Kicking the Snooze Bar Habit

December 19th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 8 comments

Upon stumbling on your teachings and podcast, I caught a comment you said about how a man should never hit the snooze button (along those lines).  I, however, hit my snooze button all the time!

It’s really bad, and the reason why this is important to me is because for the past 4 years I have been trying to reach a goal of waking up at a certain time every morning so I have personal time to do things that I can’t find time to do later in the day. But my bad habit of snoozing is very difficult to combat.

Any wisdom and insight would be highly appreciated, thank you!

Alex G.

Dear Alex,

We had no need to ask you to type in a string of numbers and letters to prove you aren’t a robot, since you are all too clearly human. As are we. Whether it is hitting the snooze button or succumbing to any other bad habit, wanting to change is only the beginning of actually changing.

If you have been working on this for four years, then we imagine that you have tried putting your alarm clock out of reach – and making sure that it is horribly irritating. We assume that you go to bed early enough to log enough hours of sleep and have possibly even medically checked that you are, in fact, having a restful sleep. You have probably tried incentives and rewarding yourself for successes.

What’s left? At this point, if you have tried all the above ideas and other practical ones that you can find by using a search engine, we suggest that you attack this as a spiritual problem.

What is preventing your body from doing what your mind desires is spiritual gravity. Gravity tries to keep airplanes on the ground.  When we extract the chemical energy in jet fuel, employ an engine to convert it into thrust, and use wings to convert the thrust into lift, the machine can remain airborne about five miles above the earth’s surface. 

Similarly, spiritual gravity also tries to keep us down.  It tries to prevent us from becoming better, healthier, more accomplished, more spiritual, more learned people and more early rising.  If we extract some of the spiritual energy stored in our souls, we can achieve our goals and overcome the seditious seduction of the snooze bar.

God told Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son.  I’m sure you’d agree that nobody has ever had a better reason to use the snooze bar that day.  Let’s see what Abraham, did.

And Abraham awoke early in the morning.… took his two young men and Isaac his son… (Genesis 22:3)

Abraham was facing a formidable task; one he was undertaking only because God commanded it, but which went utterly against his very nature.  Abraham intended to carry out this painful task.

This is why he forced himself to awaken early in preparation to shoulder the burden that lay ahead.  Facing an activity he really didn’t want to do, his response was to defeat spiritual gravity by rushing out to meet the duty.  He certainly didn’t press the snooze bar three times that morning.

Think about what your very first activity should be upon rising in the morning.  Perhaps you can fine-tune your first half hour every morning.

We would like to encourage you to follow the teachings in our audio CD, Let Me Go: How to Overcome Life’s Challenges and Escape Your Own Egypt.

One of the CD’s strategies is recognizing that you can’t free yourself from this habit alone. You need to call in help. This might mean committing to call a loved one at a certain time each morning. It might even mean working with a therapist to explore if you are really committed to your goal or if, in some way, you are subconsciously sabotaging yourself. It definitely means asking God to help you.

Reaching out to us suggests that you are ready to rally forces to help you achieve your goal. As our final thought, we’d like to remind you (and us) that there will always be setbacks. Move in the right direction and don’t get paralyzed by the mornings when you succumb to old habits.

Sweet – and time-limited – dreams,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

 

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8 comments

Lisa says:

Thank you for explaining spiritual gravity and spiritual energy. I definitely need to know more.

Susan Lapin says:

Lisa, if this topic interests you, you might want to listen to The Gathering Storm: Decoding the Secrets of Noah, which has a discussion of Creation and why God didn’t start off with order but rather with chaos. It describes how spiritual gravity is built into the world and our job in resisting it.

I was having a similar problem. I could get out of bed but somehow was not making it to the prayer desk. I was “praying on the run”, which is not awful, but it is also not sufficient. I finally realized I had a rule. It was a stupid rule. My prayer desk had to be in front of a window. Once I realized I could change the stupid rule, it meant I could put the prayer desk anywhere. I put it in the bedroom along with a bookcase. All my spiritual resources and Hebrew study materials are now organized and not piled in an untidy mess on the desk. I have created an oasis of calm, peace, and order. Since I live alone it will be no one’s fault but my own if things get out of hand again! After reading your response above I realized that analyzing my thoughts revved the engines of the spiritual airplane. “Well, I can’t move the desk,” Why not? “It has to be by a window.” Why? “Oh!” I’m a big girl now, I can give myself permission to change stupid rules! Then I spent time moving furniture. That was the race down the runway. Sitting down and talking to Hashem in peace and quiet was the lift off!

Susan Lapin says:

What a wonderful lesson, Gerry. You thought and then took an action to follow-up on the thought. That idea, of doing something when inspiration or contemplation yields an insight, is a useful tool that ancient Jewish wisdom draws out of a number of places in the Bible. Doing cements the thought; otherwise it is too easy to simply keep thinking too much.

ALEX GORBUNOV says:

Thank you for your reply to my inquiry! Your information is so helpful and gives me new hope that I can overcome this habit! God bless you this Christmas!

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

You’re most welcome, Alex,
and thank you for writing. We’re sure you can banish the snooze bar habit to the dark dungeons of despair where it belongs. As for you, onwards and upwards to good times in your family, friendships, faith and finances.
Cordially
RDL

Hi …I am writing from Goa India.

I am enjoying learning from you and have 2 questions.
1. What is the Hebrew word for wine. Ie Melchizadek brought bread and wine to Abraham. And Jesus turned water to wine.

2.At Passover the Jews have butter herbs ….is this like a broth/soup?
And when Jesus had the Passover meal did they have wine instead of the herbs??
Josephine D’Costa

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear Josephine-
Thanks for writing. We’re happy about our growing India audience.
Regarding your questions:
1. Yayin.
2. No. It is not butter but bitter herbs. Like horseradish.
Cordially
RDL

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