Making 2013 Different: When sacrifices become opportunities, or Sleep vs. Everything Else

I saw the “Making 2013 Different” title on Dames Who Dish and it really struck a chord with me because one of the things I’m certain of, if I want 2013 to be a success, is that I have to do things differently from previous years – live differently, handle things differently, and commit to achieving more.

Week 1 was different by default, because I was trying out new goals and a new routine. The crunch really came in week 2: was I prepared to do what it took to achieve the things I’d set for myself? Was I prepared to adjust my old routines to fit more in? Was I prepared for the inevitable casualties that came at the cost of achieving my central goals?

I’ve written before about my (slightly out of control!) sleeping habits and it was this week that they really took a battering: we had 6 5 or 5.30am starts in week 2! No more Monday lie-in, no more double weekend sleeping-‘til-noon, and there weren’t many nights where we got to bed early enough to get 8 hours’ sleep. The Tuesday-Friday starts were normal, and Monday was a 5am start because I was keen to get a move on with my music – as that’s the whole point of me having those days at home – but Saturday HH was getting up early anyway and suddenly, instead of seeing this as an interruption to my lie-in schedule, it was an opportunity to get up and get my music time in before seeing friends later that day.

Since the beginning of the year I’ve also had a couple of nights (about once a week) where I’ve barely slept at all. Usually this is prior to a day with a change in schedule, because I’m a bit apprehensive about how I’m going to cope and ironically lose sleep over how I’ll manage on less sleep (what a complete waste of time that is!) This happened on Sunday night, I slept for about an hour or so and then was up tossing and turning for most of the night, before falling asleep shortly before 5. My head was full of ideas of how to redress this balance – give up on getting my music hours, skip my swim for a shorter workout (or skip the workout altogether), get up and do some music and then go back to bed again… but in the end I didn’t need any of them, I was just fired up for the whole day, and that’s been the case on other days this year where I’ve had less than optimum amounts of sleep. Once I’m up and engaged in something, I don’t really care that I’m feeling tired. And after all, if you don’t follow through on doing the things you’ve laid await fretting about doing, you’ve lost out twice really.

All of this has been a bit of a learning curve for me, and taken me out of my comfort zone – experimenting with less horizontal time is definitely something that scares me a bit. What if I run out of time during the day, feel like crap, and stuff my face with some kind of guilt-ridden comfort food? But if I hadn’t taken that risk I would never have discovered just how resilient I can be, how less sleep can make me feel more alive rather than less, how having the time to complete the things that make me feel proud of myself each day gives me a boost that’ll carry me through the next day and beyond… it does feel like a totally different way of living. If I can continue like this, if I can actually do what I set out to, if I can adjust my lifestyle to make the time and space to DO all the things that are important, and learn to make sacrifices and compromises where necessary, then my life will change radically. I didn’t regret taking the option to sleep less – instead I appreciated being able to hit all my targets for each day and the week as a whole, to have more time to investigate activities within and beyond my current programme, and to enjoy hanging out with my friends without regretting that it came at the expense of my own goals.

I know I’ve picked the right  combination of goals for this year because I do wake up each day excited and motivated to do all the different things I’ve got on my list. I think it’s partly the variety as well. Most of the time, I’d rather get up and get on with my day than lounge around in bed (unless I’m really tired) and I guess this is how it feels to have a life of almost complete fulfilment. If I can stay like this permanently I’ll be almost a completely different person! 


One thought on “Making 2013 Different: When sacrifices become opportunities, or Sleep vs. Everything Else

  1. Since DH and I started getting up at the same time almost every day (6 am to walk the dog; 6:30 on weekends), I find things go more smoothly through the day. Once I slept in till 8:30, and by the time I got up and ate breakfast, I felt like half the day was gone! So I’m definitely in favour of getting up early — I totally agree, it’s an opportunity!

    I also agree with the Make 2013 Different sentiment! Change is good — bring it on!

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