This week’s quitting isn’t terribly innovative or all that new. In fact I can’t even take full credit for some of the ideas and reasoning behind it. My son Nate suggested some reasons to quit hitting the snooze button last week and they made a lot of sense. He got some of his ideas from Travis Stoetzel at The Forged Athlete here in Omaha who I’ve gotten to know a bit through his 12 Day Challenge. Finally, I’ve been learning a lot about the value of sleep from “Sleep Smarter” by Shawn Stevenson, a book I’m currently reading. As with other previous quittings then, my conclusion to stop hitting the snooze bar comes as a culmination of a lot of people telling me this is a good thing to do (or really not do in this case).

Last week when Nate and I were talking nutrition or health in some sort of looping conversation he mentioned this idea of refusing to hit the snooze bar. As he put it what it essentially means is you’re starting your day with a failure, that being not to honor the time you intended to get. You’ve sort of broken a contract with your night-before self. I’m a big believer in how little things we do shape the larger things we are in our lives. I’m also a believer that those same little things have an impact on how we feel, our mood and general attitude, sort of like my resolution to quit clutter last year. I realize this might seem a bit much for the grey crowd and seem a bit too black and white. Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t think hitting the snooze bar ruins your day but it probably doesn’t help and it means you’ve failed at your first challenge.

Over the last twelve days of 2016 I went through Travis Stoetzel’s “12 Days of Challenges.” This was a fun mixture of physical and mental activities that he delivered via Facebook. The challenges ranged from a 90 second cold shower to planks to keeping a gratitude journal. The daily short videos Travis used to explain the challenges were fun to watch and I felt like I got to know him and his family a little bit. I also liked that all the challenges weren’t physical in nature. I am woefully out of shape but my mind still writes checks my body can’t begin to cash so having some mental challenges (just try 90 seconds in a freezing cold shower) intermixed was great. Also, I know that my current state of wellness comes as a result of not meeting the challenges of everyday choice, something that happens many, many times a day and occurs in that mushy stuff between my ears. Cheesecake and French fries are a hell of a thing and again those little things culminate in my current state of pear-shaped unhealthiness.

As I’ve aged my health has become a bigger and bigger issue. Partly because some things have cropped up (diabetes, gout, high blood pressure/cholesterol) and partly because I’m finding arthritis and pain a daily struggle. I’ve been forced to look at how I live and pay more attention to what I do. Until I heard Shawn Stevenson interviewed on a podcast I knew nothing about him. His book, Sleeping Smarter opened my eyes to the restorative powers of sleep not only for our physical bodies but for our minds. I don’t know about you but the health of my mind has increasingly been on my mind (sorry about the looping sentence, but like I said, my mind…). Dementia and Alzheimer’s frankly scare the hell out of me and if sleeping more or just getting more out of the sleep I do get will help, sign me up. I think we all realize we need rest but Shawn’s book explains not only how to do that but how to get better sleep, the kind we all desperately need especially as we age. What I’m learning from his book tells me that I’m better off to honor the sleep I need and set a realistic wake up time and then just get up at that time. Probably no surprise to you either is the assertion that the additional 9 or 10 minutes of snooze time doesn’t really do squat for us.

These days I’m all about doing things that improve my chances. My chances of having a good day, my chances of feeling good about myself and my chances of being pain free and healthy, decent sleep is a part of that. So, no more snooze, I’ll be quitting that pronto!


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