An Optimistic Life

Do you have a goal you want to accomplish? You can do it! The right mindset can make the difference between reaching your goal and remaining stagnant. It can be hard to get your mind to change it’s preset thought process, but it can be done! You just have to remind yourself daily, multiple times a day, that you can reach your goal. It is that optimism, that positive thinking, that can get you through the hard times when you just want to give up.

For example, a few years ago, I decided it was time to lose some weight and increase my fitness level. I had put on weight in nursing school, as any college student tends to do, and followed that right up with a baby. Great plan, right? I spent a year hanging on to all the weight, hating it but not doing anything to change it. But hating it and just accepting it didn’t get me any closer to my goal.

I finally managed to change how I was thinking about it. I was on Pinterest one day and found something like this:

Duh! Why I had never thought of it that way? Time was going to pass whether I tried to make a change or not. The only thing holding me back was myself. I may as well work toward something I wanted rather than just let time and life pass me by. I decided then and there that I could do it, make a change and see a difference in just a few months. I was tired of junk food anyway (yeah, right).

And I did it!  But I never would have stuck with it if I hadn’t changed my thought process and kept the optimistic belief that I COULD accomplish it. Every day I reminded myself- I can do this. I WILL do this. Then I found ways to HELP me do it. I managed to lose 20 pounds in 6 months. Which actually put me 40 pounds less than I was at the end of nursing school! But I never would have even STARTED to try to change, and definitely wouldn’t have continued trying, if I didn’t remind myself EVERY DAY of how much I wanted a change and that I could do it.

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I am working hard at new goals, and it is a daily effort. Nothing is easy, but you just have to keep trying. Tell yourself that you can reach your goal, and hold onto that optimism. You CAN reach your goal. Come to believe that with your whole being, hold it close to your heart and don’t let go. Because you are worth it. And the time is going to pass anyway.

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A Persistent Life

You know you have to be doing something right when your 3 year old inspires you to keep going. Now, “right” may be a relative term here since it has to do with video games, but hey, whatever works. And I will take inspiration anywhere I can get it!

So yesterday, my kiddo starts begging to play a wii game as I was trying to do some research. Now, he isn’t the best video game player in the world, seeing as he is only 3, but he tries. And by “try” I mean he plays for 10 seconds and then asks for help, which means he wants to hold the controller and I have to push the buttons to play around him. I did this for a little while, but then I told him that I had some things to do but that I knew he could do it himself, he just has to try.

I went back to doing research and after 5 or 10 minutes I hear a little voice calling “Mommy! Look, I did it! Whoo hoo!” I look over and he had completed a level. And he was so proud of himself! He had done something that he thought he couldn’t do, just through perseverance. He knew he wanted to do it, so he kept trying and was able to accomplish it.

His joy at doing this came at the perfect time for me. I have been doing a lot of research lately, trying to figure out this whole blogging/writing thing, and have started to feel really overwhelmed. I mean, what the heck am I getting myself into? There is so much to learn and do, and it’s really easy to begin to think of giving up.

But just when I was ready to throw in the towel, thinking forget it, there is too much for me to figure out here, his success at something that seemed impossible to him motivates me to keep going. He is so happy that he made it through just one level, and it reminded me of how good it feels when I complete a post, of how satisfying it is when I find a good piece of information about what I am trying to do and am able to start making sense of it and put it all together. These little successes add up and all I can do is keep trying and not give up. Because it will pay off eventually. Even if I am not successful in what I am want to accomplish, at least I can know I am going to give it my all and keep trying.

So thank you baby boy, because of you I will keep going at this. I will persevere and figure this all out. If my 3 year old can persevere through something he thinks is impossible, I can too. I will accomplish my goals because doing this makes me happy. It brings joy to my heart to get my words out there, no matter what they are or how many people read them. And if I can motivate you to persevere through something, to accomplish YOUR goal, even when you think you can’t, well that’s just an extra bonus.

A Motivated Life

Motivation is a funny thing. Take for instance my morning today. Last night I set the alarm for 6:30, thinking I got this -I’m going to work out in the morning, work on writing, maybe even get some cleaning done before the kids wake up. Then the dreaded thing happens-6:30 AM roles around and the alarm goes off. But there is this lovely little button on an alarm clock called a snooze button, that is just so damn EASY to hit. Multiple times. And for some reason, that’s when you feel like you are getting your most enjoyable sleep! Motivation for the day is gone as I happily lay cuddled up in my bed.

Then the dog wakes up and starts trying to play with my sleeping five year old, who happens to be sleeping on the floor of my room. So up I jump out of my nice, cozy bed to grab the dog and get him out of the room before anyone else wakes up and let him outside. Okay, now I’m up. Do I climb back in bed to enjoy another half an hour, knowing I won’t get more sleep, but will at least be laying flat doing nothing? Or do I put on my workout clothes and attempt the plan I made the night before?

I drag myself to the closet thinking of swim suit season and an upcoming trip. I find my workout clothes and put them on. Now….to sit on the couch and watch Netflix while my family is still sleeping and I can actually have the TV for once? No, no, thoughts of bathing suits fill my head as I motivate myself to turn on the workout video and just get it done. It’s only half an hour anyway.

Half way in and my brain starts thinking. Why am I doing this? Who really cares what I look like in a bathing suit anyway? I could be doing so many other things….like watching Netflix… I tell myself no again and sludge through the remaining 15 minutes. And at the end of it, I’m grateful I did and I feel pretty good that I have accomplished at least something I set out to do this morning. And not only did I accomplish it, my kids slept through it and I could do it without interruption! So that’s what getting through a workout without stopping 10 times feels like….

Okay, onto the next thing. Doing well with the plan I had set for myself the night before, check number one off the list. Now, I know I have a limited amount of time before the kids wake up and start asking me for breakfast and we have to start home school for the day. Do I clean or write? I know I should clean, but the kids will just make a mess a little later anyway and my heart says sit down and write.

I sit down at my computer. I wait and listen. Now, what normally happens when I sit down with time for myself in the morning is that I hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet running down the hallway, and little voices saying “Mommy!!! I’m hungry!” I’m still listening. This is AMAZING. There is no sound. I have to get up and go check on them… I just have to be sure, you know? Nope, they are still asleep. Alright then! On to writing it is!

So here I sit at my computer thinking. Thinking about the little things that motivate us. Sometimes thoughts of what we want to accomplish don’t push us into doing what we need to in order to accomplish our goals. We need a little extra shove, like a dog trying to wake up your sleeping child, to get you out of bed and started working toward your daily goals. Then you just have to keep the momentum going, remember the things that motivate you, and go for it. And maybe, instead of wanting to yell at the dog for making me get up, I will thank him next time instead.

Bacon, my motivator this morning
Bacon, my motivator this morning

A Passionate Life

My life is not where I want it to be. I imagine most people get to some point in their life where this idea surfaces, and I’m not trying to be whiny about it. It is a scary, terrifying feeling though! Where did I go wrong? What is it EXACTLY that I don’t like? And once that’s figured out, a decision has to be made: to bear on with the life you have chosen, or to do something, change something, to make the life you live the life you want. This process can take some time. I mean, it’s a big decision to just jump into. Eventually though, I figure you have to jump or you will spend your life continuing in the same patterns, wishing your life was different but doing nothing to bring a change about.

It isn’t that I am unhappy about my life. I have a wonderful family, a successful job in healthcare, a home, food on the table. But along the line, I made a choice that led me away from my passion. I thought I knew, from the time I was 10, that I wanted to go into nursing. I worked in health care while I went to school, thought I KNEW that was where I belonged. Midway through nursing school though, I realized I was making a choice that wasn’t quite right for me. It isn’t that I couldn’t handle the profession. Technically and mentally I was, and am, completely capable. But I found it wasn’t in my heart. I just didn’t have a passion for it. I thought about changing majors, but a good friend talked me out of it- we had put in so much time, so much money, we were almost done, don’t quit now. I listened.

Not only did I listen, I put in MORE time and MORE money pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Because it seemed like the sensible thing to do. I like being a nurse, I enjoy it, but I have no passion for it. So here I am, with 13 years of experience in health care, 8 years of that being a nurse, wishing that I had quit when I realized the passion was missing. But you know what? Wishing doesn’t change anything. You have to make a choice, to take action to better your life, to reach new goals, not just because that is already the direction you set for your life, but because it is your passion. So that your life is the life you WANT to have, not just the life you have.

So where does that leave me? I do love my job. It is a great job with great people. I have been there for years. But I know it isn’t my PASSION. I have spent years now WISHING I was doing something that I felt a passion for. But I didn’t know what I wanted for sure and I was scared to make a choice, to try anything new. So I have kept on, not trying anything new, continuing on in day to day life, waiting for the passion to strike. Even though it has always been there in the back of my mind. I just didn’t know what to do with it, didn’t think it was a possibility, didn’t believe in myself.

My passion is words. Anything at all to do with words: reading, writing, editing, it doesn’t matter. I have spent whole summers locked away in my room doing nothing but reading anything I could get my hands onto. Writing fiction was something I LOVED to do in my younger years, I even enjoyed writing essays for school. Just getting WORDS ONTO PAPER in a form that made sense. But after years of textbook after textbook, all laid out in the same way, I lost my time and energy for other forms of reading and writing and that passion I felt for those things fell by the wayside.

Thankfully, reading returned to my life as soon as school was over, but writing never made a reappearance. Until now. I don’t yet know where I want to take it, whether it be to develop this blog further, begin writing articles, or perhaps start a book- maybe even a combination of all three. Does that mean I will throw all my healthcare work out the window? Probably not. But I need to feel a passion for something. In some facet of my life, I need to pursue something that I am passionate about and that makes me happy. So do I have it all figured out? Absolutely not. All I know for now is that I am done wishing. I am ready for a change. I am jumping in. I’m ready for an adventure. Are you with me?