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Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in Good Habits Challenges | 2 comments

6 Valuable Lessons and The Results from the No Snooze Challenge

6 Valuable Lessons and The Results from the No Snooze Challenge

Having troubles waking up early? You find it impossible to wake up straight away when your alarm clock rings off? You always hit the Snooze button at least once, and if anybody asks, you say it’s part of your morning routine? Well I’ve good news for you: it’s over. Completely over. I’ve tried for 28 days to stop hitting the Snooze button and it has been a very valuable experience for my future attempts in making new personal habits. Let me share with you the most valuable lessons.

Accountability really helps

You know the way you always read here and there that whether you want to achieve a goal or build a new habit, you should hold yourself accountable and make a public commitment. It makes sense, but for me it was hard to believe until I actually try it.

Well I’ve got proof for you. It works.

When The Lifeologist and I launched the Snooze challenge on our respective blogs, we were not expecting such a great feedback. It seems that many people were having the same issue and needed a challenge like ours to get motivated.

Be it on our blogs, Facebook or Twitter, many people joined us and we had all kind of results:

  • People who tried it a few times but could not get themselves out of the bed and eventually gave up.
  • People who tried it during 28 days and got up straight away 28 times – and shared their progress on Facebook. Yes Wilfried, I’m thinking about you ;-)
  • People who followed the challenge during 28 days and who had a good ratio of good days : I belong to this category. From January 14th to February 10th (28 days), I woke up on the first attempt 22 times, as you can see here on my chain.

I’ve found out that holding this challenge and communicating about it on Facebook or Twitter really helped some people out.

You really need to have something to look forward in the morning. It helps so much.

During the course of this 28 days challenge, there were days where I had something planned in the morning (write a post, make breakfast for my girlfriend, …), and days where I had nothing planned. It will come as no surprise that having something to wake up for really made it much easier for me to avoid hitting that evil button. Even during the weekends, I found myself much more motivated if I had something great to look forward to (for exmaple, go for some tapas in the Rastro, here in Madrid).

Your mind is your worst enemy.

Your mind is tricky. It will sell you motivation on the evening, and make sure you think these extra 30 minutes are important in the mornings. You need to become its best friend and go along its flow rather than try to change it. I was well aware that my body needed 7 hours of sleep at least, and yet I would go to bed at 1am with a lot of motivation and the alarm clock set to 7am. Obviously, in the morning, my mind would just convince me to give the Snooze button a gentle touch – and go back to bed.

So I made a change, and I decided to go for 7 hours of sleep. For real.

And it worked. I played by my mind’s rules and I won, I was finally able to wake up at 7am if I had gone to bed around midnight.

Think… and then don’t think.

Think about it. 10 minutes of additional sleep will really make the difference? Really? Have you heard about the sleep cycles? Well check this article out, it’s pretty well explained. Bottom line : it doesn’t make any positive difference, and if you abuse of snooze sleep, it actually gets negative.

So now, when you wake up, do the following:

  • Think, and remember that 10 minutes of extra sleep will do nothing.
  • Don’t think, jump out of bed, have a shower and grab a cup of coffee. Then you’ll be definitely awake and ready for the morning.

It’s not easy to stop that evil thing, but once you stop, you don’t want to break the chain

After a few days without reprogramming the alarm clock, I came to realize that my mind was starting to make a shift. I would actually wake up and think “no, man, you can’t give up now, don’t break the chain… that new success will make it shine even more and you’ll be so proud of yourself”

Really, it works. Just think about your chain, about what you are trying to accomplish.

Some good tools for this are the chains.cc website as well as the Lift iPhone app. Try them. They work for any new personal habit you might want to get. 

10 minutes a day = 2.5 days a year

If you wake up 10 minutes earlier every day – or let’s say, you don’t hit the snooze button, this is 10 minutes by day that you save. It’s 3650 minutes a year. 3650 minutes = 2.5 complete days (60 hours). It is also 1 week and a half of vacation (tweet this).

And I only took the assumptions that you snooze for 10 minutes.

If it were 30 minutes (like I sometimes do), this adds up to 180 hours, i.e. 7.5 complete days or 4.5 weeks of vacations (tweet that).

Hope these lessons helped you. Writing about the outcome of this challenge is actually giving me even more motivation to keep on waking up when my alarm clock rings.

Remember, the challenge was just an excuse. The point is to make this new habit part of your life. You can follow along on chains.cc how my chain is going. I’m sure you know a lot of people that “waste” 30 minutes every day. Tell them what they are missing out, and share this post with them.

Photo  courtesy of Richard J Wagner

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2 Comments

  1. Well done for shifting your sleeping patterns for the better Nicolas…it’s got to be one of the hardest things to do. I’ve given up a fair few vices in my time – cigarettes, caffeine, pizza, procrastination – and committed to the likes of regular exercise, but yet rising early is always a stumbling block for me. I’m a night owl by nature, I’m at my most creative in the small hours, so it’s something I don’t fight too much. But sometimes it’s soooo nice to see the daylight, so I’ll try and use your example as inspiration :-) Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    All the best, Gareth

    • Hi Gareth! Thanks for stopping by.

      Well I think you should be quiet proud of giving up on cigarettes – I mean, it’s a physical addiction, you have to make up your mind about it and then fight the urge of your body… Actually, I guess it’s a bit the same when it comes to rising up early, but with much less struggle (I always thought that giving up on cigarettes is one of the most complicated things to do, even though I never smoked myself).

      I would suggest to try a few times to do in the morning whatever you usually do in the evenings. The main reason is that if you do it in the morning, you just freshly started the day and haven’t yet accumulated any fatigue, stress, nor resistance. Whereas the opposite is not true for stuff done in the evening. I also try to work on this blog in the evenings, but I’m definitely much more productive in the mornings, especially when it comes to activities that require my brain to be pretty active – such as writing blog posts for example, or writing newsletter emails (you should subscribe by the way :P ).

      And daylight is definitely motivating. Try a few days, open a chain on http://chains.cc and see for yourself!

      All the best and thanks again for the support!!

      Nicolas.

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