Two or three months ago, maybe more, maybe less, I put myself on a caffeine curfew. This means I no longer have afternoon coffee (though I have found some delightfully yummy teas). I hadn’t considered it until this week, but so far this year, I have developed multiple small habits which are beginning to add up to significant differences. I gave up caffeine as one of several small changes to improve my sleep patterns, and it’s working. I’m happy to report, my sleep has improved drastically this year. That is until I hit a minor disruption.
Yesterday I was ambushed by caffeine..a lot of it, late at night, around 10pm. (Hush, I’m old.) I never even thought about what I consumed being “against my curfew.” I rarely drink soda. I know it has caffeine, but I don’t think about it being on the curfew list. Even after a terrible night of sleep, I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. It didn’t hit me until around lunch time today. STUPID SNEAKY CAFFEINE AMBUSHED ME AND MADE ME INTO A ZOMBIE. I’m struggling today. Dragging and sleepy and trying not to bite everyone’s head off.
Which is why sitting down to write something seems daunting. The 100 day project is not an insignificant change. It requires planning and preparation. I didn’t do either of those things today. But now that I’ve put in eighty-two days of effort, I’m not letting a caffeine disruption keep me from doing what I set out to accomplish. And perhaps, that’s the most important thing I’ll keep from this little project.
Sometimes we get unexpectedly waylaid. When disruption happens, we are tempted to let ourselves off the hook with habits or changes which require effort, telling ourselves, I’ll just do it tomorrow. Maybe it’s OK to lean into some self care and give yourself a break. Goodness knows I am all about the self-care lately. But maybe, it’s even more important to push through and do the thing you’re avoiding anyway.
Sometimes the consistent, small changes are the ones worth the most effort simply because they are the real momentum shifters.
I made a list this weekend of the little incremental shifts I’ve made since January. From dog walks to running, from caffeine curfew to full, uninterrupted nights of sleep, from a few hundred words to over ten-thousand. These little shifts add up and before we even realize it, we’re so much closer to the person we aspire to be.
So maybe I could have blown off the little rituals, the stacks of small habits I work through from day to day: meditation, journaling, vitamins, writing, herbal tea at 4pm and BY GOLLY NO SODA. But I didn’t. Instead, I showed up and kept aligning myself in the direction I want to go rather than expecting to wake up there one day as though by magic.
And by the way, even after showing up I found time for some self-care, and a really early bed time.