How To Nurture Your Most Important Relationship with Whitney English

Having a Nurturing Relationship

As single parents, we’re juggling a lot of balls in the air at the same time. Inevitably, we drop one or two.

Most of the time, the proverbial ball that drops is the one with “me” written on it. We tend to put ourselves last. We don’t value ourselves enough. We tend to feel selfish, when making ourselves the priority. Especially when we have so many responsibilities and other things that need to be taken care of.

How do we move ourselves up that totem pole? We all know intellectually, at least, that unless we care well for ourselves, we can’t care well for other people.

What can we do to nurture ourselves without adding more stress and to-dos to an already full list of responsibilities?

Author Whitney English will tell us how to nurture the most important relationship - the one we have with ourselves.

Whitney English is the author of “A More Beautiful Life: A Simple Five-Step Approach to Living Balanced Goals with HEART” a book she wrote when finding purpose and gratitude after her company filed for bankruptcy and she hit financial rock bottom.

Why is a nurturing relationship with yourself important?

Author and Designer Whitney English believes that it is crucial to nurture relationships with yourself because Jesus has tasked you with the Great Commission, which encompasses loving God and your neighbors. You must also understand that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

These concepts help you know who you are, what God wants you to be and your gifts. Additionally, they help you know how you can share them with the world by carrying out the Great Commission and ensuring our bodies are in prime conditions to fulfill it.

Why is it important to care for ourselves first as parents?

Whitney says while growing up she was taught that the acronym JOY was Jesus, Others, Yourself. This means putting Jesus first in your life, then others, then you come last. However, Whitney believes that self-care and putting God first in your life are not the opposite. “If our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, He wants us to practice self-care from a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual standpoint,” Whitney adds.

It will be hard for you to practice being close to God and listening to Him when you are not one hundred percent. God’s beautiful creation is all around you, but you cannot enjoy nature and its beauty nor take care of your neighbors if you’re not taking care of yourself first.
Whitney came up with the HEART Goal to help people reprioritize. H stands for Help yourself. Helping yourself talks about the physical aspect of self-care. It includes four checkpoints: sleep, water, nutrition, and movement. “These are the things that help us optimize our bodies and put us in the best possible framework to serve other people,” says Whitney. We will cover the rest of the acronyms for the HEART Goal later.

Robert agrees that the scripture about loving others as you love yourself is based on the assumption that you’re already doing a great job of loving yourself.

Needs vs. Wants

Whitney says that there is a common belief that everyone should know what they want, especially when they are at a point where they need an answer and solution to a problem and nothing is forthcoming.  

Whitney believes that the real questions you need to ask yourself are, “Do you really need to know what you want? Is it okay for God to know what He wants for me? Is it okay for me to trust Him that He is going to lead me there in good time?” says Whitney.  

Whitney says she is ambitious and has things she wants, but the hierarchy of needs suggests what she needs. It parallels well with everything she reads and understands about God’s Word. She discovers that if she focuses on her physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational needs, she will satisfy all the wants everyone pushes her to find and have.

SMART Goals vs. HEART Goals

The SMART Goal first appeared in an article in the 1981 Business Management Review Magazine. SMART Goal means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. The developer of the SMART Goal, George Doran clearly stated that it was meant to help managers monitor and improve employees’ performance. This clearly shows that it was never meant to be a personal goal-setting system.

According to Whitney, there are many things the SMART Goals don’t help us do. For example, it doesn’t help us prioritize, figure out what to do first, how to balance, how to keep our ambition in check, and it doesn’t promote anything relational. “It just doesn’t promote needs in life,” says Whitney.

Whitney adds that the SMART Goals are built to help a Type A person achieve what they want, only to realize that it isn’t what they really wanted. “What we want is not what we need,” Whitney adds.

Practical ways to take care of ourselves

Whitney uses the HEART Goals to explain the best ways you can care for yourself.

H - Help Yourself

The four checkpoints of H are sleep, water, nutrition, and movement. According to Whitney, sleep is your first line of defense, especially when you have young babies and work. It would be best if you found time to take a break from work to rest.

Water and nutrition are also essential when taking care of yourself. What you put into your body really matters and can positively or negatively affect your health and well-being.

Movement involves exercise. It’s sometimes challenging to work out. However, you can start with something simple like taking a walk or spending time with your kids doing fun activities like playing tennis. You can then progress into signing up for a gym membership or having a workout routine for more body movement.

E - Empowering Yourself

This focuses on your emotional, spiritual, and mental health.

Emotional health involves dealing with feelings you may never have dealt with before. Whitney says she learned about this personally when she and her husband went on a one-week vacation during which she learned how to love herself. She also realized how she was beating herself up mentally. Emotional health involves naming an emotion and moving away from it.

Another crucial area to focus on to empower yourself is intellectual health. It includes reading books, listening to podcasts, attending lectures, etc.

The last element is spiritual well-being and learning how you best connect with God.

Read, Write, and Pray

According to Whitney, she reads, writes, and prays to empower herself.

Reading helps develop the mind and intellect; it expands your knowledge horizon.

Writing helps with processing emotions and transforming the mind. Whitney’s method of writing includes first taking captive the thoughts that come through her mind and putting them all on paper. She then takes time to go through them to see if they align with God’s Word by confirming if they are good, true, and lovely.

Praying is a way to connect with God. “Reading, writing and praying cover the heart, spirit, and mind - the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspect of selfcare,” she adds.

A - All Your People

This involves moms and solo parents putting the needs of others, especially their kids, before their own. You get up and ask yourself, “What do the kids need now, what do I need to do?” says Whitney.

A practical thing you can do as a parent in this situation is to take five minutes in the morning, find a really quiet space, and spend time with yourself.

R - Resources and Responsibilities

The three checkpoints of R include house, car, and finances. This category summarizes the need to ensure your life is running smoothly by putting your finances and resources, such as time in place. “You have to go out for dinner, change the tires on your car, and pay your taxes,” says Whitney.

T - Trade and Talent

Trade and Talent focus on your business and career. According to Whitney, SMART goals apply only to the work areas of our lives but not to other areas.

The benefits of prioritizing your time and days

According to Whitney, you must go through all the suggestions people are throwing at you, filter them, and practice those that work best for you. Whitney’s filter is God’s Word. “I come from a faith background, and I ensure things align with what the Bible says.”

You enjoy the abundant life God has planned for you when you begin to do this. “As you start to like yourself, you start to recognize your gift. As you start to recognize your gift, you start to help people do things. As you help others, your relational connections improve. As relational connections improve, your mental and emotional connections improve - you can say thank you instead of deflecting,” Whitney says.

You take ownership of who you are and what God has designed you to be. Then you know what to do to share that with the world.

Whitney adds that it doesn’t mean you don’t have wants anymore, but you’ll realize they are not a priority, and what really matters is people and relationships.

How to help your kids learn the HEART Goals

Whitney uses a tool called the HEART Goals for Kids. This is a checklist she uses to structure her kid’s daily chores and teach them about goals. Kids get rewards for completing tasks on the checklist. You can get the printable version for free on her website at

As a solo parent, you can run through the HEART acronym with your kids and talk about what they did to help and empower themselves. Also, ask what they did to improve their relationships and what responsibilities they managed. Whitney suggests you always keep it in conversations.

Resources by Whitney English



“A More Beautiful Life: A Simple Five-Step Approach to Living Balanced Goals with HEART”


HEART Goals for Kids (Printable)


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