Yes, you’re not reading the date wrong. It’s been four months since the last post. Which makes this the longest 30 Day Challenge ever! I fell ill in June, the post got delayed and then I was pulled away from writing by the school summer holidays. During that time I had a vision for the future expanding out from the blog into some exciting developments and for the last few months I’ve been working on that vision. I’ll reveal all in another post soon. I’ve been building my social media presence to support this vision but don’t worry, I’ll be backfilling all the content from my Facebook posts on here so you don’t miss out. With that task now well in hand I am back. Get ready for a whole plethora of goodies in the months to come, including downloadable resources! In the meantime, let’s finish the challenge strong. Are you ready? Then read on….
It’s week four of the 30 Day Sleep Challenge. So far you’ve set up a bedtime routine to wind down and prepare for a good night’s sleep; a morning routine to start your day in a relaxed and positive frame of mind and six habits to maintain mental calm and physical well-being throughout the day. This week we will look at how to sustain motivation, handle temptations and get back on track if you slip. This is a sleep challenge but these principles will apply to any goal.
30 Day Sleep Challenge: Establish a Good Sleep Habit
“Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care.The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath.Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course.Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”William Shakespeare: Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2.
Happiness Objective: to maintain a sleep routine and recover when you go off course.
Step One: Remember your “why”. Why are you aiming for more sleep? Most probably because you want to feel better: more energised, more refreshed, less stressed. When you’re tempted to stay up late, remind yourself how much better your day goes when you do get more sleep. Recall the misery of waking tired, uncoordinated and grumpy, dragging yourself through the day until you can get home. Think of the wasted weekend hours sleeping in to catch up. Imagine instead the sense of enthusiasm you will feel when you rise, alert, and the satisfaction of a productive day where your energy doesn’t flag. In any goal, if you use your senses to visualise the feelings you want to feel when you achieve that goal it helps you greatly in sticking to it. Visualisation is a key practice in goal setting and maintenance.
Step Two: Use prompts and reminders. If you’re easily distracted or tempted to stray off course consider using reminders in places where you’re most likely to see them. Phone lock screen wallpaper, laptop screensavers, Post-It notes on the fridge or bathroom mirror, alarms programmed into your phone, daily affirmations: there are many ways you can keep your focus on the goal and the more often you repeat the reminder the more likely you are to create a thought pattern that becomes a strong, unwavering determination to achieve that goal. The sleep challenge is well suited to these tools.
Step Three: Get Accountable! If you believe you are likely to waver in your determination to achieve your goal, seek the support of someone you trust to help you hold to your vision. Ask them to check up on your progress regularly, ideally weekly. Give them permission to ask you the hard questions and accept no excuses. Go public: it’s one thing to BS a good friend or trusted acquaintance but quite another to BS a whole group. Publish your goal on social media, ring a group of friends, announce it to a hobby group, etc. Get as many people involved to be your cheering section and scrutineers as you need. Get into the habit of giving regular updates so that you always have the next step in mind. In the instance of this sleep challenge, ask your friends to text you if they find you online after your bedtime. If you’re struggling post a picture of yourself getting ready for bed every night, with the time clearly visible.
Step Four: Prepare to Fail! Acknowledge that you are going to face obstacles such as illness, change of mood, loss of motivation, tiredness, temptation and distraction. Build in contingency plans. What will you do if things don’t run smoothly? How will you pull yourself out of a slump? It’s easy to promise or set a goal when you’re inspired and in the mood, not so easy when you’re not and even harder if you’ve wandered off-track. If you can anticipate some of the likely pitfalls it’ll be easier to handle them and possibly avoid them entirely. If things start to drift off-course, get hold of that accountability partner and confess your dipping enthusiasm. Ask for help or advice if you’ve encountered a setback. There’s no shame in seeking support or encouragement, nobody succeeds entirely on their own.
“Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new.” Barack Obama
Step Five: Wipe the slate clean. If you slip off course, shrug it off and try again. It’s not the end of the world and no-one will think less of you. I can’t believe it’s been four months since Week Three and that’s pretty embarrassing. But I’d be a lot less happy if I didn’t finish this series and give you all the tips and practises I thought could help you, so here we are. Authenticity is a lot better than fake perfection, after all.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Henry Ford
Re-affirm your image of yourself as capable, determined and adaptable. Refocus on your long-term vision. Set that goal again, adjust your deadline accordingly and get on with it! If you sincerely desire the outcome you will achieve it.
I hope you find these final tips useful. As always, keep your journal so you can track your progress and let me know how this week goes. Next week we will review the challenge and see what we have learned. You can drop a comment here or contact me via Facebook, or on my FB page. or on Twitter. I have a brand new Facebook community group! Next year I will be producing additional content exclusively for the group so if you want more tips on how to love the life you have and create the life you want, and you want to discuss ideas with like minded people, contact me for an invite. Can’t wait to see you in there!
Image by on Onur Omer Yavuz on Pixabay.com