Denali, pondering her New Year's resolution

Denali, pondering her New Year’s resolution

Why hello, stranger. I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and your return back to work this January wasn’t too jarring.

I hardly touched a computer over the holidays. Which isn’t a bad thing. After all, a coworker once told me the reason computer screens glow is from the stolen souls of office workers. So as a preventative measure, I let my laptop collect some dust the past couple weeks.

Admittedly I fared poorly with my reentry into the workplace, especially on Tuesday, my second day back. It had nothing to do with computers though. The short version: I overslept. I couldn’t even blame an iPhone malfunction for my oversleeping either. It was my own sorry fault.

The husband waking up at 4:15 a.m. to leave for the hospital and the blackout blinds probably didn’t help. Or my reading past midnight the night before. (Without my laptop I rediscovered: books!)

But the real issue is my nasty habit of hitting the snooze button. It’s like a codependent relationship. I know that wily snooze button is all wrong for me, but I always come crawling back for one more push. Just 10 more minutes. And suddenly my eyes fly open exactly 20 minutes before I’m supposed to be striding into the office bright-eyed and bushy tailed, as my journalism professor loved to say. Whoo boy…

I won’t lie and pretend this is a new problem.

I had flashbacks to my freshman year of college when I slept through the first half-hour of my Religion 101 final exam. I recall sprinting to class barefoot with only a Number 2 pencil in my right hand.

Then there was my sophomore year of college when I studied abroad in Buenos Aires and delayed more than one class field trip scheduled to depart earlier than my eyelids apparently could muster. I’m still indebted to the friend who stood pounding on my homestay’s front door.

As a middle schooler, I sprinted the 400-meter dash for the school bus on a daily basis.

When I was in elementary school, my dad even threw me in the shower, pajamas and all, because I so stubbornly insisted on sleeping in. Needless to say, mornings have never been my strong suit.

Thankfully these episodes are becoming less and less frequent as I veer closer to my third decade. But it’s time to accelerate my growing up. My New Year’s resolution is this: to swear off the snooze button once and for all.

Well, at least on workdays.

Yesterday I was reading an L.A. Times article about tactics for sticking to your New Year’s resolution, and I devised a plan. In case you are facing down a formidable goal too, I thought I’d share the highlights.

1. Don’t try to do too much. Tell me about it. On Tuesday I was trying to get up at 5 a.m. to take the dog on a run or walk before catching public transit to work. Right. Nice thought.

2. Again, take small steps. The problem is there are no small steps to waking up to your alarm clock on the first try. Either you do it, or you don’t. “Baby steps” inevitably lead me to spooning with the dog (hubby is already at work, remember). Or putting a pillow over my head. Or getting up to pee, climbing back in bed, and then putting a pillow over my head.

Clearly I needed another incentive.

3. Reward yourself. A reward for my good behavior sounded more promising, but the question remained, what should my reward be? Mike suggested a crunchy bowl of cereal, a steaming shower, and a hot cup of coffee—for these pleasures he literally hurls himself out of bed at ungodly hours I scarcely dare to type.

Somehow I knew the bowl of Cheerios wasn’t going to do it for me.

Instead, I’m going to get in the habit of playing music when I first wake up in the morning, a change in routine I think I will enjoy. And every month that I successfully keep my resolution, I get to buy a new album on iTunes. It might not sound like much, but I’m hoping it’s just the carrot I need to entice my obstinately illogical morning brain.

4. Making the resolution public. Here it is. Laid out for the world to see. Supposedly this public declaration will help me keep my goal better than if I kept my oath hidden.

How do I know this is possible? Because last year I learned how to floss. Every single night. Well, maybe not New Year’s Eve. But every other night besides that. A vast improvement over my previous dental hygiene.

And the best news? I have cold hard proof that, with two days under my belt, I’m still on track. Look! I beat the dawn out of bed:

Cheers to 2011, the Year of the No-Snooze Alarm Clock.