Working on Gratitude

As I continue along the days, the weeks, and soon the month of January I am realizing how much work I will need to focus on certain areas of my health and learning about who I am and who I am working to become. Like many of you, probably, I can focus on a small goal and think back to when I was able to enhance my will power, push past the tough spots, and achieve my goal. I’m not sure if it feels more difficult now because I am in a different place in life (more responsibilities etc), I am comfortable with what I have achieved so far, or simply because I have lost a little bit of motivation and willpower and can’t remember how to get it back. This post is not one to say that “this is hard. how did I do it back then? How will I do it now?”. No. I am feeling so positive today, and so good about achieving my goals BECAUSE I have hit tough spots already, and BECAUSE I know it’s different and the reward will still be just as sweet (or sweeter) because I have matured. I am feeling good about reflecting on the past with more insight. Why? Gratitude. It has been written in so many self-help books, preached across every social media platform and talked about in many social circles. If you ask the universe, and truly believe it is out there, you will get it.

Enough fluff. What am I talking about? Well, it has been a week since I stopped the detox I was invited to by an acquaintance that I am happy to be making a friend. I have posted about it this week – and maybe I’m seeming less positive – but because I don’t have accountability I have been falling back into old habits. The point its, I am so grateful that I have been introduced to the detox, and that I am noticing which bad habits are beginning to emerge. Because of this new state of mind I can begin to hone in on those habits I find most difficult to change and put more effort and willpower into those. I thought it would be exercising 30 minutes a day, but this is something I have always loved to do. Though I fall back and am not always consistent week to week, because I love to exercise, I know I will always push through the little voice telling me to be lazy and get out and do it. For me, signing up for classes has kept me accountable (not to mention the $15 cancellation fee if I don’t show up) and I am so grateful to have found classes that I really enjoy going to with people who motivate me and push me to go past my limits. Going to the gym when I haven’t signed up for classes is doable when I bring my gym stuff with me, and I push through the little voice as I drive to my destination. Once I’m out of the car and in the gym, the endorphin’s have already begun to surge through me with the visual stimulation of others exercising and the anticipation of feeling good at the end. In this aspect – Healthy Body – getting there is not where I fall, but pushing myself once I’m there. Visualizing the beach body and the endurance and the definition of my muscles helps me push myself that much further and I am so grateful to have the strength the continue to push through and push myself further.

This week I have also fallen into habits of watching TV (or a movie) when I don’t know what else to do (Okay, being honest with myself I can come up with a list of other things to do but procrastinate and delay and tell myself it’s not as entertaining as TV). Before we moved into a house, the television was the center of our focus, because the space was so small and there was no where else to go to sit and relax, except in front of the TV, and naturally, the remote was nearby and it felt like sometimes I was not even controlling my own body as I sat in lounge position, turned on the TV, and found something I liked. I am so grateful that I am able to recognize this habit, even when I acknowledge it and still give in. Even though I decided to put the TV in the basement so it wasn’t visually there, the habit is still the same. This is something that now I can recognize and find a different habit to replace it with. This is my mini goal for the coming weeks. Every time I feel the urge to sit in front of the television and watch unlimited episodes of whatever show I can find (to understand this perhaps it’s helpful to mention that I don’t pay for cable or netflix, but instead have an android box with an unlimited stream of TV shows and movies), I will replace it with something else. It’s not to say watching TV or having a nice movie night is a bad thing – but it doesn’t have to make me who I am. I’d like to go back to when I mentioned how I remember achieving goals in the past. When I was in university, in my early 20’s, I watched maybe 1 show a week – as a social activity – with friends. It helped that I enjoyed studying and had the university as a place to go and ignore the urge to sit around and watch television. This was before sitting on a park bench staring at a cell phone was popular. This was before Facebook existed and my main form of communication was email and phone calls. Okay, I’m not that old, but it hadn’t become ‘the norm’. My point is, I can look back on this time, when I felt most productive and like anything was possible, and hone in on the feelings that allowed me to achieve my goals – even if my goals were completely different then. My mini goal for the next few weeks is to remember how I was easily able to distract myself with my guitar, making plans with friends, agreeing to volunteer when I had less to study, or picking up a book to read, instead of being sedentary in front of a TV just for the sake of entertainment – or procrastination. I know this isn’t as easy as it sounds, because it has become a habit, drilled into me over years – even though it’s a bad habit. When I feel the urge to sit around and waste 2-3 hours in the middle of a day watching television, instead, I will go to the library, read an old textbook, or visit the internet and find an article, to learn something new. Part of a Healthy Mind is always learning. Part of achieving this happiness I felt when I was young and living at home and not worrying about things like paying for bills or becoming successful, is feeling grateful that I have the opportunity to learn new things every day and that I have room to grow.

Another area that I am focusing on gratitude is being Healthy Financially. As mentioned in my previous posts, an unexpected benefit to doing a 10 day detox was my ability to resist fast food and coffee shops. Okay, yes, as I’m writing this I am sitting in a Starbucks, drinking a $6 latte, but as I will continue to say over and over again my transformation is not about 100% control and resisting things good in life – but limiting things in life that are unhealthy for me and engaging more in things that are healthy for me. Sitting at Starbucks instead of home with my own coffee is a way for me to resist the distractions of my home, achieve my goal of updating my blog frequently, and feeling happy and accomplished – part of a Healthy Mind. As long as I am spending more time at home (or at a library – free yay!) than I am at Starbucks, my finances will still be okay. Going back to previous habits, when I was a student working at Costco, or Claire’s and making $10-$11/hr I was still able to pay for bills, eat every night, and occasionally go out for drinks or food with friends. I wasn’t feeling much more tight on cash back then, and had money saved up for travel. Now that I’m making significantly more I find my expenditures have also significantly increased. I am so grateful that I have a stable job that allows me to do things that I love, but I am also so grateful that I can now be more aware of the extra spending that I refrained from before so that I can save more with the money I make, so that I can eventually be free to not only spend what I want but have time to do what I want to do.

Thanks to my sister for sending me this

So, as this post has become a little lengthy, I will conclude. As I continue to transform my life so that I am saying every day “wow, I am so happy to be me. How lucky am I, that I get to live this life. How wonderful it is to be healthy in all aspects of the word and to continue to grow and learn as long as I live.”, I am continuing to learn more about myself – who I was, who I am, who I will be. I am positive that things are changing for the better and I am so grateful for the journey.

I had a few tough days in the past week but keeping this blog has made me accountable to staying positive and pushing through. I’m not sure what step will make the biggest difference, or when I will turn the corner, or even what I will be doing that will make me feel free but I have confidence in the universe and I know that over the next 5 years I will be closer to the simple, happy, healthy person that I already am. Remember, even 5 things to be grateful for a day can change your life for the better.


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