2023: Sleep, Definitions, and Boundaries

Welcome to the first post of 2023. It’s a divergence from my usual Sunday posts – Not the least of which being that this is going live on Monday.

I’ve had some time off the day-job to think about the past year, and the coming year, and what I’d like to see in 2023. I’ve done some careful consideration and planning and here is what I’ve come up with over the past week or so.

This year will be all about sleep.

It sounds simple, I know, but there’s a lot going on there. For example: On average, I’m usually asleep for one hour LESS than I’m actually in bed. So, right there, if I want to get 8 hours of sleep a night, I’ve got to plan on being in bed for 9 hours. That’s got a knock-on effect (or a Knock-Back effect) that impacts the night before. Which, in turn, impacts whatever is going on in the evening, etc. So there’s planning to be done.

Additionally, and here we start mentioning the definitions in the title of this post, to help me get the best sleep possible, I need a wind-down period. Usually, this means time spent in lower light and reading (an actual book, nothing on a screen). As it happens, it also has become a time for last-minute snacking, which I need to reduce or eliminate. It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone to read that firing up the digestive system just before bed has a negative impact on sleep. Yes, yes, I know. Food Coma is a thing. But it’s a thing for a different reason, which won’t help with sleep.

For years, I’ve defined myself as someone who snacks while reading. It’s an internal definition and while there’s nothing wrong with snacking while reading, in general, the time matters. Since I do the bulk of my reading just before bed, I have to revise some of my definitions.

January First is a day positively filled with definitions: I define myself as “This.” I no longer define myself as “That.”

But here’s the thing: You can look at, and revise, your definitions at any time.

And here’s where the boundaries come in.

When you define, or revise a definition of yourself, you are saying (internally or externally) that you are “X,” you are also proclaiming that you are not “Y.”

This is all for varying values of X and Y. If X means that I’m going to plan on getting more, and better sleep, then Y means that I’m not going to play video games all night and then fall into bed.

So I set boundaries. There will be times when I really want to keep playing that game, or watch another episode of whatever and, at those times, I’ll tell myself “No, you can’t do that.”

Boundaries are hard. You’ll run up against them. Other people will too. The pair of you will try to talk Present You into slipping past (or tunneling through, or under) that boundary, leaving Future You to cash the check that Present You is struggling not to write.

Ultimately, it’s all about Future You. January First should be called “Future You” day. It’s the one time of the year where the majority of folk WORLD-WIDE turn their thoughts to Future Them.

And they start revising definitions.

Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn’t. You can’t revise an entire novel at once – which is what typically happens with the folk who drop off around February, or March.

Definitions happen one page at a time. Not even that. A paragraph at a time. I could go smaller (Sentence, or word) but I like the paragraph. It’s just large enough to contain an idea. And that’s what a definition is.

An Idea. An Imagining.

As you look ahead through to the end of 2023, imagine the Future You who will arrive at the end of it. Define Them, set some boundaries, and work toward that Idea.

Me? Part of that definition will include the words “Well Rested.”

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.


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