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Habit

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This is yet another test of discipline (from my 101 in 1001 list), executed in the same period of time as the last one. When I’ve got much I want to do, I sometimes think I sleep inefficiently. This means that I set an alarm for, say 8 AM, and then stay in bed and snooze for an hour and then get up. The goal with this project was to see if I felt more revived if I set the alarm for 9 AM straight away and slept soundly an hour extra instead of snoozing.

It’s rather difficult to assess the outcome of this test. Sometimes it’s terribly nice to snooze for an hour, but most times I just get more tired by doing so. If I have the opportunity, I’d much rather take a nap in the afternoon. I got rid of the feeling of inefficiency, but on the other hand I’m not entirely convinced that it is worth the effort.

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For those of you who don’t know what Nei King is, it’s a series of Tai Chi Chuan exercises done in order to strengthen the body. They are rather complex and involve much more than this, but for the purpose of this text it’s sufficient to know that they take a minimum of 15-20 minutes and that I’ve done them every day for four years with only two exceptions. Needless to say, it has become a habit, something as natural as brushing my teeth.

What I wanted to try was doing the exercises the same time of the day (this is on my list of 101 tasks in 1001 days). Mornings are the best time for many reasons: You get a very good start of the day and you don’t have to bother about it later on, when you’re busy. The drawback is that you have to get up about 40 minutes earlier than usual. It’s also more demanding physically, since the body is still a bit sleepy.

I chose a rather odd period of time to execute this test of discipline (another aspect of the exercises). We had two weeks of practical training included in this course, which meant I had to get up around 5:20 AM in order to finish on time to catch the train. Nevertheless, I appreciated this new way of exercising the Nei Kung. I felt much more harmonious not having to think about it the rest of the day. Also, it really helped waking me up in the morning; it’s very enjoyable to sit down and eat breakfast after exercising and taking a shower. I’ll go doing it like this in the future, I’m very happy I gave it a chance.

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