When you’re a sleep coach, many other things in your life tend to remind you about babies or sleep training or sleep training babies. On November 5th, I ran my first 5K race. It was a race where a portion of the proceeds would be donated to The Honor Flight for World War II veterans to fly to Washington D.C. I can thank my son (who inspired this site) for the inspiration (I guess he inspires me a lot!). He ran his first 1K over a year ago and wanted to run in another race. Back then, I was out of shape and didn’t race in the 5K that day. I vowed I would run in the next one. For the last 8 months or so, I’ve been exercising (you may remember that) a lot more, so when he asked about another race, I signed us up.
Did I expect to win the race? No way! In fact, I came in 104th. Ouch. I was 14th in my age group, though (which was ahem, 37 but now 38 years old). It took me 32 minutes and 9 seconds. Not bad! 🙂
With many things in my life, I set goals that I wanted to achieve (not my friend or neighbor). They never have to be “Become the President of the United States” goals. My primary goal for the 5K was simply to do it. My secondary goal was to keep running the entire time. I achieved both that day and the feeling of accomplishment was AMAZING!
What does this have to do with sleep training?
I remember sleep training sometimes feeling like a race. All your friend’s babies were sleeping well. The babies in the playgroups were sleeping through the night. So many people making you feel like it’s your fault you can’t finish the race, too. It was because he was napping too much or my breast milk wasn’t enough or WHATever!
Unlike the 5K, I never trained for sleep training. Who knew that babies just don’t sleep when they’re tired?!?
One way my 5K race IS like sleep training is the small goals I made for myself and I started thinking this is EXACTLY what I did when I sleep trained my own son and EXACTLY what I do when I make a Personalized Sleep Plan™. I recently read Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover and he goes over “baby steps” to become “financially fit.” I related a lot to his “baby steps” because it is at the heart of how I view goals.
Will it work to do your bedtime routine, put your baby to bed, and not come back until morning, crying or not? For many, sure. Is that the way most people want to sleep train? Of course not! Do I recommend to parents they do that? Who needs to pay someone to tell them that, so no. That is usually the way a hare does it or someone who has done an extensive amount of sleep training, already. I am not a hard-core “sleep trainer” and never have been.
Instead, I think the reason I’ve been successful in many things I do is a) I’m not afraid to fail (that’s how we learn) and b) I make smaller goals that build to one big goal.
When I sleep trained my son, my primary goal was to stop taking THREE HOURS (yes, literally) to put him to bed each night. Sure, he fell asleep rocking in my arms, but then he’d wake up every time he felt me move to lower him into bed! My first goal was NOT for him to sleep through the night or even to stop waking up every two hours…yet (though he did anyway once we mastered bedtime, yay!)
When I created The Baby Sleep Site™, my goal was to help people. I had NO goals about how many. I had no idea what would happen, but all I knew is that I wanted to make a website to support other parents (even if it was only 10 people) who were going through what I had to go through essentially alone. Even my husband didn’t obsess about sleep as much as I did, of course, and frankly, I think he got tired of hearing about it. Now, he doesn’t have to, because you listen. 🙂
Breaking your goals into “baby steps” can help you sleep train your baby, too! I did finally help my son sleep through the night (though it wasn’t perfect every night by any means!), The Baby Sleep Site™ now enjoys over 150,000 visitors per month and has over 100,000 people who receive the weekly newsletter, and now, I’ve finished my first 5K and my next goal is to do it in under 30 minutes. And, who knows? Maybe one day I’ll even win one.
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