Welcome, 2018!

What would you like to accomplish in 2018?

How did you do on your 2017 New Year’s resolutions? Do you remember what they were? I only had one this year – to marry the man of my dreams – which I accomplished fifteen days into 2017. That’s not really how those things are supposed to work, though, right?

I don’t know your life story but New Year’s resolutions have never been a fit for me. They’re a little like dieting in that if you tell me I can’t do something, it’s more tempting to do it. And usually the things I’m  attempting to resolve to do are so unachievable, I set myself up for failure.

I’ve attempted in the past to schedule new Bible reading regimes or plan out a year of workouts at the gym and all the planning and preparation goes great! It’s the execution that fails every time.

This, inevitably, turns into feelings of guilt, failure, and disappointment and the things I was so excited to accomplish loom over my head in gloomy clouds of self-doubt. So, yeah, resolutions are not my thing.

BUT goals are!

When I start thinking of goals instead of resolutions, the pressure immediately comes off. Goals can be worked toward. Goals can be accomplished or they can be postponed. Goals can be met half way or you can have stretch goals – things you hope to achieve if you meet your other goals, but if you don’t, they’ll be on next year’s list. Goals, to me, are so much easier to wrap my head around. They are a way to reasonably target your time and energy as opposed to trying to check off an over-eager to-do list.

So this year, I’m thinking about the kind of person I want to be in 2018 and setting goals to help me focus my time and energy to becoming that person. Here are a few things I’ll be working towards becoming in the new year:

  1. A Scripture-Knower. I want to get back into memorizing scripture. Knowing what God says is not only how we get to know Him better but how we fight our sin. Working towards this goal will have me in the Bible and reflecting on God’s word all the time which is something I need more of daily.
  2. A Precious Wife. Now that Jake and I are nearly one year in, I feel like I have more of a handle on who he is and what my role as his wife looks like. I want to be the kind of Proverbs 31 woman that lifts him up, works hard, and shows humility and patience regardless of her circumstances.
  3. An Intentional Consumer. I want to be mindful of the things I put in my body as well as the things I put in my mind. 2017 was a big year for me as far as making healthier food choices on a regular basis and I hope to continue that trend in 2018. But even more, I want to be conscious of the other things I consume – TV, movies, books, social media – and their impact in my life. I don’t want to live my life through a screen and the first step in that is being mindful of what/how/when I’m consuming too much of the things I don’t want in my life.
  4. A More Available Friend. I’ll be honest, I have not done a great job being a friend in 2017 and I need to do better. It’s been very difficult to maintain individual friendships now that I’m married but I don’t want that to be an excuse for letting amazing people fall away from my life. I need the support and community of God-fearing women in my life regardless of my marital status and improving those relationships starts with me.
  5. A Gracious Host. Now that we have the space in our new house, I want to put it to good use. We’ll be renting out rooms on Airbnb during festival weekends here in Austin but more than that, I want our house to be a place of refuge for those that need it. I want our house to be a gathering point for friends and family, brothers and sisters – I want to love people with what God’s given us.

That’s the kind of person I hope to become in 2018. Obviously I know it’s not something that can happen over night, but I believe these goals are in line with what God wants for my life and I’ll be praying that He continues to provide opportunities to become more like Him in these areas.

This year, let’s challenge each other to keep these goals in mind as life inevitably starts distracting us. Let’s hold each other accountable to growing as humans together. Because I know I can’t do it alone.

Are you doing resolutions or goals for 2018? What kind of person would you like to see yourself become in the new year?

How to Adult: Healthy Eating During the Holidays

You don’t have to totally ditch your diet for the holidays. Here’s how I’ll be enjoying all my favorites this week while still eating responsibly!

How to Adult: Healthy Eating During the HolidaysI have been doing my absolute best to eat healthy over the past couple of months, a challenge made significantly harder by all the holiday goodness. Thanksgiving is my favorite meal of the year and Christmas has ALL the good desserts. It’s really stinking hard to make wise nutrition choices right now!

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about staying mindful of your diet this week, here are some tips to help us both stay on track while still enjoying the Christmas spirit!

#1 – Control Your Portion Sizes

This is my every day go-to tip for my diet and it really does work! My favorite way of doing this is just by grabbing a smaller plate. Big plates make it super tempting to just fill ‘em up but if you have a smaller plate, there’s less room to fill. I also find using paper plates to be a helpful option, especially the cheaper ones, because you can feel the weight of your food a lot more dramatically. Yes, Christmas china is pretty but paper plates are disposable and can help you control your portion sizes…I think I know which one I’d go for.

#2 – Eat Only When You’re Hungry

This one is tricky for me because my body is not great at letting me know when I’m hungry. But one of the real dangers with holiday over-eating comes not so much in the meal itself but all the grazing that happens throughout the day. I know in my family we’ll have breakfast and then snack until the big meal is ready sometime in the afternoon and boy, do those snacks get ya! Reading your body’s natural signs of hunger and only eating when it tells you to is hard but so worth it.

#3 – Drink More Water

This is another one straight off my day-to-day diet but it’s so good, it just had to be included in this list. Water. We need it but there’s a lot of other delicious holiday drinks that like to get in our way of consuming more of it. Opting for water instead of eggnog will not only save you calories but also help out with tip #2. If you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water. If you’re still hungry when you finish, you can eat. But a lot of the times, our bodies tell us we’re hungry when really we just need more water.

#4 – Eat You’re Veggies First

So much of what we like to eat during holidays is protein and carbs so eating your veggies first may not be your favorite idea but it will help make sure you get all those good vitamins and nutrients before you get too full to get around to them. This is probably a good practice to get into for day-to-day life too, but I just can’t bring myself to make it a normal practice just yet. I’ll hold on to my childish dislike of most veggies for a little longer, thank you very much.

#5 – Only Indulge in What You Love

It’s Christmas, go ahead and treat ‘yo self! But instead of filling an entire plate with every tasty treat on the counter, scout out only the things you’ll really cherish and enjoy those. Ask yourself “what are my three favorites?” or “What’s something I only get to treat myself to during the holidays?” to help narrow down your options.

#6 – Don’t Feel Guilty

It’s Christmas! It’s ok to indulge. Feeling guilty won’t delete calories that you’ve already eaten. Nor will it replace the benefits of a morning run. Basically, feeling guilty doesn’t get you anywhere. Be kind to yourself and remember that each day is a fresh start to take care of your body.

I hope these tips help you enjoy Christmas this week and enjoy yummy, delicious foods that make your heart smile. Eating healthy during the holidays is tough work so do your best and feel good about it. And remember that tomorrow is a new day with a fresh start.

How to Adult: Looking Like an Adult (Even When You Don’t Feel Like One)

Most days, I feel like a hot mess trying to adult. But that doesn’t mean I have to look like one…

How to Adult: Looking Like an Adult (Even When You Don't Feel Like One)Most of my life I’ve looked older than my age. This was cool in high school when everyone wants to look older but is considerably less cool now. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been carded getting drinks and most of the high school girls I hang out with at church are confused about my age because I don’t act a whole lot like the married adult I am sometimes.

I used to think that changing the way I dress would help me to look and feel my own age and it did, just not in the ways I wanted it to. In college, I took my new found freedom of dress (before college I wore uniforms every day for school) and wore all the things I wished I could have worn in high school. While this did make me look more my age, I also found that I wasn’t taken seriously as much as I would have liked.

The way we present ourselves sends a message to the world about who we are and what we want. I’m not saying it’s time to go out and replace everything in your closet with a power suit (although if that’s what you want to do, more power to you…get it? power…ba dum tssss). But I think cleaning up our look with very little effort can go a long way. Even when we don’t feel like adults who know what we’re talking about, we can still command respect with amazingly small changes to our appearance. Here’s what I’m talking about:

  • Wear clothes that FIT. This is a tough one for me since my weight has been fluctuating a lot in the last year or so. I realize that weight presents a challenge to this goal but I promise, wearing the right sizes makes such a huge impact because clothing that is too small or too large tends to look childish. Pick your clothes not by the size number (because we all know those are bogus and there is no standard) but by how they fit your body. This goes for jeans, too. If you find jeans that you love but are a few inches too long, it’s well worth the extra few bucks to get them hemmed to the proper length.

 

  • Clean your glasses. I’ve worn glasses for the last 20 years of my life so I rarely notice when they’re smudgy and need a cleaning just because I’m so used to it. What I don’t typically think about is that even though I can see through smudges perfectly fine, other people can’t. Keep your glasses clean so that people can easily make eye contact with you without thinking about how nasty your life must be if your glasses are that gross.

 

  • Keep your shoes clean, too. This is another one that’s hard for me because I kind of love my nasty, beat-up Converse. But they don’t look great. We don’t think about it often, but shoes probably take the greatest wear and tear out of all the items we wear regularly. Learn the proper way to take care of your shoes and you’ll look a lot more like you know things about life than like a grungy, angst-filled teenager (even if that teenager is your spirit animal).

 

  • Speaking of wear and tear, retire items of clothing that have seen better days. Or at least don’t wear them in public. Items with pilling, fraying, holes, and tears are no good in your efforts to trick the world into believing your adulthood. Even if they’re some of your favorite pieces, it’s time to let go and find new pieces that you’ll love just as much.

 

  • Roll your sleeves better. I know personally when I roll my sleeves, it’s usually because I’m hot and bothered about something (or because I live in Texas and it’s just always hot). But there are ways of rolling shirt sleeves that don’t make you look like the hot mess you may feel like when you go to roll ‘em up. It’s all about giving off a clean exterior, people!

 

  • Take off your old makeup. Yeah, I know, you got in late last night and went straight to bed and your makeup this morning actually doesn’t look half bad. Wrong. Your skin does not appreciate when you go to bed without washing your face and overtime it will show. So, not only does day two makeup not usually look super professional, it will incur the wrath of your skin. Keep makeup remover wipes by your bed if that helps and learn about why your face does not appreciate going to bed dirty.

 

  • Keep hair ties away from your wrist. Oof, this one is hard! I’m so guilty of constantly keeping a black hair tie on my right wrist, I had a tan line there this summer. I’ve heard it’s not awesome-looking to permanently wear hair ties like bracelets but I’m so accustomed to it, I don’t think to look anywhere BUT my wrist these days. However, hair ties have recently been linked to health issues like infections and issues with blood circulation. While you probably have no reason to worry, remember to keep your hair ties clean, wash your hands regularly, and try your best to decrease the amount of time that hair ties stay around your wrist. Also, stretch out new hair ties before keeping them on your wrist so that blood flow is never cut off.

 

  • Ladies, put your bra straps away. I have always felt like this particular strategy for looking more respectable was a no-brainer but recently, it’s kind of come back in style to expose parts of your bra, particularly if it’s pretty and lacy. Keeping your undergarments under your clothes as they were designed to be looks more like you’re asking to be taken seriously than the alternative. And for that matter, wearing bras that fit well can change your look dramatically, not to mention raise your confidence level. So let your pretty bras be a confidence-boosting secret rather than showing them off to the world and notice the difference in how people react.

 

  • Do away with chipping nail polish. Clean nails go a long way in presenting yourself well. Chipped nail polish gives off a young, immature vibe so either take the time to keep your nail polish looking salon fresh or make sure to remove it when it starts looking less than. Next time you go in for that handshake with clean nails you can feel a lot more like the adult you are rather than the kid you feel like.

How we present ourselves says a lot more about who we want to be than we realize most days. You don’t have to completely change your personal style to be taken seriously, though. These small little changes can go so far in showing the world who we are and what we want. What do you think? Have you tried any of these on your own? What was the response you noticed? I’d love to hear your stories about this!

How to Adult: Habits for Hacking Adulthood

I’m trying out a few new habits to take my adulting to the next level. Want to join me?

How to Adult: Habits for Hacking AdulthoodIf you’re anything like me, you run on routine. I have the same alarm that goes off every morning and I go through the same steps to get ready every week day before I leave for work. My routine very rarely changes because I’m such a creature of habit. In fact, I lay out my clothes for the week every Sunday evening, a habit that I’ve done every week since my first week of college. (S/o to my college roomie Heather and husband Jake who put up with this weird hack of mine!)

But here’s the thing. Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of my habits actually make my life harder. (I mean, minimally harder because, let’s be real, my life is not hard.) While my routine is comfortable and effective, it’s not always efficient. So to fix that, I’m going to try some life hacks to create new habits within my routine!

They say that forming a new habit can take anywhere from three weeks to two months depending on your personality, so to help me out and track my progress, I’ll be using the coach.me habit tracker app. I’ve used this app before and it’s actually super addicting and effective. I’d love for you to join me on this journey! If you do, feel free to follow me (Jackie Ruesink) and we can keep each other accountable!

So what are these habits to hack adulthood? Glad you asked. There are a lot I could choose from but in the effort of starting out small, here’s what I’m going with first:

  1. No snoozing OR opening up Facebook right away – I personally have never been a snoozer. My alarm goes off and I’m up. BUT I’ve gotten into a bad habit of scrolling social media first thing to delay my morning routine and I know this is not uncommon. But honestly, social media is too useless, depressing, and empty to be filling my brain with it first thing every morning. I’m not going to go crazy and say eliminate social media all together (I like my connection just as much as the next millennial) but I am going to limit it to after I’ve eaten my first meal of the day.
  2. 15 Minutes of Cleaning Every Day – Now, I love to clean but recently I’ve realized how much work it is to actually take care of a home and I’m living in less than 600 square feet! While having big cleaning days every couple of weeks is great, it’s not awesome in the days before those big events when Stella’s fur is practically carpeting our linoleum floors. I’m usually pretty good at decluttering but I think the biggest challenge with this new habit will be cleaning the kitchen as I cook. I know it can be done but I’m definitely not a pro at it…yet.
  3. No Food After 9 PM – I came up with this habit in college because I noticed I don’t sleep well if I’ve eaten close to bed. The science on eating before bed is controversial – some doctors say it leads to weight gain and others say it may help weight loss. Personally, this decision is less about weight and more about quality of sleep. But you may want to check out the pros and cons for yourself.
  4. Drink More Water – I’m one of those people who will just constantly sip on any drink near by all day. I sip drinks to fill awkward pauses, quench my thirst, not be bored, and a host of all kinds of other reasons. My problem is that I almost always want to drink Dr. Pepper or La Croix and not actual water. “But, wait, Jackie, isn’t La Croix sparkling water?” Yes. Yes it is. But all the acid from the carbonation is not ideal for my teeth or tummy, so really, I just need to stick to water. During this challenge, I’ll also be cutting down my soda/caffeine to one Dr. Pepper on Saturdays and Sundays only. Which, for me, is a stinkin’ big deal.
  5. Be Thankful – This is something Jake and I started a few months ago that I absolutely love. We take a few minutes before bed every night to list three things we’re thankful for. It definitely forces me to see the good in crappy days and refocuses my brain and heart on the things that matter. It’s a great way to end the day reflecting on God’s goodness and graciousness and generosity, and it helps me understand, appreciate, and love my husband more to hear his heart.

So that’s my starting line-up for adulting habits. What are some ways you can be adulting better this month? Will you be joining me on coach.me? Let’s chat!