The "Tent Fix" for those of us who are "lucky"

So my nightly curfew isn’t going so well. I have every intention of hitting my 11pm mark, but something always seems to come up. I could list all of my excuses here – like the fact that Henry needed extra time to potty, a pressing email just had to be returned, or I had to make up a bottle for Deirdre for the morning – but they all sound so lame. I mean, I KNOW Henry needs about 20 minutes to do his deal right before bed…so why don’t I just account for that fact, and start 20 minutes earlier? Well – because I’m stubborn, that’s why. I want to eek out every last moment of time before going to bed – only to pay for it the next morning. If I go to bed at midnight, and Deirdre wakes up at 8am…then I’m already about an hour behind on my rest (I can’t deny that 9 hours of sleep at night is perfect, while 8 hours is cutting it a little short.) I know I could catch that extra hour of sleep during Deirdre’s morning nap, but you know me. I already have 14 things lined up that I want to get done during that precious window of time. So I need to make 11pm work. Good news is that I think I’ve found a solution. I’m calling it the “tent fix”. Here’s how it came about:

A couple of nights ago, I went to bed particularly later than I should have, like in the 12:15-12:30 range (and yes, Henry took a VERY long time outside…but that’s no excuse.) I knew I needed to prepare myself to be tired the next morning…but lo’ and behold, Miss Deirdre didn’t stir until 9:45am. 9:45am! Can you believe it? I got all the sleep I needed, and then some. But you know what? I got lucky. She’s not always going to sleep that long, and it’s certainly not going to be relative to the amount of sleep I need from one night to the next. So to make sure my mind doesn’t twist the circumstances of this one lucky night of sleep in such a way that convinces me that a 12am bedtime is acceptable, I’ve made a small little tent card that I keep on the kitchen counter. Know what it says? “You got lucky.” It’s true – and much more effective than if I wrote something like, “Go to bed” or even “11pm.” I needed a subtle, amusing little poke to keep myself disciplined, and I think I’ve found it.

Having trouble making the decision to stick to something that’s good for you and good for your health? Try a tent card. And if you do – let me know about it. I’d love to hear your good ideas!

On Friday, I’ll include an excerpt from my book, Despite Lupus, on the subject of decision-making. Be sure to stop by and check it out!


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