Change is hard. It’s hard for an individual, it’s hard for a society and everyone in work life knows how hard it’s for a company. Changes raise defense mechanisms as changes are mostly seen as suspicious and distressful. What’s worse, changes take time. A lot of time. Hence it’s good to be gentle towards yourself. There will be setbacks, there will be lack of faith and there will be bad days (and nights).
It’s very important to trust in yourself even though the progress would be sometimes disappointing. It might first even feel that nothing happens. Or you might feel that sleep has not improved but you just feel better (this is a normal response when we start softening our approach and learn accepting instead of fighting). Or we start to sleep really well and then lose ‘it’ again (and get really angry again). Or we experience some improvements but not enough (frustration with pace of change). Or we start to sleep heavenly and easily and keep it that way (more plausible for non-chronic insomniacs).
Any project feels empty without goals and reward. Remember to be clear (and above anything: realistic) with your goals. Writing your goals down and keeping a simple diary is recommended. Your goals can be of different nature, soft (qualitative) and hard (quantitative). They could also relate to something that holds deeper purpose and meaning for you.
It’s also good to review progress once in a while as our memories tend to do little tricks and we might start remembering things in a way that is not favouring the good progress we have made. The biggest favour you can do yourself is being realistic about the progress. Some nights you sleep well, some nights your sleep will be fairish and some nights (against all predictions as you have done ‘all the right things’) it just might turn out to be a horror movie. And that’s just how it is. However, step by step the sleep will most probably improve. Your typical bad nights that used to be 3 hours will increase to 5 hours. And suddenly there’s only 2 ‘bad’ nights per week instead of 3. At this stage all poor sleepers agree that yes, this is nice progress even if it’s not a 100% solved case. Every good step will reinforce the positive chain reaction.
Think about your rewards beforehand. At the same time, it’s good to think about values that are most meaningful to you. Rewards can be of a different nature: material (that’s the easy one), spiritual (rewarding yourself ‘well done me’- sounds silly but makes sense) and social (doing something nice with your friends or family). Rewards must feel special and they can be tiny or huge ones. You are free to use your imagination and pamper yourself when all the hard work bears fruit.
Think honestly about your motivation as it will be tested tens if not hundreds of times. Hold your vision firm in your mind. It’s also good to remind ourselves, that doing good to ourselves will pay itself back if not sooner then later.
If you are uncertain of your motivation, it might be better to wait a while and try again when your life situation and energy level is more suitable for taking on board a change. Doing the change semi-well, half-heartedly and then failing due to lack of commitment will eat your self-confidence and can even worsen your sleep.