick to the plan, Stan. The 52 Cards Experiment Plan (because seriously, why have structure if you won’t use it, but that is a personal problem probably…)
By the end of the month, I will be sleeping like a baby, and I ought to be a much more pleasant person to have around the house. :D
Here is your video update for the last few weeks, and I will update each of the cards below as the weeks go on.
Card 5: Plug in my phone in the living room (not my bedroom)
Every night, I get sucked into the vortex of the Internet. Whether by the news, social media, old photos, I can surf forever on the endless content my magical little device contains. But, it is bad for me. I don’t have that kind of time anymore, and my surfing rarely leaves me feeling relaxed and ready to sleep. Plus, “they” say that the blue light is bad for sleeping well, and holy cow, sleep is the most important thing in the world for health, wellness, and general sanity.
So. I need to be rid of my phone before bed. My plan was to get out my little travel alarm clock to use next to my bed, but it appears my kiddos broke it. So I will use an old phone and set it to airplane mode and try to use it only as an alarm clock so I don’t get sucked into surfing before bed.
How it went: Pretty badly. I was actually really good about doing this a few weeks ago, but with a friend visiting one week then the hubs traveling (which leaves me crazed and exhausted by evening) coupled with the insanity of US politics right now, I had a hard time cutting myself off from phone time. It wasn’t all Facebook; I got Trevor Noah’s new book Born a Crime on the Audible app, and he is reading it aloud (I love his voice). I was bringing the phone all over with me after the kids went to sleep, unable to “put the book down,” so to speak. I highly recommend it. I had no clue he was such a hooligan as a kid! And his mom, wow. Just an amazing book. Anyway, back on the horse this next week, and adding the next card. I think it will help me to have the second card in the stack, as two actions might more easily become routine than just a single one.
My old cards are doing pretty well, though I haven’t been smiling as much. Potty training Kiddo 2 has been awful. I really wasn’t convinced he was ready, but his teacher insisted…sigh. I should have stuck with my gut.
Card 6: Make a dim and cozy lighting scheme at night to promote sleepiness
I am a ridiculous human that expects to fall asleep the moment I close my eyes despite years of evidence to the contrary. So I will finally accept the fact that I could use a little mood lighting to get a good night’s sleep. I love candles, so I think I will be looking forward to doing this every night. Fingers crossed it will help!
How it went: This has been going very well actually. I think I remember to do this most nights, though we have extremely bright lightbulbs in one bathroom. It wakes me up a bit to use the toilet before bed, but I have zero interest in replacing the bulb as a renter with a terrible landlord (we might have to move again…sigh). So I will just deal. It can also be difficult to set the lighting when my spouse is working somewhere in the house that I want to be, so compromise is in order. But overall, this is good! I think it is helping to put me in a sleepy mood at night.
Card 7: Listen to relaxing music before bed
This is an extension of the “get in the mood” plan. I love listening to music, but rarely take the time to turn it on. Hopefully this will have a positive impact on my stress levels and help me relax and unwind before bed (in a healthier way than a bottle of wine). I will start with the MOST RELAXING SONG IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, at least according to scientists. Have a listen here.
How it went: So I have only managed to do this once. Pitiful, I know. And it is a pleasant thing! The last few weeks have been crazy, having had my parents visiting and being sick, but fingers crossed I can manage it this week. The one time I did it, I loved it. So relaxing. But I am a slave driver of a human being, and I am hard-pressed to give myself a break; rest and relaxation takes a backseat to getting stuff done or berating myself for not getting stuff done. It’s really so silly, because I know just how important rest is to being more productive; yet I just haven’t managed it…. Yet.
Card 8: Ten minute tidy up (evening installment)
I hate to clean up. But everyone says that a cleaner space will result in less stress, and I want less stress before bedtime. Plus, the hubs will totally love me (more) for doing this. The ten minute limit is because once I start I don’t want to stop and I will organize the house like a fiend to procrastinate. You just get into that flow state and it is hard to stop. And then I won’t want to do it again because who has hours to do this daily. A ten minute limit sounds easy to me, so it should require very little willpower to get the habit started.
How it went: So I thought I was supposed to be doing sleepy yoga (duh, I know I should have referenced my checklist, but I thought I knew what I was doing), and I only did the sleepy yoga once (the day I listened to music). So yeah, the tidy up has been happening as a matter of necessity, but not limited to ten minutes and not as part of the habit stack.
Card 9: Sleepy Yoga
I don’t yet know what poses I will do, but I know a lot of yoga fanatics and I can Google. So I will figure out what this will look like closer to week 9. The goal, as with all of the above, is to relax, reduce stress, and get in a bedtime frame of mind. This is last because all of my attempts at other yoga habits have failed. LOL, nothing like a little procrastination…
How it went: HOORAY! Finally! (Relative) Success! Meaning, I have done the above habit stack for about four days now, which is longer than I managed to do it before (zero days). I feel awesome about it, as you can tell. I am loving some parts of the routine, like turning the lights down, but other parts are harder. I love listening to music, but I am still obsessed with listening to podcasts and books on Audible, so I hate unplugging. I think I NEED to shut down earlier though, so I need to keep on keepin’ on. Now if I can just keep the kiddos in their beds all night, I might start feeling the great effects from better sleep.
Below is a video update from four days ago, when I decided I was going to make this habit stack happen, finally.