Church of the Highlands senior pastor Chris Hodges believes in the power of having five healthy habits that you practice every day. So does author, motivational speaker and blogger Rachel Hollis. She even has a name for this — “five to strive.”

In fact, as a participant in her #Last90Days challenge, I was supposed to be spending the final three months of 2019 adopting five healthy habits that she recommends: wake up early, write down 5 things you’re grateful for, exercise, drink water, and stop eating something you shouldn’t be eating.

So far, I’ve failed miserably at this challenge. Life got in the way. Work got in the way. #BlogLikeCrazy got in the way.

Also, I realized a challenge like this will only work for me if I make it my own.

So, for 21 days I am going to work on practicing my own five to thrive in hopes that these activities will truly be habits by 2020. Because I’ll be traveling for the Christmas holidays, I will work on this challenge November 30 – December 20.

My Five to Thrive

Here are the five healthy habits I’m going to strive to put into practice:

Journal every day. Actually, I plan to journal twice a day. Each morning I will write in my Start Today journal. And each night before bed I will journal about my day, just as I loved to do as a kid. I often tell my readers to “write like a girl,” so it’s time for me to practice what I preach. Regardless of how or when you do it, I believe writing daily is a habit all bloggers and freelancers should adopt.

Have a daily devotion. I guess I will actually be writing in three journals every day because I need to spend time writing in my prayer journal, too. I also need to read scripture and a lesson from the YouVersion app or another bible study each day.

Read daily. I often say good writers read good writing, so each day I will read a bit of a book and at least one article from a publication I’d like to write for. I’m also going to challenge myself to read the news — even if it’s just via the Skimm app. For local news, I plan to check,, and Bham Now each day, in addition to regularly reading the publications I write for — The Birmingham Times, StyleBlueprint, Birmingham magazine, and Good Grit. I’ll be honest, even though I’m a journalist, keeping up with the news is hard for me because it triggers my anxiety. (There’s a reason I’m a features reporter and not covering government or crime.) But it’s my responsibility as a citizen and as a writer to know what’s going on in my world.

Drink 8 glasses of water every day. I am horrible about drinking water and not because I drink coffee or soda instead. I don’t drink anything! And I know this is bad for my health, my skin, and even my energy.  So drinking water is a healthy habit I must adopt for the new year.

Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Back in 2014, I exercised every day for 365 days. I was even interviewed on the news about this fitness challenge that I set for myself and achieved. The year after this challenge— 2015 — was one of the best years of my life. In 2015 I was recognized as one of my city’s Top 40 Under 40 by Birmingham Business Journal. See Jane Write had its first intern. My husband and I bought a house and took a fabulous trip to New York. And I hosted a successful blogging conference. I’m convinced this wasn’t a coincidence. I’m convinced that all that exercise I did in 2014 gave me the energy to slay my goals in 2015. So I’m hoping if I get moving in this last month of 2019, it will give me the strength I need to start 2020 off right.

For the sake of accountability, I will be checking in daily on Instagram Stories, November 30 – December 20, to show that I’m keeping up with this challenge. Be sure to follow me @seejavaciawrite.

What healthy habits are you carrying with you into 2020?