Shift Work

It’s been difficult to keep motivated while on night shift. In the past, sometimes the only exercise I got what when I worked nights – there’s a gym at the hospital I work in and we get an hour and a half break so it’s easy to spend that time at the gym. However, some nights are too busy and I only get an hour…or 30 minutes. Sometimes it’s not that busy, but by the time everyone else takes their breaks and it’s time for mine, I’m busy, then suddenly it’s 5am and it feels too late. Another excuse I know. Last night was one of those nights. I actually didn’t go until 5:50, only for 40 minutes, and took a quick power nap. This is a habit I recognize and realize can change. I can’t always control how busy I am at work, but because I rely on work to get in my exercise I didn’t work out before shift and ended up missing a day.

Maybe some of you can relate to me as a shift worker. Some people call me “crazy” for going to the gym on my break (most people nap), others have joined me (as I changed my thinking to join others when I first started). Even if you don’t have a gym at your work I think it’s a great opportunity to take to get a little exercise in. Do a set of stairs, challenge yourself and do 2. Bring an extra set of clothes to work if you feel you can’t because you’d be too sweaty. Working shift work has reminded me also not to pay attention to the real time but to “my time”. For example, whenever I wake up I am now making sure I start my day the same – make bed, change into real clothing, drink at least one large glass of water, take Juice Plus, make breakfast (lately a smoothie). One thing I’m going to try and add to this routine is exercise. I need to keep reminding myself NO EXCUSES. I could have gone down and up the stairs a few times on my break last night. I could have exercise before work even though I felt I had “no time” because I got up at 4:30 and immediately started making dinner instead of taking 10 minutes first to do a quick home workout video. Right now I’m sitting in bed, writing this blog, trying to plan when to do my workout – I have a vet appointment for my cat (just a checkup), I haven’t started my routine, and I planned on going to a dance class but was also invited to a motivational talk about healthy living. Life is about priorities. Right now, I’ll keep focusing on mine, and envisioning my goal – those strong arms, flat abs, and strong legs. I’ll keep picturing myself being able to do those push-ups and pulling myself up on a chin-up bar with ease. I’ll keep imagining myself as I age, able to continue to show my strength.

Wish me luck. Until next time.

Setting goals

The hardest part of this transformation so far is giving up old thought patterns and actions that follow. I don’t even notice these thoughts until after I’ve succumbed to them and I look back at the day and realize why I wasn’t so productive. Yesterday was one of those days that helped me realize how hard I will have to work to fully achieve my goals.

I woke up, not particularly motivated, after my night shift. I told myself that because I exercised during my night shift, and it was around 4:30am when I got to the gym, that I didn’t need to exercise today. I still had my healthy smoothie and breakfast – though it was such a blah day I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast.. perhaps a boiled egg and a smoothie was all. I putzed around the house putting together lists of tasks I wanted to accomplish: clean, make a vision board, make appointment for the cat (just a check-up). I cleaned a bit, made snacks, cleaned up the mess I made to have the snacks, went on the computer and looked at motivational pictures on Pinterest, went downstairs and watched a movie with my laptop – that died about 10 minutes into it – then went back on the computer to create my vision board, before deciding it was a satisfying time to go to bed. I did manage to make the appointment in the morning when I was still fresh with the day but then found no motivation to do anything beyond that one task.

This mindset I’m talking about, is the voice in my head that convinced me (almost subconsciously) that old habits were fine. This voice said things like: “you worked nights, it’s okay to be lazy”, “you deserve a rest day, you’ve worked hard all week”, “you still ate healthy so that’s enough”, and “the house looks good just the way it is, there’s no point in sweeping when it’s just you at home”. At the end of the day, while getting back motivation near midnight as I finished my vision board on the computer, I replayed these voices and realized that this is the hardest part of change. I said “NO EXCUSES” is my mantra this year, and I’ve already had so many excuses, but I can’t be so hard on myself either. Recognizing these negative thoughts and these compelling voices is the first step to changing them. Dissecting these excuses will help me overcome them. I realized that part of the reason I felt unmotivated was because I didn’t have any concrete goals for this transformation. First, I need to trust and believe in the universe that if I can think it I will have it, but secondly (and to the point of this entry) I need to be specific about these desires in order to not lose my way. Even if I start by setting a tiny goal for every day and a big goal for every month, I needed a more clear vision in order to ignore the voices and get up and get moving. From now on, I will make very clear goals, as I use in my profession often: SMART goals. This is an acronym to describe how I will be able to clearly see my desires and transform them into a plan: S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Realistic, and T – Timely.

One thing that I have realized is that I am not as good at taking photos of my journey as I thought I would be. I planned on having a photo for every blog post, every day on Instagram, and every step of my journey. Then, I get to the gym or finish a class and drive home and then realize: darn, I didn’t get a photo. Sure, it is important to just enjoy the process and not worry about capturing moments sometimes but for the purpose of motivating and inspiring others this is something I feel is important to reach one of my many desires: to have freedom to do what I desire while making money helping others. So, I’ll start with this goal: S – I will take at least one photo a day of my healthy changes, M – I will post at least one photo for each blog post, A – This is attainable if I have my cellphone on my and set a reminder every time I have a workout or event, R – This is realistic because I always have my cell phone on me, T – I will be doing this consistently by the end of January.

To begin, Here’s a photo of my vision board, and my post-workout feels (as seen on my Instagram):

vision board

strength

I also want to point out that my journey will never truly be over. Once I achieve strength I will continue to work on that strength every day and make it a habit. Once I achieve a financial freedom I will continue to appreciate money and use it wisely and use it to achieve even more greatness for the world. Once I do a long distance bicycle ride I will continue to cycle and plan more rides. Life is a journey, and the point of this is not to end, but to be IN the life that I know I should be living. So, now that I’ve shown you some of my visions (I’m sure I will continue to adapt them as I grow and change), I’d like to make one more goal – a little bigger and more long-term than the one above:

S – I will feel and look stronger than I currently am

M – I will show my strength by doing 10 chin-ups and 30 push-ups

A – I can attain this goal because I will continue to do strength exercises to work out these muscles a minimum of 4 times a week

R – This is realistic because I have the access to gyms and classes that will help me stay accountable to my body and strength, I have equipment at home, and I know that I was once strong enough to lift my own body and will be again.

T – This goal will be achieved within 3 years.

Strength is something I have always had a desire and a love-hate relationship with. At my strongest I could easily do 30 push-ups (okay, not easy, but attainable). I would deliver newspapers in high-school at 5am, come home and do 25 push-ups and 25 sit-ups, have a shower, eat a healthy breakfast, go to school, come home and go to dance where I might do another 25 push-ups or so plus a number of other strength exercises I completely took for granted. Many people (including myself) would tell themselves “yeah, well that was high-school! You can never have the same body as you did in high-school!” – well, I aim to prove that little voice wrong! I have seen and read many stories of transformations. I have also met people who have made the decision to be strong, and then gone ahead and done it! I know I will be one of those people – I AM one of those people, and I look forward to the change, even the pain and the struggle in between.

 

A Healthy Start

A Healthy Body:

As I was thinking about my transformation, I began getting a little overwhelmed with the amount of change I’ll need to do so to prevent myself from throwing my hands in the air and saying “it’s too much, it’s impossible”, I’ve decided to work on one thing at a time. Conveniently, I’ve already committed to a 10 day detox with healthy eating and increased exercise, called “Shred10”, by Juice Plus – a community I have recently been introduced to and am beginning to feel benefits from, in many different ways. As you may notice, I have posted my daily smoothies (I’ve actually had 2 a day, but don’t always post the second), and some healthy foods I’ve tried, which are a part of this detox. So, being on this detox is the first step to my healthy body and provided me with an easy place to start my new healthier life.

When I tell people I want to change, a lot of them ask me “why would you want to change? Your thin. You eat healthy”. True, I consider myself a fairly healthy individual. I try to limit my treats and exercise often. This change is not about being thin or eating well “most of the time”, it’s the beginning of living a life without guilt, without regrets. I am committing to better myself so that I can look back when I’m 80 and I’m still doing the hikes I love, still travelling by bicycle and being able to lift heavy things I need to in life (such as moving or shovelling the driveway, or picking up my grandchildren), and I can say “yes, I worked for this, and I’m happy”. It’s about looking myself in the mirror every day and being happy with my body, not because I just “look good” but because I know that I have worked hard and not given up.

With change will come challenges and I am human so I want to share some with you. I started this detox on Jan 2. I planned on eating healthy on the 1 also, though I still had my morning coffee, but failed because I had a late shift, missed my last break and was really craving pizza. Instead of ordering healthy fastfood or going to the grocery store to pickup a quick, healthy, frozen meal, I convinced myself I had one more day of indulging and ate all but one piece of a medium takeout pizza. I then proceeded to eat some of the remaining Christmas chocolate, and go to bed immediately after. I woke up the next day more than ready for a detox. The first two days were tough also. I accidentally ate some gluten the first day, and put cream in my decaf coffee the second (2 things I’m meant to cut out for these 10 days). I felt so bloated and tired, and will spare the details but my digestive system was not what it normally is. I came home from a 12 hour day shift (which is about 13&1/2 hours from leaving the house to coming home) and really didn’t want to exercise. Still, I put on my workout clothes, and blasted dance music to get in the mood while I prepared for my home workout. In the end, I felt good about it. The second day was a day off and I planned on going to a HIIT class at 1pm then joining my accountability buddy (aka Juice Plus representative) for “beer” yoga. I felt motivated when I woke up, cleaned the house, sat down at the computer and made this blog, saw 12:00 pass, then 12:30, then as it was getting to the last minutes I could leave and still make the HIIT class, decided “I’ll get my 30 min in yoga” and didn’t go. It’s this kind of thought that I am working toward eliminating. I am happy I went to yoga, and I did accomplish other things that day but I convinced myself to not be the person I am working toward, and will be more accountable next time.

As this entry is now getting a little lengthy I’d like to end with a positive note. I have exercised at least 30 minutes a day for the last 4 days. I have eaten healthy – plant only, no processed food, no caffeine, no processed sugar – the last 4 days, and I am feeling a lot better on day 4. I am so grateful to be in this journey to wellness and for the healthy body I have. I am so grateful for the many people in my life who love and support me and I am so grateful to have the means and accessibility to make a positive change in my life and live my one life the best I can.

The Beginning

Here it is, the beginning of a new and better version of myself. I started this blog, this site, and this transformation to help inspire (and perhaps teach) anybody interested in having more happiness and freedom in the one life that we have. How fitting that it is the beginning of a New Year. When that clock strikes midnight and we awake the first day of a New Year, it seems to be human nature to reflect on the past, the present, and have a fresh mind looking ahead. It doesn’t have to be January 1 – I often feel this way on my birthday too – and for me, the decision for a transformation began before the New Year, but I decided to put my commitment into full force when the New Year arrived. It helps that I went through a tough time, read a few motivational books, and met some new people who inspire me to be more successful. Even if you are not interested in transformation, or feel you already are living the life that is perfect for you, I encourage you to join me in my journey, share this blog with others, follow my Instagram, and please keep me accountable through your comments.

So what do I mean by transformation?

A lot of people roll their eyes when they hear of New Years resolutions so commonly expressed: “go to the gym more”, “eat healthier”, “drink more water”, “make more money” etc. Most people, including myself, start off each year thinking either “yes, I will do this!” and then lose motivation within a few months, OR thinking “I’m not making any resolutions because I never keep them anyway”. Sure, if that’s your mindset than you won’t be successful. If you hit a tough spot and give up saying “meh, I’ve already slowed down my exercise and eaten poorly a few days this year so I might as well eat this donut…and stop exercising…and maybe bake a cake and eat it after I consume this entire pizza”, you will never be a better version of yourself than you are right now. What I mean by transformation (wow that took a long time to get to the point, didn’t it), is I am on a journey to hit the tough spots and get over them. This is not just a New Year’s resolution but a conscious choice to make a lifetime change. When I start to fail I will continue to be grateful for the journey, push through, and remind myself of the end point. This end point can be so different for everybody but the common denominator is – Happiness. Are you the happiest you could be with your life? Have you made the healthiest choices with no regrets? Happiness and health go hand in hand, hence the title of this blog. Health to me is more than just how we look or what food or drinks we put into our bodies. Health is mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial. Yes, financial. A world can not function without money, and we can not enjoy what we love without money. If you don’t believe me, read You are a Badass at Making Money : it is one of the books I’ve read (okay, listened to on Audible) that has helped me jump into my new life with both feet and no life jacket. The point is: I will transform my way of thinking so that I will achieve my goals, finish the plans I set out to finish, have more freedom, and be healthier in every aspect of the word.

Baby steps.

In case I haven’t made myself clear this blog is going to be about my transformation. Since this is so broad a term, I’ll break it down into sections (as you may have noticed the categories of blogs you can search through on this site):

Healthy Body – having a body that I can still work with when I’m 80; that I can use to do things that I love such as hiking and biking; and that I can continue to strengthen and push to achieving my goals

Healthy Eating – putting things in my body that will help me live a long, good quality life; teaching my future children by example so that they may live without illness or injury; supporting the environment by eating sustainable foods

Healthy Mind – Maintaining a positive outlook on life so that I can overcome any challenges I am faced with; practicing daily gratitude so the universe works for me; getting over any fears I have about success and going for it – no matter how long or how hard it takes

Healthy Finances – Maintaining my freedom through money; Spending more time with family and friends thanks to money; having enough money saved to feel comfortable spending whenever I desire; Giving my money only to the things that give me the most happiness such as travel, my home, my family, my friends, and my health.

A part of this journey will be continuing to update this blog. Something I haven’t been successful with in the past, but plan to achieve success this time around. It might be daily, it might be weekly, but at MINIMUM it will be monthly. The rest of these posts will be about my transformation – the lessons I’ve learned, the gratitude I’ve felt, the struggles I’ve come across, and the changes I can already see taking shape. I hope to inspire others to start their own transformation through my journey, and eventually, to pay it forward to even more people. We only have one life. Why are we constantly making excuses for why we are not happy and successful yet? Why are we sitting back and watching our life pass by when we can be actively engaged in it?

Hopefully, I’ll soon have an answer for you.