I read today a post about the snooze function in the alarm clock. While I don’t remember the first time I discovered this function on my alarm clock, I must say the morning ritual described by the writer does ring a bell.
It’s interesting to see how we always fall into a cycle, usually an unhealthy one, and the lengths we go to keep it that way. Be it every night, every Sunday, every month or every 31st December, we are always full of goals and ideas for the following period. As soon as that “tomorrow” is here, we find every way possible to avoid keeping our promise to ourselves.
Every night I vow to go to bed early, so I can have a full night sleep and wake up refreshed, yet every night I fail at achieving my goal. When the alarm goes off at 6am (yes, 6am) I feel too tired and sleepy, my bed feels too comfy and warm, so I think I really don’t need to work out, it’s OK, I can sleep longer and get up at the time I should to just go straight to work. I try to get up early to also have a proper breakfast, but even the bribe of food cannot get me out of bed. I’m tired. So I let my second alarm (yeah, I don’t use the snooze button, I set different alarms instead) go off at 7am, and then sleep until 7.30am.
The most annoying bit of it all is that I normally wake up at 5am, I don’t know why. So here’s how it goes: it doesn’t matter when I go to bed, I never manage to fall asleep before 1am, sometimes even 2am. That’s annoying. So normally, I sleep 4-5 hours on a week night. Of course, it’s quite frustrating when your brain suddenly decides to switch on at 5am, all “wakey, wakey” and you’re just there, thinking Seriously? What am I supposed to do at 5am? I can’t really start pottering around, because you know, normal people are sleeping, and it feels weird to just dress up and go for a run at that time. So basically, you fall asleep again, after trying for a bit, which means, when the next alarm goes off, you’re mid- some sleep phase or another, and it feels like someone dragged you around town, while you were hungover or something.
I have a training app on my phone (seriously, it sounds like I’m on their payroll, but I’m not, I promise) from Nike. It has workouts that you can download and then follow. Most of them are interval training (you know the drill, 1 minute jumping like this, 2 minutes doing that, 30 seconds rest, 2 minutes that other, and burpees, there are always damned burpees) and are organised into categories with inspiring names such as the shredder, sweat and shape, and others. I’ve had that app on my phone for months now, and I still haven’t done a workout from it. The current excuse is that I can’t really do one of these in my flat, because I don’t have space. Also, I still don’t know how it works: does it tell me which exercise to do when the time is up, or do I need to keep looking at my phone? Of course, the answer to this question is to just do it (maybe they will get me in their payroll??), and see what happens.
I was set on getting up early, come to the gym in the office and do a workout this morning. I was set, that is, until the alarm clock went off. Ouch. Definitely not feeling like jumping around. I thought it would be OK, since I was going to zumba in the evening, something I’ve ended up skipping anyway. If I’m honest with you, I’m quite annoyed at myself today.
This isn’t even about changing habits in the new year. Sure, I’ve never done these workouts, but I used to exercise regularly for the last couple of years. Suddenly, you hit a bump and that’s it, all the will is gone. It does make me wonder how our brains work.
They say that children base their actions on the immediate, short-term reward. It’s tough for kids to behave well just because sometime at the end of the year (which is more like the end of a lifetime to them) Santa is going to bring them presents if they’ve been good. That’s why the Haribo ad depicts a bunch of kids eating their sweet, despite the promise that if they wait, they will get a second one.
As adults, we’re supposed to understand the concept of long-term reward. Nobody would study a degree for many years, or save to buy a house otherwise. So, as an adult, why is it that every morning, the promise of an immediate reward (sleep a bit longer) weighs more than the promise of a long-term reward (a regular workout and exercise plan that will make me feel healthier and in shape).
This type of behaviour worries me, not so much about the “being an adult” idea, especially since I don’t have kids, but when it affects some plans I have in the pipeline, like the previously mentioned half marathon, for example.
I’m not going to beat myself up too much today. Tomorrow, I need to go running, since I haven’t run since the Movember 10k race (and the term “run” is to be used very broadly here). However, I need some motivation. Since I don’t eat sweets, I can’t ban myself from eating those if I skip a session just because of laziness…
What would you suggest as a good incentive to not skip them? What are your tricks to get out and rack up the miles?