Friday, February 1, 2013

Project 2013: February

{a month-by-month shine-up}

Last month, I introduced you to my revised approach to New Year's Resolutions: a monthly project focusing on a specific interest or habit, rather than the overwhelming, whole-year's-worth list I typically tend to struggle with.  My January goal was to recommit to better habits, physically and spiritually, that I let slide during the busy holidays.  Here's how I fared:

Set, and stick to, a regular bedtime and wakeup: I cannot tell a lie.  I still fail big-time on this.  When your husband is up late grading papers and you want to talk to him, or when it's so cold out that you eat dinner in bed for a week (true story), wrapped in blankets, getting into or out of bed is no small task.  I'm trying to keep at this, though.  For most of January, I treated my sleeping and waking times a little arbitrarily, but I want to treat them as more concrete.  Just because it's a new month, I shouldn't abandon all of my previous hopes, right?  

Say a daily rosary: I've loved praying the rosary more frequently.  I've noticed a huge change in my workday when I say it in the car while I drive.  My days aren't necessarily less busy or less filled with the noise of life, but they are so much more peaceful.  Things run more smoothly.  I react less to stress and to other people's requests.  Even on busier days, I have a sense of calm that wasn't there before.  At this time in my life, as my husband and I discern where we'll go if he's accepted to a PhD program and when to start a family, I'm so content to keep myself in Mary's womb.

Floss: Check.  For the most part.

Exercise: Aside from sleep, this was probably the January resolution I was most excited about.  In high school and college, I was very active, but working a 9-5 desk job and living in a wind-y, hilly neighborhood with varying degrees of safety makes it hard to go for walks or runs.  I anticipate that in the springtime, Andrew and I can go back to our frequent long bike rides along the trail that runs through our town, but until then, I'll have to stick with my workout DVDs (actually stick to them, that is--I thought twice a week was a nice, minimal commitment, but I've struggled even with that!) and the occasional dance-along to Just Dance clips on YouTube.  If I can stick to an earlier wake-up, in fact, I'd love to start working out in the morning.  It's that darn getting started!  Any ideas for staying accountable?

Create an organizing system for Christmas decorations: Well...I had every intention of doing this.  The containers I ordered for my ornaments and decorations arrived squashed!  The lids can't fit on the boxes, so our tree is still standing tall in the living room (don't worry; it's fake) until I replace them.  

So, all in all, January was a semi-success, I think, but I've really been trying to view these lessons as a school of discipline for the sake of holiness.  I struggle so much with time and with following through on things I set out to do, and I hope all these aspirations are purifying me.  For now, at least I'm praying and have clean gums.



On Monday, this humble little blog of mine will be one year old!  I've gone from knowing nothing whatsoever about blogging to knowing slightly more than nothing, and have been so thankful for the community of Catholic young women I've found.  I'm so looking forward to spending this month giving Captive the Heart a little makeover and getting a little more social media savvy.  By the way, are any Blogger users out there having trouble, like me, applying changes to your blog templates?  I've read that most browsers don't get along with Blogger's system, and it's frustrating.  I'd be so thankful for any of your advice!

As I start February's little adventure, I'd love your input!  Tell me, and don't be afraid to be real: What do you most enjoy reading on Captive the Heart?  What do you think is missing?  Any features that are just meh to you?  To get you started, here are a few more specific questions...

1. Rite Resources: Yay or nay?  I feel like I'm always stumbling across pretty/functional/helpful things that I want to share with you, but I never want to pretend like I can afford extravagance or come off as too attached to worldly things.  What's more, for the sake of transparency, I hope it's clear that everything I feature is something I genuinely like, and am not getting any kind of incentive to endorse.  So, should I ditch this feature?  Would you like to see things presented differently?

2. On the subject of fashion posts, specifically What I Wore Sunday, what's your take?  I'm ridiculously awkward in front of the camera (how do full-time style bloggers just pose away while people walk by?), and I've been wrestling lately with whether I'm participating in this linkup with pure intentions to evangelize and cultivate beauty through fashion, or if it's for the sake of my own affirmation.  Do these posts seem honest and genuine to you, or do they put more of a distance between us? I realize there might be some divisive opinions here, but don't hold back!  I love hearing what you have to say, for good or for bad.

3. On the flip side, blogging about weddings is a tricky balance: there's an inherent need to talk about stuff, rather than about myself, but I've noticed in the last year that my spirituality and a few stories have snuck their way into my writing very naturally.  That said, what do you want to hear about my normal life?  Do you want to hear about it?  I'm blissfully content, though I can't say I'm consistently fascinating.  Do tell!

It would seriously make my day to hear what you think!  Help me make Captive the Heart fresher and more focused, and meanwhile, pardon any disorder as I attempt to redesign this thing.  Beautiful readers, here's to you.


P.S. I know we're already a month into the new year, but if you want to join me in this little project, check later this week for templates to list your own resolutions!

17 comments:

  1. As someone who has a degree in Kinesiology and majored as a Fitness Specialist, I get REALLY excited when people have fitness questions! Here are my top suggestions for holding yourself accountable to your exercise routine:

    1. Schedule your work out times just like you would any other appointment. Make sure you take these time slots seriously and don't blow them off for something else you think you have to do that day - it can wait until after your workout.

    2. Write down your goals and/or the workout plan you'd like to stick to (when writing a fitness goal I recommend sticking to the "SMART" goal format: it must be Specific, Measureable [not as in lbs you want to lose - but number of minutes, # of times a week, a specific weight lifting number or running goal, number of sets & repetitions, etc], Attainable, Realistic, and have a Time frame).

    3. This one is different for everyone, but for me I do SO much better with a workout partner. This depends entirely on personality, goals, and drive, though.

    4. Have an accountability partner who will ask you about your workouts (how they're going, if you stuck to it on the day you said you would). This works well for some ppl because while they're okay skipping for themselves, they're not okay having to tell someone else they skipped. Again - this depends on personality because in sport psychology this method can have the opposite affect on some and make them feel so guilty they want to quit, which you don't ever want to do!

    5. Make fitness FUN (sounds like you're already choosing methods that will keep you entertained). :) I never encourage anyone to make goals surrounding equipment or methods they hate or get bored with.

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  2. I haven't seen it on your blog as of yet but in general I love What I Wore Sunday and I'm actually hoping to get involved with it myself soon. I can't think of anything more honest that talking about what we wear in the context of church attendance!

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    1. Amen; I totally agree! So many of the women involved are beautiful evangelists. I'm just trying to figure out if I'm called to bring the Gospel in this particular way =)

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  3. Since you asked for blogging input...

    I love your balance of practical wedding planning tips (less applicable to me since I'm not engaged yet, but my boyfriend and I are talking about it) and spiritual reflections, book reviews, etc. to help us prepare our hearts. Thank you for that. And I really don't mind having posts on your "normal life" mixed in too.

    My one suggestion: I was just thinking the other day that it would be helpful if you had your posts tagged in such a way that we could view just the book reviews, for example, or just the love stories. I'd love to send my boyfriend a link to the book reviews in particular since we enjoy reading marriage-related books together.

    God bless!

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    1. Anna, you've given me a great project for this week. Tagging it is; thanks for your input!

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  4. Yes tagging! I like tagging.
    I'm single, so the wedding stuff isn't for me, but that's OK I like looking at it. :) And it's a great thing to write about, so many people need it!
    Also love the way you're doing resolutions. If you haven't read "The Happiness Project," I think you'd like it.

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    1. Emily, you're the third person to recommend that book to me! I guess there's no skipping it now...thanks so much!

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  5. Please oh Please don't stop doing the What I wore sunday tag. I really think these are such a beautiful way of showing that modern catholic women can be modest and cute. I love your sense of fashion and it has been a source of modest fashion wear for me.

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    1. Thank you so much, Blair! That means a lot, and I've been putting everything to prayer =)

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  6. Hi!

    Um...*blushes*...could you write more posts on theology of the body, maybe particularly to the way it relates to...the wedding night? I feel like that's the most often swept-aside topic (obviously such things need careful and appropriate dissemination), and regardless of where you and your groom are at entering the marriage, after the wedding, that entire dynamic will change. And if you don't have moms or older sisters or not-crass lady friends or nice, married lady friends, there's especially not much advice from the Catholic perspective on how to uh, lack of a better word..."plan" (mentally, spiritually, communicatively with groom) for "night one."

    And count me in for tags.

    This is a great blog!

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    1. Thanks so, so much for asking! This is a subject that's been on my heart for a while, particularly in response to a few other Catholic resources that I found kind of unfulfilling. Look for a post in the next few months!

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    2. I hope you enjoy today's post!

      http://captivetheheart.blogspot.com/2013/03/be-not-afraid-sex-post.html

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  7. (1) I love "Rite Resources" as a recent bride and someone whose been following your blog from the beginning, I feel like I have special rights to say this is the most helpful/fulfilling/bride-friendly part of your blog. I'd love to see it expanded a little to include entries about the Rite of Marriage itself, like choosing readings or getting to know your priest, etc.
    (2)I'm not sure "What I wore Sunday" really fits with the original purpose of your blog (wedding stuff), but your blog has definitely evolved over the months and it fits more with what you've been doing recently
    (3)Yes, share personal stories! You telling us about your own life helps the concepts and ideas you present seem much more real.

    Love your blog!

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    1. Can I just say I love, love, love that you think your loyalty informs your opinions?! Thanks so much! This is so helpful, especially the advice on expanding resources to include aspects of the Mass. xoxo

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  8. I stopped participating in What I Wore Sunday. I actually really like the concept behind it. I do wish people put more effort into looking good. It shows respect for yourself and respect for the people around you.

    But sometimes I think the blog's link-up just turns into an outlet for vanity--for myself at least. Life is rushing by like a freight train and here I am fretting over which of my pictures are more flattering to post.

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    1. I can agree that some styles go to one of the extremes you mentioned. And you're so right that there are much more important things...thanks for your input, Elizabeth!

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