Embracing Intent

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I am always tired. I go to bed sporadically, I sleep until the last possible second, I have nightmares and night terrors (though, somehow blood pressure medicine has made this better*), I have no nighttime routine, and doctors have been telling me for years to get a sleep study done because of my endless fatigue.

This, in conjunction with not eating breakfast, makes for a very grumpy Kaela.

I’m so happy that I took time off from work to address my PTSD. The fact that my nightmares/night terrors are infrequent, it makes the idea of going to bed and sleeping a lot easier to manage.

When I first started taking the medication to help with my night disturbances, I was relieved at the difference a terror-less sleep felt. I felt more energetic, which meant I could tackle my PTSD and focus on healing. I no longer wake up with panic.

However, I am still always tired.

***

It’s amusing how two unrelated things come together to relay the same message.

These past few months I’ve been on a quest to change my life. I read this morning my visit notes from Monday’s therapy appointment, which read the awful phrase “moderate episode of recurrent major depressive disorder.” Yuck. It’s true, but I think that phrase misses an interdisciplinary root cause beyond my trauma.

Faced with this awful note on my history, and from the powerful fatigue I felt this morning, I yet again began my daily research into self improvement.

I wanted to know how to be more disciplined, thinking this might be where I could change things despite how I feel because that’s the definition of it, to trudge on beyond feelings and impulses. And you know how impulsive I am.

***

I keep rereading this book called The Miracle Morning. I discovered it indirectly, as a former peer at Emerson College had posted it somewhere (I think). She now runs a business helping women entrepreneurs, which I think is pretty cool.

One of my best friends and I have a goal spreadsheet on Google Sheets which we track personal goals and wellness, and so after rereading The Miracle Morning again, I thought what better way to finally practice it than to include it on my wellness tracker.

I was so, so wrong.

Having to wake up earlier than normal is one challenge with poor sleep. Waking up early and then meditating, exercising, reading, journaling, as well as other things all before anyone wakes up (because really, what mother can do anything after the kids are up) is, at least for me, impossible.

What the book gets wrong is that making such a huge change overnight doesn’t have lasting results. It sets you up for guilt, anger, and disappointment.

It’s a lovely idea, but no thanks.

***

Have you ever just read an article and thought about how general and basic it was? Like it was telling you stuff you already know?

I Googled nothing more exciting than the phrase “self discipline” and out came a bunch of articles on tips and tricks and easy things to help me. Speed lessons.

These kinds of articles, because they are so short, have the certain expectation that you should read them casually instead of with intent. Oh good, here are some 5 tips. That will last in my brain at the rate of 1 tip per minute, and then POOF! gone.

Frustrated by the repetitive nature of these articles and my own ineptitude for recalling information that I read from these countless trivial articles, I decided to pull out my little notebook that I use when scribbling little tidbits of information.

What an amazing and unexpected transformation that one small change to my reading habits had. I started reading the first article I came across and took notes.

It felt like I was in a classroom again: reading with purpose and scribbling down all the important information. I felt like I was actually learning.

No, the information included in the one article I did read wasn’t profound. But, it was helpful after really processing the information I read.

I went through, just as I did when reading a textbook in college, and took my notes on information I thought were important. After finishing my notes, I annotated them and created a task list for me to keep working on the steps the article included.

Maybe I will gain more discipline from what I learned reading the post, maybe not. Regardless, it started moving things along in my head and gave me a new perspective on casual reading v. reading with intent.

***

One of the steps Cohen includes is to eat healthy. Oh, boy.

How many times have I heard advice on how eating healthy will change my life. Okay, yeah, sure.

But, because I was reading with intent, I looked at her reasoning behind it. That because poor nutrition can make you tired and grumpy, you are setting yourself up for failure when trying to change yourself.

Poor nutrition can make you tired. When you are tired, it’s difficult to focus, resist temptation, and work towards your goals.

I repeat, I am always tired. 

As soon as I read that, I made an appointment with the same doctors who had scheduled my sleep study years ago but I ultimately never showed up to the appointment. I go next month.

Baby steps.


The article I mentioned here is called “5 Proven Methods for Gaining Self Discipline” by Jennifer Cohen, published by FORBES magazine. You can find it here.

A book Jennifer Cohen mentions in the article called THE POWER OF HABIT by Charles Duhigg looks promising. It’s on my to-read list on my Goodreads

My favorite materials for taking notes are Papermate InkJoy gel pens, Papermate Flair felt-tip pens, Mildliner highlighters, and Pilot Juice gel pens.

I also love Mead’s A5 size Cambridge Edition notebooks.

Generally, I prefer the style of Japanese/European notebooks because they often have more places for documentation, thinner lines, and are better organized than American notebooks.

None of the links are sponsored. These are just links to thinks I either like or have found.


I am not a doctor and I am not diagnosing or recommending this medicine. Don’t take medical advice from me.

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