I had a life-changing realisation a wee while back. It turns out that in order to get 8 hours sleep, I have to go to bed at least 8 hours before I’m due to wake up. I cannot in fact sleep for 8 hours if I go to bed, for instance, 4 hours before getting up time. If I need 8 hours sleep to be rested but I allocate less than 8 hours to sleep, then I will be tired. Yes, there is always the chance that I might end up going to bed at the appropriate hour and then spend most of the night hanging out with the Insomnia Fairy. However, if I don’t go to bed on time then I’m guaranteed not to get enough rest. It’s, like, maths or something. If I do not create the conditions where sleep is possible, sleeping will not be happening.
This sounds as obvious as obvious can be, yet I see people falling on that very same hurdle all the time. They do not create the conditions where success is a likely possibility, then they lament the resulting failure. It makes it somewhat difficult, and endlessly frustrating, to try and help them with their problems. Hell, I’m not a patient person: it makes it hard for me to even listen to their problems without wanting to bang my head against the nearest wall.
If you’re constantly going to bed late, you will be perennially tired. If your shopping consists of ice-cream and cookies, you will not be eating salad. If you spend all of your time watching TV, you will not be getting good grades. If you hardly leave the house, you will not be making new friends. If you spend all day sitting on an awful chair with bad posture, your back pain will not ease.
And I get it that it can be hard to choose salad over ice-cream, or studying over watching Archer. I get it that social anxiety is a worthy foe. I get it that a bad back is a horrible cross to bear. This isn’t about what’s easy, but what’s necessary. It is necessary to own salad in order to eat salad. It is necessary to study in order to pass tests. It is necessary to go where people are in order to meet people. And it’s pretty damn futile to rail at the world or at oneself when the good things don’t come when no step has been taken to allow them to come.
I find that kind of approach particularly odd because it creates more, harder work. I come at this as a very lazy person with a somewhat questionable willpower. I have a fondness for ice-cream, Archer, staying in my nest with my dogs, and slouching. If I put myself in a position where I have to make a hard choice, I know that there’s a good chance I won’t; so I don’t. I try to put myself in a position where my choices are easy-peasy (lettuce vs. spinach, not lettuce vs. tiramisu) to increase my chances of success. More importantly, in doing so I ensure that success is a real possibility.