Alarm Clock

It’s so easy to press the snooze button every morning. It’s easier to say you’d do something tomorrow rather than getting it done now. It’s so much easier giving up on your small day to day goals because they’re not hurting anyone. “Nah, I don’t feel like taking my vitamins today” or “Who cares if I wake up at 7:00 AM or 1:00 PM?” or even “My life is falling apart, so I’ll put everything else on hold until it gets itself together again.” if not, then “I don’t feel like doing anything today.” Almost every one of us has gone through thinking that way at some point or the other. So what’s the big deal, right? Why do we keep hitting that snooze button? 

Our brain works in such a way that it makes sure you’re doing okay all the time. The moment you do something new, you’re disrupting the brain’s cycle of doing everything ‘okay’. Hence, the moment that you attempt to do something outstanding, your brain stresses out and tries to get you out of doing whatever it is that you wanted to try out. Therefore, you decide not to do it. Let me give you an example, every single morning when your alarm clock rings, it alerts your brain that something unexpected, hence dangerous, is coming your way. Unconsciously, your brain stresses out and gives you the impulse to shut it down so it does not disrupt your sleep. Sometimes you never really understand why you’re procrastinating getting up so much, you were so motivated the night before you slept and you had great hopes that the next day “was going to be your day”.  Sometimes, you insensibly turn off the alarm and suddenly you wake up confused (and late).

I don’t know about you, but acknowledging something like that makes me feel inferior to my brain. That’s not true though because I’d like to believe that we have “second brain” that can outsmart our own brain. That’s us. As crazy as that sounds, but as bright as your brain is, it’s only smart when it comes to doing the same thing repeatedly and protecting you from harm. It’s only so smart that it can only function as a reaction to something. You either get a positive feedback or a negative one, and your body acts accordingly. You see, your brain, your brain loves “okay”. It loves the comfort and the easy, it’ll stop you from doing anything that comes close to extraordinary. That’s where your “second brain” comes in.

Your second brain is what you decide to do to manipulate your brain to become more than “just okay” or average or lethally uninteresting. To be honest, after reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg my eyes were opened to the possibilities of manipulating my own brain into new habits and that is, merely only by understanding its mechanism. It made me realize that I can change the way that my mechanism works. I can do small things each day that will change the regimen cycle in my head. The first thing I decided to do was to make my alarm clock a soothing ringtone instead of an unnerving one. This made my brain think it was a good thing that I’m waking up to and therefore there’s no need to shut it down. As simple (or stupid) as that may sound, it actually helped. I no longer need the snooze button at all, I just get up. Another thing I found helpful was making myself believe that there is no other choice. I made myself believe for a while that exercising was not an option and I just have to do it until I became trained to working out, that if I didn’t feel like going to the gym for a few days, I wouldn’t be scared to fall off track and stop for a long while, because I’ve already developed that as a habit. Therefore, if I were to fall off track, my brain would feel stressed out until I get back on track again.

My advice to you, get a new alarm clock and make that stuff the meaning to your life. We’re not always in the mood or motivated to do what we plan for ourselves to do, that’s why we need something that reminds us to just get stuff done. Making a checklist of small random stuff to add on to our daily lives will make a huge difference. It can even be like: Wake up at 6:00 AM and take a shower. Seriously, you won’t regret it, you’d get a headstart to the day by having a lot of time to figure things out and be grateful for things you already have, let alone feeling achieved that you actually got up, in addition to the fact that you’d smell good. It’s a win-win. If you still can’t get yourself to do it, count to 3 backward. 3, 2, 1 and do it. Do it fast enough that your brain doesn’t have time to think about it and so eventually you just end up doing it.

Ultimately, scare yourself a little. You’ll never know how much you can do or how much you can lift if you’re always comfortable. If your routine is coming in the way of you doing something that’s absolutely terrifyingly great, then you have some thinking to do and some checklists to write. It’s easy to feel okay, but do you want to be okay all the time just because its easy? Don’t you want to try feeling great or amazing sometimes? Go out there and test the waters, challenge your capabilities, come to realize that you are your only critic.

By Elaf Trabulsi

Engineer & freelance writer

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