So if you remember, I decided to overturn my life and become a doctor, even though I am 31 years and a mother.

According to my research, there were three types of exams, two of which required science knowledge. I was going to need a chemistry and biology refresher. I worked out I could study two hours before going to work in the morning and another hour and half in the evening.

I recently read that we needed 3 weeks of daily occurrence to turn a new habit into an old habit that becomes second nature.

Waking up early was doable. I just needed to hold on for three weeks and then it would be like riding a bike. I was on it!!!

Olivia wakes up at 5am


Hum… well I underestimated the struggle of changing my habits. Waking up early was NOT natural to me at all! It was indeed painful. That was the only word coming up to me. I was desperate, because this was the only window I had on top of my job to revise chemistry and biology.

Therefore, I went looking for some advice.

Why-do-you-bother advice

Christina, one of my good friends, asked me why should I bother. This advice instilled a seed of doubt. I could be just playing, having dinner with friends and watching Frozen with Lina. After all, my job wasn’t so bad. The colleagues were OK. Basically this advice was questioning my desire of wanting more from life. But it was a valid question.


Life-is-hard advice

Elisabeth, my sister, was the queen of unsupportive remarks. “People around the world are dying from poverty, diseases and war… and you complained of waking up at 5am, please!”

First world issues… I know.


I-don’t-know-how-you-do-it advice

Useless!!!! Talking to a colleague and this was what I got. I hadn’t done anything yet! I was just three weeks in.


Work-hard-party-hard advice

“How can you work hard if you don’t have the right balance of pleasure?” suggested Lewa, my other good friend. She must have invented this advice. It was part of her DNA. At 31, she was a regular in clubs.

“You should come with me. Come on, it would be like good old times when we used to party and then skipped classes on Friday morning.” She remembered, not nostalgic because she hadn’t changed.

How about trying?

olivia work hard play hard

Not working for me.

I needed to find the resources and the extra motivation to change my habits and this was more challenging that I imagined. I don’t know for you but when you watch tv or read a book it always seemed like things turned around very quickly. The characters overcame their struggles so easily, but in real life it was another story.

“How much do you want to become a doctor?” asked my mother

“I really want it. I’m just stuck.” I responded honestly.

“Then, you’re gonna have to consider changing every aspect of your life, Olivia. The question is: are you ready to change?” she added.

How do I know?

Part of the answer came from my daughter.  I picked her up from school and she told me “mom, I want to live an adventure.” I asked her if she knew what an adventure was. “Of course mom, an adventure means you’ll meet new people, you’ll be scared, you don’t know what will happen, but it will be a happy ending”. Her notion of adventure was essentially based on Disney’s stories, but she had a point. Changing my habits was similar to living an adventure, I didn’t meet new people, but I was scared, and I didn’t know what would enfold. But like Lina, I wanted to live a life full of adventures.

So the next morning, I woke up at 5:30am, sat down at the kitchen table and opened my chemistry book.

“You’re up early.” whispered Cole, half asleep. “What are you doing?”

“Just studying.”

He opened his eyes to read the title of the exciting book in front of me: “A2 Chemistry.”

“and you wake up every morning early to study chemistry?”

“Yep”. I thought I would just avoid a long conversation about my struggles of early rising.

He whistled, impressed.

“Look Olivia, I have an idea. I know things are pretty weird between us…” as in we were about to get divorced but we were still living in the same house.

“… but I’ve been thinking of shedding some pounds off, so how about you wake me up every morning so I can go to the gym?”

This was what I needed, someone else I had to check on to force me to rise early.

“That’s a great idea Cole. I’m in!”

“Cool. I’ll start tomorrow” he smiled.

Changes were easier to embrace when relying on someone else, who was walking the same path.

“Nope, start today. It’s 6am, you can do it.”

He grinded, but eventually put his sneakers on. I went back to my chemistry book, hiding from him my grinding face.

21 thoughts on “Chapter 2 or how to change my habits?”

  1. Changing habits its hard… I had a similar experience as you did and I think I’m doing better. I didn’t decide to go back to school but I do wanted to start my own business and didn’t have time so if I wanted to accomplish anything I would need to wake up earlier. My boyfriend has always woken up earlier than me but we committed to wake up even earlier to work, he has a strong will so he is the one that wakes me up in the morning with a cup of coffee. I’ve been waking up early for the last 2 months and it’s still hard but I feel like it’s getting easier each day little by little.

  2. This is such an awesome post! I love seeing your journey from struggle to success. Mornings are not my thing either but I learned that it was (and is) the only way to accomplish all I need to in a day. After doing it several mornings in a row it has become my habit. Congrats on getting there!

  3. Persistence is key…even with all the tips and advice we get from others, we have to be fully invested or not much will come of it. I love your storytelling style. Good luck with your studies! 🙂

  4. I changed a lot of things at once last year and in some ways, that was easier because I was forced into a whole new schedule. Knowing your “why” and having accountability are really important for the long term success of those habits.

  5. I have struggled to get up early as well. I love that you and your ex supported each other and helped you in your goal. That is pretty darn cool! XO Via Bella Blog

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