I love February. I took this photograph of one of my favorite marriage quotes in hopes to remind myself what love is really about. This is the month we celebrate love! We go on dates, we buy gifts, we embrace romance and butterflies and getting dressed up for one another. But if we are honest, love is more than butterflies and romance. It is selflessness and work. It is sacrifice and victories. It is doing all that you can to make your spouse the person he or she is meant to be. It is making time to nurture your relationship even when you don’t feel like it – the other 11 months of the year included. I do love this quote and I do love February because it causes all of us to stop and evaluate our relationships, and that is a good thing.

Do you know why else I love February? This quote says it better than I can:

“If January is the month of change, February is the month of lasting change. January is for dreamers… February is for doers -”
– [Marc Parent / Runner’s World Mag]

That quote hit me like a ton of bricks as I was reading Runner’s World this month. Isn’t it GOOD? It’s just the kick in the pants I needed as I begin this month. Last year, Will and I did the Whole30 in January. This year, we have done our own variation of the Whole30, and have abstained from processed food, sugar and grains all month. Yes, we have talked quite a bit about how nice it would be to eat a warm piece of bread, some oatmeal, a mug of hot chocolate and various desserts. But I don’t want to just dive back into my “old ways,” you know? What’s the point of all this sacrifice if it doesn’t lead to lasting change?

One of my 2014 goals I wrote out in my Powersheets is this:

I want to take care of my body. I want to be fit, skinny and strong: a woman who runs distances and isn’t afraid of a little pain. I want to eat food that fuels me – full of nutrition. I don’t want to be like our culture. I want to lead by example.

If January is the month of change, February is the month of lasting change. I’m certainly embracing that this month!  I’m the kind of person who needs defined boundaries in order to make something work, so in regards to my health, I’m striving this year to limit my desserts to once or twice a week. (Says the girl who has a major sweet tooth and used to eat something sweet at least once a day.) So I’m determined to break my bad habit of reaching for sugar every day, and replace it with the habit of reaching for a glass of lemon water, or an apple, or my favorite green peach tea. I’m also determined to stay consistent with my strength training workouts 2-3x/week, and my pilates DVDs as well. The only way to kick a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit! This is MY YEAR to break these habits for good.

Healthy eating isn’t my only goal this month, as you might have guessed! I’m focusing a lot on getting the studio in order before wedding season officially begins with our first wedding of the year on 2/22. Here are my goals for this month!

February Goals

20 in 2014: Read Rich Dad Poor Dad & Paid to Speak
Organize and streamline ShootQ
Begin Intern hiring process (If you’re interested, stay tuned! And please – don’t email me quite yet!)
Buy and sell lenses, cameras and computers. Time for a studio and equipment refresh!
Install Drobo and get it up and running
Go on a date with Will and think up something creative for him. (We’ve decided not to buy each other gifts this Valentine’s day, but rather do something meaningful for each other.)
Speak at the WPR Roots Workshop alongside our friends Geoff & Cheyenne (aka The Schultzes)
Decide on gym membership
Line up Winston-sitters and reserve rental equipment before wedding season starts
Take a Calligraphy Class
Order personal photos to fill frames in our home
Implement new workflow after the first NRP wedding of the year
Take photos of us one weekend – just for fun
Finish leading The Legacy Journey at church
Be true to my new healthy lifestyle, especially in regards to eating dessert once or twice a week

What goal or area of your life do you want to implement lasting change? I’d love to hear it!

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I hope you enjoy and share more about the calligraphy class – I’ve been wanting to find one in the area, but haven’t yet! Good luck with your goals this month!

Hi Allison! Here is the info on the calligraphy class. I don’t know if they have any more available spots, but you might be able to hop on the wait list!

Love your Valentine’s Day plans! And can’t wait for our calligraphy class! :) As for lasting change, one thing I’ve recently implemented is stretching while I pray before bed. It gives me something to “do” to help my mind not wander, but the “doing” doesn’t distract me from the praying. It has really served me well thus far, and I’m looking forward to making it a habit!

Hey Nancy! It’s Emma, the one who emailed you about BVI hotspots! :)
I’m wondering what you do in order to actually not eat that cookie when you *really* want it. I have a major sweet tooth as well and would like to limit my intake but the problem I always face is that once I tell myself I cannot have it, that’s all I can think about having. It’s very frustrating. Any suggestions to overcome the obsessive thoughts and step away from the cookie?

Hi Emma! Such a great question. My first suggestion is to hide the cookies! But seriously – we try not to keep any sweets available in our pantry or fridge on a regular basis. We hate wasting food, so we feel the “need” to eat them. Thus, we simply don’t buy them! Secondly, giving myself guidelines (such as only eating 2 desserts / week) allows me to ask, “would I rather have this cookie now or a piece of cheesecake later this week?” If the answer is cheesecake, it’s easier to turn down the cookie knowing that something better is coming later. Lastly, posting scripture in my kitchen has always helped remind me that I am not a slave to my desires / flesh, but that I am led by the Spirit of the Lord. When I look to His strength, it’s much easier than doing it in my own weakness. Hope this helps!

[…] Are you setting goals? Nancy Ray had this quote in her February Goals post: […]

Hi Nancy,

As always, I love hearing about your goal setting processes and thoughts. I find it inspiring and encouraging. And as Hannah mentioned above, the Marc Parent quote is a good one!

My biggie is chocolate, and I am trying to cut that down from – let’s be honest – a little bit everyday. As you said previously, sweet treats are supposed to be special.

One lasting change is turning the television off. Thus far, it’s been off since January 1st. (Although yes, I do still use my computer and internet… and phone… still so much technology!). You could certainly argue “well what are you missing out then!?”, but I have noticed a subtle difference. Turning on the tv used to be such a default. A time and noise filler. And once it was on, I would watch regardless of need or quality. When I search out shows on the computer, it is a specific show, and then I stop.

My reading is going well. Thus far, I have finished Jen Hatmaker’s book, “7”, and am now three-quarters of the way through “Margin”. So on track for “12 in 12” (yes, I pinched that expression from you too), which is another lasting change I want to achieve.

Wishing you all the best with your pre-season work-up. I’m sure you’ll feel good with all of the ground work complete x

I really love that Marc Parent quote. Soo good. One goal I am focusing on this month and for the coming months is not letting wedding planning rule my fiancé and I’s relationship. Both of us want to remember to have fun together during this process and continue going on date nights (not wedding talking the entire time). :)

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