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If You’ve Broken Your New Year’s Resolution, There’s Always the Year of the Dragon.

If you have already fallen off the wagon (as I have) for your New Year’s Resolutions, fear not. There’s still time for redemption – Chinese New Year, which starts today, January 23. That means today is your new, New Year! My husband and I made a January 1 pact that we would go to bed every night at 10p.m. This isn’t even a hard one like “I will cut all sugar from my diet” or “I will exercise before work every day”. It’s just that we have an early morning alarm clock with no snooze button, our daughter Lucy. Every night we stay up late we curse ourselves (or each other) in the morning for not having gone to bed sooner. So starting tonight we will recalibrate and start anew. Sometimes when you write things down they seem more real, and when you write things down that other people will read,  even more so. Therefore, here is my plan:

1. Strictly enforce a 9p.m. starting to-get-to-bed routine. No matter what. I have a whole ritual around going to bed so if I start late, I am guaranteed late.

2. Turn off the TV early. It’s always, “but the show’s almost over” or “this one is on DVR so without commercials it’s only 15 minutes.” No.

3. Streamline and organize the Bedtime Ritual. This sounds a little OCD, but I’ve found that if a goal is broken down into small little, specific goals, it’s much easier to take in. And easier to do. For example, before I go to bed I always need a clean face, clean teeth, a glass of water, a book to read, etc. So it could look like this:

  1. Cleanse and moisturize.
  2. Floss and brush teeth.
  3. Put a glass of water and a book by the bed.
  4. Plug phone in to charge overnight.
  5. Etc. (not going to bore you with all the tedious but personally necessary details)

4. Have a healthy snack. A rumbling stomach will wake me up. But eating a Crumbs cupcake or leftover chicken wings is not the answer (And, yes, I eat that bad. Healthy eating could certainly be another resolution, but as I said, you have to start small to go big…or maybe I just want to keep eating cupcakes.)

5. Get something to help maintain the bedtime ritual. I used to have this minty aromatherapy product called Origins”Peace of Mind” that is meant to help relax the body and mind. For me this scent helps signal bedtime as I associate it with relaxation. Think I’m going to check if they still have it and try it again. My brother uses sleepy tea that relaxes to signal bedtime. 

6. Anticipate what throws you off track and have Plan Bs for things you know are likely to stop you from reaching your goal. I put the TV one above because my husband loves TV and it definitely is an ongoing factor in getting to bed earlier. American Idol’s on! The game is in overtime!

So that’s my Getting More Sleep list. From what I’ve learned, to make any goal achievable you have to start with something realistically do-able (Maybe not, say, “I must run 10 miles a day”- unless you’re a runner and you could actually do that) and make it habitual (repeat it the same way at the same time as much as possible).

My other goal is to get a regular schedule to write this blog. This whole article is about ME. Ha! But I hope it gives you ideas for achieving your goals. And remind you that you have a reprieve start over today, New Year’s Day (in China).

They say it takes about 31 days to create a sustainable routine. So here’s to March 2012!

2012 is the Year of the Dragon. Let’s find our determination and inner dragon!

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