In last week’s post, I talked about how ambivalence can be a barrier to improving your sleep, and you may not even be aware of it. If there is resistance, the following exercise will tell you specifically what it is so you can address it. If you aren’t ambivalent, the exercise will only reinforce your motivation and arm you even more for success.
I suggest doing two Cost/Benefit Analyses (CBA) using this worksheet Cost Benefit Analyses, which you can print out.
The first CBA is looking at the advantages and disadvantages of keeping your insomnia. This may sound strange, but many times there are reasons to keep negative behaviors, problems, and emotions even though we know they’re hurting us.
Simply list all the advantages of keeping your insomnia. The advantages may not be logical, so don’t put down what you think you’re supposed to say, but what you actually feel are the advantages. The advantages might be physical, emotional, mental or relational. Then list all the disadvantages of keeping your insomnia.
You must be completely honest with yourself and provide enough time to really think about it. No one will see it and you can shred it afterwards.
After filling out both columns, ask yourself: Which way do I lean—towards the advantages or disadvantages? Then give each side a numerical rating based on your answer. For example, if you feel strongly that the disadvantages greatly outweigh the advantages, you might rate the disadvantages 90 and the advantages 10 (i.e., 90% of you feels keeping your insomnia is a disadvantage while 10% of you sees a tiny advantage in keeping it). The numbers should add up to 100 (see a sample worksheet). Or you might be more ambivalent and see both advantages and disadvantages, so would rate both sides 50.
The second CBA is looking at the advantages and disadvantages of overcoming your insomnia. It’s helpful to look at the positives and negatives of both choices (keeping it or overcoming it) in order to give you the full picture of how you feel. Then rate each column as before out of 100.
The numerical rating is how you feel emotionally about the pros and cons of keeping your insomnia or overcoming it. Putting a number to it helps to quantify your emotion and tell you which way you lean. This is important because it tells you how motivated you are to overcome your insomnia. If you see more advantages to keeping your insomnia, or are ambivalent, it is unlikely you will be motivated enough to change it. This is because part of you doesn’t want to change.
If, however, you feel the advantages of overcoming your insomnia are greater than the disadvantages, you are ready to take action.
Once you’ve completed both worksheets, you should have a clear picture of your motivation. If you scored 50/50, this means you are ambivalent and not ready to make changes, even if logically you know it would be good for you. To increase your motivation, you need to think of more positive advantages to overcoming insomnia and/or more negative disadvantages of not changing.
It’s important to have reasons to change that are emotionally compelling to you, not that just make logical sense. If you are not emotionally committed to the process, it will be difficult to improve your sleep, because you won’t have the required desire to do what’s necessary to improve it.
Overcoming insomnia does require some work. The work is not hard, but it does take a little time, effort, and commitment to learn and apply the tools and skills consistently as you move forward. If you do, I am confident you will overcome your insomnia and sleep soundly.
Sometimes people want to change but aren’t ready, or willing, to put in the effort required. If you’re feeling this way, it’s okay. You can begin when you’re ready.
If, however, you have found that you have little or no ambivalence and are ready to learn some powerful and life-changing skills to achieve sound, refreshing sleep, then this blog will show you how.