June Mini Goal: Reset Your Mornings and Wake Up Early

12 Mini Goals Challenge: Reset Your Mornings and Wake Up Early

This post is part of my 12 Mini Goals Challenge.

Small daily habits can make a big difference over the course of a few weeks, months, or even longer. In 2016, I am going to focus on a new habit or mini goal every month. In January, I focused on Daily Movement or Exercise. In February, I focused on cutting down on evening snacking. In March, my goal was 30 days of pilates. In April, my goal was to clear my kitchen counters every night. In May, I attempted to clear out my closet 3 items at a time.

If you have been around my blog for a while you may know that I originally started it as a way to create an early morning habit. Read more about My Morning Motivation here.

My Morning Motivation...Make Over Your Morning

When I decided to finally make a habit of getting up early, I set the goal to wake up at 6 AM for two weeks straight to post on the blog. I was excited about starting the blog and it was enough motivation to get myself up early. I have always been a night owl, so this was not an easy task for me. I was intrigued with the idea of getting up early, but it was only a thought. After years of just thinking about it, I made it a habit in two weeks!

I enjoyed my morning time alone and felt like I added an extra hour to my day. I loved my slower, calmer mornings. I lingered over my coffee and spent a few minutes reading my morning devotion. I would hop online to work on my blog or would head outside for a morning run.

I summarized this journey to waking up earlier in this post: How to Enjoy an Early, Joyful, and Productive Morning.

How to Enjoy an Early, Joyful & Productive Morning

Enter in sleeping issues with one of my daughters and first-trimester exhaustion and my morning reverted back. I still get up a little before my daughters, but I am missing the hour or so I used to have every morning.

My June Mini Goal: Reset my mornings! Wake up at 6:00 AM every morning.

My June mini-goal is to wake up at 6 AM every morning. I want to get back into the routine I began when I first started by blog.

A year and a half ago, I figured out what my doubts and misconceptions were and proved them wrong. I found that I was able to greet my daughters with joy as I was awake and refreshed when they woke up. I loved my new habit and I want to get back into it!

How will I do this? I will follow the following steps:

  • I will focus on getting to bed between 10:30 and 11:00. (I don’t typically need more than 7 hours of sleep, but because I’m pregnant and one of my girls is waking up often, I should try and get in a few earlier nights at 10:30.) UPDATE: After yet another night of poor sleep, I think I need to focus on getting to bed between 10:00 and 10:30.
  • I will get up every morning at 6:00. When I first started my blog, forcing myself up at 6 AM for 2 weeks straight was all I needed to create a new habit. I am hoping that it works this time around!
  • I will record my bedtimes and wake-up times.

12 Mini Goals Challenge: Reset Your Mornings and Wake Up Early

Your June Mini Goal: Reset your mornings! Wake up early to make time for yourself each morning or create a new morning habit.

6:00 AM may be early for you or it might be late. I have daughters that do not typically wake up early. They are up anytime between 6 AM and 8 AM, but I have little trouble keeping them in their rooms until 7 AM. If you have early risers, 6:00 AM may not allow for morning time! Or you may have to be up earlier to get to work on time.

If you typically feel rushed in the morning, maybe all you need is to get up 20 minutes earlier to give yourself the extra time to enjoy a more relaxed morning. Maybe all you need is to find your morning incentive and get up just 5 minutes early.

If you already wake up early each morning, consider reevaluating your morning routine and decide if you need to make changes to your morning. If you don’t know where to start read my 7 habits to add to your morning routine.

7 habits to add to your morning routine

If you think like I used to think…that sleep is just a waste of time, I recommend picking up the book Sleep It Does a Family Good. I forced myself to read it and it was eye-opening for me! 

If you need a step-by-step plan for making over your morning, check out the 14-day online course Make Over Your Mornings. This course is the perfect tool to guide you in making the most of your mornings…and your entire day. It only takes about 15 minutes per day to complete the short video, chapter reading, and task for the day. Get free access to Day One of the course!

Make Over Your Mornings

If you want to join me, print off the June Challenge Tracker. The June calendar leaves room for additional notes each day. I plan on recording my bedtime and wake-time on this printable. I also track multiple goals on my calendars. It’s nice to have them written down all in one place. Feel free to just place an X on the day when you complete your task if you prefer.

Mini Goal Challenge: June Calendar Printable

Let me know if you decide to join! What time will you be waking up in June?

I would love to have you join the 12 Mini Goals Challenge. Sign up for my mailing list if you want to be e-mailed the challenge each month. If we get to a month where the goal doesn’t fit into your life, you can always tweak it to be a mini goal that works for you.

This post contains affiliate links.

Reset Your Mornings and Wake Up Early

Stop by to see where I link up each week: Link-Ups

Top Blogging Tools and Resources

Top Blogging Tools and Resources. Many are free blogging resources!

When I first started my blog, I had no idea what all went into it! I learned quickly that I would need to find the tools and resources that worked for me. I enjoy researching so I thought it was fun to go on the hunt for the top blogging tools and resources. My main goal was to find the free options that worked best. Many of the tools and resources below are free.

Some of the resources below are paid resources, but I am very selective about what I will pay for. *some of the links below are affiliate links*

Check out my top blogging tools and resources below!

Top Blogging Tools and Resources. Many are free blogging resources!

Start Your Blog

Bluehost Starting at $3.95/month (Spring Sale: $2.95 through 5/31). Read my step-by-step (with printable) for starting a blog.

Connect with Your Readers: Build a Mailing List

Powered by MailChimp I use Mailchimp for my mailing list. They offer free accounts for up to 2,000 subscribers.
SumoMe I use the Smart Bar and List Builder apps. I use the free versions of both apps. I like the level of customization they provide, so I can decide when I want my pop-up to show up. You will never see it show up the second you arrive on my site! I also use the Heat Maps on occasion. Heat Maps are a great tool to see where your readers are clicking on your site.

Social Media

BoardBooster for scheduling pins in Pinterest. Use this link to get a free Trial including 100 pins. I now pay $5 for 500 pins per month.
Buffer for scheduling tweets. I have only used the free version for Twitter, but Buffer can also be used as a scheduling tool for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.
SumoMe I use the Share app (also free).

Tools

Canva – I use this design tool for all my blog images. It’s simple to use and free. Before purchasing InDesign, I used Canva to create printables.
Adobe InDesign – I currently create my printables using InDesign. 
Gumroad (product distribution) – I use Gumroad to sell my Health & Wellness Planner and plan on using it for future products. It’s an easy program to work with and it offers an affiliate program.
Passionfruit (advertising) – Use passionfruit to manage sidebar ads, sponsorships, and more

Pictures

There are so many free stock photo sites out there. Here are a few that I use most often: Unsplash, picjumbo, and Kaboom pics

Books

Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook by Abby of Just a Girl and Her Blog
How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth of Living Well Spending Less
How to Double Your Blog Traffic in 90 Days (or less!) by Sarah of XOsarah.com
Create. Profit. Party! by Sarah of XOsarah.com
Strategies Worth Sharing: How I Grew My Facebook Page from 2,000 to 100,000 in 5 Months by Brittany of Equipping Godly Women (Note: This is the only resource on this page that I am not currently using. I am not focusing on growing my Facebook page at this time. If I decide to focus on growing it, this book will be my first resource.)

Sponsored Posts

Izea
Tap Influence
Clever Girls
Activate
Socialix (brands can get one month free here)

Affiliate Companies and Opportunities

ShareaSale – this affiliate network works with a huge number of companies. A few examples: Cents of Style, Green Kid Crafts,  Dayspring Cards, VidAngel
Amazon
Grove Collaborative – some of the best customer service out there!
Thrive Market – get 15% off your first order as a customer
Vitacost – get $10 as a customer

Plugins (all free)

jQuery Pin It Button For Images – This free plugin makes it easy for readers to pin your images. It highlights images on hover and adds a “Pin It” button over them for easy pinning.
Cross-Promotion Content Recommendations by Engageya – This plugin adds recommended posts at the bottom of each of your posts. It will show posts that your reader may also be interested in, hopefully keeping them on your site longer.
Title and Nofollow For Links – The plugin adds a title and a rel=”nofollow” checkbox to the insert link popup box. It’s a simple way to add ‘no-follow’ for affiliate and sponsored links. I like just having to check a box instead of messing with code.
Magic Action Box – Create a simple custom newsletter opt-in box. (To see this in action, view one of my posts. It’s the newsletter sign in under the related posts and above the share buttons.) 
Yoast SEO – Easy to use SEO plugin.

Don’t forget to PIN this post for later!

What are your top blogging tools and resources?

Top Blogging Tools and Resources. Many of my favorites are free blogging resources!

Stop by to see where I link-up my posts each week: Link-Up List

Finances, community building, content strategy, and solopreneur sanity

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Pumpkin Bread

While pumpkin bread is the perfect fall treat, my family is game for this recipe at any time of the year.

My mom shared this recipe with me years ago and each time I bake pumpkin bread, I pull out the printed e-mail that includes the recipe. I had to type out the recipe to share with a group I am in, so I figured I would type it out and share here on the blog.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it uses an entire can of pumpkin. So many other pumpkin recipes don’t use the entire can and then I am always stuck with finding ways to use the leftover pumpkin.

I enjoy serving this bread to my girls. To cut down on their sugar intake for breakfast, I chop of the top of their bread. I enjoy eating the top of their slices (the streusel!). They haven’t figured me out yet. :) 

Pumpkin Bread Recipe. My favorite part about this recipe is that is uses a full can of pumpkin. I am not left with extra pumpkin to try and find a use for.

This recipe makes 2 loaves. It also works perfectly for muffins if you prefer.

Pumpkin Bread
Serves 24
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
For the topping
  1. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup quick oats
  3. 2 T melted butter
For the bread
  1. 1 2/3 cup sugar
  2. 2/3 cup oil
  3. 2 tsp vanilla
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin
  6. 3 cups flour
  7. 2 tsp baking soda
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. 3/4 tsp salt
  10. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  11. 1/2 tsp ginger
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 9x5 (or 8x4) baking pans.
  2. Crumble together brown sugar, oats, and melted butter for the topping. Set aside.
  3. Mix together sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs, and pumpkin.
  4. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and ginger.
  5. Pour batter into pans and sprinkle with topping.
  6. Bake for about 55 minutes, until toothpick in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes in pan.
Notes
  1. This recipe can be used to make muffins instead. Bake at 350 for about 23 minutes.
  2. You may substitute the oats in topping for chopped pecans.
  3. You may substitute the 2/3 cup of oil for 1/3 cup applesauce AND 1/3 cup oil.
  4. Sugar can be reduced by 1/3 cup and there is little difference in the taste.
  5. You may substitute a portion of the white sugar for brown sugar.
Morning Motivated Mom http://www.morningmotivatedmom.com/
If you are looking for a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast, check out my recipe for Pepperoni and Spinach Egg Muffins.

Pepperoni and Spinach Egg Muffins breakfast

Stop by to see where I link up my posts each week: Link-Up List

Our Morning Routine – Bible Stories at Breakfast

I made changes to my morning routine a year and a half ago. Reading my daily devotion in the morning has been one of the changes I love. I am not falling asleep as I read like I was when I would read my devotion in the evenings.

A few months ago I decided I wanted to make this same change with my daughters. Our evening/bedtime routine with the girls is not always the quickest and I don’t want to rush on reading our devotion each night. If we have evening plans that result in getting home late, we often focus on trying to get the girls to bed quickly. Reading in the evening would then not happen.

I have now started the habit of reading a daily devotion or Bible story with my girls at breakfast each morning. They are alert and paying attention. They are not distracted as they are focused only on eating their breakfast and listening to the Bible story. If you need ideas for breakfast for your kiddos, check out my recipes for Pepperoni & Spinach Egg Muffins or Pumpkin Bread.

Both girls love this new addition to our morning and often ask about reading the Bible story as soon as they sit down. After reading through First Bible Stories, we moved onto My Little Bible.
.

We have enjoyed going through this tiny little book (approximately 4″x6″) of 43 Bible stories. We enjoy the illustrations and the simple stories. They are often only a few sentences long, so we read a few stories each morning. Because of this, it did not take us long to get through the book.

The book states the story length is perfect for toddlers’ and preschoolers’ attention spans. This may be true for toddlers, but I don’t believe it’s the case for preschoolers. Even if I read 3-4 stories each morning, my 4-year-old is always asking me to read more.

At the end of each story, there is a question. The questions vary greatly. At first, I thought some questions were too simplistic, but as we read more stories I found that the simple questions were a great way to keep my 2-year-old involved as she could answer the easy questions. My 4-year-old can freeze up if she doesn’t know the answer to a question and so I think the questions at the end are great practice for her.

One of my favorite parts of My Little Bible is that it doesn’t only include the standard stories from a children’s Bible, it also includes other passages and lessons. It includes Psalm 23, a lesson from Proverbs, and other lessons from the New Testament.

I would recommend this book as a toddler’s first Bible. The books small size will be perfect for them to carry around and look through themselves. The illustrations are sweet and the stories are the perfect start to sharing God’s Word with their little hearts. 

Our Morning Routine - Bible Stories at Breakfast. I have now started the habit of reading a Bible story with my girls at breakfast each morning. I would recommend My Little Bible as a toddler’s first Bible. The books small size will be perfect for them to carry around and look through themselves. The illustrations are sweet and the stories are the perfect start to sharing God’s Word with their little hearts.

This post contains affiliate links.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Stop by to see where I link-up my posts each week: Link-Up List

Monthly Goals – May

Monthly Goals - May - Monthly Goalsetting

My Monthly Goals…Why do I set them? Why do I share them here?

  • Setting goals helps me remain focused.
  • Sharing my goals helps to hold me accountable.
  • I hope that it may inspire you to set goals for yourself.

Are you new to goal setting? Here are a few posts that may help or inspire you:

Monthly Goals - May and With Grit & Grace Link-up

Sleep

April: My goal was to be in bed for 7 hours each night, and try to be up before my girls. My body has needed more sleep than usual as I’m pregnant and tired. And…one of my girls has been waking up multiple times per night for over a month now. I haven’t been up this often at night since the newborn stage! So I have no idea what is happening in my home during the night. I had no trouble going to bed at a decent time much of April as I’m just trying to get at least some sleep!

May: Work through my girl’s sleep issues. Try to get up before the girls most mornings as I miss my morning alone time if I sleep in. If you have trouble making sleep a priority, check out these helpful resources: Sleep It Does a Family Good and Make Over Your Mornings.

Exercise

April: Cardio 3-4 times per week and finish the 30-Day Pilates Body workouts I did not complete in March. I didn’t end up finishing the uncompleted workouts, but often did some of the exercise on off-days.

May: Cardio 3-4 times per week. Try to walk or run at least once per week. Do you need tips on getting exercise into your daily life?

Weekly “date” night with hubby

April: One movie, game or date night per week. I believe we did this every week, including dinner and a walk around the lakes for our anniversary.

May: Continue one movie, game or date night per week. We have been using VidAngel to watch movies at home. It’s just $1 per movie, we don’t have to leave the house to find a Red Box, and it’s not a subscription service. We have watched well over 10 movies with it and are happy with how easy and cheap it is. I wrote a post about VidAngel if you are curious how it works.

Monthly outing with our family

April: Plan one fun activity for the four of us in April. Unless you count breakfast out once, we didn’t do this. We need to be more intentional about actually planning something.

May: Plan one fun activity for the four of us in May. We hope to head to the Farmer’s Market this month.

Habit from my 12 Mini Goal Challenge

April: Complete my April goal of clearing my kitchen counters each evening. I did fairly well on this goal. The key was clearing everything off and starting with a clear counter. I have more space on my counter and love it. My problem area is a small area of the counter that works like a desk for me. My computer and planner sit there, and I didn’t clear the area every night.

May: I am going to slowly clean out my clothing closets. I don’t have the desire to spend an entire afternoon doing it, so I’m trying a different approach. Read more about my 12 Mini-Goals Challenge.

Faith

April: Read Daily Devotional New Testament: Through the New Testament in a Year every morning. This daily devotional includes two readings from the New Testament, a short reflection, a portion of the Psalms and a thoughts for prayer section. I enjoyed reading this devotion every morning. I have spent the last year or so changing up my daily devotion and I liked just having one that I go to every morning.

May: Continue to read Daily Devotional New Testament: Through the New Testament in a Year every morning.

Morning devotion with my girls

April: Read a daily devotion or bible story with my girls at breakfast each morning. We had a bad sleeping month, so I got lazy on this one. We had good weeks and bad weeks. I think the key is tracking it each morning. Writing down and tracking my goals is key for me, and I slacked on tracking my progress towards the end of the month.

May: Read a daily devotion or bible story with my girls at breakfast each morning.

Books

April: Finished Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women.

Finished Me Before You.

May: Read 2 books: I have started A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin and am undecided on the second book.

Girls

April: Play outside with my girls at least twice per week. Done!

May: Get the girls outside to play at least 4 times per week.

Home

April: My goal was to keep my kitchen counters clear. Satisfactory.

May: Clean out my clothing closets three clothing items at a time.

Taxes

April: This obviously needed to be completed in April. DONE.

May: No goal.

Monthly Goals - May and With Grit & Grace Link-up

April Blog Goals

  • Create one new printable. – DONE. If you are throwing a bridal shower and need to find a game, print off the Bridal Shower Scattergories printable here.
  • Clean up the categories/navigation bar on my blog. – I didn’t get around to this.
  • Look into setting up banner ads and other services through Passionfruit Ads. If you are interested in advertising on my blog or within my newsletter, get more information here.
  • Figure out newsletter plan. I am approaching the maximum subscribers for a free account through Mailchimp. I had to figure out if I’m going to clean up my list or upgrade. – I decided to clean up my list a bit. I deleted some old, inactive subscribers.
  • Look into using Boardbooster for Pinterest. – I set up Boardbooster early in the month. It’s helpful, but I need to spend time tweaking the setup. It’s an experiment to find out how it will work best for my blog.
  • Work ahead and plan out the 12 Mini-Goals Challenge for May. – Done. Here in my Mini-Goal for May.
  • Keep page views consistent with March’s page views. – April’s views were down.

May Blog Goals

  • Create one new printable.
  • Get a better Boardbooster plan.
  • Set up a Blogging Resources Page.
  • Set up sharing schedule for new posts. Possibly make a printable for this?
  • Clean up the categories/navigation bar on my blog.
  • Set aside time to plan next printable workbook??

If you are looking for guidance on setting goals. Crystal from Money Saving Mom is offering a 4-week goal setting course called Make Over Your Year. She is also the creator of Make Over Your Mornings, a course I found so helpful!

Make Over Your Year. A goal-setting course.

If you blog about goals, I would love to have you stop by the first Wednesday (at 7 AM EST/6 AM CST) of each month to linkup your goals post. We look forward to reading your posts and encourage you to look around at the other posts linked up here.

Please join us to share your goals and progress for the week, month, or year. We are all about building a positive community; please remember to read, comment on, and share the post of others. 

Monthly Goals - February. Stop by to link up your goals post on the first Wednesday of each month...With Grit and Grace...a monthly goals linkup

Just a reminder…
  • All forms of goal posts are welcome. They can be for a specific area in your life, or your general goals for the day, week, month, or year. We love to hear updates on your progress too. Please only link up posts involving goals.
  • Make sure to use the URL specific to your post and not your blog’s home page.
  • Link back to With Grit & Grace with our image or link in your post or party page.
  • Comment on the post prior to yours in the link-up. Support others through comments and shares.
  • By linking up, you give us permission to feature an image on our blog and social media. Proper credit and links will be given.
  • Join in on social media with: #withgritandgrace.
  • We want to support you! Please follow your hosts in some way.
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This post includes affiliate links.

Stop by to see where I link-up my posts each week: Link-Up List and Blog with Intention

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