Personal Development

Inside My Catholic {Reading} Binder

I left formal education 5 years ago. Pregnancy (or maybe the sleep deprivation afterward) turned my brain to mush for a time. While I still loved reading, everything I read floated off into the ether. If it wasn’t written down, it was promptly forgotten.

I don’t know about you, but school supplies make my heart go pitter-patter. I’m an organizer, a record-keeper, and a list-maker to my core. Recently I’ve gathered all my little scrap sheets, and organized them into a unified binder.

Recording makes memorable what is otherwise forgotten. Reading journaling printable sheets for adults. Catholic home binder for moms.

This is a Seven Quick Takes post, so I’ll get onto the good stuff {there are free downloadable sheets for you too!}

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17 Things to Do At Night to Make Your Morning Easier

Do you scramble every morning to get out the door? Do you feel like you start each day 10 steps behind? There’s just not enough time in the morning to get every last thing done. The key to smooth and easy days, is starting the night before. Here are 17 simple ways to make life easier for tomorrow.

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February Goal Update: Lots of Trust, Little Reading

I’m learning to trust, but neglected reading time. January was off-balance, but a little focus (and a lot of Jesus) can bring everything back together.

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7 New Things I’m Doing in January {SQT}

1. ABA

We finally started ABA, and it has been wonderful! My dear almost-3-year-old man separates easily, engages with his super-fun therapist, and has learned so much already. His goals are mostly language, attentiveness, and self-regulation. Yesterday we did a whole puzzle together, and then he helped me clean up his room (without being asked!) That never happened before!

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Make Everything Easier with Good Habits

How do you form good habits? Most of us say “I want a new habit, guess I just have to work out for a few weeks. If I stick with it, eventually it will become second nature.” Nope! Habits don’t magically appear out of repetition.


Here’s an example: Let’s say your New Year’s resolution for 2016, you wake up, and smack yourself in the face with a frying pan. It’s character building. You knuckle down, and keep doing it For 365 mornings in a row, you diligently whack yourself to uphold your yearly promise.


On January 1st, 2017, will you smack yourself again? I’m betting not.


You had only done it so long out of sheer willpower, not easy habit. The same thing happens with so many diets or exercise programs.


You do a Whole30, and a month later you’re eating a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Finish the 30 Day Shred, and you never want to see Jillian Michaels toned face again. Having reached the deadline, you leave the routine behind.

Where did your habit building go wrong?


I absolutely love Habits by Charles Duhigg. He breaks the construction and purpose of habits down to an exact science. Here’s the big secret: you cannot muscle through on willpower alone.


Habits have a distinct beginning and end point. The framework of habit building goes cue -> routine -> reward.


Most of us zero in on only the middle part, routine. You didn’t hang the routine on a cue, or finish it with a reward!
How do you form good habits? Habits don't magically appear out of repetition. Bad habits and good habits alike are built in three simple steps.

To form good habits, find your cue

Rather than trying to create a new habit from scratch, hook it onto an existing cue.


As an example, I struggle with late-night snacking. Almost every night, I sink into the couch at the end of a long tiring day. I laugh with my husband at our favorite show. Then I mindlessly, habitually, get myself a little treat.


My cue is relaxing on the couch at night. Until recently, my routine was to get an unhealthy after-dinner treat.

Insert your new routine

Instead of snacks like popcorn or ice cream, I’ve switched to a nice tea. Now I have special caffeine-free teas and a mug, all on a delicate tray on the counter.


I look forward to my tea time. As I pass the tea tray with a basket of laundry (or hungry toddler), I envision the ritual of making tea in the coming evening. The anticipation makes it 10x more satisfying.

Finish your good habit with a natural reward

Ideally this will be the same reward as you had originally in your bad habit. So if the exhilaration of victory enticed you to endless hours of video games, the reward of a cozy scarf will not take you from MMORPG champ to crochet queen.


The tea time reward is a very particular feeling of indulgence and self-care. I feel the warmth of the cup. Inhale the fragrant steam. Sink down into the couch cushions beside my hubby. Much as I did with a bowl of ice cream, only I consume far fewer calories now.

By keeping the reward and cue the same, you can focus all your efforts on changing the routine. What are some bad habits you’d like to improve? Or good habits you’ve been meaning to implement?

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