5 Ways To Prepare For A Great Year

5 Ways To Prepare For A Great Year

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk to y’all about 5 ways to prepare for a great year. These are things that I do and things that the people in my life do to set themselves up for another wonderful year. I hope that you enjoy this list and keep on reading for 5 simple, and effective, ways to have a great year.

1) Set Goals

There are so many benefits to setting goals for yourself. The big thing is, these goals need to be healthy. Let me say this again so that you remember this THE GOALS THAT YOU SET NEED TO BE HEALTHY. Now, I’m not talking about setting goals about your health (which is completely okay to do, and a positive way to become healthy)… I’m talking about setting goals that are supportive, not destructive. This is absolutely essential in having a great year, because goals are motivators and motivation leads to action.

So, you’ve set goals and that’s a great start! Where do you go from there? Easy, put your goals on paper (or anything that you can write them down on). Don’t overlook this step, it’s important. Once you have your goals written down, display them somewhere that you will see them every single day. Please do this; it will serve as a reminder and a motivator for the days that you just don’t feel like doing anything. As you achieve your goals, mark them off (cross through them, put a check beside them, write yay). Watching yourself succeed will make you want to complete the next goal even more.

 2) Declutter

Okay y’all, this is something that is going to take a good bit of time, but it is going to be so worth it. I struggle with this, personally, but I have started 2018 by beginning to tackle some of my clutter and I’m already feeling better. Clutter doesn’t really seem like it’s a negative thing until you start getting rid of it. Trust me though, clearing out even the smallest bit of clutter seems to open up a space on a major level. Now only does the space around you feel cleaner, but it’s almost like it gives you more breathing room.

Here’s the catch, decluttering applies to more than just your home or office space. Declutter your home, your computer (get rid of files/photos/software that you don’t need/use), your office, and your friends list. That’s right, I said your friends list. So many of us are “friends” with people that are either not relevant in our lives, or people that are toxic for us to be around. You don’t need that type of clutter keeping you from developing new/healthier friendships. Starting the year off without clutter will leave you feeling refreshed and accomplished.

3) Focus On The Positive

This is pretty much a no-brainer, but I feel that it’s still worth talking about. Getting rid of negativity (at least the things within your control) will make a huge difference. Now, I’m not going to say that this is the easiest thing to do, because most of the time it isn’t. I can tell you the best ways to go about doing this though. Start with yourself first. Become a more positive person by changing your outlook on the world around you. Instead of criticizing people or being mad/upset when something small goes wrong, try to adopt the thought that everyone has something to offer the world (it’s not up to you to criticize them) and that if something goes wrong, it’s better to have it be something small than something big.

After you have adopted a (fairly) positive outlook on life, now you can begin making the world around you a little more positive. Spend time doing things for others to make their lives brighter. Pay for someone’s coffee that was in line behind you, donate clothes to a homeless shelter, spend time with a family member that doesn’t get to see you much. Little things make big differences and you can spread positivity so easily in your day to day life.

4) Set Yourself Up For Success

Here’s a biggie, setting yourself up for success is the key to having a great year. To set yourself up for success, you will need 3 things; Jesus, balance, and patience. You already know that to truly succeed in your life, you need help from God. Pray about everything. God has a plan for you and all you have to do is trust that plan.

Find balance in your life. I know that at times, it seems like balance is about the farthest thing from our reach, but if you work towards it, you can achieve it. Finding and having balance (even if it’s only a few minutes of balance in a crazy hectic day) is essential for getting yourself composed and focused. Getting a second burst of focus during the day will normally give you another wave of motivation. Like I said earlier, motivation leads to success.

Okay, you have your Jesus and you have your balance… why in the world do you need patience? Sit back and listen to this, PATIENCE PUTS THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE. That’s right, patience will change how you look at certain situations. When something goes wrong, the typical, knee jerk, reaction is to be upset. After all, big or small, something wrong is something wrong. That being said, a lot of times if you wait before reacting and really assess the situation, giving it a little bit of time to sink in, it’s not that bad. If it is very bad, patience gives you the ability to handle it better by allowing your reaction to be calculated to avoid further issues. Don’t overlook the importance of patience, it really does change a lot of things for the better.

 

5) Try New Things

While this might be a bit cliche, trying new things is a must for every year. I once heard someone say, “if you aren’t moving forward, you’re going backwards”. I know, you’re thinking “no you aren’t, you just aren’t moving”, but that’s the catch. If you aren’t moving forward in life, it will pass you by in a heartbeat. The world around us is ever changing and ever growing. To do nothing for any amount of time is to be going backwards as the world around you continues without waiting for you.

So, I’ll stress it to you again, try new things. They don’t have to be crazy, scary, or expensive. Just go somewhere new, try a new food (be careful if you have food allergies, of course), try on a piece of clothing that you would have never picked out for yourself before. Experiencing new things might lead you to a world of incredible things that you would have never known existed, otherwise.

 

Alright y’all, those are my thoughts on 5 ways to prepare for a great year. Of course, everyone is different and while these things work for me and a lot of people that I know, they may not work for you. Read through, find things that you would like to use in your year, and go be great! I have a feeling that this month is going to go by before I can share all the things that I’m wanting to with y’all, so keep your eye out for bonus posts just in case. I can’t wait to see y’all in my next post and as always, much love!

5 Things You Need To Know About Blogging

Hello lovelies! Today I want to talk to you about the truth about blogging. Yes, I am a life and faith blogger, but this is part my life and it stemmed from my faith…. So, I’m going to pass on what I know about blogging (which admittedly is not a lot, but I feel that it’s important). Without me rambling on too much, here is what I have put together on the 5 things you need to know about blogging.

One: So, I am still very new to the world of blogging (like around a month’s worth of knowledge new). With that in mind, the things that I’m going to tell you are those that I’ve seen/experienced so far, and how I’ve felt during this time. One of the first things that I noticed about blogging is…………. wait for it…….. okay, not as noteworthy as I made it seem; it’s that we are a community. This is HUGE. Let me tell you, if you are someone that is looking for support, you will find it in the blogging community. We are a ton of people, on all different platforms, that help out each other. Whether it’s answering questions, helping to share the content of those around us, or finding friends and potential business partners in those that do what we do; we are here for each other. While there is a level of competition to what we do (we all want views, it’s just the truth of the matter), for the most part, we all try our best to promote those around us. That’s part of the magic of blogging. No matter how long or short of a time that you’ve been doing this (or even if you are just thinking about starting a blog) the support of your fellow bloggers will always be overwhelming.

Two: Here is a fact that most people hate hearing about blogging… It is LOADS of HARD work. Now, it isn’t (typically) a physical job; so yes you aren’t doing “back-breaking” work (though I have a ton of respect for those that do), but it is difficult mentally and emotionally. You will (or should) spend HOURS if not DAYS creating quality content for your blog. Notice that I said QUALITY, not quantity. You need to be putting your best out there, not something that was slapped together to meet a deadline. I, personally, would rather see a missed deadline than to read/produce a piece of work that isn’t good and true to the author. You will also need to pour in time with networking. This is how you will grow and hopefully how you will flourish, so it is worth the time. Do things the right way from the start, and you won’t have to go through and spend more time fixing it later. Set yourself up for success and don’t stop until you’ve achieved it. The work will be worth it, trust me.

Three: I have heard this so many times, and it was never more true to me than when I started blogging, myself. Treat blogging like another job and not like a hobby. Even if this is your hobby, or you’re thinking about blogging as a hobby, still blog like it’s your job. Don’t make yourself hate it by treating it like a 9 to 5. What I mean by “blog like it’s your job” is simply put your all into this. Treat your blog like it will take you far, put the work in (yes, sometimes 40+ hours a week), and make your blog all that it can be. Doing this will do one of two things; either you will quickly figure out that blogging isn’t for you, or you will find a passion for something that you once thought would just be a hobby. Treat blogging like your job, even if it doesn’t feel like work. It will hold you accountable for your networking, it will keep you posting new content, and it will make you do the things needed to be successful in the blogging world.

Four: Something that I wish that I had known in advance, is how vulnerable blogging can make you feel. At least for me, with lifestyle and faith, every time I post, I am putting a piece of myself into my article. There are things that I feel compelled to write about, that I don’t tell anyone but my closest friends and family. For me, this is part of my blog; I am part of my blog. How I think and feel, my honest opinions, and my heart is poured into what I write because I want to connect with other people who need to hear what I feel the need to write. So, I am open and honest which, at times, makes me feel almost exposed. Not in a bad way, but in the “here is all that I am” type of way. The plus side to this, is that not only are you more relatable when you write with this type of transparency, but you also learn more about yourself than you ever thought there was to know.

Five: Don’t be afraid to tell those around you about your blog. Like I said earlier, it can be hard to reveal things that you wouldn’t normally tell those around you… and it can be even harder to tell those around you that there exists such a place where this information is kept. I struggle with it myself, but I have found that some of the very same people that have never shown me the time of day, have visited (and even shared) the content on my blog. The very same people that I was worried about sharing my inner-thoughts with, have shown me support on one of the biggest journeys of my life. Support comes in all different forms and when you start out (really through the entire time that you are blogging), you need all that you can get. You’ll never know who it will help you connect with, who you can help, or who will share your content and help you grow. If you’re blogging, you have something that you feel like you need to give to the world, so share it with everyone and don’t limit yourself to only those that you don’t know. Your message may very well need to be heard by someone that you already have around you.

That is all for today’s 5 Things post. I just felt compelled to write the things that I’ve learned so far on this crazy blogging journey and, hopefully, help someone that is thinking of doing the same. These are both things that I had seen before, and things that I felt were the “learn it the hard way” type. All in all, blogging (for me) has been amazing. For all of the bad (and the bad really isn’t bad, it’s just difficult at times), nothing compares to the happiness that it has brought me. If you are thinking about blogging, talk to me or others in the blogging community and use us as a sounding board for your ideas. I want you to be successful, plain and simple. Don’t hide behind your computer; shine from it. As always, much love!

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other 5 Things posts by clicking here.

5 Reasons To Keep Your Christmas Spirit Going Strong

Hey y’all! This week’s 5 things is ‘Tis The Season’ themed! I know, Christmas music has been playing non-stop since before Thanksgiving and it tends to get a little more bothersome than enjoyable. Stress is setting in, and it seems like the next few weeks are taking forever to get here. So, to keep spirits bright, I have compiled a list of 5 reasons to keep that Christmas spirit going strong.

Get into the holiday spirit: I know that this can be hard when you hear the same 10 songs over and over again, but getting into the mentality of being “jolly” really can help. Even if you hear the same songs over and over again, turn up the volume and sing along. Try using funny voices, different accents, or karaoke style it with your friends and family. Take the boring and repetitive aspects of Christmas and make them fun by infusing your style into them. For instance, have a Christmas party where you invite friends over to help you decorate your house and have fun instead of feeling like you have to do it like normal (provide snacks because everyone loves snacks). Go all out; make themed snacks, play music (try to find Christmas music that isn’t played as much), and maybe even get everyone to design an ornament for your tree. Make it fun and you’ll be back in the spirit in no time.

Don’t let money get in the way: This is so much easier said than done, but it truly does make a huge difference. Christmas is a time of year where it seems we pour out money to get gifts for people that we don’t see any other time of year. For those of us who don’t have much money to spare, it can be overwhelming to spend this money and it causes more stress than joy. The way to beat this is simple; don’t let money get in the way of you enjoying your Christmas. If money is stressing you out, opt for different ways of gift giving. Give experiences and handmade gifts instead of expensive store bought items. You’d be surprised at how many people enjoy handmade gifts more than any other type. Plus, experiences lead to memories that can’t break or go old. They’ll stay with that person forever and it’s a win win. Less money = less stress = merrier Christmas.

Don’t wait until the last minute: Again, this is another thing that is much easier said than done. I’m in the same boat, trust me. Every year I say that I’m going to start getting gifts early so that I don’t get hit with everything at once, but every year the time slips by without notice until I’m stuck scouring leftovers at the shops and spending hours online searching for the perfect gifts. The way to beat this seasonal slump is to actually start getting your gifts ahead of time. Grab items as you go throughout the year and keep them in a hidden place for Christmas (very important that you don’t forget where you hide these gifts). Having most of your gifts already purchased before you NEED them will also relieve some of the usual stress that’s tied to the season.

Do something for yourself: Normally I’m all about doing things for others (and I still am) but during this time of year where we tend to get so focused on others, it’s nice to take a break and do something for ourselves. Have a spa day, go to the range, spend a day at home with your favorite movie/ tv show. Do whatever it is that helps you de-stress and enjoy some you-time. Taking a step back from the Christmas “chaos” will help put the merriment back in and take to hectic out.

Remember the reason for the season: Yes, everyone says it, but it’s true. It’s so important to not lose sight of why we celebrate Christmas. While presents and time off of work is nice, they are not the reason we should be celebrating this joyous holiday. Now is when I tell you that you need to think about Jesus and celebrate him instead of glorifying the presents and this is when you read this and you skip over it because you’ve heard it a thousand times before. So, instead of just trying to remember Jesus this time of year, actually do something about it. Whether you spread the gospel to others, talk about his story with your family and friends, or choose to celebrate in a different way, just don’t ignore the real reason for the season.

That’s all for this week. I hope that you enjoyed this post and that it will help you de-stress this Christmas. Keep your Christmas spirit going strong and make the most of the holidays. As always, much love!

If you enjoyed this post, check out my earlier post on Christmas Cheer by clicking here.

5 Christian Must Haves

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Today I wanted to share with y’all some of my favorite tools and reminders of faith. These are items that I use daily and love! Below are (in my opinion) 5 Christian must haves. If you want to incorporate these “must haves” into your daily lives as well, there will be a place to click after each item/items that will take you to their Amazon.com product page.

1. Bibles: This is the most important tool for a Christian. A bible is knowledge, comfort, and power against the devil. Now, if you have ever been to your local Bible bookstore, you know that there are countless types of available. For me, personally, I love doodling and coloring (I promise that this is relevant); this means that, naturally, my favorite Bible is one that I can doodle and color in. My Creative Bible has been the best, hands down, for unleashing creativity while receiving the word. This is easily my favorite Bible to take with me to church (it helps my mind to stay focused and gives me something to keep my hands busy while I listen). So, knowing that that is my favorite for creativity, I have to tell you what my favorite study Bible is. My favorite Study Bible is The Study Bible For Women. This Bible is beautiful, informative, and it asks (and answers) some of the most difficult questions that we face as children of God in a broken world. Both of these Bibles are great to have on hand and each offers something unique.

To get your own My Creative Bible, click here. To get your own The Study Bible For Women, click here.

2. Devotionals: A devotional is a great tool for any Christian. Devotionals help you to set aside time each day for just you and God. I think that devotionals are so relaxing and they give you some time of serenity in otherwise hectic schedules. Normally, they are equipped with serene pictures, a verse for that day, an area of text that relates the verse given to our lives, and (sometimes) a section for you to journal in. They are also a good way to get you into your bible for that day and get you focused on the word. The devotional that I’ve been loving lately, is Devotions from the Front Porch. It is a beautiful devotional that never ceases to make me smile.

To get a copy of Devotions from the Front Porch click here.

3. Christian Music: Those of you that know me, know that one of the biggest ways that I worship is through music. I can hear a verse thousands of times and it never seems to hit my heart quite like the same verse put to music. I truly believe that it’s because 9 out of 10 times, you can hear (and feel) the heart and soul put into the words by the singer and you can hear/feel the heart and soul poured in by those playing the instruments. To me, no other music is quite like Christian music. It’s the only type of music that can make me feel like I’m in Church (when I’m in my car)  and give me goosebumps and tears at the same time.  Hymns are classics and contemporary Christian music is growing like wildfire. My favorite musician for this genre is, hands down, Chris Tomlin. His music always gives me chills and you can hear his passion for God in his voice. While there are other Christian musicians that I love, I feel that he just has a style of music that I relate most with. His lyrics are impactful and his music is moving. I could probably write a book about how much I enjoy his music, but I’m going to stop now and just give you a link to my favorite CD of his, so you can check him out yourself.

Click here to access Chris Tomlin’s CD “And If Our God Is For Us”.

4. Worry Stone: Okay, I already know what you’re thinking; “What in the world is a worry stone?” and “Why is a worry stone a ‘must have’ item?”. Let me tell you, my worry stone is one of the best purchases that I’ve made. I know that seems silly, and I’m fully aware that a little stone can’t physically do anything for me, but it is so nice to have in times of worry. I have an extreme fear of needles (like near panic attack type of fear) so going to get my blood drawn is a big ordeal for me. I always carry my worry stone (mine is a small smooth stone with a cross carved into it) and hold it before and during the blood draw. Something about feeling the engraved cross just comforts me and helps to calm me down in times of stress. I think it’s almost like a reminder that God is with me and it helps me to focus on that instead of the problem at hand. A worry stone is also a great way to give your troubles to God. I know that I struggles sometimes with letting go and letting God. It’s like I get so wrapped up in my worries that I forget to do the one thing that would help the most. Having my worry stone keeps me accountable for giving my problems (worries) to God and trusting him to do what’s best for me.

Click here to access a worry stone that is similar to mine. Click here to access the worry stone, in the shape of a cross with “God is never more than a prayer away” engraved on it, that I’m hoping to get soon.

5. Faith Reminders: Faith reminders are just little trinkets around the house that contain scripture or have religious pictures on them. I have my house decorated (overfilled really) with these faith reminders. My two favorites are displayed proudly and serve as smile-makers every time I come through the front door. The first was given to my by a dear friend who seems to always know what I need and when I need it. It’s a plaque with Psalm 37:4 on it (Delight in the Lord  and he will give you the desires of your heart). Mine is this beautiful, weathered paper looking, plaque with a cross encased in glass. My other favorite is a small plaque with Song of Solomon 3:4 (I have found the one my soul loves). This was given to me as a wedding gift, promptly displayed in my home and has been there since. Both of these faith reminders serve to remind me daily that God is with me, in my heart and in my marriage. They make great gifts for the Christmas season and they make great decor for any home.

I searched all over for the Psalm 37:4 plaque, but couldn’t find a replica of mine. If you love this verse and want it displayed in your home, click here to access a different (yet beautiful) Psalm 37:4 plaque. Click here to access the linked Psalm 37:4 plaque. I also can’t seem to find a duplicate of my Song of Solomon 3:4 plaque. That being said, I have linked below two other Song of Solomon 3:4 wall decorations (one on a wooden backdrop and one on a cross) that are stunning. Click here to access the Song of Solomon 3:4 wooden wall decoration. Click here to access the Song of Solomon 3:4 cross.

I hope that y’all enjoyed this weeks “5 Things” post and I encourage you to share with your friends of faith. Let me know what y’all think in the comments and, as always, much love!

5 Steps To Keep Your Marriage New

Listed below are 5 steps to keeping your marriage feeling new.

  1. Indulge the kid in you: Not only one of the best ways to keep your marriage young (remember that “young” is a relative term), but a great way to keep you young as well. “Indulging the kid in you” can come in many forms, especially when it comes to your marriage. It basically boils down to HAVE FUN. If both of you enjoy ice cream, then use your adulting privileges and go get a tub of ice cream (and two spoons) late one night on a spur of the moment (don’t do this all the time as it can be a very bad habit to develop… and you don’t want to have a snaccident). If both of you enjoy video games, then pick a lazy weekend afternoon and spend it battling each other out on your game of choice. This method can be applied to nearly every activity that we, as adults, have tried to limit in our lives.
  2. Keep the romance alive: Now, get your head out of the gutter; I’m talking about true ROMANCE. The best way to keep the romance alive is by doing things (big and small) that make your spouse swoon. Romance is what leads to those butterflies coming back into play after life gets a bit routine. The thing is, I can’t tell you what will work best for your spouse. For some, it’s rose petals and candles all over the house after a long week. For others, romance comes in quick surprises like a kiss they weren’t expecting or a surprise date night (pre-planned). Find what makes the love of your life swoon and use it, mix it up, and keep that romance alive.
  3. Never stop chasing each other: This is one of the most important things that you can do in a marriage. It is so easy to let life and routine get in the way of each other once you are settled. Let me tell you now though, if you start forgetting your husband/wife and putting them to the side, IT WILL CAUSE TROUBLE. I have seen it so many times and every single time, it leads to fighting. So never stop chasing your love. Whistle at them when they enter a room (yes, like a wolf whistle). Tell them how much they mean to you, very often. Plan surprises for them; it doesn’t have to be on a large scale (see “Keep The Romance Alive”). Keep chasing your spouse like you were still dating and you’ll grow closer.
  4. No secrets: This is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing that you can do in a marriage. DO NOT KEEP SECRETS… I REPEAT, DO NOT KEEP SECRETS. So, I’m sure that by now, some of you are saying “but I think that some secrets are healthy” and no, just no (for the most part). Let me explain. If you are keeping their Christmas present a secret until Christmas, okay. That is perfectly alright and sweet. If you are keeping some aspect of your life secret, not as much. When you get married, you are becoming one flesh. Meaning, you are one person, living as two. The good and bad parts of you and the good and bad parts of them are all together. They are as much a part of you as you are of them and they deserve to know your life just like you deserve to know theirs. Live as one, with no secrets, and you will be inseparable.
  5. Do Extra: Now, here is a task that most people overlook. Go the extra mile when doing something for your spouse. Keep in mind, this means that you actually have to do something for your husband/wife. If you are going to clean the house and you each have “chores” that you do, go the extra mile and do one of theirs so that they don’t have to. If you are picking something up for lunch from a restaurant you know that they love, grab them something too and either save it for them, or take it to them. If you know that they are sick and they ask you to grab tissues, pick them up their favorite soup, too. Doing extra is just a way of making the person you love’s life a little brighter.

Here you have it, 5 steps to keeping your marriage new. Realize that these steps have to be tailored to your life. That being said, these are wonderful ways to grow closer together and continue feeling the way you did when you were dating.

I really hope that y’all enjoyed this post and if you want to read more on my views of marriage, click here to see my post on The Truth About Marriage. Much love!