As we roll into our third and finally winter month (yaaaaaay), us Montrealers are thriving through to reach the promise of springtime. The promise of days in which the glacial wind doesn’t tear off your face or make your skin crack. The promise of days when you aren’t wearing 10 pounds worth of gear to confront the cold weather but then die of heat in the trenches of the metro lines. Finally, the promise of sunshine, terraces and sandals. Until then though…we grunt and humph at the weather forecast, hopelessly trapped in a giant snow globe. Yet, some of us still find motivation to focus on what’s coming ahead: the promised land or springtime!
It is true that, by nature, I have always been one to have stamina. Don’t get me wrong though, I am definitely not invincible. While I do think part of my motivation is innate, I realize that there are also behavioural preferences that I have that encourage me on a daily basis. In the hopes of wanting to inspire (and not dictate or pretend I am a life coach), here are a few things that I do every day that I am convinced help me focus on the positive and to just GSD.
I wake up early everyday
(Amendment: I sometimes skip on weekends)
5AM to be precise. You might think I set my alarm on at an ungodly hour because I now live in the suburbs. Sure, part of it is true. However, if I’m going to get up early, I may as well do it and truly profit from the early hours of the day. In early January, I started a beachbody workout program that I could do from home (Transform:20). I wanted a physical activity routine that I could do from home, as I was used to having a gym in my building and going to ballet class close to work. While I could still go to ballet class if I wanted to, the truth is, my motivation is NOT at an all-time high after a day of work. No matter how much I love ballet, I did find it challenging to wait around at work, change, go to class and arrive home very late. I often lost my momentum. That's the problem right there: when you have time between you and a task, you have time to change your mind. I need something I can do as soon as I decide so as to not delay and potentially kill my motivation. So, beachbody with Shaun T it was and man...am I not disappointed!
For me to be able to take my time in the morning, I wake up around 5:30AM, put on my workout clothes and head down to the basement to train for 20 non-stop minutes. The feeling of validation that comes after this is priceless. Working out first thing in the morning, as I used to do back a few years ago, truly is what works best for me. After that, I can tackle anything the day brings. The fact that I took care of myself first allows me to better focus on the rest of my day and not think "oh yeah, I have to work out after work"....nope! It's DONE.
There is something secretive about waking up at the crack of dawn as well. The sense of power that I feel when I rise is what keeps me coming back. It is as though I am alone in the world, possessing all the freedom and time to do as I please. Key trick: preparing my workout gear the night before. and I mean down to the socks and shoes. This sets my mind to it before going to bed and when I wake up, it’s right there waiting for me, inciting me to go. By doing so, I eliminate all decision making in the morning and I just go train.
So, when I arrive at work for 9AM, no one really knows that I already worked out, responded to emails and basically, already GSD.
I listen to music everyday
I still believe that the best invention to date is portable music. The Walkman, the ipod, now the smartphone, which allows me to store all my favourite and new music as I travel between places. If you know me, you know that music is an incredible source of inspiration and energy for me. It takes me places, it makes me dream, it's a time traveling machine. Though I do add new music regularly, I don’t tire of the same songs. I rediscover them. I’ll hear the instruments in a different way, I’ll experiment the movement of the emotions again and get goosebumps, and then sometimes, exactly the right song will start playing as I get off the train to start my march to the office and it will be just the song I needed to hear. I swear it’s like my life has its own soundtrack! I once had the 435 express bus pass right in front of me and as it was stopped at a red light, the song “Pray for me” by the weeknd started playing in my earphone…you know it. The fire inside me ignited and I ran like someone was chasing me, caught up to that bus and the driver opened the doors for me with a wink. My daily dose of music keeps me sane and charged with positive vibes, simple as that.
Yes. Another small victory...
So when I put those earphones in and start walking, my heart and soul are getting replenished by music. Which leads me to my next point.
I walk everyday
I have become a pedestrian since I moved to the city over ten years ago and since I left, that hasn’t changed. I refuse to get a second car until I really need to get one. In fact, I walk more now than I used to. Why? Well, first of all, I can’t rely on the buses in wintertime nor do I want to feel the pressure to. So I often walk from the train station to the office (ok, except in minus 30 weather, when I take the metro) and then back again from the office to the train station. As I walk, I am in charge. I have my music and march to my own beat. I am often reminded of the freedom that comes with the ability to walk. Not something all of us have.
I take in the scenery, I let my mind drift to what’s in front of me: people passing me by, bright and inviting shops, confusing construction signs, the smell of waffles mixed with tar?? yep, that's Montreal! A perfect mix that creates the vibrations of the city I love. What a privilege it is to be able to feel energy so palpable simply by walking through it and letting my nervous system absorb it all. I then hop on the train and unwind with a book or...more music.
I am silly everyday
One of the things I do on the regular too is share silly moments with everyone around me. Either in person, by phone or by ping, you may be receiving something from me like a text, a recording, a meme that will make you laugh. I love to laugh and enjoy the camaraderie that comes in building long-term friendships. Those little in-between moments help us know each other better and build trusting relationships. There are moments when I obviously need to be serious and focused while others welcome sarcastic remarks and the healthy banter between friends and colleagues. Unlike some, I am not afraid to be a goofball and appear ridiculous. Je n’ai pas peur du ridicule, je suis le ridicule.
I sweat the small stuff enough as it is that when I do laugh, I laugh hard and let go. I take a step back and remember that whatever pressure I feel is usually not all that unbearable; I have the means to get through it. It reminds me not to take life so seriously after all. I have inside jokes with just about everyone I know. Every friendship or colleagueship has its personality and special characteristics. To me, that is what makes life meaningful. How grateful I am to be surrounded by phenomenal people, people I believe in. Individuals possessing incredible knowledge as well as in-depth desires to achieve their goals and demonstrate tremendous kindness and respect to everyone. At work especially, we all joke around, nerds that we are, and make work a true fun place to be. This is also why I would not want to work from home more than once or twice a week. I’d be missing out on the city and on those small moments that make us grow together.
I listen to paul arcand every day
So I have a confession to make...I am totally addicted to the radio in the morning. The moment I rise, I march right over to the bathroom and before anything else, I turn on my super old yet immortal Sony radio to 98.5. It's really early and while the entire world seems to still be sleeping, I like to have the company of a rational voice with me, even if it's just 10 minutes before my workout. The voice I long to hear though is that of Paul Arcand and his fabulous team Puisqu’il faut se lever #PQFSL. They go on at 5:30AM and I love listening to Paul and the way he shares the news and point of view to the city. His voice is on my little radio and also on in the kitchen as I do my smoothie and all the way on the train as I sip my coffee. I don’t want to miss anything! I feel like I know everything that’s important as my day begins. I also love how Paul isn’t afraid to challenge his guests when he interviews them and speaks for us citizens. He is VERY knowledgeable and so is his amazing team.
I remember when my parents would listen to him when I was younger; I wanted nothing to do with news. All I wanted was music. Now though, I really love the conversations and being in the know. I am part of that second generation who was originally forced to listen and who now wants to listen. I don’t know what I would do without them in the morning. It's one of those things I know I can always count on every day. I love how organized they are and the flawless chemistry that connects them. Not only do they deliver top stories and important commute information in a timely fashion, their sense of humour, hilarious sound effects and natural way of caring for Montrealers and surrounding regions keep up listeners hooked. #PQFSL je vous AIME!
Walk with purpose everyday
I often get the “You’re tiny but we can hear you coming from so far!” comment. Perhaps it’s the dance, perhaps it’s the tempo I need to feel, but all I know is that if you are a slow walker, please be kind and…get out of my way. I like to walk with conviction. I cannot walk without a beat. My steps have a bounce because I know where I am going and most likely, I am enthusiastic to get there.
While I get that not all of us are fast walkers, walking rapidly is more efficient. Sorry to say but slow-walkers intentionally or unintentionally impose their speed, or lack thereof, on fast-walkers. Meanwhile, the fast-walkers don’t disturb you: you see them and then they’re gone. I walk from the heels of my feet, it’s loud, and it gives meaning to my direction. The energy I send throughout my walk usually comes back to me.
I enjoy coffee everyday
If there’s something I can’t go without it truly is my coffee. It’s quite simple: I like the hotness, the taste and the cosy feeling it brings me. I enjoy every single sip and it makes my morning awesome. Lucky for me, ever since the move, Phil and I splurged on a top of the line filter coffee machine that is programmable. So every morning, I get a fresh brew and my awesome husband preps my little thermos for me. As the train pulls me into town, I combine glorious coffee sips to Paul Arcand’s awesomeness and those are little moments of gratitude and yes, another small victory!
So, by 8AM, I already engaged in three or four of my preferred behaviours: my workout, my fave radio show, my coffee, which will then be followed by walking, music and most certainly, silliness! You see...everything is connected and each of those little rituals have a purpose and thus, a positive psychological impact on me.
Do you have favorite activities, hobbies, rituals that keep you engaged and enthused?
Bee motivated xx
What the past 6 weeks have been like, waking up at 5AM and training 6 days a week :)
My name is Ivana. I love photography and meeting people. I hold a Master's in counselling psychology and work as a career consultant. Music is my fuel and an important source of energy in my life. I drive my vespa around the city and I love what I do! :) About this blog: me on my artistic soap box!
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