What are you practicing?

Almost every morning for the past couple of weeks, I’ve woken up to an alarm clock. For you, that might be an everyday experience that, while annoying, seems unavoidable. For me, though, it’s a new addition to life lately.

Before, for the past seven or so months, I’ve lived here in Korea teaching English in the afternoons and evenings. One of the benefits of working that schedule is that I don’t have to wake up to an alarm clock. I just wake up when I want.

Until now. Now we’re teaching intensives (actually, we did this before in June too). I’m working morning now. This is why I’m waking up to an alarm.

Anyway, each morning the alarm goes off now, but what do I do? Do I jump out of bed immediately? No, of course not. I lay here, hit the snooze a few times, maybe more than a few times, and then eventually make myself get out of bed.

What am I practicing?

See, if you practice something, anything from musical instruments to medicine, you’re doing it to get better at it. The more you do it, the more it becomes a habit, a natural process, an instinct.

The same goes for my alarm clock habit. The longer I let myself lay in bed hitting snooze, the better I get at that. I’m literally training myself to have more trouble getting out of bed. Not cool.

When I think of this small detail and the corresponding implications, it reminds me of all the other not-so-smart stuff I practice. I practice eating late and staying up late. I practice showing up for things late. Late, late, late. I practice putting things off, doing what feels good now instead of what’s really important.

I practice a lot of bad habits. Each time I do something, anything, even if it’s just once, I’m training myself to repeat it. I’mĀ reinforcing that behavior. No wonder some things seem to get worse. No wonder it’s harder to get up to my alarm now.

What about you? What are you practicing?