Start a New Healthy Habit in 2018

Ready or not, 2018 has arrived! I don’t know about you, but for me 2017 went by in a blur. It was an eventful year with a bucket list trip of my husband’s realized, our first grandchild born, and the loss of my mom. I was stretched in many ways last year.

But that’s now in the past, and this fresh year is waiting, ready to be realized, explored, and developed. Have you set any goals? I’ve always set goals, but haven’t been very good at sticking with them. Over the last few years, I’ve been challenged to live into and lean into my goals, to bring as many of them to reality as possible — because nobody else is going to do it for me! I’m responsible for the direction of my life and what I achieve.

This year I’d like to encourage you to start a new healthy habit. Let’s talk through a few points that will help make this goal stick.

Which Goal Should I Pick?

I like to set goals in different areas, like spiritual, physical, “soulful,” and work. For our purposes, let’s just choose one. After you complete the process, you can then go on to create as many other goals as you would like. Where to start?

Start in the area where you have the greatest need.

Perhaps you feel like your spiritual life has been stagnant and could use a boost, so you can start there. Or maybe your health has taken a beating and you need to make some changes in this area (physical). It could be you’ve realized that you are always last on the priority list, so you need to build some time in your life to do things that feed your soul ( your mind, mood, will, emotions), or perhaps you want to set a goal that focuses on the work you do (this could be your own business, your home with your kids and spouse, your job, or your volunteer work).

Brainstorm ideas and pick one. Now schedule it. Actually write it in your planner/add it to your online calendar. Until you make room for it, it won’t actually happen. If you like, there are some downloadable fun habit tracker worksheets where you check or color in a circle each time you do the new habit. Do whatever motivates and works for you.


Need some inspiration? Start here:

Soul Goal:

  • Choose your one word for the year. I love this goal, because its so simple yet it can touch every area of your life. One word simply means that you choose one word to focus on that seems to apply to you at this phase of your life. For example, my one word for 2018 is consistent because I need to focus on being consistent in some areas of my life, like work. As you think about it, usually one word pops into your mind.

Physical Goal:

To help support my health, this year I have decided to drink at least one cup of herbal tea each day, and I want to try my own blends (including the one at the right). Herbal tea was actually the go-to medicine for people before the advent of modern medicine, and herbal teas contain wonderful properties that support health.

Here’s the recipe to my blend if you’d like to try it:

Happiness Tea

  • 1 tsp. Hibiscus
  • 1 tsp. Rooibos
  • 1 tsp. Rosehips
  • 1 tsp. Gogi berries.

Pour 2 cups just-boiled water over the top and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten as desired.

Spiritual Goal:

To encourage my spiritual growth, this year I want to add 30 minutes of prayer to my devotional time in the morning. I’m keeping a prayer notebook to record all my requests and insights too.

Work Goal:

This year I have set the goal to be consistent (there’s that one word) in posting one blog a week.

Now it’s your turn.

What’s one new healthy habit that you can start this year? Let me know what you’re thinking, and I’ll be cheering you on as I work through my goal too!

Botanically me,









5 Questions to Ask Yourself for the New Year

It seems that we were just welcoming 2016, but here we are hitting the reset button with fresh, new 2017. Whether last year was a banner year for you or one that was full of challenges, it’s always good to revisit what happened and decide how to move forward from where you are right now.

Isaiah 43:19 is one of my favorite verses. It reminds me that nothing is too hard for God:

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” NIV

This verse reminds us that we are never beyond God ‘s help if we are submitted to Him and seeking His best for us. The following five questions will help you greet this new year with purpose and hope. Work prayerfully through each one, being open to how the Holy Spirit wants to work in your life.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. What are your top priorities for 2017? Set at least one goal in each of the following four areas:
    • Spiritual
    • Physical
    • Soul (your soul is comprised of your mind, your emotions, your will, and your conscience). Pick one of those areas and set a goal.
    • Business
  2. What pattern or habit do you need to break this year? Is there something you know that should be out of your life? Perhaps smoking. Maybe too much shopping. Or it could be an attitude that you need to give the boot to.
  3. Which relationships should you focus on this year? Who are the people you want to invest in for the next year? Make a list and then brainstorm ways that you will make them a priority. Perhaps you need to meet on a regular basis with a friend or family member. Or date night with your spouse needs to be added to your schedule.
  4. What one word or theme is God putting on your heart for 2017? Two years ago my word was focus.  In 2016 it was believe. Ask God to show you what your word is for this year. Then let it affect your decision making for the year.
  5. Is there something you have been putting off that you need to take on this year? Perhaps you’re stuck and stagnant and you need to make some forward progress in one area of your life. Get specific about what you are going to do.

Journal Your Answers

Sit down with a journal and work through the questions sometime this week. Don’t rush the process. Take as much time as you need. Then you use your answers to set an agenda and priorities for 2017. Actually schedule some plans, projects, and appointments based on your answers. Be as specific as possible because if you’re vague, you won’t move forward.

Feel free to share any of your dreams for 2017 in the comment section below.

Happy New Year!

Five Ways to Pray in January

5 Ways to Pray in January PinFD

January is the start of a fresh year. It’s the time when we have a completely blank book open before us waiting to be written. Much of the content is of our own making, and it depends upon our choices, behavior, thoughts, and actions. Other parts of the book are filled with things that happen to us, but again, we get to choose how we react to those things. As we begin this New Year, here are a few suggestions to fuel your prayers.

1. New Year’s Day — January 1 is about possibilities. We can leave behind the mistakes and regrets of the past and start over with the promise of a fresh start. It’s worthwhile to reflect on what was and set goals for what is yet to be. Pray that God will give you His vision for your New Year and anything that He wants you to confess, learn, or do in the upcoming 365 days. The following resources may help you with goal setting.


 Verse: “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 NKJ

Prayer: Lord, we pray that you would drive deep into our hearts the truth that with You we always have a fresh start. We don’t have to wait for the New Year to hit the reset button. But we do ask that You will help us to make the most of 2015. May we listen to Your plans for us and obey what You are calling us to do. We ask for the faith to believe that whatever You want to do in each of our lives is possible. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

2. The Epiphany — January 6 commemorates the Magi’s visit to Baby Jesus (this date is also used to remember Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist). If we can cultivate the same characteristics that the kings had as they were searching for Jesus, we can grow in our faith just as they did. Read more about this below.


 Verse: “We saw his star in the East and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 NIV

Prayer: Lord, we pray that we have our eyes to the sky looking for You this year, just as the Magi did on their journey to Bethlehem. Help us to make You our top priority. May we remember to give You the best of our resources and gifts — not the leftovers. Amen.

3. Human Trafficking Awareness Day — January 11 is the day set aside to draw attention to the plight of those caught in the web of human trafficking. This problem is much more invasive than you may realize. When researching this topic, I came across a long article by Vanity Fair that sickened and convinced me of the horror of this problem right here in the U.S. I did not put it in the resources (choosing instead to focus on what we can do to combat the problem), but you could easily find it by googling it.


 Verse: “For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.” Psalm 72:12-14 NIV

Prayer: Lord, often times the victims of trafficking have no one to defend them, no one to help them. We pray for their plight to be made known. We ask for their rescue, deliverance, and healing. We pray that all those participating in enslaving others would be brought to justice. And show us what each one of us can do to combat trafficking in our communities, states, and countries. Amen.

4. National Religious Freedom Day — January 16 is set aside to support the religious freedoms we enjoy as Americans and to particularly celebrate the rights our students enjoy in school. Download the short guidebook from the website below. Pay close attention to the section entitled “The Religious Liberties of Public School Students.” This section highlights seven areas underscoring students’ rights regarding religious freedom. In this day and age when it seems that there are so many challenges to religious freedom in our schools, these freedoms enacted by our own presidents (from Clinton to Obama) are eye-opening — and ones we should all be familiar with.


Religious Freedom Day 

 Verse: Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16 ESV

Prayer: Lord, we ask for protection of the freedom to worship You. Perhaps we are guilty of not taking advantage enough of this freedom to worship and serve You. May we remember the old saying that says “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” Give us the courage and gumption to speak up. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

5. Martin Luther King Day — On Monday, January 19, we will celebrate this federal holiday. Martin Luther King was a civil rights leader who worked for racial equality. Let’s pray for racial unity in our country where we are too often divided by politics, social standing, misunderstandings, and outright hatred. May we remember that we are all made in the image of God.


How We Open Our Hearts to God excerpt from Coretta Scott King’s book

Verse: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

Prayer: Lord, we pray for your balm of peace and unity to spread across our country. May we treat each other with dignity and respect. Help us to remember that each person is made in Your image and is far more valuable than any material possession. Amen.

Feel free to add your own prayers in the comment section below.

Pray on!

photo credit: Asja. via photopin cc

2014 Goals Podcast: One Word

Goals List3Listen in as Mary Kane and Jane VanOsdol of OnlyByPrayer.com discuss a simple way to set goals for 2014. The book One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page is transforming their goal-setting plans for 2014. Whether you are a seasoned goal setter or you repeatedly fail at keeping any goals you set, you’ll be inspired to approach this process in a whole new way for 2014.

Resources from the podcast:

Compel Training from Proverbs 31 Ministries

One Word website

One Word That Will Change Your Life, Expanded Edition (book) available as an e-book and in print



Tired of Failing at Goals?

Goal CollageLately, I’ve been spending some time setting goals and praying about the year ahead. I love the fresh start that the New Year affords us but have to admit that I’ve never been very good at setting  — or keeping  —  goals. Identifying priorities is not one of my strengths. I feel almost paralyzed at the prospect of it all. What if I set the wrong goal and I’m boxed in for the whole year and I can never change it?! (Silly, I know.) So goes the thought process in my head.

If at First You Don’t Succeed …

Well, this year a few things are different. First, I joined the Compel writers and speakers group from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Using one of their tutorials, I actually set six smart goals that I feel rather hopeful about. Whether I follow through with them remains to be seen, but they are realistic, specific goals. For example, rather than “Write a book this year,” one of my goals says “I will write a Kindle book on Prayer Strategies as one of my four special projects for this year, and I will work on it on Friday afternoons.” See what I mean by specific? Through this training, I realized that being specific will actually give me a chance of succeeding and hitting at least some of my goals.

The second thing that happened is that I stumbled across a totally different way of approaching goal setting. One morning this week I had the Today show on in the background as I was eating breakfast. My ears perked up when I heard Al Roker and Natalie Morales mention goals, so I tuned in to hear what they had to say. They introduced their guest, motivational speaker Jon Gordon. Jon didn’t sound too hopeful about the whole process of goal setting as he cited the following statistics:

  • 9 out of 10 people will fail at their resolutions
  • 50 percent of us will fail by the end of January

I could just see my smart goals going up in a puff of smoke.

Instead, Jon recommended a simple goal-setting process he calls One Word: God gives him one word for the year that becomes his focus.

Hmm. That sounds easy enough, yet powerful. He said in the last three years that he, his family, and now many others (including sports teams, businesses, and schools just to name a few) have done this, it has revolutionized their lives. Here’s the simple three-step process he says will help you choose your word.

Look in. Look up. Look out.

I decided to check out the One Word website to download a free action plan to take me through the three steps of choosing my One Word for the year. Incidentally, I bought the book One Word That Will Change Your Life that Jon wrote with Dan Britton and Jimmy Page, which I really like. It’s an inspiring read and only takes about 50 minutes to get through.

And the Word Is …

So, back to me. God gave me my word for the year: Listen. Already it’s changing how I go about my day. I’ll share more about that after I’ve lived with it for a while.

Does this mean I’m going to drop my smart goals? Nope. I’m still excited about trying those out, too, and will update you on that progress in about a month.

What about you? Where are you in setting goals for 2014? Are you a believer, or do you think it’s a waste of time? Will you choose One Word? If so, I’d love to hear it. Please share in the comment section below. If you’d like to watch the Today show segment with Jon, I’ve embedded it below.

Happy goal setting (or not) and pray on!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy