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Goal Action Ideas for Fitness Goals

We've talked quite a bit in the past about how to get fit and how imperfection can help you get in the best shape of your life, and we firmly believe those posts are full of encouragement and practical advice for you. We also know that when it comes to setting goals that work for your lifestyle, everyone is different, and sometimes you need a little inspiration when it comes to filling out your monthly PowerSheets Tending List.

We're starting a new series where we're going to be sharing a collection of monthly, weekly, and daily goals that align with larger themes we see in our PowerSheets community. Our hope is that you use these guides as resources when you're looking to make progress on one of your goals and need some inspiration to fill out the lines of your Tending List. Remember, these are simply suggestions to help get your wheels turning, and we welcome any additional suggestions in the comments!

First up, fitness goals! Whether you're a triathlete or you hate running with every bone in your body (I certainly lean more towards one of those than the other), the list below will give you some ideas for your Tending List if you're looking to prioritize your health and fitness this year!

Monthly Goals

  • Download Couch to 5K
  • Find a personal trainer
  • Join a running club
  • Sign up for barre membership
  • Choose an exercise plan
  • Join the local YMCA
  • Buy a pair of running shoes
  • Purchase a Fitbit
  • Find an exercise buddy for accountability
  • Create a workout Spotify playlist

Weekly Goals

  • Exercise 3 times a week
  • Run 10 miles
  • Track weight and measurements

Daily Goals

  • Be active
  • Take the stairs
  • Park far away
  • Hit 10,000 steps
  • Go on a walk after dinner
  • Lay out workout clothes before bed

These are just a few suggestions of tangible goals you can add to your Tending List each month to make progress on your fitness goals for the year!

We'd love to hear from you: what else would you add to this list?

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Your Go-To Guide for Meal Planning

Let me set the scene: It's 5:30 pm, and you're leaving work. You're hungry, but you have no idea what's for dinner (or if you even have food at home at all!) I've been there. You think "A quick stop by Chipotle will give me dinner AND lunch for tomorrow. surely that makes more sense than going to the store and then cooking." I completely get it. But once you start adding up those Chipotle and Panera runs, your wallet thins out pretty quickly!

Meal planning and prepping often gets a bad wrap because it seems overwhelming, but I'm here to share my best tips and tricks for those of you who are looking to make progress on your nutrition goals this year. I'm calling this a go-to, grace-filled guide to meal planning. So what's the point of meal planning? It's two-fold, not only will planning and prepping your meals give you control over what you're putting in your body (goodbye weekly Chick-fil-a trips!), but it is also much more economical. I'm sharing my best tips below, but it isn't an exhaustive list. I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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If you follow my #TendingListTuesday updates, you'll know that "Plan and Prep Meals" has been a weekly goal for months!

Set realistic expectations. It wouldn't feel fair to write this post without starting with this tip. One of my best pieces of advice is to set realistic expectations as you start meal planning and prepping. There are going to be times when you rock your week-you'll do all the organizing, prepping, cooking, and come in under budget to boot! But there will also be times you eat an entire pizza instead of saving some for lunch and you find yourself at Food Lion the next morning buying Spaghettio's for lunch... Give yourself grace, and remind yourself that you can and will make progress each week.

Invest in the right containers. I've found that having the right containers and tools is essential to meal planning and prepping. There is nothing worse than making a batch of quinoa, putting it into a Tupperware container, and then ransacking your kitchen looking for the lid. I used my recent move as an opportunity to throw out my old plastic containers and invest in some new glass containers. I'm able to easily divide leftovers into lunch or dinner portions for the upcoming weeks. I recommend starting with a set to see which sizes you use most frequently, then buying a few extras individually. My favorites are from Ikea (here, here, and here), but there plenty of other options out there, too! Budget tip: Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals are a great time to stock up!

Create a bank of easy, go-to meals. Pinterest and your favorite blogs are a great starting point, but I like the idea of crowd-sourcing, too! Use your social feeds to ask for your friends' favorite meals, and ACTUALLY RECORD THEM SOMEWHERE. Whether it's a cute recipe box or digitally on your Pinterest board or Google Drive, make sure these are all aggregated in one spot so that when it comes time to choose recipes you can be efficient. If you aren't a recipe follower (ahem, me!), then create a typical shopping list for the week, and bookmark it somewhere. This is my favorite shopping list template, and I use it week after week to avoid overbuying.

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Here's this week's meals for me. You'll see that it's pretty simple and there are a lot of leftovers. I didn't add breakfast since I'm eating the same thing-yogurt, homemade granola, and berries.

Know yourself, your family situation, and your lifestyle. I'm a notorious meal-repeater. I typically eat the same breakfast and lunch for two reasons. It saves me from decision fatigue, and it saves me money because I'm only cooking for one person. If I want to mix things up, I'll split a Hello Fresh delivery with my boyfriend for some variety. Depending on your family situation, your meals will likely look very different than mine, and that's okay! Budget Tip: Email me if you want to try Hello Fresh, and I'll share my referral code for $40 off your first Hello Fresh box.

Schedule a weekly meal planning session. Take 30 minutes one day per week to plan your meals and shopping list. I spend time Sunday afternoon planning my meals, and it's a breeze and prepares me to go grocery shopping. My typical agenda is below, and while it might seem long, it rarely takes more than 30 minutes:

  • Look at your calendar or planner and decide how many meals you need for the week. Consult with your spouse, a roommate, or children's calendars to make sure you on the same page. For example, some weeks I have my book club and won't need to plan for dinner. I typically write out my weekly meals in my Simplified Planner, and from there I can see any gaps. Tip: don't forget about snacks here! I plan for two snacks during each workday.
  • Check your freezer and pantry. Are you out of staples? Do you have food that is about to expire and you want to use? Figure those things out now so you can choose your meals accordingly.
  • See if there are any sales at your typical grocery stores. I do all of my shopping at Trader Joe's (there are no sales), but this can inform your meal planning for the week. Tip: You can easily view your local flyer for most stores online.
  • Plan out your meals. Using the recipe bank you created above and starting with breakfast (it's the easiest!), plan your meals and snacks for the week and write them down. Whether it's in your planner or on a notepad on your fridge or in your calendar app, make sure you can see what's on the menu.
  • Make your shopping list from the meals. Write down everything you need for the week, and be sure to stick to it. Tip: If you're prone to forget your list or aren't heading to the grocery store until later, go ahead and take a photo of it, too.

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Head to the grocery store. Grab a snack, your reusable shopping bags, and get to shopping! This isn't required, but I like to add a rough estimate of prices beside each item so I don't have sticker shock when I head to the register. When I get home, I immediately unpack my groceries and start chopping, prepping, or roasting things as necessary.

Incorporate these steps into your PowerSheetsIf you're starting from scratch, add "Create a bank of recipes" to your monthly goals next month. Maybe you add "Meal plan and prep" to your weekly goals. Whatever it is, writing it down will help keep you accountable! Tip: Use the grocery cart sticker from our sticker book to add some color to your PowerSheets!

Whew! That was a long post, but I hope it was helpful. Now it's your turn; I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment and share any tips or favorite recipes you have! I don't claim to be an expert in meal planning and prepping, and I'd love to learn from you!

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How to Use Your “On My Heart” Section

If you're anything like me, sometimes guided journals can feel a bit too overwhelming. What if I don't want to answer specific questions on that day? What if I simply need a place to pause, reflect, and record what's been on my mind and heart. One of our favorite parts of the Write the Word journal is how the "On My Heart" section can be used in a variety of ways! We're sharing some of our favorite way below, but don't let these ideas limit you!

WTW_Gratitude

Photo from my personal Write the Word Journal

Keep track of gratitudes. Many of our PowerSheets users have some form gratitude on their daily goals, and your Write the Word journal is a great place to track those in the same spot. I do something similar in my WTW-each day, I answer the question "What God has done for me?" or "What is God in the process of doing for me?" It gives me the opportunity to reflect on things big and small in my life, and it reminds me that moving towards gratitude and contentment is often a journey.

Capture memories. Your "On My Heart" section is a great place to capture memories or moments from your day. As I've gotten older, I've realized I have a tendency to remember the big moments, but I have to work harder to remember the smaller ones. I love the idea of intentionally recording the seemingly small but beautiful moments in your day.

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Photo from Rhiannon Bosse by Samantha James Photography

Write letters to those you love. Our friend Rhiannon Bosse wrote a blog post about how she uses her Write the Word journal as someone who doesn't particularly love journaling. She's started writing letters to her son to give him one day. Our Customer Delight and Shop Manager uses her Write the Word journal to write letters to her future husband. Both intend to give the journals to their intended recipients one day, but we love the idea of writing letters to a variety of different people, too.

Reflect on the passage from the previous page. Use this space to reflect on the Scripture from the coordinating page, perhaps rewriting pieces of it in your own words or pulling out certain phrases. If the scripture on the coordinating page was particularly powerful I also record that there as well. Record the things you are learning!

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Photo by our Customer Delight and Shop Manager, Kaylee

Write out your prayers. Maybe you simply need a place to write out your prayers or long-form journal? That's great! We love the idea of writing prayers about worries or fears you might be experiencing because it'll give you the opportunity to flip back to these pages to reflect when prayers are answered.

We're thrilled to be restocking all five editions of our Write the Word journals in our shop on Wednesday, August 23rd. In the meantime, download our free Cultivating Faith guide and start writing the Word today. We've included a selection of 10 passages for you to practice writing the Word right where you are!

We'd love to hear from you! Are you a journaler? If so, what types of things do you record? Do you use a notebook or a prompted journal? Leave a comment and share!

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Writing the Word with Kids

Since releasing our Write the Word journals, we've had numerous questions about how to Write the Word with children, and today's post has been in the works for a long time! We hope it's encouraging to all you mommas out there hoping to cultivate faith in the hearts of your children!

Let them see you in the Word. Prior to my current role on the Cultivate team, I was a Kid's Director for my church, and one of the things we often said to parents was this: Whether we like it or not, children pay more attention to what you do than what you say. Let your actions speak louder than your words. Whether you are using our Write the Word journals or not, make sure your children see you spending time in the Word and making it a priority in your life.

Provide shorter pieces of Scripture. We intentionally chose longer passages for our Write the Word journals because we believe that it's important to see the verses in context, but smaller pieces of Scripture are a great place to start. Here's an article with some great verses for children! You can also pull out key phrases from passages that you are studying.

Let them choose a special notebook. Turn an errand into an adventure, and let your child choose which notebook they will use to Write the Word. Having a sense of ownership will help them get excited about the process. Now's the best time to go shopping, because back-to-school is in full swing. There's bound to be good deals and a big selection to choose from!

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Photo by Val Woerner

Provide coloring pages. Is your child too young to write? That's okay! Incorporate coloring pages into your time together. A quick Google search of "Bible coloring pages for kids" will bring up a plethora of results, and allow your child to start familiarizing themselves with Scripture at a young age. And for when momma needs a writing break, check out our friend Lindsay Letters' Sweeter Than Honey Coloring Book.

Keep Scripture in front of them. Whether it's on your walls in your home or in your prayers, make talking about Scripture a priority in your home. One of my favorite and creative ways to do this for children is with temporary tattoos. Our friends at Armed with Truth created packs of temporary tattoos with verses, and my favorite is their set just for children.

Make it an activity together. We've all seen those Instagram posts about someone's quiet time-fluffly blankets, warm coffee in cute Anthropologie mugs, a lit candle. But we know what you mommas are thinking. That's just not practical for this season of life, and that's okay! Invite your children to participate in writing the Word with you might make your quiet time a little less quiet, but nowhere in Scripture does it actually say it has to be quiet :)

We're thrilled to be restocking all five editions of our Write the Word journals in our shop on Wednesday, August 23rd. In the meantime, download our free Cultivating Faith guide and start writing the Word today! We've included a selection of 10 passages for you to practice writing the Word right where you are!

Your turn: How do you cultivate faith of the little ones in your home? Teaching your children to engage with the Bible is just one (of many) ways. We'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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Our Best Tips for Working From Home

A few weeks ago I asked for Cultivate blog content ideas from many of you on Instagram, and you didn't disappoint! I've added a few of them to the queue for the coming months, and I wanted to start with one I've been asked a lot more recently:

I just found out I will be transitioning to working from home, and I'm very excited! Could you write a blog or share on Instagram stories about tips on working from home--space organization, desk, calendar, etc, how you stay on task and accountable to duties, and how you stay plugged in with the team? Thanks! -Cortney T.

If you've followed the Cultivate team for a while, you know we have a unique work environment. Half of our team works remotely, and the other half work out of Lara's home office. Having only recently transitioned to working remotely, I still have a lot to learn, so I called on the advice of my fellow remote-working ladies: Amber, Kristin, and Marissa! We've been incredibly blessed to continue to do the jobs we love remotely, and it's our goal to continue to work smarter and more efficiently! I've rounded up some of our best tips below:

Breathe fresh air. This is probably my favorite tip from Kristin because I've learned how easy it could be to go days without breathing the air outside your home. One of her most practical pieces of advice: make sure you spend some time outside each day, whether it's a morning walk, an evening errand outside of the house, or switching up scenery to a local coffee shop.

Eat lunch away from your desk. It can be tempting t o work through lunch, especially when there isn't a coworker there to grab lunch with you. One of my PowerSheets goals is to eat lunch away from my desk every day. Whether it's on my kitchen counter or outside, taking a few moments to step away from my computer prepares me to dig into the afternoon!

Dress appropriately. This doesn't mean you have to dress in business casual clothes every day, but if you know you are more productive when you are dressed and put together, add an additional 15 minutes to your morning routine to force yourself out of pajamas. Amber, our Marketing Director, even puts on shoes!

Use technology to your advantage. Our team uses a variety of different technology platforms to stay connected-Google Hangouts, Asana, Google Drive, Dropbox, and a team text message thread just to name a few! Regardless of what you're using, having times to check in with your team can help counter any feelings of isolation you might experience in the first few months of transitioning to remote work.

Honor office hours. Moving from working in a large corporate office, Marissa found herself overcompensating for the blessing of working from home by being accessible at all hours of the day. Now, she has fairly-strict office hours (noted in her email signature) because working from home can lead to over-working for her Type A personality. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules! Really busy days or mornings that might have a doctor's appointment usually warrant a later closing time. I've taken Marissa advice and scheduled exercise classes in the evening at 5:45 pm. That forces me to close my computer and step away from my desk!

Create a dedicated workspace. One of the great things about working in an office is the ability to leave your work at work (for the most part, depending on your profession.) However, when you're working out of your home, it's easy to turn every part of your home into your office (We're looking at you, living room couch) And this doesn't mean you need a whole separate office! I have a desk in my studio apartment, and it's my work area. Having a dedicated space to work makes it easier to wrap up and walk away when the workday is finished. Bonus tip: clean up your desk at the end of each day-remove empty cups, put pens away, file necessary papers. (This can easily be one of your PowerSheets daily goals). It makes a big difference when walking back into your office area the next morning.

We're by no means experts, but we hope these tips encouraged those of you, like Cortney, who might be making this transition soon!

Do you work remotely? We'd love to hear your best tips in the comments!

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