Here are some books I’m determined to read this year in the areas I am choosing to focus on. These aren’t the only books I am planning to read this year, obviously—gotta have my fiction fix too. And historical non-fiction, because I’m a nerd.
Faith & Spirituality
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst
Remember God by Annie F. Downs
Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry
The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan
Health & Fitness
How Not to Die by Michael Greger MD
Feeding You Lies by Vani Hari
Cravings by Chrissy Teigan
The Instant Pot Bible by Bruce Weinstein
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Choose You by Sara Robinson
The Year of Living Happy by Alli Worthington
Preach to Yourself: When Your Inner Critic Comes Calling by Hayley Morgan
Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson
Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith
The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker
365 Photo Challenges to Inspire You by Frankie Jones
The Design Aglow Posing Guide by Lena Hyde
Any books you want to read in 2019?
Ever since I read a blog post about the practice of choosing a word of the year, I've loved the idea. I appreciate the fact that choosing a word is not setting another resolution or goal; it's intentionally planning a word to act as a companion for the year.
Several words came to mind: healing- because of the hardships of 2018, growth- because I've got plenty of growing to do, freedom- because I've still got some "baggage" I need to release. But one word kept coming to mind and wouldn't leave. That word is focus.
Focus is a pretty general term, which may be part of the appeal to me. I have several areas in my life I need to make some pretty drastic changes: health, finances, faith, confidence, and relationships (not just dating relationships but all of them). Focus is a reminder to shake off the distractions, to turn off the noise, to let go of things that are not adding value to my life. It reminds me to center my attention to the things of importance.
I've created a vision board for the year, just a graphic to help me remember what I'm focusing on.
I have also created a book list for 2019, books associated with all areas I want to focus on. That will be a separate post, coming up soon. I will also share a quote associated with my word each month.
Have you ever chosen a word for a new year? Do you have one picked for 2019? If so, I'd love to discuss it with you and the ways you plan to implement it in 2019!
2018 was the hardest year of my life, without a doubt. (Only 2008 being a very close second, dealing with my dad having to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital) Something about years ending with 8's now freak me out.
Our family lost 4 loved ones this year. I went through a harsh break up that left me crushed. I moved back home with my parents because I could not afford living on my own anymore. I gained over 50 pounds.
BUT I don't want to focus on the bad and forget all the good moments of 2018. A lot of good things did happen.
I became an aunt. My sister and brother-in-law welcomed their first child into the world, sweet baby Claire! Being around her reminds me that there is still innocence and goodness in our dark and scary world. She's the biggest blessing of 2018.
Church of the Highlands officially launched it's Oxford campus, which completely changed my life. My "church commute" went from 50 minutes to 5. I have an amazing church family that I love SO much.
I flew for the first (second and third) time, which was a pretty huge deal, since it's been on every single bucket list I've created.
The reason for the flight was to visit my long distance best friend Lacey and her family in California. I had an amazing time exploring the Sequoias and playing Mario Kart with Lacey! (I had to go from one extreme to the other there, haha)
I led 1 small group and co-led 2, which helped me to grow immensely in my walk with the Lord and my leadership (WHO KNEW I HAD LEADERSHIP SKILLS?! Definitely still need some work but I'm thankful for the opportunity to grow!)
I participated in 3 COTH outreach/serve events within our community.
I found a place to belong in my church and joined the dream team to serve.
I did a color run 5k.
I got glasses. (Haha)
Seems lame to end on the note of glasses, but that's just the order it is.
So, as 2018 comes to a close, I can't say I'm sad to see it go. It was a year of pain, loss, growth, and change. To sum things up, I learned a LOT. I learned to guard my heart (though now I'm afraid I've got a multi-layer stone wall around my heart), I learned to slow down and live in the present, I learned about real friendship, and I learned to cherish every moment we have with our loved ones.
I'm ready for 2019. A post will be coming soon with my "one word" for 2019 and my goals for the coming year.
How did 2018 treat you? What lessons did you learn?
This is the first part in a series of exercises I’ll be doing from a CBT workbook on gaining self confidence. Feel free to join along if you are also struggling with self doubt or self confidence.
This post is dedicated to the past. When in my life was I the most confident? What took that away?
I am going to go with the negative part of the post first, so that I can end on a positive note. My confidence has always been low. I was bullied in high school, even college, and well into my career. I’ve been told time and time again, “you’re so awkward”, “you are so boring and weird”, “you’re such a quitter, I knew you wouldn’t finish that”, “you’re the most negative person I have ever met”. The reasons these words hurt so badly or leave an impression is because they have been said by “friends”. People whose opinion I valued pretty highly. These people have made fun of me for my hobbies, my clothes, and my values.
Obviously, in retrospect, these people were NOT my friends—they were simply people I had contact with for a while. When you graduate or quit a job, you can leave those people behind. But their words haunt you like a ghost. It’s a foggy memory, but you can always feel it.
So why do I care so much about what other people think? Some of these incidents happened 15 years ago—why am I still letting those words permeate my life now?! I think this just proves the power of our words and why we have to be so careful about what we say. I can’t help but wonder if I’ve ever said anything to someone—anything that has impacted them in a negative way that they can’t shake off.
So, choose your words wisely. But, I’m slightly at fault here, because I’m basically giving those people power over my life. I’m letting what others have said about me, dictate who I am! That’s not where my value or worth comes from. I have to create my life and not live one based on the names I have been called.
The second part part of today’s exercise is to look back over your life and identify a time when you felt confident. What was different then?
My most confident time was 2015. I was in good shape, I was going to the gym, I was bold. I felt confident enough to drive 12 hours alone to visit my sister in Missouri. I went to a concert alone, in Nashville, which is 3 hours away from home. I spent the night and explored the city, all alone. I was really happy with that version of me.
My goal is to set my mind and my goals back to what they were then. I need to identify what has changed and start over. I'm ready to be happy in my own skin again.
Weight has never been an issue for me. I was a little chunky when I was about 12, but that wasn't a serious deal. Being 5'9", I've always had a little more space to spread the weight out. A couple of years ago, around age 24, that all changed. My metabolism decided I had been skinny long enough and it was time for a change. I started packing on the pounds. It was slow at first, maybe not even noticeable.
Things took a drastic turn earlier this year though. It got to the point where I couldn't ignore it anymore. My clothes stopped fitting. I had to go up two bra sizes. I even had to start using a different latch on my fitbit! Who gains weight in their wrists?! And then the BMI went from normal, to overweight, to the worst---obese.
This year has been a rocky one for me. My one and only relationship ended abruptly. I became depressed. I started eating my feelings and I also gave up on fitness completely. Who cares if I'm fat? I have nobody to impress. I'd waited 26 years to even have a boyfriend. Life isn't fair. Yeah, go ahead and get your tiny violin out, I know.
And then one day, I had enough. I HATED seeing pictures of myself. I hated being scared of the scales. I hated sweating and getting out of breath while getting dressed. My confidence was non-existent. If I ever make eye contact with a handsome guy, all I'm thinking is how fat and gross I look and how he must be thinking the same.
I'm over it. I'm done. I don't want to be skinny or to look hot. I want to be average on the BMI chart. I want to feel good about myself. I want my confidence back. So what now? Where do I go from here?
I know that in order to be healthy, I can't stay where I am. I can't be drinking sodas twice a day. I can't be eating fast food for dinner, and then getting in the bed with Netflix, only getting up for a snack.
I have to make some changes. Since church is on Sunday and it always reignites my spiritual fire, I use it as my first day of the week. So I made sure to exercise tonight and drink more water. I want to start my week off right!
So this is my starting point. Or turning point, I should say. My goal is to lose 75 pounds. I believe it's possible. It isn't going to be easy, but I can't give up. I'm not doing this for anyone but me. I want my own quality of life to be better. I want to be happy with who I am.
My plan for this week is: no fast food (if I hit a drive thru, I have to get a salad), no sodas-just water and coffee, and CIZE at least 3 times.
I will be sharing routine updates and also exercises in a CBT workbook I purchased dedicated to finding your self worth.
Below is my CIZE calendar, which I will keep updated as I blog! Here we go. No turning back.
Hi! I'm Jessica. 27 years old, southerner, Jesus follower, lover of food, coffee, and travel. I am a daughter, sister, and an aunt. ISFJ.
Listening: Suit and Jacket by Judah & the Lion
Watching: A Crime to Remember on ID
Reading: The Self Confidence Workbook
Planning: My trip to Gulf Shores/New Orleans in January!