Goals, Habits and Intentions for 2019: Wellness Wednesday


Welcome back to Wellness Wednesdays here at Tuning Hearts! I have been slow to return to the blog since the holidays, but I hope to be more consistent in posting as the new year gets under way. I have decided to dial back my Wellness Wednesday link-up posts to one per month. Let’s plan to meet here every second Wednesday of the month and link up your wholistic health and wellness posts! This will not only give me to more time to think and write on relevant topics, but it will also give me more time I read and comment on your posts, something I have not been doing in as timely a manner as I should.

With all that business out of the way, let’s get on to this month’s wellness topic. Since it is the beginning of a new year, I am sure we all have goals or intentions for getting healthier and improving our lives in some way. Without going into all the whys and wherefores, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share some of the habits and choices I want to work on this year. I have added each of these to a habit tracker in my new bullet journal for 2019, so I can keep myself accountable for making progress in each area.

  • Scripture Reading Plan: In October I began a new 52-week Bible Reading Plan. The difference in this year’s plan is that it goes neither chronlogically or in book order as do most. Instead, each day I read a few chapters from a different genre of the Bible: Law, History, Poetry, Psalms, Prophecy, Gospels and Epistles. I have loved reading the Bible this way, and I am making new connections between books that I have not made before.
  • Breathing Prayer: I have written about this practice before, but I got out of the routine. I want to get back to the daily habit of taking 3-5 minutes for focussed breathing and prayer.
  • 10 Minute Workout: I joined “The Little Way” challenge hosted by Revelation Wellness this month, and it could not have come at a better time. I have fallen off the purposeful movement bandwagon, and this is the perfect way to get back to healthy movement while also feeding my soul. The workout options for this challenge are to do either 10 or 30 minutes a day. To begin easing back in, I am doing just 10 minutes a day. I already feel better getting moving first thing in the morning!
  • Read Non-Fiction: I struggle with finishing non-fiction books, at least those that are not in narrative format. My goal is to read at least a chapter a day from one of the non-fiction books that I have started and stopped until I finish them, then continue this habit with each new non-fiction title I begin after that.
  • Outside for 20+ Minutes: In the winter, especially, I struggle with getting outside enough and getting my daily dose vitamin D. Once spring comes, this won’t be such a necessary habit to track, but for now, I have to make it an intentional goal.
  • No Sugar: Another challenge I joined this month is 40 Day Sugar Fast hosted by Wendy Speake. I participated in it last year, and the faith-filled focus of the fast was a great boost to my spiritual growth at the beginning of the year. I am looking forward to this fast coupled with The Little Way challenge. I believe that getting my eyes on Jesus more and more and off the sugary snacks I use to reward myself or cope with emotional struggles is going to go a long way toward greater wholeness and health!
  • Food Log: This is partly added accountability for the sugar fast, but also just a simple, non-obsessive way for me to be mindful of what I am putting into my body each day.
  • Write Something: After the 2018 Write 31 Days blogging challenge, I learned that if I set my mind to it, I could write something every day. But I was tired and wanted a break from blogging like a crazy person. By the time the holidays rolled around I was so out of the habit of writing again that I did not even know where to begin. I dabbled in journalling a bit this fall, and I found that to be a beneficial practice for my thought life. So this year, I decided to combine my desire to blog more and my need to journal more into one basic goal of writing something, somewhere, every day. Some days I will only have time for a brief journal entry. Other days I will put some extra effort and time into creating a blog post. But I want to be doing something with words on a daily basis, because I know I can and should!

That sounds like a lot of goals, now that I have written them out in long hand, especially considering I also am homeschooling my kids and keeping house and cooking meals and trying to be a decent wife, friend and church member! But all these goals are also pretty small time commitments in and of themselves. And they are all things I have done before and can do again if I just make the right choices throughout my days.

Now it’s your turn! What are a few of your goals for wellness in 2019? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Rhythms and Routines #fiveminutefriday

rhythms and routines

I could go in so many different directions with this week’s “routine” prompt! (Which means I should probably think about doing some posts on related topics!) But I think I’ll stick with why I love rhythms and routines as a non-type A personality and as a mom of young children.

I used to try to create a schedule with times to do specific things during my days. This never, ever, ever, ever worked for me! I could not stick to a schedule for more than one day, if I could even get through that first day at all! So I thought I was just not a person who could organize my days. But then if I just went through days without any direction at all, I felt very disorganized and lost.

Enter: Rhythms and Routines!

For me a routine is more like a rhythm that helps provide a general structure to my days without being rigid or scheduled. I know that I need to do some things during certain parts of my day, but not at specific set times. A routine gives me grace to switch things up if I need to in order to accommodate our ever-changing schedule. But it still gives some direction as to the general outline of each day and keeps things somewhat predictable, both for me and my kids.

And that’s another thing about having a routine… My kids know generally what to expect of each day. They aren’t left guessing about everything because that would leave them feeling uneasy, too.

Rhythms and routines keep us sane and stable while giving us room to be flexible. So if you don’t work well with a schedule, but you know you need structure, give a routine a try. I think you’ll be glad you did!

This post is part of the Five Minute Fridays link-up hosted by Kate Motaung. Join the FMF community and get your free-write on! Find my other Five Minute Fridays posts here

Taking the Next Step

Taking the Next Step

Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn that sends us reeling, wondering how to take the next step. That’s what happened last week when we found out our house sale was not going to happen. After all the planning we had set in motion, we found ourselves back at square one, not sure what to do next. For several days I felt like I was just wandering aimlessly around the house, in a total fog. Yes, I was doing the necessary things to keep the household running, but beyond that, I had no sense of direction.

What can we do when life throws us a curve ball like that? Yes, we pray. We dig into God’s Word. We keep trusting Him. Those spiritual practices must be our anchors. We draw closer to God in the hard times than the easy ones, certainly. But what do we do practically to keep moving forward in the day to day? How do we come out of that fog and regain a sense of direction?

For me, I think I need to go back to the goals I made at the beginning of the year. I need to remember the fundamental vision I have for my relationships, my work, and my personal well-being. My situation may change, but the basic desires of my heart are the same. I want to grow in and through trials, and I need to remember that good growth happens slowly, one tiny step at a time. Even though I can’t see very far down the road, I can see far enough to take the next small step, to do the next right thing.

Drink an extra glass of water.

Do a load of laundry.

Read a book or two to my daughter.

Play a board game with my son.

Make extra time for my husband in the evening.

Set up some time out with a friend next week.

Create that new webpage I’ve been planning.

Finish that spiritual growth book I’ve been reading.

These are relatively small things. But they add up to growth. They get me moving in the right direction toward my goals. I have to keep just putting one foot in front of the other, trusting God to lay the path to bigger things before me while being faithful in the small ones.

What do you do when life throws you for a loop? How do you take the next step forward in faith? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I try to reply to every one!

Simplify Your Focus: Five Minute Fridays

This time of year there seems to be a plethora of self-improvement choices around the internet (and elsewhere). We are bombarded with choices for courses to take, books to read, or programs to join in order to better ourselves in some way or another. Some of that is good. It is helpful for us to have training and accountability in pursuing our goals. At the same time, though, sometimes all this amounts to is more noise, more comparison, more ways to feel like we aren’t good enough or aren’t doing enough.

A few weeks ago, this was how I was feeling—as if all the noise from social media, books, blogs and podcasts was just cluttering my brain and heart to the point that I couldn’t focus on anything. It dawned on me that I needed to simplify my focus. After all, I can only do one thing really well at a time. I needed to quiet all the noise so I could focus on what was really necessary and important. And it helped, as it always does, to clear my head and pray and take a break from scrolling the internet.

As I was thinking back over my goals for 2018, I noticed a common theme, especially in terms of my “whys” for setting those particular goals.  I could boil it all down to two questions: what will help me better serve my family, and what will help me better glorify God? I may have many different goals and ideas for how to accomplish them, but if I really simplify my focus to those two things, God and my family, I will always be headed in the right direction.

This post is part of Five Minute Fridays. To read my other FMF posts, click here, or on the tag #fiveminutefriday at the bottom of the page. 

My Goals for GROWTH in 2018, Part 2: Personal Growth

Welcome to the second post in my Goals for Growth series! Last week, I wrote about my goals for developing stronger relationships. Today, I want to share my 2018 goals for personal growth.

Physical Growth:

In the area of my physical health my overall goal is to get in better shape so that I can have more energy and strength so that I can better serve my family now and in the long term. Since my pregnancy with my daughter three years ago, I have had very little energy and strength. I have largely neglected my physical health, at least in terms of getting the exercise and intentional movement I need on a daily basis. I am not a highly athletic person naturally, anyway, and since it has been a long time since I have asked my body to move in many different ways, I am intentionally starting small and being very gentle with myself. My action steps to achieve this goal are as follows: complete the Foundational 5+ course from Fit2B, exercise at least 30 minutes 3-4 times a week (also using routines from Fit2B), and go outside for 30 minutes every day for fresh air and sunshine.

My second goal is the area of physical health is to break my addiction to sugar. I have struggled with craving sweets for a long time, even though I know that sugar depletes my immune system and causes blood sugar spikes and drops that contribute to bad mood swings. My first line of attack in this sugar addiction battle is going to be following the 40 Day Sugar Fast hosted by Wendy Speake, starting January 8th.

Spiritual Growth:

Tied closely to my physical health battles, my spiritual health is going to be of paramount importance to the rest of my growth. Recently I have realized that the scripts that run through my head are normally pretty negative. This negativity spills out into every other area of my life. My goal in 2018 is to exchange those negative thoughts with the truth of Scripture. This will increase my joy and gratitude and decrease my anxiety and discontent. My action steps to accomplish this goal include waking early each morning to spend time alone studying the Word and praying before the rest of my family gets up. I will also be writing down at least 3 things I am grateful for each day.

Educational Growth:

My goals in this area are not really new but more of a continuation of what I am already doing. My goals for my personal education in 2018 are to continue bettering myself through wide reading and learning new skills. I want to always be learning and growing my understanding of the world, of God and of other people. I never want to stagnate and stop using my mind or lose my sense of wonder at the marvels of creation. As I mentioned in my last Reading Report of 2017, I am joining the 2018 Back to the Classics Challenge. Of course, I also have other books that I want to read that are not on that list, and I am hoping to complete at least 30 titles this year. As for learning new skills, I am planning to study some basic drawing and watercolor techniques. I want to practice at least once a week, as well as using what I learn in my nature journal entries each week.

I will be back in a few days with the last post in my goals series, all about my professional goals for 2018. In the meantime, tell me about your personal growth goals for this coming year. What are you going to be doing to improve your spiritual, physical and mental health?