My clock radio passed away the other day after years of being slapped, hit, and sworn at. It did its duty faithfully and without comment-save for the alarm every morning at 5:30am. When my electronic chanticleer would sound, I would groan and swat at the instrument assigned the responsibility of getting me up in the morning. After a few noisy seconds, I would finally find the snooze control button inconveniently placed in the midst of other buttons. By the time I managed to hit the right button, I was sufficiently conscious to get up and go downstairs to workout.

However, with the demise of this electric-powered rooster, I found it difficult to get up and start the day on time. I knew that I needed to get a new wake-up device. After checking out the selection at a local electronics store, I purchased one that I thought would work nicely. After an hour and a half of reading through the owner's manual, I got the clock radio set and ready for the next morning's duty. Eight hours later and much to my early morning delight, I discovered that the snooze button was large and conveniently placed so that with one swing I could silence the wake-up signal and quickly go back to sleep. My new alarm made it too easy to ignore its wake-up call.

Many of us get actual wake-up calls in the morning to wake us up, and if you are typical, you try to ignore them. We also get wake-up calls for life; often we don't respond to these calls either.

Our bodies often give us wake-up calls. Heart attacks are a very loud alarm. However, some people don't answer these calls. Some ignore the warning and go on with an unhealthy lifestyle. Those who ignore the call may do so because of fear and anxiety.

If you ignore wake-up calls, here are some ideas to change your behavior:

1. Make a list of the places in your life where you aren't answering the wake-up call. If your doctor has told you to lose some weight and reduce your cholesterol, this warning should be placed on the top of your list. Another issue might be that your roof may need repairs before you have a serious problem. Finally, your list might include an interpersonal problem causing you grief.

2. Resolve to address each of the issues by placing it on a calendar. The calendar should contain doctor's visits and targets dates for reducing your weight and cholesterol. With the roofing repairs, put down not only the completion date but intermediate dates when you will get advice about how to make the repairs, when supplies will be purchased, and when you will have the preparation work completed.

3. Having decided upon a schedule, approach each of the issues with courage. Shakespeare reminds each of us:

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear...

It is a strange irony that we fear facing the problem. If you fear that the doctor might tell you that you must have surgery, the avoidance of dealing directly with it merely makes you deal with it each time you worry about it. That is too costly a price to pay.

4. Lastly, attack the issues with determination. If the calendar calls for you to do a particular action on a certain day, do it. Execution is the key to this final step. If you have planned wisely to address your wake-up calls, this step will not require thinking. It merely requires you to act and implement your game plan. If daily exercise is a part of your acquiring a healthier lifestyle, answer it by getting up, and start your exercise program when your alarm gives you its wake-up call,. Don't think whether you want to or not-just do it.

If you follow these few suggestions, you will benefit from all your wake-up calls.