Holistic Health & Wellness

What New Beginnings Are In Store For You This Year?

Planning the year out is something you’ve either been used to doing before, or you’ve never really thought about doing at all. Some people like to have every bit of their life planned out (that would be me), while some couldn’t think of anything worse.

Perhaps it boils down to the sort of life that you want to live. If you know exactly what you want out of life, then it’s understandable that you’d want to plan every year as it comes around. And one way you’re going to be able to meet your goals is if you set them out in front of you!

Random Surprises

Even with the best planning, there’s always going to be those random surprises that come your way and are set to rock your world. There are also those times when you can’t predict when something out of your control is going to come along.

When it comes to these random surprises, try to stay calm and handle them as they arise. Just as there is a beginning to them, there will also be an ending. This simple reminder can help you through what seems to be some of the most toughest of times.

New Beginnings

One thing that you might have in store for you this year are intentional new beginnings in particular areas of life. There are also times when it seems like these new beginnings are happening to everyone but you. Perhaps in these moments, it’s good to look for fresh ideas and fresh experiences that are going to enrich your life.

Be inspired by the following five new beginnings that can enrich any life!

A New Edition to the Family

It’s no secret that I’m usually expecting a new baby on average of everything other year or so (LOL). Truth be told, a new addition to the family is one of the most exciting things to happen in someone’s life. The responsibility placed on you is huge, but the reward is even bigger.

There are many ways a new edition can enhance a family, but some of the most popular are the pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, and baby showers. Can we say pictures, parties, and plain ol’ fun? I feel like I’m way beyond most of these but with the announcement of our last, I finally got to do one of those “cool” birth announcements.

Check out my birth announcement here, and in the meantime, check out The 35 Best Pregnancy Announcements Ideas To Try In 2020 to snag an idea of your own! Keeping in tune with planning and setting goals, go ahead and plan your baby shower and birth plan!

A New Beginning in a New Area

It may seem intimidating at first, but sometimes moving to a new place is the best idea that you can have. You won’t realize how much you needed to move to another area until you actually do. You suddenly realize how little there was to do in your old location, or perhaps there was too much to do and the quiet life suits you.

Some people stay in the same town that they were brought up in because they like the comfort of it. Some can’t wait to escape. Perhaps a job moves you, or the wild of idea of experiencing a new culture inspires you to pick and go. Regardless of your reasons for moving, one thing you can bank on is it being a completely fresh start.

A New Lifestyle

A new lifestyle might be just the thing you need if you’re running your current lifestyle into the dirt. It’s so easy to fall into this lazy lifestyle that society can put you in. You become so zombified because of lack of sleep, unsociable working hours, and working pressure.

Doing things the “world’s” way can lead to negative eating and sleeping patterns, and relying on false-filled hopes and dreams. Of course this can all change if you’re willing to change some of the habits that you have. Some of the first habits people begin to change are their sleeping and eating habits, and these are definitely great places to start.

Getting more sleep and eating healthier meals will have you feeling like a completely different person.

A New Way of Carrying Yourself

Sometimes you need to look in the mirror and realize the person you’ve become. The world generally has a way of making us look at ourselves a little harsher than necessary. And a person who might once have done anything for someone can become short and standoffish to everyone because that’s what life does to people.

Think about the way that you carry yourself. Ask yourself if you’re happy with the person you are today. Of course we all have areas that need some type of attention, but starting with that simple question can begin helping you tackle one area at a time.

Try doing something that makes you feel better about yourself as well. It’s often said that when you focus on helping others, it inwardly helps you too. From helping at homeless and animal shelters to taking mission trips to another country, there are countless ways to help with whatever you’re interested in.

More Attention to Yourself

In recent days, this has been labeled as “self-care”, but regardless of what you call it, it’s totally necessary. Sometimes you just need to take more time to pay attention to yourself. It’s a great new beginning to finally start taking more care to love yourself, rather than focusing on the negatives.

Whether you’re taking the time to establish a new beauty routine, treating yourself to some new clothes, or going on a mini vacation, make sure your happiness is a priority!

CHIME IN: What are some new beginnings you have planned for yourself this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Holistic Health & Wellness

Taking Stock: Your Past Year in Review and Planning for Your New Year Ahead

A new year. A time to take stock. 

Consider the content and meaning of your past year. 

What did you learn? What did you do? How did you live it?

Each year, at just this time, I sit with pen and journal, cup of tea and as much time as I can eke out, and answer the thought provoking questions found at the back of Sarah Susanka’s book “the not so big life: making room for what really matters.”

This annual process helps me to amalgamate my annual history and plan for my future year.

Take stock to determine that you are intentionally doing the things you want to do with your life. This is the time of year that you can spend time with your journal and consider the following questions.

Consider your past year:

  • How have I spent my time?
  • What are the results of the actions I have taken?
  • What events, realizations, and understanding have come into being?
  • What has inspired me?
  • What makes me grateful?
  • What were my sorrows and disappointments, and how have they changed me? 
  • What books have I read this year, and what impact have they had?
  • What movies and other entertainments have moved me, and in what ways?
  • What journeys have I taken?
  • What conditioned patterns have I recognized, and what experiences have allowed me to see them more clearly?

Then engage questions about your present: 

  • How am I different now from the way I was last year at this time?
  • How can I integrate the critical lessons of the past year into my life?
  • Are there any strategies, phrases, or questions that have particular significance for me right now? 
  • Are there any things I’m trying to force into existence right now? If so, what would happen if I stopped trying to make them happen?
  • To what part of myself am I giving birth?
  • What am I becoming?
  • Has my experience of time changed at all since last year? 

Then engage questions about your future:

  • Specifically, what is it that I wish to focus on in the coming year?
  • If I could sum up all my desires and longings in a straightforward statement spoken from the highest aspect of myself, what would it be?

Then I choose three words to focus my days (thanks Brendon Burchard) for each day of the year. I write these intention words on each daily journal entry and slip them into my iPod as a daily reminder too.

Consider the past, plan for the future, be present in the present. 

These questions help us to take stock of where we’ve been and help us plan where we’re going. When you’ve done this all, remember that living happens in the present. Practice being present.

Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present.—Henry David Thoreau

May this be a useful jumping off point to a successful, satisfying 2020!

Teresa Wiedrick is eager to share the freedoms of the homeschool lifestyle with the skeptical, the intrigued, and the curious. Eleven years ago, she searched for arguments against homeschooling, and that search shifted her family’s next decade. She is a hearty advocate of home education, and encourages other homeschool families to live their charmed homeschool life, despite their challenges.

Yet, having homeschooled for more than eleven years, Teresa is very aware of the intensity and demandingness of this lifestyle. She has had much opportunity in honing her self-care practices and will soon release her book “Homeschool Mama Self-Care: Taking Care of Mama so she can Take Care of her Kids”.

She can be found on-line at Capturing the Charmed Life and on Instagram and on Twitter. She cannot be found on Snap Chat, because she is too old for that.


How to Find Time for Your Goals in the New Year

Let’s talk about time today, shall we?

I don’t know about you, but I find that time is one of those precious commodities that’s often in short supply.

As busy people, we constantly bounce from one thing to the next. Our days are filled with meetings, after-school activities, basketball practices, and errands. 

In fact, for many of us, our days are so chaotic that we have little time to work on our side hustles, passion projects, or big goals that we’ve set for ourselves. 

With New Year’s just around the corner, I’ve been working with my clients to set some incredible goals for themselves. And as we map out a plan, we’ve also been exploring potential stumbling blocks along the way. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the biggest obstacles for everyone is time. 

How can we gain control of our schedules and make time for what matters most?

If you ever find yourself asking similar questions, then you’re in luck. Because that’s exactly what we’re talking about today. 

We’re exploring my favorite strategy of time blocking to help you make time for your goals and New Year’s resolutions this year.

How to Find Time for Your Goals in the New Year

I’ve been a big fan of time blocking for years now. It’s a real game-changer in helping me gain control of my schedule and make time for what’s most important.

And I think you’re going to love it, too.

What is Time Blocking?

Before we dive into all-things-strategy, let’s first talk about what time blocking actually is.

Simply put, time blocking is a time management strategy that helps you divide your day into clear blocks of time. Then, you take your to-do list and put each task into one of the designated time slots. 

Sounds easy, right?

It is! 

In fact, the simplicity of time blocking is one of the reasons why I love it so much.

Why You Will Love Time Blocking

There are so many benefits to using time blocking for your busy schedule, and chief among them is helping you reach your goals.

Because let’s face it, whether you’re a 9-5er, a stay-at-home-parent, or an entrepreneur, efficiently accomplishing your projects is key. 

Time blocking will help you get there.

When you implement this strategy into your daily routine, you will uncover the excitement to get started on your big projects. You will find the drive to stay focused. And you will create the motivation to keep going, even if obstacles pop up along the way. 

Have I grabbed your attention? Awesome! Then let’s talk strategy.

How to Use Time Blocking

The basic approach to time blocking looks like this:

  1. Consider your to-do list for the day.
  2. Decide how much time each activity will take.
  3. When you’re starting out, allow for an extra 15-30 minutes to complete it. (As a rule of thumb, tasks often take longer than you think when you first this strategy.)
  4. Put your to-do list on your time blocking template, and allow for short breaks in between (more on that later).
  5. Rock your to-do list!

As you can see, this strategy is incredibly straightforward. That being said, there are a few different methods to the approach. I’ve included the three most popular strategies below including: the half-hour time block, the hour time block, and the 52/17 time block.

30 and 60-minute Time Blocking Strategy

I’ve grouped the 30 and 60-minute strategies together because they use the same method with different time frames.

Essentially, you break down your tasks by the hour or the half-hour, and after you complete each segment of time, you take a 5-10 minute break.

30 Minute Time Blocking

The 30-minute block strategy is especially effective for smaller tasks. I love using this approach in the afternoon when I’ve already worked on my high-priority projects for the day; I find the short time segments help keep me moving through my to-do list without getting lost in the details.

Do you have several voicemails waiting for your reply? Is your inbox filling up with emails? Does the kitchen need a quick scrub-down?

The 30-minute time block is perfect for these types of tasks.

You see, 30 minutes is long enough to get something important accomplished, but it is short enough to keep you moving forward and checking smaller tasks off your list. 

For example, when answering emails, it is easy to get long-winded. It’s easy to spend far too long writing and rewriting different sentences. 

When you’re racing the clock, on the other hand, you’re pushed to practice concise, direct writing that gets to the point quickly and efficiently. And when you do that, you free up more time for the bigger items on your to-do list. (Yes!)

60 Minute Time Blocking

The 60-minute time block has a similar approach to the 30-minute format, but it allows room for longer and more involved tasks. 

I don’t know about you, but it sometimes takes me a while to “get in the zone” when I’m working on a time-intensive or complex project. If I use the 30-minute time block in these situations, I find myself stuck in that transition period without ever hitting my stride.

The 60-minute format, however, allows me to really sink my teeth into the project and make progress in my work.

The Time Blocking Process

With both the 30 and 60 minute format, the process is simple.

First, use the time block template to schedule your tasks in 30 or 60-minute sections throughout the day. 

Next, continue with the cycle of 30/60 minutes on – 5/10 minutes off. 

And make sure that you allow time for breaks; it’s important to let your brain recharge. Go for a quick walk, sip a cup of tea, play catch with your dog, whatever. 

Repeat this process until you’ve crushed your to-do list or you’ve reached the end of your workday.

Long Project Alternative

As a side note, if you have a lengthy project that lasts longer than an hour, the 30 and 60-minute approaches still work great.

Let’s say you’re working on a 3-hour project in the morning. Simply schedule that task over a 3 1/2 hour period, which allows for three 60-minute sessions, as well as three 10-minute breaks.

The 52/17 Rule

I know, I know. What a random division of minutes, huh? Believe it or not, there’s science to back it up.

There was a study done in 2014 where a business tracked the productivity habits of its employees through a productivity app called DeskTime. Their discovery was quite surprising.

The study found that the top 10% of employees did not put in extra hours. What’s more, they did not even work the full eight hours of a typical workday. 

Instead, they took breaks. 17 minutes breaks, to be exact.

So after 52 minutes of work, the top-performing employees took 17-minute breaks. 

And importantly, many of the employees would physically stand up and move away from their computers. They weren’t checking email. They weren’t watching YouTube videos. And they weren’t reading the latest news headlines. Instead, they chatted with a coworker (not about work), read a book, went for a walk, etc.

Time Blocking Stumbling Blocks 

I will be the first to admit that there is a bit of a learning curve here. Yes, the time blocking approach is super simple. But it also takes a bit of trial and error to understand which method(s) works best for you.

Additionally, it takes some time to discover how quickly you can realistically accomplish your tasks. 

Accurate Time Estimates

Many of us tend to underestimate how much we can accomplish in an hour or a day. 

So what can you do?

When you first begin this process, give yourself a little flexibility. Allow some wiggle room in your time blocks for if/when projects take longer than you think.

For the first few weeks, make a note of how long your regular tasks actually take you. You will gain a better understanding of your pacing and workflow, and you’ll have an easier time making an accurate time block schedule going forward.

Try Different Strategies

Try out each of the 30, 60, and 52/17 approaches. See which one(s) work best for you. 

You might find that you prefer different formats at different times of the day or on various days of the week. If you are more productive in the morning, for example, schedule a longer block of time for a more thought-intensive task.

Alternatively, if your afternoon slump hits around 3:00, schedule in a simple 30-minute task that requires a low level of brainpower.

For example, 3:00-4:00 is my afternoon slump so that’s when I block off time to walk my dog. It’s an important task that I need to accomplish, but it also requires less brainpower than, say, writing the script for my podcast.

Turn off Distractions 

When you’re using a time blocking format, it is important to turn off distractions. 

It is far too easy to “quickly” check your email, or scroll through Instagram for “just a second.” But as we all know, those brief moments of time add up quickly, and all of a sudden 30 of your 52 minutes have mysteriously disappeared.

Not helpful.

So do yourself a favor and silence your phone. Block off specific times to check email and voicemail. And seriously, avoid social media like the plague. 

The more you accomplish during these dedicated sections of “work” time, the more freedom you have at the end of the day.

So that’s it, my friends! Your complete guide to time blocking. 

Snag Your Time Blocking Goodies Here!

If you want more strategies to really rock your time blocking schedule, be sure to check out episode 11 of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast, which offers a deep-dive into all-things time management and time blocking. You can find it here:

Top 5 Secrets to Make Time Blocking Work for You

Start using these strategies and you’ll be rocking your New Year’s resolutions in no time!

Do you want to take your productivity to the next level? Be sure to sign up for a free 30-minute coaching call with me here! We will talk about goals, time management, and all-things strategy. You’ll be living your best life in no time.

Need your copy of time blocking templates? You got it! Snag your time blocking workbook here!

Let’s do this!


Have you ever tried time blocking before? What’s your biggest stumbling block when it comes to time management? What New Year’s resolution are you working on? Let me know below!

Paula Engebretson is a life coach and podcaster at I’m Busy Being Awesome where she helps busy women maximize their productivity, manage their time, and reach their biggest goals. 

Holistic Health & Wellness, Spiritual

The Power of Positive Thoughts: Manifesting a Powerful New Year

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The resolution declarations start. The goals are made. And typically a word or phrase is announced. I’m not gonna act like I didn’t have a word or phrase for this year (and next) because I did (and do).

My word for 2019 was cultivate and that is an absolutely correct depiction of what this year was like for me. As for 2020, I had a dream months ago about what I could expect – seeing clearly. For a person who needs glasses and the Messiah to see, I understood what God was telling me.

Anyways, what I’d like to share with you is not necessarily a resolution, a goal, or even a word/phrase to carry into your new year. I want to chat about the power of positive thoughts and how those thoughts can help you manifest a powerful new year.

Provokes thinking.

The Power of Thoughts

Before diving into some practical thought processes that can change your life, and your year, let’s talk about the power thoughts actually have. I’m sure you’re familiar with that already, but it’s worth revisiting.

I choose to believe and follow the Most High God (YHVH) and His Holy Inspired Scriptures. All throughout you can find many Scriptures that discuss the mind and thoughts that we have.

The underlying principle is your thoughts have the power to create change. What this change ends up looking like is up to you. One thing I’ve learned in my 35 years of life is that I am always one thought and decision away from living my best life.

I’m not trying to sound all new-agey, but it’s the truth. Whether I’m experiencing the good, the bad, or the ugly – I can still choose to be thankful, grateful, and blessed. This is also a thought process in and of itself. One that I fail at having more than I’d like to remember.

Practical Thought Processes

With that being said, let’s talk about some practical thought processes that can help manifest a powerful new year.

Practice Renewing Your Mind

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.” – Romans 12:2

It’s so easy to follow trends, hop on bandwagons, and go for the sparkly and pretty. At the end of the day, if thoughts are leading you to think, act, and desire the ways of the world – you mind needs renewal.

Yes, it’s hard. The world and its ways are all around us. Living set-apart from the world is not popular. In fact, it gets trash-talked and ridiculed; however, it’s worth it in the end.

Renew your mind by reading and meditating on what Scripture says. Whatever you’re struggling with, find it in the Word and soak it up!

Practice Thinking Positive

This is a biggie, and also one that tends to take a bad rap. Rightfully so if it’s through the perspective that there’s nothing else to do but “think” and not do. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

“For the rest, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is righteous, whatever is clean, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, if there is any uprightness and if there is any praisethink on these.” – Philippians 4:8

That’s what I’m talking about. The ability to think positive, no matter what in your world is going on. And yeah, that’s tough. But it’s doable.

Think positive by thinking on truth, nobility, righteousness, cleanliness, loveliness, good reports, and anything that is upright.

Provokes looking into the new year.

Practice Taking Thoughts Captive

“For the weapons we fight with are not fleshly but mighty in Elohim for overthrowing stronghold, overthrowing reasonings and every high matter that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, taking captive every thought to make it obedient to the Messiah.” – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Think about the times you’ve entertained stinkin’ thinkin’ versus casting that thought process down. What usually happened? The thought came in, set up shop, and most likely led you to thinking more negatively (and maybe even acting it out). Am I right?

There is a valid reason why we are told to take [disobedient] thoughts captive. One, I believe our thoughts are directly related to the spirit-realm. Going from what Scripture says, we are to walk according to the spirit. We are to act according to the spirit. And, we are to think according to the spirit.

Take thoughts captive by replacing them with Yah’s Truth.

Practice Thinking About Who’s You Are

“For as he reckons in his life, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7a

This verse comes in the midst of King Solomon talking about rich men, their delicacies, as well as their evil eye. He was basically saying that as the man thinks, so is he – and, he could say one thing to you but his heart is not in it.

What are you reckoning in your life? In other words, how are you classifying yourself? Your thoughts (and thought process) are number one indicators of your answer to that question.

Thinking about Who’s you are has a way of helping you re-program your thoughts to ones that line up with what the Creator thinks of you.

Manifest a Powerful New Year

No matter what your previous years held for you, I am believing that you can manifest a powerful new year through the power of positive thoughts. Science proves so much of what Scripture teaches when it comes down to our thoughts carrying the power to manifest good and/or bad.

I will say this though, in all of your practicing to renew your mind, think positive, take thoughts captive, and think about Who’s you are – there is also a level of being still and trusting God to do His part.

Scripture exhibits the practicing of praying and meditating as a link to conquering the mind and thought process, but in this day and age, it’s almost unheard of. Most people don’t slow down enough to it, let alone live it!

Simply put, there are a few key things to keep in mind throughout this process. Remember that:

  • Your thought process has the ability to change the nature (wiring) of your brain.
  • When you think, you build thoughts, and these thoughts becomes physical substances in your brain.
  • You have the ability to “wire out” toxic patterns and replace them with healthy ones.

There are lots of other thought-related versus all throughout Scripture. My prayer is that you will see and harness the truth behind Yah’s timeless Word. What you allow into your mind determines your reality – and ultimately, your legacy. The power is yours.

CHIME IN: What are your thoughts about the new year? Are there any thought processes you need to work on? Let me know in the comments below!