Simply Sather

HITTING MY GOALS BY HONING MY HABITS

When it comes to forming lasting habits, I have not always been successful.

So planning for a new year, for goals that will (or ought to) carry through an entire 365 days has felt daunting to me. Like really, has there ever been one goal that I’ve ticked off or touched on every single day for a whole year? Ever?

THE POWER OF HABIT BOOK

I don’t think so. But, after reading Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” I’m beginning to understand habit work more clearly.

Let me tell you that I don’t normally write book reviews in this space. I share my reviews about books and my whole “book love” journey over on Instagram (@readwithregina) and will probably stick with that. But this book and post are an exception because I’m curious as to what goals people have set for the year and even more importantly, which habits they are going to put into place to make their goals happen.

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get your library card and adventure for free!

WHAT ACTUALLY IS A HABIT?

I asked people on Instagram “What habit(s) are you hoping to develop in 2019?” You can peek in the “Q&A highlights” for the answers to my question and my (hopefully helpful) responses.

What I found interesting was that many of the responses sounded very similar to goals; which made me wonder if there was a difference.

According to this book, habits can be viewed as “behavioral patterns that reside within our minds”. Habits are basically decisions that become automatic behaviors. We no longer think about them, we just do them.

Which makes sense then to me why so many of us want to set goals. Because ultimately, we want to change something in ourselves or in our lives. Maybe it’s drinking, spending, eating or watching too much whatever. Or maybe not enough exercising, listening or rest.

Duhigg takes us through research and case studies with individuals, groups and even organizations like Starbucks and Target to show us the power of habits. Let me tell you right now if you do not think Target (and every other establishment you frequent, isn’t tracking your habits, you may need to step away from your smartphone and read this book right now). Your habits are often used to sell you things you may want, but probably don’t need.

And because a habit is a decision on auto-pilot, you’re not really thinking deeply about your spending or experience at places you frequent, landing you in places, situations, work environments and even relationships you may not belong or want to be.

CHANGING A HABIT

This makes a strong case – at least to me – why my habits are worth delving into more deeply.

The author makes it fairly easy to understand his powerful concept palpable through the first section of the book; clearly explaining what a habit is. How habits are formed in loops and through our cravings and desires. Chapter 3 is particularly helpful because it addresses transformation – a relief, right? Because really, we all need to have hope that we can change.

To stop smoking, overspending, gossiping, snacking mindlessly, adding pounds we hadn’t planned to.

It’s clear that who we spend time with (89p), “keystone moments” (100p) and sometimes crisis have an impact on motivating us to change our habits.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The habits that matter most are the ones that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns.[/perfectpullquote]

This friends.

Think about this.

There is some stress, stuck and overwhelm in your life right now. Things you’ve been saying yes to or doing on autopilot without understanding the deeper implications and damage to your life and the lives of those around you.

You have been wanting to do different, experience new and live more fully for awhile, but have not been able to pinpoint what is askew or where to begin.

When making goals, choosing a word or theme for the year or setting intentions, I believe the heart of why we do this is because the things of the past no longer serve us. We’ve been doing and going and “shoulding” because it’s what we’ve always done or what those around us expect us to do. We’ve formed habits that are not good. We’ve become identified by some unhealthy autopilot decisions.

And we’re stuck.

CLAIMING NEW HABITS

To get unstuck and reach our fullest potential, we must believe that we can change.

“If you believe you can change – if you make it a habit – the change becomes real. This is the real power of the habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be. Once that choice occurs – and becomes automatic – it’s not only real, it starts to seem inevitable…”273p

What I wish Duhigg was even more direct and clear about in this part is that it means taking responsibility for the bad, ill-fitting habits we’ve allowed to direct far too much of our paths. I’m guilty. And maybe because I’m hungry for something different in 2019, I’m more quick to accept that I’m complicit in this. And then a step further, is that those of us who proclaim Jesus as Lord have help.

In my quest to give time and attention to things that really matter in 2019 – you can read about the four biggies here – I realize that some of my habits will need to be overhauled.

IN PROCESS – FORMING MY OWN NEW HABIT

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there’s something to it, be willing to consider it

So as not to overwhelm myself and snuff out the beautiful margin in my life, I’m currently focused on just one habit: how I use my social media platforms.

In the past, I’ve scrolled and compared and sometimes struggling with depression. It was difficult to remember how God viewed me, how much He loved me, that I am enough. I better understand why I did this now – scrolling without intention had become a habit.

I admit it! I enjoy spending time on Instagram (especially), Facebook and Pinterest. I like engaging with people and challenging some of my thinking. It is essentially another tool I hope to use in order to grow.

A lot of the times in 2018, I was scrolling and posting to prove myself or for validation. It became mindless. Someone I love would be talking to me and get some of my attention, but before even I realized it, they were continuing to speak, but I was staring into a screen. Scrolling…

It was rotting up my insides.

Because essentially in the scrolling, I was allowing my identity to be warped, dissed, misshapen or questioned by the things I was seeing or the lack of likes when I had the courage or boldness to step out and post something authentic to me and what I believed I’d been called to.

“…to modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines and find alternatives. You must know you have control and be self-conscious enough to use it…” 270p

The catalyst for change must be evaluated. Why do you want to change this habit, I asked myself. And the answer was basically, “because I don’t like who I am when I scroll and post without intention”. I want to be and share the better, more authentic and vulnerable parts of my life with the hope of helping another woman.

I’ve decided that I want to make choices about how I’m showing up on social media again. Rather than allowing it dictate to me how to use it, I’m going to claim new habits (involving training, intentional decision making, requests for accountability, goal setting, etc.) and start making decisions again.

It’s only day four of the new year.

There’s a long stretch on the road ahead, but today I’m choosing to believe that I can change.

Are you with me? Which habit(s) are you deciding to develop this year?

 

 

Simply Sather

MY FOCUS IN 2019: FOUR BIG THINGS

At the heart of the gift of every new year is hope.

We all set aside time to dream a little about what we hope to move toward in the coming year. And I get that. I do it too.

I can look back at 2018 with such fond memories and experiences that I simply hope that 2019 will be a continuation of the same. If you haven’t had a chance, take a look here to read about my reflections on the past year.

But, 13 years ago when I was learning how to breathe in my new widowhood, I became deeply attached to the first of January 2006, because it meant EVERYONE had to start over. No matter what they had experienced in the year before – burying their spouse like me or promotions, moves, new children, whatever it was, good or bad – they had to face a new start. Which made me like them. It felt like the playing field of life had been leveled again and I grabbed hold of that sentiment and have felt strongly about the new year since.

JESUS ALL UP IN IT

I have walked through some complex challenges and have had some amazing experiences. People often look into where I am now and marvel or exclaim how strong they believe me to be. And I’m grateful for that.

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I want people to see Him when they glance at my life

But, I must be quicker to attribute that strength, gift, lesson, growth, etc. to the One who remained with me when the path and my next steps were too dark to see. To acclaim the One who loved me when I wanted to quit or give in to the wicked thoughts in my soul. To publicly praise Jesus for being a daily miracle worker in my life and bringing me to this point where I am even able to be the woman I’m becoming more proud to be.

EMBRACE THE CREATIVE ME

My Instagram profile (@reginasather) is filled with highlight icons that will allow me to dabble in the creative. Things that speak to and help me tend to my soul. Activities that require me to make a mess or explore my individual take or perspective on the community I’m a part of.

This morning, I started one of my goals for the year – to complete The 100 Days of Grace & Gratitude Devotional Journal –  and wept as I was doing it. It taps into my greatest goal for 2019, which is to put Jesus at the center of more of what I do (I’d like to say “all of what I do” but I’m still human y’all – a work in progress.), I was overjoyed to be painting with watercolors and using glue sticks to express what’s happening inside me.

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I’m incredibly grateful to have a husband who pushes me to make room for the margin. To not be compelled to fill my schedule with busy things to build a business or brand (which I was striving toward in 2018). It stresses me out, overwhelms me and makes me miss the whispers of Jesus to love on and help others to tend to what is happening within them.

There will be gardening attempts (yes, again!). There will be movies to watch, books to read, treats to bake (and share!). I will write, share, post and am excited about looking back on those Instagram highlight reels and here in this space to reflect on the journey taken as a result of stretching into this less than tidy, liberating space called creativity.

SOUL CARE: RETREATS + WORKSHOPS

Last year, I became consumed by building my new business: Simply Sather. I was focused on building a brand, finding ways to make money while remaining authentic to my experience, able to give the best of myself to help others. By the time December rolled around, I could tell that my compass was a bit astray.

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retreats + workshops designed to help you tend to your soul

God used my recovery time from surgery (which I’ll share more about in a later post) to settle my anxiety. My role at my current contract job as an executive assistant became more clear, helping me to hone my services to offer soul care retreats and workshops. No more coaching, no more online courses. The best thing I have to offer is what has made me who I am…my personal relationship with Jesus.

The soul care retreats I create are for individuals, couples and small teams. You can learn more here. What I so appreciate about doing these retreats is that clients can live anywhere in the world yet we can still work together. I can meet with you digitally, learn your preferences and needs then make all of the arrangements for you and your spouse, roomies or teammates. The retreats are to help break away from stress, stuck and overwhelm for intentional time to hear from God about taking next steps and tending to one’s soul.

The workshops will be both face-to-face for Metroplex Locals and digital for my far away friends. They will be designed to help women take their next steps in several areas.

Women considering online dating. Women parenting pre-teens and teens. Women in the relationship they believe they’re supposed to be in, but who are still struggling with insecurity, fear, and doubt. Women wanting to improve the way they are showing up in their female friendships, family dynamics or in the work environment.

The website will be updated by the middle of January with information about these hopefully very helpful workshops so stay tuned.

It is my hope that as I plan the retreats and facilitate the workshops, that something I share, say or do will resonate with one woman and help draw her closer to the voice and heart of Jesus and His perfect, unending love of her.

ONE LITTLE WORD X 2

I’ve been linking my year’s resolutions to one little word since 2014. The word that I land on is usually connected to an area that I believe I need to grow in or understand better.

A lot of my experience in the church has come with a lot of control. I take responsibility for how I’ve shown up and been drawn to those environments, but this year, I’m doing something different. I’m intentionally delving into what the Bible says about “grace”. It’s something I’ve struggled to understand and live by for so many years because it seems like a get out of jail free pass to this rule follower. Like people can “play their grace card” after committing egregious sins against you. As someone who has spent years seeing things as right or wrong/black or white, I see the need to live in and extend godly grace.

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my first time ever having two words for one year

Additionally, I believe I need to understand God’s concept of beauty.

Mister (my nickname for my hubby) calls me “beauty”. He has for most of our courtship and still does almost daily. At best, I tolerate it because I don’t see it. What he sees.

I am convicted though. I’ve wanted to be called beautiful by a man who knows and lives with me. A man who sees me with my hair wrapped and greets me the morning after I’ve forgotten (or been too lazy) to brush my teeth. He does that and I shrug it off as love blindness or something wrong with him.

God has made it clear to me that I must learn to walk in this gift from Him. So I’ll be delving into the scriptures to better learn what God deems beauty or beautiful. And then I want to walk in it.

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Every little thing I want to do: get a new camera to take high-quality photos, grow a healthy balcony garden, find a way to experience natural hormone therapy, read a trunkload of books, the list goes on, ought to be tied to these overarching goals and hopes for 2019.

It’s here soul tender! I hope you’re excited like me; open to all that God has stored up for both of us in this new year. Please leave a comment below sharing a little about what you’re focusing on in 2019.

Simply Sather

cultivating what matters | july

Wow! Really July? You gone…

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And though I thought I’d taken into consideration our weeklong travel to the lovely state of Washington, I missed the mark in cultivating what matters. It wasn’t a complete loss though – I discovered some pretty big things. Which reminded me – it’s not about digging in the dirt to grow a perfect version of yourself, it’s about clearing the weeds to make room for the things that take your time, attention, energy and focus, things that matter + make you grow.

So while I hit it out of the park in some areas, I struck out at the plate in others. Here’s the July update!

MONTHLY

  • Have a Staycation!

Wowza. With all that’s transpired this month, I’d forgotten we’d planned this (and made it happen). Rather than treat Mister’s time off from work over the holiday as a complete check-out time, we agreed to plan a few things to tour our own city. You never know how long God will call you to a place and the last time I made a major move, I promised myself I would not ever again live in a place without taking the time to be a tourist. We kept it simple and fluid, but did a little something everyday – it was a treat!

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back to the spot where MIster proposed; 04 july 2018 pure land organic farm
  • Washington Travel

This 8 days of travel taught us that we need to more clearly communicate about what “vacationing” really looks like. I had to apologize to Mister for this and confess it to a few others, this is largely my fault because my husband asked me (several times) to look at and weigh in on the schedule, but I just didn’t think I needed to be in the planning details. It sounded better to say I trusted him to make all of the decisions – he knows the area (grew up in Seattle), knows my likes and preferences and wanted to have a great time too.

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silly in seattle

But what was honest was I needed more down time to watch stupid TV, more time to sleep/nap, more time to be more spontaneous and unplanned and mostly more time to process what I was experiencing. It was a lot! But it was a lot of good.

We’re home and finally recovering. I’m praying we’ve learned our lesson before wheels are up to Portland in August.

  • Theta service

I did not do any of this either. Two of the folks I wanted to serve were unavailable, so it looks like August will be the time for me to get in touch with them.

  • Budget

Yep. That did not happen.

And to be fully transparent, I probably needed to hit rock bottom and see how my financial behavior has been an anchor around our relationship. We can afford fancy together, but me – I’ve got to get it together in order to compliment his efforts and follow his lead.

August is already shaping up to be a lean month for me. As I navigate truly walking through paying off my debt, I’ll share more of what it’s doing for my soul.

  • Editorial Calendar – July + August

I did lay out some intentional posts for the month of July but am still learning how to better draft out what is happening in this space and over on Instagram. Being focused and sticking with a theme helps me better navigate what I ought to and can give my best to. I have now drafted an editorial calendar for August (which I do in pencil because well great ideas don’t always come four weeks in advance) but am hoping to develop enough of a creative rhythm where I’m able to pencil in what I’m doing two months at a time.

  • Pride + Prejudice Project

Eek! This was such a big mess, Mister and I are spreading this project (and our reading) into August too. Which I think is giving me a better idea for 2019 – take a whole summer to read a classic. They are just not like picking up books written in the last 50 years; you need to let the words of the classics spread throughout.

You can review my intention over here.

  • Read 6 books

We’ll see, but I don’t think I’ll finish my 6th book (Crushin’ It! How Great Entrepeneurs Build Their Business and Influence – And How You Can, Too) by 12a on the 1st of August, but it’s not over yet.

Here are the five books I was able to complete this month.

Scroll on down to July 2018! I’m super excited to think I’ll finish my challenge – already thinking of what I’ll read over the holidays (November + December) and what next year’s challenge/theme will be.

Regina Review: The Butler
one of the 5 books I read this month
  • Finish STONES – friend’s unpublished book

My friend Jennifer Fliss is a fantastic short story writer and poet. She has published in those formats and is now writing her very first novel. She invited me to be one of four beta readers and I couldn’t have been more honored.

Not only did I enjoy the book but also thrived in the experience of playing editor and feedback giver; so excited to see this in print!

  • Prep Talk for Single Women from Church

I’ve been studying scriptures about being a godly wife (and husband) in preparation to talk with women in their 30s and 40s – not yet married, no children – about putting themselves out there to meet the man God has set aside for them.

I’ve been trying to recall what my single self needed to work through and am now realizing how much my married self mirrors her.

Two nights have been about reviewing studies, scriptures, notes and the last day before hand will be dictated to a rough outline and prayer to guide me. I want to be sure there is time to share my stumble through it all and of course God’s faithfulness, but also to give them to ask my questions.

I pray it’s a time of value and encouragement.

  • Complete Theta Foundation Application

I scratched this.

While I was prayerful about attending the Making Things Happen Conference in September, it was not making sense. I’ve received a grant for leadership development in the past and considered applying to attend this one this fall.

I was jumping through all kinds of obstacles and decided to postpone it until next year. As I get older, I’m learning that things from God don’t require a constant uphill battle. Not to say that things are easy or just fall into your lap, but when it’s set aside for you, it’s not all of the crazy to get it. So, while there is effort in applying, saving, registering and doing all the work – the headaches for forcing myself into one of their seats this fall did not seem like my personal best yes.

WEEKLY

  • Email Mister x 2

I did well at this until we had to prepare for our trip to Washington and then it went kaput. So sorry Mister! I still love you and have it on the calendar to restart my book for you this week.

  • Date Your Spouse

I’m counting all of the fun stuff we did in Washington while on vacation as 17 dates so yep, we knocked this one out of the park!

  • Blog 3x week

I don’t think so.

And I no longer think this is a reasonable goal. I want to provide more meaningful content and be able to share it in a concise way – I know folks have many things they’re consuming online and my posts can get a little wordy. (This post is shaping up to be a great example!) So this will likely change and my goal for blog posts next month will closer to 10 or 2 per week. But some diverse topics are coming your way, so hopefully you’ll experience a quality over quantity kind of vibe.

  • A Simple Year: July

Um, no. Just no.

I did not do the work, nor did I live very simply this month.

Sigh.

  • Instagram with Intention (1 session/week)

Also, no.

I started this course – brilliant – by the way when I didn’t know I’d be building my business on soul care. I’d almost made it through the whole program. Now that I know what my focus is, I’ll be going back and retaking it from the beginning.

  • #Million Minutes

With this public library challenge in my city, we read so many minutes! I didn’t win one of the grand prizes, but did get two movie tickets. I would have read the 35 hours anyway, but it was sweet to win a little something for tracking and reading with my community.

Guest Pass
movie passes for two!
  • Love Others

I did, but I’ll be completely transparent here. I did not go after those who I most need to pursue. This will be changing.

DAILY

  • Mister

I kept track of asking my husband specific ways that I demonstrated love in a language that he understood. I am so grateful to be married to someone who takes great pleasure in some of my smallest efforts. Sitting on the couch with my feet in his lap while watching TV, conversation over glasses of red wine, personal email, prayers before bed; I did great of tracking right up until we started to get ready to go on our vacation. Gonna try this one again – I want to master this one!

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  • Hydrate 4 Ellos/day

STILL NOT EASY.

  • M+ R Journal

Every night. I save ticket stubs and write about our emotions, the fun and even the conflict. It’s good to see our daily living in words that we can look back on and review.

  • Bible (Ruth + being a godly wife)

A-l-m-o-s-t everyday I read scriptures and devotionals about being a godly wife and the story of Ruth. It’s been a great experience – especially as a newly married person; though I’ve been married before, it’s been important for me to continually replace my experiences with real hope.

There is so much that I missed this past month but there was so much that I also gained. I am working at seeing misses + failures as opportunities and with this past month, I’m winning! Also, because I’m married to a grace-filled, merciful husband, Mister invested in my business and purchased me a new MacBook Air; not bragging – just letting you know that my fingers are flying over the keyboard (rather than my system hack – ipadMini + bluetooth keyboard – I created and was using for May + June).

How was your July? What are you intentionally focusing on in August? Please share, I’d be happy to cheer you on.