oh crap…this is going to be harder than I thought

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Source: themavencircle.com

So, as it turns out, it’s a lot easier to get a daily workout in when you don’t have other things filling your schedule.

Like, say, a job.

For over two years I had complete and total control over my calendar. I managed all personal or business appointments according to how much I felt I could take on.

My main objective was to minimize stress, live in the moment and be happy.

Moving appointments that conflicted with health and fitness goals was commonplace. eg. Nope, sorry I can’t meet you for lunch on Wednesday, I’m doing BodyPump class at 12:15. How does Thursday look?

The benefits of living that way were many; I’m sure I don’t need to list them for you.

The downside, sadly, was primarily financial. Despite living in denial for a long while, I finally had to resign myself to the fact that retirement at age 47 was not an option. Not, that is, if I wanted to keep traveling, buying stuff and eating well. Or eating at all, at a certain point. :-)

One thing I knew for sure though is that I was not willing to compromise the values I had grown to hold so dear in these past couple of years. I was prepared to wait for as long as it took to find the right job, even if it meant buying less stuff in the process.

I wanted to join a company that was forward-thinking enough to allow a work-from-home situation, with the flexibility that home could mean Toronto or Las Vegas, without limitations. I also wanted a role that would allow me to stretch and grow beyond my comfort zone.

When this opportunity presented itself, it ticked off each and every check box on my list of ‘must-have’s. It was, as they say, an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or perhaps more accurately, one I shouldn’t refuse.

I have been given the opportunity to grow a new line of business for a well-established company, leveraging all the learning I’ve amassed in the various roles I held during my 10-year tenure with the software behemoth. The official title is Director of Product Management, but the role is a fantastic mash-up of business development, marketing and alliance-building, three areas I’m deeply passionate about.

It’s a wonderful opportunity; and also one that scares the shit out of me. And that is a winning combination! Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I love that I’m afraid of the scope of this role. I feel like I’m being stretched in a way I haven’t been in a long time.

The first week got off to a slow start, with most of my time spent in administrative duties. My boss told me to enjoy the quiet while it lasted as I would be “crying uncle soon” from the work that would start to hit. His prediction came true in week two, when I found myself on my first business trip. It was time to jump in with both feet.

I left the house early Monday morning but got some downtime after I made it to my hotel in Los Angeles. I used the opening in my schedule to go for a walk around the neighbourhood and get some lunch. In my previous life I would have unpacked my laptop and ordered room service. The fact that this didn’t even enter my mind as an option is testament to how far I’ve come.

I started my Tuesday with a short yoga sequence (thank you Kerry for that brilliant tip!) before checking out of my hotel and heading to the first meeting of the day. A rushed commute to Orange County, followed by the warp-speed inhalation of a sushi lunch saw us just make our 1pm meeting. A meeting that lasted 5 hours. Oh yeah, I remember those. :-)

Once we were checked into our new hotel, we met back downstairs to head to dinner, a dinner we walked to. (Yay for walking!)  Rather than watching TV or getting on my laptop when I got back to my room, I did an in-room bodyweight circuit that helped me sleep like a baby. The following morning I did another yoga sequence, which helped not only to get my blood flowing, but also to centre my mind and put me in the right headspace for the day.

The truth is, finding time to workout while working or traveling is a challenge. But it’s also do-able.

I can safely say that the tap has officially been turned on, and I’m now watching my calendar fill up with a number of business trips over the next few months, including one that will find me back in familiar territory, and among old friends.

My biggest challenge, quite frankly, won’t be that my job will become too demanding, rather that I could fall into my old ways.

These next few weeks will be the true test of my mettle. How deeply embedded are these new values? How important is work life balance to me, really? How hard am I prepared to work to maintain my good health?

My fingers are crossed that the life I’ve lived, the one I’ve loved, will anchor me in better life choices during the turbulent times on the horizon.

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

46 thoughts on “oh crap…this is going to be harder than I thought

  1. I feel sure you will be able to establish new healthy patterns while travelling :-D

    You are so dedicated to your new healthy lifestyle that I feel confident you will find new and innovative ways of fitting workouts and healthy eating in!

    the fact that you are worried about falling back into old ways is a good indicator that you won’t! You are aware of what they are and will be able to catch yourself before you do :-D

    x

    • I think this will be a challenge during travel and non-travel, to be honest, Sam. I have a tendency to throw myself into my work, often at the expense of everything else in my life. This is going to take a conscious effort to avoid falling into those pitfalls again.

      I’m glad I passed the first test (3-day trip), but I continue to monitor my potential for bad habit-forming. i.e. Not eating for several hours after I wake up, not drinking enough water. Little things, but things that add up over time to have a health impact.

      I just need to stay focused and present. And maybe go for a run. ;-)

  2. sounds like you are off to a great start, Nancy! And that you’ve found your dream job. So exciting! I’m happy you are starting your mornings with a yoga sequence. I have not been able to do every morning as I would like as my lil man has woken earlier. But making it happen when we can is just as important. Yesterday while the kids played on the playset, I didn’t do a full sequence but just a few poses and when they saw me, they came over and wanted to try too. My 11 year old niece did a great crow pose. It was fun. :) If you ever make a trip down to the Gulf coast, you will have to let me know!! xo

    • I haven’t managed the yoga sequence every day, but I’m glad I got it in Tues & Wed of the biz trip. Between the yoga poses and the plethora of in-room workouts I have compiled, there really is no excuse not to get some exercise in every day, whether traveling or not.

      I’ll be heading to Atlanta first week of March, and I believe I have a conference in Fort Lauderdale mid-April. Will keep you posted on the FL conference timing as it materializes for me.

      xoxo

  3. It’s a big challenge. Working + healthy lifestyle is very, very hard to manage. I’m healthier now as a stay at home mum than i ever was working all hours (and weekends). Good luck – I’m sure you will find a way! X

    • Definitely a challenge, but also completely do-able, if I prioritize on it. Life is all about choices, and I just need to continue to make ones that support my health and lifestyle goals. I’m committed to trying!

  4. I am in total admiration of how you maintained a workout while keeping up a full time schedule at work and still wrote a meaningful blog post to share it with us.

    The job sounds like it was worth taking and I think it will get easier to automatically include exercise as part of your day. If you plan for it. Off to a great start though as the beginning of a job is when you lose all control of your schedule. But you kept the workout on the list. Nice work!

    • I think blogging is the one area that may start to fall off as things heat up, which makes me sad.

      I’m already struggling to keep up with writing and reading others’ blog posts. This blogging world has become such a passion for me, so I’m really struggling with how to balance that with the new demands on my schedule.

      I am thinking I may cut down to 2 posts per week, and also carve out time one or two evenings per week to catch up on my reading. I feel guilty not visiting the blogs I follow on a more timely basis, but stressing out over that is not going to help me maintain my stress-free living, now is it? :-)

      • First, I love that you tried to retire at 47. I’ve thought about trying that a few times, but you’re right about the travelling…and eventually eating. With blogging, I’m in the same boat as you, working full time and going to school part time. I’m feeling under pressure! I think next week, I’m cutting my posts to one a week until things get back to normal. I love blogging and don’t want it to become a duty. Good luck with managing everything. Your new job sounds super exciting!

        • I hear you Laurel. I may end up doing one post a week. Or just writing 2 on weekends and scheduling the publications. I am trying to get past the guilt of potentially not making it to other blogs on a daily basis, because the truth is it will become harder and harder to do that as my plate becomes even more full.

          Will try to focus on breathing and accepting that I can only do so much.

          cheers!

  5. I read your post with some envy. Its’ been almost 3 years since I retired and I often miss the fuss and bustle of working. When I contemplate getting another job, I think about days like today when my snowshoes and hiking gear are all packed and ready to head out onto the trail to enjoy the new snow … then the moment passes.

    I never found the happy balance between work and work-out, but it sounds like you are definitely off on the right foot!!

    • Fingers crossed that this right-foot start continues for me. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to giving and giving and giving (on the work front). Can’t blame my employers (although the previous one certainly didn’t mind the crazy work ethic!). Life is all about choices, and all I can do at this point is try to make the ones that align with my goals.

      Enjoy your showshoeing trek today!

  6. Hey Nancy! Didn’t you say that you were talking on a variety of new and different challenges this month. It sounds to me like you will have to get very clear and focused about what is most truly important to you because the busier you are the more you will have to pick and choose what you spend your time on. I think that is one of the biggest challenges facing every single one of this. I don’t think their is one right answer either…it all depends on us. Fortunately for us you have a lovely way of sharing your thoughts so we’ll be able to enjoy your choices as you go!

    • Absolutely Kathy — in fact, that is one of the things that started to stress me out this weekend: thinking about monthly challenges and what February would hold for me. I managed to quickly banish the stressful thoughts – but it’s crazy how something that is supposed to add value to my life (stretching myself, growing, taking on challenges) momentarily brought negativity and stress (i.e. What will I do this month? It better be good!, etc.).

      With the added demands of work on my plate, you’re right, I need to get much pickier about how I spend the remainder of my time. And try to remain positive in the process! :-)

      I know my one ‘big’ challenge already – am just in procrastination mode to kick it off because it will be crazy hard. :-) Soon…

  7. Thanks for giving us a peek into your new life. I’ve been wondering how things were going. Sounds like a wonderful and exciting job. I look forward to reading about how you’re able to stay on track with the increased demands. Your experiences will benefit many, I’m sure.

    • Another benefit of the blogging is that it gives me an audience to be accountable to. Without this, it might be a lot easier to just make excuses. Score another point for blogging! :-)

  8. It is obviously SOOOo very easy to let healthy food and excercise be the first things to ‘ fall off the plate’ when the plate gets overfilled…….planning what can fall,off the plate ahead of time ( even if that means your blog :( or other social media) may be a good strategy. This is the work/life balance struggle !!

    • It sure is, Joan. My current plan is to continue to do the bulk of my writing on weekends and stagger the publish dates so that I’m not using up my evenings to do nothing but read and write blog posts. :-)

      I suspect next week will be an even bigger challenge as I’ll not only be juggling work, but a visit from my son and his girlfriend during their spring break/reading week from college. Blogging may fall far behind at that point. :-)

  9. First of all, congrats on the opportunity of professional development! Sounds like an amazing and rewarding career choice. I’m excited for you.
    I own my business and the ebb and flow of things sometimes makes it hard to do what I want to do. During the summer I only work 40 hours a week, November through February it’s more like 80+. I think my best piece of advice is don’t ever stop moving, no matter what your schedule looks like. Once you stop, it’s easy for days to turn into weeks, and in my case a whole month… Then starting back up again is seriously daunting. Especially when sleeping and ice cream are so delicious.
    You sound like you have it all figured out. I am seriously happy for your new arrangement!

    • Making good habits takes time and can be very hard; whereas falling out of those habits can happen very quickly (and easily). So unfair! :-)

      I’m hopeful that in being very conscious of the potential dangers and pitfalls that I’ll be able to right the ship before too much damage is done.

      In the meantime, it’s mostly about adjusting to the new schedule and demands on my time. Onward and upward!

      thanks for the well wishes Martha. Greatly appreciated!

  10. I used to travel a lot for work and the few things I got used to was a) take some breakfast to the hotel room to eat in the mornings (you get tired of the hotel breakfasts after awhile, and I often found them too heavy…) b) always pack a pair of running shoes: it is easy to go for a run anywhere. Finding a gym can require more time, which at least I often didn’t have. c) I booked a hotel with a pool where possible (I did go to such small places too that a pool wasn’t always on the radar). A morning swim really gives you more energy to a full day, even though getting up is sometimes hard.

    I suppose what works for you may vary, you have a different line of work. But you’ll work it out!

    • All great suggestions, thank you!

      Extensive travel for business is not new to me, but finding the balance definitely is. I don’t leave home without a pair of running shoes these days, so we’re all set from that perspective!

      thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and your great recommendations. Much appreciated.

  11. Now that you know first hand the amazing benefits to a work life balance I’m sure you won’t backslide. :) I’m so happy you’ve found such a great job and hope you can carve out a few minutes each week to keep us up to date. Selfish of me but I don’t want to go too long with out a new Nancy story!

    • From your mouth (er, fingers?) to the universe’s ears/eyes! :-)

      I think (hope) you’re right and that just by being more conscious of it that it’ll help me stay on track.

      And I’m definitely not giving up the blog. Even if it means writing early on weekend mornings or late in the weeknights. This community has been such a gift to me. The added bonus is that I now feel extra accountable, knowing I have a small audience cheering me on.

      Thanks for your awesome support, Lisa. I really appreciate it! xoxo

  12. I have no doubt that you’ll be able to do this, Nancy. You know how much physical exercise helps you think, keeps you grounded and makes you focus. You need all those things more than ever in this new job.

  13. Good for you! I think you’ve started really well, and you are conscious of a couple facts that will help you keep the balance: you know that you tend to throw yourself completely into your work – and you watch it. You also know how easy it is to ‘slip’ one day, then another …and get back to the laptop/room service swing. I did was in that mode far for too long :( but have finally managed to change it …a little. All the best!

    • I’m going to try to stay very conscious on this because I know how very easy it is to slip out of good habits and back into bad ones. Thank you for your great support, Tiny, much appreciated!

  14. It sounds cliche but you really are such an inspiration. I’m needing to maybe probably start taking my health/fitness more seriously and your blog always puts me in that mood. Waking up and doing yoga in the morning?! I feel like this would change my life haha

    • It’s way less daunting just stringing together a few poses in the comfort of your pajamas. If I had to get dressed and head out to a yoga studio at 6am… well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be happening. :-)

  15. Good luck with the new schedule. You are SUCH a good girl for fitting your workouts in. I can fritter a whole day away and not do a yoga session – what a lazy moo!. I need to look at Kerry’s post again!

    • :-) The thing I like about this idea of building yoga sequences is that it’s not nearly as time consuming as a class. Certainly doesn’t qualify as a full yoga practice, but it gives me that little kick start first thing, which is great. You can find a bunch of yoga sequence combos on Pinterest. :-)

  16. You’ve got this. The fact that you are conscious of building in time for yourself and your health, means that you have all of the tools to make this happen. Just remember that you are a priority and that exercise in little chunks can be just as effective as a straight two hour work out.

    My trick has been to break up my work out into two chunks. I do my strength (yoga or circuits) either in the morning or at lunch and then I do my cardio by running when I get home from work. That second part takes a lot of discipline — i’m usually tired and hungry and its dark out and the excuses start pouring in — but I have never once regretted just putting on my shoes and going. Not only is that time important for my heart, its important for my head to be away from everything and everyone for a bit at the end of the day.

    • That’s a really great strategy you’ve got.

      I’m fortunate in that I’m keeping to Eastern time zone hours while I’m here in Vegas, so I’m starting my day at 6am, but done by 2pm. Makes it a lot easier to get that hike or workout in while it’s still daylight out. I suspect it’ll be a bit harder to motivate myself once I’m back in Toronto – but it’s all about priority. So far, this is still a big priority for me, and hoping my conscious thinking will keep it there.

      Hope your training for the race is going well!

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