Celebrating the victories

I’m trying not to harp too much on the whole new habits thing because this blog is already just a “ONE DIRECTION” poster away from being a tweenie bopper’s bedroom and too much navel gazing isn’t fun for anyone. On the other hand, this is cheap therapy and the worst thing that can happen is I will get only 2 likes on Facebook.

Actually I take that back, that is pretty horrible. I think I would have to sulk for hours. Quick, appeal to the masses!


I am proud of a few small victories:

  • I wrote every night I planned to write
  • I actually completed one chapter, 2500 words, of The Book

Of course, this is what I wrote Friday night:

I really really didn’t want to write tonight. This Week I am 1 for 5 for getting up early. So I am forcing myself to write this to keep a promise to myself.

Sometimes victory comes on a technicality.

One thing I didn’t really start to understand until I started keeping detailed notes was just how much of an impact the amount of sleep I’m getting has on my willpower. We live in such a cavalier culture when it comes to how little we sleep that I don’t appreciate the impact it has until I’m trying to do anything besides stagger through my life on autopilot clutching a cup of coffee and wishing desperately that I still smoked cigarettes.

Between the inherent sleeplessness of parenthood and the rhythm of modern life, we’re blase about the fact that many of us are getting, at best, 5 hours of sleep a night.

I have no willpower on 5 hours of sleep. None.

4 year old wants to draw on the walls with a sharpie? Go for it.

7 year old wants to pack a lunch consisting entirely of Aunt Jemima and Cheezits? Heck yeah why not.

Get up out of the recliner and go for a run? Are you freaking kidding me? There’s no coffee out there, not happening.

What worse, two of my favorite things– alcohol and coffee– make sleep worse. So I’m considering giving up coffee, which I think puts me in the certifiable grade A1 insane basket of broken eggs.

I bet Hemingway didn’t have to put up with this nonsense.

Celestial Seasonings this ain’t

I fell off the wagon, and then it ran me over

When I set out last week to add some structure to my life and adopt some positive new habits, I knew it would be hard.  I made it through the first 24 hours swimmingly, and then the second day the difficulty of sticking with my resolutions ratcheted up unexpectedly high. Thursday and Friday were a lot easier and I was convinced I had reached a new plateau of personal awesomeness.

The Plan: 1 Real Life: 0

Friday night I had a few beers and the next thing I knew I overslept Saturday. My whole strategy is to front load the morning with time for myself, which appeals to my selfishness and so (I thought) it should be easier to achieve. Then the dishwasher died an ugly, noisy death. Suddenly taking time to go exercise seemed a little too selfish when I had a job to do. My weekend was consumed by a blur of salvage stores and big box scratch and dent sections until we found a decent dishwasher. 

The Plan: 1 Real Life:1

Sunday morning started out well with a gorgeous morning that was perfect for a run with Mrs. Nostrikethat. My dishwasher woes continued as I discovered that I needed a pluggy thing, and no one sold the pluggy thing because we bought the Delorean of dishwashers and the only place to get the pluggy thing was the Internet, after a delay of 2 weeks. 

No bueno. Visit 4 more appliance stores trying to find a part.

Sunday evening turned into an impromptu neighborhood event as a few of us gathered our folding chairs and drank box wine while our kids ran around outside. Sunday evening wine turned into Sunday night beer, and by the time 11 o’clock rolled around my Irish-ish neighbor and I had consumed an embarrassing amount of alcohol for a work night.

The next morning I discovered that my alarm clock sounded suspiciously like my guilty conscience.


I spent the morning in bed trying to determine exactly what kind of carpet my tongue had turned into as I pondered what I’ve learned this week.

  1. The willingness to revisit your initial assumptions is a good thing. Saturday felt like a better cheat day than Sunday just due to the rhythm of our week.
  2. Revisiting your assumptions 2 days in a row is a nice way of lying to yourself about cheating.
  3. Some things seem urgent and will falsely distract you. I let myself focus on the dishwasher when I might have been better off stepping away on purpose to take care of myself.
  4. Never underestimate the power of beer.

With the dishwasher finally replaced and running, tomorrow is back to work. If I had to grade myself, I’d give me a “C” for the past week. This week we start again. Today was the first whiff of winter, and if I don’t have my new habits solidified by the time it gets cold and dark then nothing is going to happen in the winter.