Alcohol, Sleep, and Exercise – are your habits holding you back?

Wine caves at Schramsberg in California's Napa Valley - NOT chardonnay (photo by Margaret Lukens)

I sometimes joke that here in northern California, it’s illegal to smoke cigarettes just about anywhere, and it’s also illegal NOT to drink Chardonnay.

If you’re not getting as much done in a day as you would like, consider whether your habits are making it harder to manage your time and energy.

Imagine this scenario: I wake up slightly under-slept and have a cup of coffee to help open my eyes. In fact, I need two cups or more to get going. I’m terribly busy, so, much as I’d like to, I don’t make time to exercise. Sometime after lunch, my lack of sleep catches up with me and I begin to yawn. I can’t take a nap — it’s the middle of a work day! — so instead I get something sweet to eat. It gives me that little lift that sleep would have supplied. It also contributes to unwanted weight. By the end of the day, I’m really tired. Exercise feels out of the question. In fact, I just want to relax, so I have my glass of Chardonnay, then another, and maybe another. After dinner I fall into bed on a full stomach and having enjoyed a little too much to drink, both of which interfere with restful sleep. The next morning I wake feeling, you guessed it: under-slept and far from my best.

I’ve written before about times when habit change is better approached by baby steps, but this is one instance where you may get better results by making several changes all at once. If I drink eight glasses of water every day for a week and plan to add another positive change next week, by the end of week one I have no good results to show for my efforts, no positive reinforcement to keep me enthused. But if I decide that for one week I will drink my eight glasses of water daily, skip coffee, walk 30 minutes, eat dinner by 7 pm,  drink no alcohol after dinner, and sleep eight hours, I will feel better after day one. That positive feedback gives me the nudge to keep going for day two and beyond.

Are personal habits holding you back? What do you need to change to make a real difference in your focus and productivity? Leave a comment here.


2 comments so far

  1. maureen on

    Great points, all well taken.However, if I drink 8 glasses of water I am in the bathroom all day and night.No sleep and not much of a productive day. I’m just sayin, might as well have a few glasses of wine!Its our turn to have you and Joe over. I’ll be in touch.Wine?

    • Margaret Lukens on

      Maureen, good point – if the habit of drinking a lot of water is keeping you us all night, that habit is a serious candidate for change. (Not sure about the 1-to-1 substitute for wine, though ;^) We’d love to see you. With you I’ll have wine, even if it is a work-night!

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