12 Year Old Me Teaches a Lesson in Self Discipline and Good Habits

When I was 12 years old I had morning a paper route. It was to be delivered by 7 am, and in the beginning, I was up and out at my pick-up corner at 6 am, every day, but my last 10 or 15 customers were mostly businesses, which weren’t open until much later, which meant it didn’t really matter much if I were a bit later.

My get-up time slipped, and slipped, until I was getting up at 6:30. My alarm would go off, but the bed was comfy and warm, and no one really complained if I were a few minutes late.

I knew I was late, and I hated it. Even as I lay in bed I was berating myself, but I just couldn’t get up on time.

Looking back, this has taught me some valuable life’s lessons.

  • Discipline can only take you so far. Even if you’re your own harshest critic, eventually, momentum and habit take over.
  • The value of habits. Develop a good habit, and it will take you far. Develop a bad habit, and it will hold you back.
  • Habits are hard. Hard to create, and hard to break.

This lesson is hitting home right now, as my get-up time has steadily slipped from 6 am last month, to as late as 6:20 today. Applying the lessons of 112 year old me, that discipline and berating myself won’t cut it, it’s time to try something different.

Instead, I will go to root cause. Much of the slippage is because my bed time has slipped, so I’m not getting enough sleep, so 6 am is not working.

It’s time to continue working on the better sleep habit, to improve the wake up habit. Instead of worrying about the get up time, it’s time to get to bed on time.