Plus, see her glamorous cover shoot for the winter issue of Magnolia Journal, on newsstands November 8

By Hannah Chubb
November 05, 2019 08:29 PM

In January of this year, Joanna Gaines made a resolution to live more in the present — but that isn’t always easy when you have countless projects, a TV network to plan, and five kids to wrangle.

The Fixer Upper star, 41, admits that slowing down and changing her perspective hasn’t been simple for her — a sentiment she shares in the winter issue of Magnolia Journal, which hits newsstands on November 8.

PEOPLE got a sneak peek at the new release — which features the home design expert on the cover in a glamorous black gown — and the inside scoop on the ways she has been working to make her resolution a reality.

“I challenged myself to spend this year living in the present,” Gaines writes. “To quiet the voice inside my head that tells me the good ol’ days have passed me by or that the best is yet to come. To choose instead only the moment that’s unfolding right in front of me.” 

She shares that two simple words have helped her on this journey: “Look up.”

Cody Ulrich

“I came up with this mantra of sorts that I’d whisper to myself or repeat in my head whenever I felt that invariable tug to disengage from the present,” she explains. “And because I believe there is power in asking our body to act on our heart’s behalf, no matter where I was or what task may have been in front of me, if I sensed myself drifting, I’d do my best to pause and look up.” 

RELATED: Joanna Gaines Reveals She Was Secretly Pregnant (and Soaking Wet) on Magnolia Journal Cover Shoot

Magnolia

The Magnolia maven admits that she is still very much a work in progress, continually finding herself thinking of what’s to come rather than soaking in the beauty of the moment, but says that this forced shift in perspective is one of the best things she’s ever done for herself.

“Here’s what I’m finding when I do choose to look up,” she writes. “This way of living is so sweet, so full, and so beautiful, and now that I’ve experienced it, I never want to live any other way. Of course, not every moment has been worthy of the attention — but for the most part, the ones I’ve caught, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. And it’s made me wonder how many quiet miracles are happening all around us on a daily basis, and how many of them we fail to experience when we’re busy looking down.” 

Joanna Gaines/Instagram

Now, instead of reveling only in landmark moments like birthdays, graduations and anniversaries, Gaines aims to make note and hold on to what’s special in the in-between. “Who we become is shaped more in the mundane than by the milestones,” she assures readers.   

She finishes the essay with a note about winter, and the ways the season often feels like a conclusion.

“Some of us are sad another year is ending, and others can’t wait for it to be over already,” she writes. “But for now, for today, we can resolve to see our lives as richer than any past or future things. Right now, this very second, this is the gift. These are the days. These are the moments.”

RELATED VIDEO: Chip Gaines Asks Fans to Spread ‘Kindness’ in the Wake of ‘a Tough Couple of Weeks’

Joanna and her husband Chip have certainly had their fare share of milestones recently. They welcomed their fifth child, a baby boy named Crew, in June 2018, announced plans to open a hotel in their hometown of Waco, Texas in 2021, and have been hard at work readying their new TV network for air. The couple recently announced the first show that will be on the channel, which will make its debut in October 2020.

The Winter Issue of Magnolia Journal is on sale November 8. 

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