Step 1: The Need for Change

My name is Rahima Hirji.  I am a Naturopathic Doctor,  a wife, a mother, a runner, a baker and a cook and the past 18 months of my life have been brutal.

I am not complaining.  By all measures, I am living the dream.  I have two beautiful boys after struggling with infertility for 3 years.  I have a very successful husband and we are both lucky to have jobs that we love.  I own my own thriving practice.  I  “work” part-time.  We just bought and are renovating our dream home.  Seriously, I have it made.

So why has my life been so brutal?  Because living the dream requires a lot of work.  In the last 18 months, I have moved cities, and then moved into two relatively tiny condos (my house was 3700 square feet and the condos we moved into were barely 1100-still big by some standards but it’s all relative). Finally, we moved into our home that only recently stopped resembling a construction zone.  I opened my clinic in Kitchener in Jan 2012, the same month that I moved to Toronto.  What can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I commute 2 hours 2-3 days a week.  Our renovation of the heritage home we bought in Toronto turned out to be a nightmare and almost broke my already strained marriage.  The week we moved, my son slipped and got a concussion.  On top of all that, I have a neurological condition that is worsened by stress.

So why did I decide to start this blog?  Because, one morning, I woke up and realized that things were getting better.  The house was no longer a complete disaster.  Not finished by any means, but resembling less a construction zone and more of a home.   My days were not completely filled with talking to contractors, getting estimates and driving around the city for tiles, paint, doorknobs and door stops.  You’d be amazed how many door stops you need when you are building a home.  My nights were no longer filled with worry, I was sleeping again and my hair stopped falling out.

So I decided I wanted to start enjoying my life again, instead of waiting for the stress to go away.  I want to thrive despite it.  It certainly helped that we booked a 2-week vacation at a cottage.  It allowed me time to look beyond my to-do list and focus on other things-like the fact that I am turning 40 in 2014.   In 60 weeks to be precise.  I am pretty sure I am not having a mid-life crisis, but the looming birthday has certainly made me think of who I want to be on that day.

Now, we’ve all woken up on a Monday morning and declared that that was the day that we were going to change our lives.  We were going to eat better, exercise more, drink more water, drink less wine and sleep more and then by Thursday, we are reaching for the wine after the fries and ice cream.   I am not interested in a repeat performance of that.  I want to stop watching the years go by while I try to make the changes that I feel are important for me but I need to find a better way to make those changes.

While I was at the cottage, I read an article that stated that it takes about 21 days to integrate a new habit into your life.  If you do something for 21 days, you have a pretty good chance of making that “something” a permanent change in your life.  This was not new information to me, but since there was room in my brain for new ideas for a change, it made me start thinking.  Maybe this was the answer. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to successfully change everything on any given Monday, but maybe, if I broke things down into 21 day chunks, I could make a reasonable dent by my 40th birthday.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am not a complete disaster.  I am pretty well put together.  I eat pretty well.  I am a Naturopath afterall.  I exercise.  I don’t smoke and I don’t drink excessively.  I sleep well and my health has been stable despite an initial bad prognosis.

But I want to be better.  We all have to strive for improvement.  So I am going to make a list of the 21 habits that I want to change by my 40th birthday in 3-4 week increments.  Some will be trivial and easy and others will be hard.   I will blog about them as a way to keep myself honest and on track.  I would love any feedback on my habits and my progress.  My hope is that by my 40th birthday, I will be able to look back and be able to say that the 60 weeks to 40 were the defining weeks in my life and that the changes I make will not only better my life, but the lives of my husband and sons.

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5 thoughts on “Step 1: The Need for Change

  1. I think this is an awesome idea – thinking about who you want to be when you turn 40. So many people cruise through life on auto pilot. Congrats and I’ll be following!

  2. we can all take inspiration from this – well done, well said and we’re 100% behind you! consider me hooked to your blog and more importantly, to you and making our lives as people, a whole lot better! here’s to the first 21 days!

  3. This is brilliant…I don’t think you are alone in thinking this way but taking that first step to live for the present and the moments that define the present…not only the future or living in the past….it is an awakening..look forward to more of your blog….good luck!

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