Welcome to The Challenge.  One month – or a week if you’re feeling extra fired up – to revolutionize your life and business.   Are you ready?   I’ve pulled out all the stops to give you all my top advice on how to make things happen.  If you are ready for big change, take The Challenge.  Take each step day by day.  By the end of this month you will be clear, fired up and so ready to make things happen!  Need some motivation?  I have a MEGA GIVEAWAY as incentive.  Read on and get movin’!

STEP 1: Download, write your three action items for the day, write tiny action steps under each, do them.

STEP 2: Next, clear more clutter in your environment and on your computer.  Work it!  Take no prisoners with that clutter!

STEP 3: Prepare for Greatness.  Set yourself up for success tomorrow, next week and next year.

STEP 4: Take a break! Active rest. Plan breaks in your day, week and month to get renewed and recharged to make things happen.

STEP 5: Leap!  Face your fear.

STEP 6: Encourage others.  Spread the love and you’ll get it right back.

STEP 7: Define and implement solid boundaries.

STEP 8: Celebrate your success and give thanks!

STEP 9: Define and DO what fires you up.

STEP 10: Don’t stop.  This is just the beginning.  God has worked intensely on my heart this last year.  I have worked hard to do the right work.  I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way, but as my dear friend Michael always says, no mistakes; only lessons.  I’m so grateful for where my life is now from doing this work daily – de-cluttering, setting solid boundaries, giving it all, letting go, facing my fear and choosing to be remarkable – and I’m committed to just as much work in the year ahead.  Good work.  The right work.  My favorite quote as of late…  A year from now you will wish you had started today. - Karen Lamb.   I’m so glad I started a year ago.  My life is night and day from just 12 short months ago.

If you want change, choose it.  Choose to be remarkable.  Start now.  Begin anywhere. [photos above: left Jory Cordy, right Gina Zeidler]

OK, who’s ready for a MEGA GIVEAWAY!?

TO ENTER: read The Challenge posts above and comment here on your progress as you go through each step.  Comment as much as you like.  The more the better to keep yourself accountable.  Even if you started The Challenge with me a couple weeks ago, get those comments in!  Weigh in on your progress with each step.   FIVE lucky Challenge-takers will win one of the following:

1. Wedding season is kicking into full swing and, as a result, I’ve gotten a TON of consulting inquiries lately.
Prize number 1 is a half-hour one-on-one branding/business coaching session with me to help you make things happen!

2. You’re going to need some killer headphones to get those office dance parties kickin’ (read the posts to know what I’m talking about) and I’m SO excited that the fine folks at Skullcandy have given me a pair of Holua Galaxie Earbuds to give away!  I just recently purchased these rockin’ wood earbuds myself and I can’t wait for one lucky reader to hear what these babies can do.  Thank you, Skullcandy!

3. You’ll have a TON to celebrate in this challenge and you’ll need some new tunes!  So, prize #3 is a $50 iTunes card!  Download my Making Things Happen playlist is here in the meantime.

4. These are my friends TJ and Brooke.  They are awesome and they make rad t-shirts and they’ve made a lot of things happen this year.

They have given me a stash of Walk in Love T’s like the one below that I wrote about. One lucky winner gets their very own! [photo below Gina Zeidler]

I love all of their T’s because of the message behind them and how crazy comfy they are.  [P.S. head over and donate to their store opening.  They are so deserving!]  Thanks TJ and Brooke!

5. Last but not least, the raddest bow tie from Buttered Toast that we featured in our last issue!  I WANT TO WIN MY OWN GIVEAWAY.

Knowing the results so many have had from The Challenge already, you’re all going to be winners for just starting this.   It doesn’t matter how much of The Challenge you complete, so get moving!  Just make sure you START, OK?  Begin anywhere.  Remember: progress, not perfection. Comment here and spread the word (twitter, facebook, smoke signals – get people involved)!   You never know who you will inspire in the process.   UPDATED: Challenge ends April 30. Make. it. happen!

Who’s in?!

CONGRATS to the randomly-chosen winners! EVERYONE won big here just for doing The Challenge! And remember – this is not just a one month stint. Keep up the great work! One-on-one branding/business coaching session winner: Anda Marie. SkullCandy Earbud winner: Jeremiah Daniel. Buttered Toast winner: Natalie Clamp. Walk in Love T winner: Jessica Goldschmidt. iTunes gift card winner: Judith Beverly. Congrats, everyone!

Show Comments (202)
  1. Jeremiah Daniel

    So glad I got to meet you in Vegas( I tagged along with Chris Rebo:) ) Can’t wait to work through this this march!

  2. Becky

    I’ll get the comments going! :) I won’t lie, I was thrilled to see this in my gReader tonight! I needed that extra little push to veer me back on track. Downloading done! Tasks set! Off to prep for tomorrow, then to bed! Thank you, Lara!

  3. Tivi Jones

    Perfect timing for me, Lara! I’m definitely taking this challenge! The insight and growth I hope to gain are prize enough, but I’m always down for a new t-shirt. *grin*

  4. Alicia W

    Step 1 – making an overarching action plan, and remembering to do one each day. I’m taking A LOT of leaps in pursuing my dreams – totally going out of my comfort zone to live the life and pursue the career that will make me *fulfilled*, everyday is a new adventure as I stretch myself to continue to learn and FACE MY FEARS! Facing fears is def. the first obstacle I feel to overcome from achieving where I want to be. Doing things I’ve never done before, being ok with making mistakes (gasp!) lol, and rockin’ out new paths, plans, and the bumps along the way. My second overarching goal is to remember to organize and *FOCUS*, I think one of the hardest things when a business/goal is so HUGE in the beginning, is remember to stay on task and focus in the here and now. Not getting distracted by the endless to do list in my head, but making those daily goals and stickin’ to them! Thirdly, to *SHINE* – a good friend and I had a discussion about not comparing our work to others, it gets dangerous. Especially in photography, every photographer is unique and the beautiful thing is that 10 photographers could be shooting the same subject and get 100 different images/perspectives. It’s beautiful. But with the world-wide-web it’s easy to get mesmerized by all the blogs and websites of others and lose sight of your own inner *shine* bc your trying to mimic or be like someone else. So remembering to grab the camera and practice, practice, practice and *SHINE* from within – my work speaks to who I am as a person, as an artist — a piece of my heart and an extension of what I was seeing in that moment. That alone is beauty, the work I create is something to be proud of. So for my third goal, remember to *SHINE* and give myself some credit every once in awhile (it gets tiring to be my own worst critic) — so right now, i’m giving myself a pat on the back for completing the goal of writing my STEP ! — crossing it off my “to do” — and seeing where else the day takes me <3

    *Shine Friends* and remember to always Dream Big!

  5. christina moodie

    When I did this challenge last month it revolutionized how I worked. I am pumped to do it again this month. Each step = progress. Thanks Lara!

  6. Erin Davenport

    I love this recap of the challenge!! EVERYONE can benefit from this and I’m so glad to be pushed and be held accountable in yet another way. This truly is a process and a learned behavior–it takes time to make second nature. So glad I started with you last month!

  7. Cyn

    Lara – as always…you are such a wonderful INSPIRATION. This challenge could not have come at a more perfect time for me. In the next month I will need to be ready to move (yikes!), connect with folks in VA, be ready for my re-launch (yay! & thanks MBH) …and be totally, 100%, no excuses ready for wedding season. I am as nervous as ever about this year and the leap I am about to take…but I am also so full of excitement & love – I am ready to Make it happen. Can’t wait to share more progress & read about the others who also post here. xo.

  8. Emily Hansel

    Wow, so exciting! And I can comment from my phone unlike tumblr! I’ve done so much already and am so excited to do more. The next 6 days are non-stop, so today I’m working on step 4, taking a break. It’s hard to walk away for a day, bit I know it’ll bring more clarity tomorrow if I step back. And clarity brings action!

  9. Jasmine - This Moment Events

    I’m ready to accept this challenge- I’ll own the fact that I’ve been putting it off. But I am READY and I’m going for it, hardcore- the way we NYC alums do! I’m getting started *rightnow*

  10. Jenni Bailey

    Lara, my brain is EXPLODING with inspiration today. I am so going to rock this challenge. Thank you for sharing and pushing and being such a gem. XOXO.

  11. Natalie Clamp

    As always Lara, thank you doesn’t seem to cut it anymore for everything you’ve done for all us. A few weeks my life took a different direction-I was surrounded by a group of inspiring women, all in the same boat…looking for different things but not quite knowing how to get there. Lara, Emily, Gina and Natalie pushed the bottons and challenged each and everyone one of us in ways I’m not sure we were ready for. SO, here is my (way too long, should write a book) progress report:

    1. Five Daily Action Steps: Wow, did this do it for me. In the past, I would have a laundry list of items from the moment I would wake up in the moring and by the end of the day, the “urgent list” was still not completed. Basically, setting myself up for failure. This has completely changed. Now it’s five things–five things, that need to get done. As crazy as it sounds, I even bought myself a small journal so I would not be tempted to add to my list. If by the end of the day, there are items not completed I take a moment to think about it. Why wasn’t it donw? Am I not following my boundaries? Too many distractions? Again, it’s all about the baby steps so I’m getting there.

    2. The things that FIRE me up: This was hard to digest for me. My wonderful list of things that FIRED ME up, were actually things I found myself running away from (reconnecting with my husband, quality time with my family, focusing on myself, my body, etc.). So where do I stand now? A lot progress, especially with my husband. Our relationship had become strained (more on my end than anything). Small moments of cuddling on the couch, replaced by sitting on separate couches, typing on laptops, working. Things have wonderfully improved since then. Now I STOP. When the kids go down to sleep, and there is a moment of silence we make an effort to connect, talk and cuddle ;) Still working on the other items on my list, but for obvious reasons, this one stands out in my head (and heart) as the biggest accomplishment.

    3. Facing the FEARS: So one of the biggest things in my head this fear of not really be authentic and true to myself. I continue to work full time (day job) and since I started, there has always been heaviness in my heart with not being able to be completely honest with myself. I don’t want to tell my clients because they’ll assume I’m too busy and I felt embarrassed to tell wedding professionals/colleagues for fear it was a story that just wasn’t perfect enough to tell. Well, today I hve learned to just SAY IT and I have to say I’ve been surprised about the support I never thought I would receive. Last week I wrapped up a wedding and the wedding planner approached me asked, “what are you doing tomorrow?” Before I would have come up with a grand story of meeting clients working on chic sweets, but instead I said, “I have to work.” Being AUTHENTIC and true to myself hasn’t made me feel worse, but instead motivates me everytime I say it.

    4. The PLAN: Wow, could this post get any longer. One of the things that happens to all of us when we attending something like this, is that we feel invicible, like we can do it all once we walk out the door. But the truth of the matter, is that this is when the really hard part begins. Sitting down and setting your goals (or as Lara puts it,POWERFUL DECISIONS into motion. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I’m doing. I have my decisions and ACTION steps underneath each one. One of my biggest decisions is aiming to leave my day job this year. This is a monumental goal for me. I have a family, responsibilities, blah…blah….but it isn’t just about taking a huge leap but also a calculated risk. And I’m not alone. My husband is holding my hand, lifting me up, and reminding me that this is not impossible. And I’m not going to lie to you, there are incredibly hard days still, where the black hole seems to call my name, but I FIGHT through the feelings, let myself have the moment, and move on.

    So there you have it, and there is a lot more, but all I can say is thanks to the MTH team and to everyone here, “the alum” that continue to inspire me with your progress as well. LETS. GET IT. DONE.

  12. Dana L

    I have to admit that because of health problems and having stressful days that I have fallen behind BUT I’m so grateful for this reminder! When i was doing the challenge it worked wonderfully! and I really missed downloading when i didn’t do it. IT’S TIME TO GET BACK ON TRACK! i will be downloading tonight, getting three things done when i get home, setting myself up for success tomorrow by doing everything i can tonight (and listening to the awesome hi-fi playlist as i go). BABY STEPS. can’t wait for it to be a lifestyle and be proactive all the time! will update later!

    P.S. i love my media free weekends!

  13. rachaelmarie

    i adore you and all the change you have brought into my world. because of you i have more in my life than i ever dreamed. on every level…home, personal, family, business…everything. thank you, lara casey, for teaching me how to live. truly and from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  14. megan beth

    Well…this is me…this is me at the bottom. At the point of giving up. Not sure which direction to go in. I guess trying this can’t hurt…I mean, what do I have to lose?

  15. Judith

    Lara, I love that you provide such inspiration and include tools that help with follow through, plus lots of redirection. Since the last Challenge, I’ve been consistent with downloading and coming up with a list of 3 action items daily and, when I can, upping it to 5. The second step is one that I have to do consistently, too. I look forward to working through the rest of The Challenge with the others.

  16. Becky

    Fantastic day today! I crossed off everything on my list from actions to prep to clearing clutter to feeling fear! I’ve downloaded, and have tomorrow’s list all ready. I’ve noticed that when I stick to this plan, I start to see things in a “what can I do in 2 min to help later” kind of light, which is SUPER exciting for a chronic procrastinator like myself!

    I also started tracking my steps at http://www.joesgoals.com. It’s a great visual for tracking how many days in a row you’ve hit a goal–you can even award your self points! Thought I would post it here for others who like some visual tracking for accountability.

    Thanks again, Lara!

  17. jenn lebron

    this. is. so GOOD! :) thank you SO much

  18. Lara

    So excited for you all! Let’s DO this!

  19. Holly

    yes, yes, YES! I am in. I was up late last night thinking about a great idea I had and decided I really wanted your input. I could really use the consulting giveaway!!! i have already done a few steps, but never finished. i promise to do it now!!!
    xoxo – Holly

  20. Danica

    I am in. I am so excited to be in and committed with this Challenge and make the best of what I have been given in my life without the clutter and fear distracting me from those important things.

  21. Noel Frohman

    IM IN 110%!!! Lara you are so awesome! Everyone let’s all freakin be our best self and kick butt!

  22. Stacey Halphen

    I’m in! I did my first night of step one last yesterday. It was so great to get back to downloading, and creating action steps. This challenge is exactly what I need to get re-focused and make things happen. I cannot wait to see what all of us are able to accomplish in a month!

  23. Stephanie Ascari

    I’m in! Downloading today! Thank you for holding me accountable!

  24. Tami Brown

    I’ve begun going through the checklist of required items needed to re-enter college and take on a new major. I took the time to download and realized how much I overanalyze EVERYTHING! No wonder my brain gets no rest and I feel stressed and weary. I appreciate a place to be accountable as iWork through the challenges I face and I’m pushed to face my fear and move on despite of it. Time to refocus, regroup and initiate change!

  25. Kathleen Burlew

    Life is too SHORT to not go after your DREAMS. I’m in!

  26. Lisa Tilley-Newman

    Step One – COMPLETED!!!! Lara, I love you! You have NO idea how much I needed this nudge. You know when you’re in church, and you feel like the pastor is talking directly to you? Well, this is exactly how I felt when I read this post. Just two days ago I was talking about getting things back on track. THANK YOU for this!! Love and Hugs!!! Lisa

  27. shannon kelley

    I am IN! Let me tell you, lesson learned about downloading, I took a break off for WPPI and came home and the first couple days felt lost… I kept searching for that desire to be pushed and feeling that I was able to conquer it all. Then I realized that that feeling came from downloading. It inspires me, fuels me, centers me. So I am in!

  28. Leika

    You know I’m SO IN!!!! The first set of Challenge posts came during a week when I really needed the reminder!! I can’t say I’ve made it through every step, every day, but I can say (shout! cheer!) that this is a part of my regular routine now, and I can see SUCH a difference in my life! Here’s to renewed focus and conquering challenges (big and small) in all of our lives during this month!!

  29. Jenae

    Hi Lara… I haven’t left much love lately… but I’m still here, reading, following and taking this challenge! I have a lot I could write here… but it could get quite lengthy! So…just know.. YES… I’m taking this challenge and the two areas I need to work on the most are the Preparing for Greatness and Celebrating! Much love!-J

  30. Monique

    Yesterday I paid all my bills at once instead of spreading them out according to their due dates… it’s a little hard to see a big chunk of money go at once but I feel so much relief knowing I dont have to think about them or remember to do them later! So ready to Make Things Happen! What will today hold!?

  31. Monica Brown

    ALL IN. I can’t even begin to tell you how this challenge has changed my life! I look forward to [dropping in] on a daily basis so that my inner compass leads me in the direction I need to be going. I keep trying to sit down and blog about my MTH experience, but it was so overwhelmingly great that I can’t figure out where to begin. I guess I will have to create action steps for that too :)
    I am cheering everyone on!!!

  32. Monique

    On day 2. I spend soooo much time on FB! It is ALWAYS open when I am on the computer. I’ve used it as an excuse to take a break while editing. I KNOW it is consuming more of my time than I want it to so I immediately wrote down on the calender for this weekend “No internet except to read the next step in the challenge and stay updated on email” (I am waiting for some important emails)I’m going to tackle the stacks on my counter today too… it’s all a bunch of stacks of things I was going to do later… time to get it done.

  33. Eve Harrison

    I am SO IN!!!! Thanks for the push and your constant encouragement!! Can’t wait to see where we all are at the end of this month and at the end of this year :)

  34. Julie Roberts

    I am overwhelmed with all the ideas and things I want to do in my life. As inspired as I feel I’m also really discouraged and trying to dig myself out from under so much work. I feel like the little things are such huge obstacles. This is the beginning of my journey. In and leaning forward.

  35. Alison Howard

    I’m in Lara! I need this and I need to really commit. Looking forward to clarity, peace of mind, functionality and the success that will result.

  36. April

    Downloading done, de-cluttering facebook/blogs done! Now I am off to finish crossing my to-do’s for the day! I always love these reminders Lara, especially to push myself!

  37. Dana L

    Keeping business hours and it’s working so well! Did my 3 action items yesterday and have broken my to-do list down for the weekend. Finally taking action steps for my business, making decisions and getting it done! Now all i need is a 1:1 consultation with you! Yay for social media free weekend!

  38. Karen Schlink

    YES! I am 110% in! The first week long challange was perfect. Now I am going to take it a step further and do it for an entire month, so giving up, no if ands or buts. This is going to be a stressful and hard month for me. But this is exactly what I need. Thank you, Lara!

  39. April

    I also decided that I am taking a facebook break again this weekend!

  40. Jenni Bailey

    Posting my first little update: I rocked it yesterday! Not to be immodest or anything, but I totally did. :) I crossed off half the things on a to-do list that hadn’t even existed before yesterday afternoon. It was an avalanche of creativity. I started putting into action something that has been brewing my brain for a very long time. I am super psyched.

  41. Kricia Morris

    March HAS to be my month of change. I feel scattered, listless, unable to take joy and pride in the blessings of what’s going on around me. It’s time to take back my life, take back my business, and take back my sanity in a way that will produce not only quality work, but a quality world for myself and the people that I love. Between this challenge and my personal weight loss challenge (woo hoo Weight Watchers!) I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish…the sky isn’t the limit, infinity is.

  42. Sarah

    I am in. I need to be held accountable. I want to successful in life, not just work and your words of encouragement and support will lead me there. Thank you.

  43. Lara

    SO proud of you all already! Rock it out!!!

  44. Lynn W

    I’m totally on it! So far, mostly been downloading and decluttering, with some (baby) leaps thrown in. Here’s to a fabulous month of progress!!!

  45. Sarah Deutsch

    I’m totally in! I wanted to do the challenge when you posted it last month, but I left town for my sis’ wedding two days after it started. Now I’m back, and ready to get my life and business in order, and I can definitely use your inspiration. You’re the best, Lara!

  46. Jennifer Brotchie

    Hi Lara!
    I’m ready for the challenge! I written my 3 action steps today.. it’s the middle of the afternoon, but I can still take ‘em down… I’m learning to handle life as it comes and not rush.. things come in time and as God has planned, but it does take effort. One baby step at a time.. thanks for your persistence and gentle nudges. xoxo.

  47. rachaelmarie

    i didn’t say it in my other comment, but of course i am in. every single day.

  48. Christy

    I’m definitely in. I need to stop being stressed out and figure out what I need to do, and what I want to do!

  49. Judith

    Done with downloading and crossing off all of the action items from my list. Focused on clearing the physical clutter today by concentrating on my son’s room. Many clothes, toys and books he’s outgrown will be going to new homes :) It’s such a freeing feeling! This weekend I will be taking a break from Facebook and Twitter. I’m looking forward to spending time connecting with friends!

  50. Noa

    Loving this challenge and will be implementing every step that I can!! First of all – there is even MORE decluttering for me to do. I’m already in the middle of project re-decorating my space to make it the most inspirational for my working environment. Can’t wait to update you all on my progress!!!

  51. Jeremiah Daniel

    Rocking out to the Goo Goo Dolls, downloading, and writing my action steps:)

  52. Nik Stephney

    Ok, I just completed step one. It’s amazing how quick those 10 minutes flew by! I thought for sure it’d drag. I’m so excited!

  53. Aileen Reilly

    I love this. And I’m taking it seriously. I’ve now downloaded two nights in a row. That is incredible for someone who is “too tired” at the end of the night to do much of anything. Ever. :)

  54. Kelsy McCartney

    Lara, I am so happy to have this recap post of The Challenge to reflect on and to use as I continue to push myself! Not only that, I have shared this with several friends & family members and you have fired them up too!! Count. Me. In! <3

  55. Michelle

    WOOO HOOOO. I seriously couldn’t BE more in. Let’s rock this.

  56. Anda

    Lara, I am so IN!! Downloading and short daily to do lists have revolutionized my life.

  57. Petronella

    Alright, I’ve been holding off but now it’s time to get it together. I’m ready to dive in. Lara, thank you for inspiring & challenging us to do this. Here we go! Let’s do this!

  58. Erin Davenport

    I “took no prisoners with that {bedroom} clutter” today, FINALLY! It has been plaguing me for weeks and it is now taken care of. Dancing to Beyonce and Michael Jackson may or may not have been included ;)

  59. Lizzie

    I started out on fire . . . now I am a little curl of steam :) The kick in the bum that I need! Insanity at work and juggling family and friends – I need a new approach to balance and give my best . . . so I can make things happen!!

  60. Jasmine - This Moment Events

    My computer clutter is almost a thing of the past- I’ve been clearing out folders left and right- and I’ve moved all of my business docs to Google Docs, and organized it all. So nice to open my laptop and know EXACTLY where everything is! I’ve also created a naming convention for my files so I know specifically what something is before I even open it. Moving forward full steam ahead!

  61. Tiffany Rebecca

    Definitely in! My life feels so cluttered right now.

  62. Judith

    This challenge is really kicking it into gear for me. Downloading is the best way for me to clear the mental clutter. All of these ideas floating around that I am afraid of forgetting have finally made it to the paper and can free up some space. I love the action item list because I can see exactly what was accomplished!

    Preparing for success tomorrow:
    1) put together the grocery list for the trip to the store.
    2) set out the things needed for breakfast.
    3) have everyone’s clothes set out.

    Getting these accomplished already makes me feel better about tomorrow!

    Preparing for greatness next week: Set up my master list in Todoist and use a better way to incorporate daily notes, inspirations, and the like into my master list.

    Preparing for greatness for the next year: set the date to get the website completed and launched. Work on it each day and have it ready by the date. Make the necessary decisions and go with it!

  63. Courtney

    I am in! I have been doing a lot of this already, but definitely need to be more focused, more disciplined and keep it going every day! Decluttering is my favorite, I have been making huge waves in that department! It’s amazing the things I have held on to for no reason and it feels so good to let them go. Thank you Lara – you have truly changed my life :)

  64. Amy Worthington

    I’ve been working on implementing these small steps into my life over the past month. I tracked it on the MTH 2011 blog and made a commitment to make things better for myself and for those I work with. Thanks for combining the whole lump sum into one post I can refer back to on a regular basis. I’m determined to turn over new leaves and make things better than ever. Thanks for providing tools to help dreams come to fruition!

  65. Shelly Peters

    Even though I started this challenge a few weeks back, it’s such a great motivator to see it again. Every day is one more step. I had a tough week last week, and today feels like I’m starting over again. The timing in reading this was perfect for me. Begin anywhere… dust off my boots and keep taking steps forward. Thanks for the constant encouragement!

  66. emily hansel

    I’ve set myself up for success tomorrow by programing the washing machine (best thing ever – when I get up it’ll be time to put in the next load), my 3 item action list is on my bed, and I’m picking out an outfit now. It’s remarkable how much better I sleep not fretting over things I need to remember for the next day.

  67. shannon kelley

    I’m loving this challenge! My update from last week: I sat in church yesterday and after a rough few days prior to that I felt like the world was at my finger tips, that I could do it, that it is possible to succeed. It is downloading, its doing my steps, its taking a break, setting boundaries, doing what I love…they all play into me sitting there in church feeling I can conquer it all. Lets go make things happen today! (first I have jury duty though…ha!)

  68. Breanna

    I started the challenge and it has been incredible. Just taking a little time each day to download and focus has helped me to be so much more productive. I know that God is working in amazing ways and I am so proud of everyone who has committed to wanting to make their lives better. Thanks!

  69. Geada Ford

    It’s definitely time to FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY. Let’s do this!

  70. brooke @ claremont road

    I have already made progress on so many of these items, but I still have more work to do… so count me IN!

  71. Dana L

    This weekend there was no tv and no social media and i loved it! wrote out my prioties to get done and created action steps around them and they were accomplished even though i’m exhausted today. BUT my lunch was made, my clothes were picked outm my gym bag was packed, and there was no rushing to work this morning and no forgetting anything so i would say so far it’s been successful. Your whole mindset changes when you become proactive and intentional about your day. Thank you, Lara, for the DAILY inspiration- your selflessness is certainly touching many of our lives!

  72. Anda

    STEP TWO = DONE & DONE. Ever since MTH Atlanta I’ve been checking social media less and less. And I don’t even enjoy checking it anymore, really. I’ve realized how negative much of what I was taking-in had been and changed that quickly to be positive and uplifting. I don’t miss checking my “competition” or area photographers’ blogs AT ALL. I now have room to grow MY OWN business! PHYSICAL CLUTTER: I knew this step would be the most fun (i’ve always been obsessed with clearing clutter but i’m still a procrastinator) and yet the hardest to begin. Setting the stage helped a lot. I got dressed, did my hair and make-up, put on a new album I’ve been meaning to listen to (Radiohead!), lit a soy candle, and told myself I’d clean one drawer in my office desk and break down all the old boxes in that room (20 minutes max). Enjoyed myself so much that I cleared clutter for 5 hours and now I woke up to this Monday so happy and light. Walking into my office space was powerful and wonderful :) On to Step 3!

  73. Jasmine - This Moment Events

    My car clutter is gone- and it’s been gone for 2 weeks now. It’s clean, and I feel SO GOOD about it- getting places is amazing now- I’m not flustered or frazzled, just calm and collected! Loving it!! Now to keep tackling my office and the rest of this house!

  74. Judith

    Reading through everyone’s post is very inspiring! Makes me feel even more motivated to keep at this! Thank you!!!

    Lara, your paragraph about working all of those hours and trying to please everyone else, really hits home for me. My mindset has been if you spend more time doing things, then a lot must be getting accomplished. Instead, the focus should be completely on the quality. When my needs are met, then I will be at my best and able to give more.

    Prepping for the next day really helps the mornings go smoother. Last night I slept in my workout clothes and that made a huge difference. Got the boy on the bus (his lunch was packed last night) and went to exercise…so much easier!
    For Step 4: active rest, yesterday, I took much of the day off. My sister and I got to hang out for our birthday! It was wonderful to spend time with her talking and laughing!! Plus, The weekend was social media free time, and while at times it was hard to not get an update, I was able to focus my attention on my sister and son. It was quality time and I’m so thankful for it!
    In thinking about what to schedule as active rest periods daily, most of what made it to the list are things I would like to do more of anyway. They are: eat a snack or take a coffee/tea break outside – it’s so beautiful out! Read a book – outside if possible, go for a walk, do some yoga, learn and practice Czech, listen to music -so often I forget just how motivating music is!

  75. Em Scott

    i am downloading. and today i will pick three things, break them down and do them. i am committed this week to clear the clutter.

  76. Kelly

    Love to see all my MTH2011 Atlanta girls on here! I’m in…

  77. Janet McK

    Okay, okay. I’m in!

  78. Natalie Clamp

    Getting rid of the clutter/organizing workspace: Okay, trying to scratch one more TODO off my list over the next two months. Because of a growing family, my office is a combination of the kitchen table/couch/dining room. I know, totally depressing! Well, now that my 2 year old is transitioning to his brother’s room (who is 4), I’m trying to split the former nursery room with my workspace. Sounds a bit crazy but I’m a firm believer that just because you enter motherhood doesn’t mean the world stops :) Will keep everyone posted. I’m totally determined to make it happen!

  79. Nicole (@NicoleLJ)

    This was the kick in the pants I needed. First step for me was to stop getting on the computer before noon!! I waste so much time on the internet! I need to do what’s important first THEN allow the clutter of the internet into my life!!

  80. Amelia

    Recommitting again to this!

  81. Erin Jane

    I’m in for sure! I spent the weekend cleaning and de-cluttering my house. I got a new inspiration board up in my “office” and I am ready to start pushing forward!

  82. Anda

    STEP THREE — DONE! The notion of preparing for success has made a huge impact on me, Lara. I can’t thank you enough. To prepare for success tomorrow I will: lay-out my entire outfit, grind my coffee and measure the water out, turn-off my phone at 7pm. To prepare for greatness this week I will charge my camera battery, format CF cards and pack my camera/gear in the bag (for a mini-shoot to teach one of my brides how to use her new DSLR on Wednesday). To prepare for success this year I will sign-up for ShootQ! Step 4, here I come :)

  83. Mari Darr~Welch

    This challenge has been the icing on a really big cake. For almost a year it seems this thing has been nothing but a jumbled bunch of really tasty ingredients with a cook who had no idea how to mix them correctly. Since MTH last year the ingredients are following a steady path into the right order and they are forming something great. I am so happy and grateful that this challenge made me look at all things as a whole and see that I still have much more work to do, but I am also miles ahead of where I was last year at this time. Thanks all!!

  84. Nicole (@NicoleLJ)

    Today I’m working on not letting things build up/not procrastinating. I’m also facing some fears in order to get through some of the clutter I need to bust through!

  85. Tab McCausland

    OK so as of right now I am up to step two :) I am taking a face book and twitter break tomorrow and even though I KNOW I will miss it I have so many other thing I can be doing tomorrow like downloading my new list :) I actually slept last night so THANK YOU!!! again :)

  86. Amy Paulson

    I’m so in… I was crumbling under the thought of moving. And yet, as I’ve broken down the steps every night and included one action that moves us towards moving each day, I’ve found my house is staying cleaner AND my kids and I have gone through all of their toys – packed 2 boxes that can wait until we move to Georgia and 2 boxes to give to kids who don’t have as many toys.
    In my business, this has been such a blessing as I’m so much more clear-headed, I’m writing thank you notes and I’m slowly tackling projects I had convinced myself were impossible for me.
    Thank you, Lara…

  87. Jeremiah Daniel

    Feel like I’m too busy building these habits to post a comment, but wanted to drop by anyway and say thanks, this is awesome, and it’s going great. I’m on the Preparing for Greatness step.

  88. em scott

    today i am clearing the clutter!!! trying to take no prisoners.

  89. Becky

    A few weeks have gone by since starting this process, and I am definitely feeling a change in myself (a good one!). Especially in the areas of prep and de-cluttering (slowly, but definitely making progress!). (Sidenote–I did find one downfall in making tomorrow’s lunch the night before when my husband almost ate my lunch for dinner!) I’m pushing myself little by little to really look at why I’m holding myself back from certain actions—what will really happen if I try—what WON’T happen if I don’t try, and I am putting in effort to making sure I do at LEAST one thing a day that fires me up. THANK YOU LARA for helping me find the motivation I have within myself!

  90. Anda

    STEP FOUR = DONE! I set a timer, for the first time yesterday, to take breaks every 90 minutes. I never thought the timer part would be necessary, but have found it definitely is. I’ll continue that practice for sure. Five things I can do during my 15 minute breaks: yoga to music, eat a snack outside on my patio (not today … 6 inches of January-style snow, bah!), read a book/magazine, flip through my inspiration binders, do the dishes (I actually love doing the dishes). I have planned to start taking every Friday off — eek! I actually wrote it on my calendar to begin next week Friday. If I were joining this challenge and learning about MTH for the first time right now, I’d probably have more trouble doing this, but I’ve been taking steps to restructure my life, weeks, days since MTH Atlanta, and now this doesn’t seem like such a leap or sacrifice. I’m excited about it. And as for planning a whole weekend off without social media — I’ve been doing that almost every weekend since MTH as well. I actually never want to turn my phone back on again :) :) Once wedding season kicks into full gear again soon, I’ll need to make a new “weekend” for myself … like Sunday/Monday. But I’m determined to keep 2-3 days off a week. One month ago I thought working fewer than 7 days a week was an impossibility. And I’m sure there will be weeks where I still think that (it is slow season, afterall, right now). But I so believe in the power of a structured, productive day now. And I know that I can get as much or more done in 4-5 days of work a week, with rest in between. Alright, Step 5 … bring it.

  91. Lizzie

    Tough week to start challenge – down with a cold, parents arriving for visit from overseas, work piling up (great to have it, but feels overwhelming) – gah!! So instead of feeling totally overwhelmed, I’m just going to take baby steps and focus on taking on board each challenge at a time. Today? Time to archive projects, organize iCal, and clear clutter from my laptop!

  92. Stacey Halphen

    I feel like I am getting the hang of Step 1, and I am ready to embrace Step 2. I cannot wait to clear the clutter, and make room for a successful me!

  93. Brit @ Landlocked Bride

    I have been really making an effort to download every night. And, it is amazing how much my head no longer feels fill with thoughts I cannot process. It really helps with sleep and being able to fall asleep much more quickly since my mind isn’t spinning. While slow progress, I’ve really been making sure I have a grasp on each step before I progress so that it truly becomes routine for me.

  94. Lara

    I’m SO SO SO proud of you all! Keep rockin’ it out and spread the word! Such AMAZING progress!

  95. Karen Schlink

    I haven’t commented since last week, but I’ve been Making Things Happen! I’ve been taking big steps, including scheduling shoots, planning out blogs, and working on things with local wedding vendors. It’s overwhelming and scary, but it’s SO exciting at the same time! March has always been a good month for me, but this year it’s rocking so far, and it’s only going to keep getting better! I have some pretty big fears to get through this month, but I’m going to get through them. Feel the fear and do it anyways! I’m doing it and not letting anything get me down!

  96. Leika

    Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a lot better at this. I’ve made downloading and action lists a part of my daily routine, have been clearing clutter like nobody’s business, facing my fears, and prepping for success. And I think it definitely startled some people when I finally said “no” to something, but I’m holding fast and starting to read the benefits.

    Where I’m struggling is with the ones that don’t seem as much like “work.” So for the rest of this week, I am making it a top priority to add breaks into my day, encourage others more, CELEBRATE my successes (rather than just checking the box and moving onto the next task), and finally finish my “fires me up” list!!

  97. Erin McLean

    This has transformed my business like no other. MTH2011 was life changing and this is keeping the momentum!

  98. Cyn - Cyn Kain Photography

    In December I started to do a massive organization project for my business – this was an action item that stemmed from MTH Houston in November. But now, its time for Round II as we prepare for our move to Richmond…clearing my clutter feels so good. I think I’m going to have to “clean my clutter” at the end of every month now – such a fresh start :)

  99. Missy

    I’m so in!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s do this!

  100. Courtney

    Finished my 5 things to do before 1pm today – can’t believe it!! Actually went to the mall and did a little leisurely shopping for the first time in forever! So good to have a clear head and enjoy time with Ella!

  101. Alicia Rohan

    So ready to rock this out. I did this the first go around but ready to do it all again!! Lets. DO. THIS..

  102. christina moodie

    I download everyday and to me it is encouraging making up my to-do list and crossing one thing after another off that list. I also daily de-cluter (if that is even a word) my computer files and my desktop. It feels so good to have a clean environment to work in. Thanks Lara!

  103. Tina

    wow.
    just what I needed.
    i just wrote a blog post about being overwhelmed.
    i have written to-do lists everywhere, which just adds to the clutter.
    i’ve only just started with step 1.
    i spent 10 minutes “downloading” everything.
    chose 3 things and did them.
    simple.
    i know i can do this and hopefully i’ll be well on my way to a more organized, happier me.
    thank you for this.

  104. Missy

    Last night I did step #5, I leaped and faced my fear! Ever since MTH2011 (NYC) there was one goal that I have been terrified to do and that was write and send my mentor letter. I think I was so afraid because my prospective mentors are people I do not know (and who don’t know me). Well, last night I felt the fear…..and did it anyway. I wrote one of my mentor letters and sent it last night. Well, I am happy to share that today I heard back and my first mentor said he would be honored to be my mentor. I have one more mentor letter to write – but now I’m not so scared! <3

  105. Dana L

    It’s amazing how when you focus and get rid of the “busyness” and make time for the Lord, it seems like he actually provides you more time or some amazing way to get it all done! Priotities Priorities Priorities! My question is what to do when something happens to throw a kink in it all. It’s hard for me to stay on track when i have a few days that were thrown off. Then i spend my whole weekend trying to catch up :( advice?

    • Lara

      Hi Dana! It takes more than just a week or even a month to create lasting change many times, so be patient with yourself and know this is a practice. It took me several months to start living my days like this consistently. Life can throw us wrenches all the time. That’s the beauty of the principles outlined in The Challenge – even if you have an off day the idea is “progress, not perfection.” The more you stick to this, the less you will feel completely derailed when things start to veer off track.

      So so so proud of everyone! Keep it up!

    • Dana L

      thank you, i have come to realize that this week. just start over each day. i also see that the longer i keep doing it, the better it’s getting. 21 days makes a habit they say! Plus putting the Lord first in my day makes a big difference ;)

      thanks for the encouragement!

  106. Stacey Halphen

    Yesterday at 6:00pm began my no social media weekend (with the exception of reading what my next step is on this challenge). So far I have not really missed participating in social media. the most challenging part has been remembering not to press my Twitter app on my iPhone. I never realized how much of a habit it has become every time I reach for my phone. I am still trying to get in the habit of downloading and completing my action steps each day. I try not to get down on myself as long as I am making positive progress in the right direction. It has been extremely difficult to stay on task this week b/c m “day job” has been really busy and stressful. Some of it is self-imposed due to my horrible procrastination habits. I am trying to utilize today to work through some of the things I didn’t quite make it to this week. Hopefully tomorrow will be a day of relaxation and prayer, as me and my sweet hubby head to mass on this first Sunday of Lent. I look forward to keep working through this Challenge, despite whether or not it takes me slightly more than a month to complete. I know I will be better for it in the end. Lara, thanks for helping to hold me accountable. You are awesome!

  107. Monique

    After slacking off for a couple of days I felt totally drained and miserable today. I have some big changes and challenges ahead of me so I am getting back onto this challenge!

    Very excited for tomorrow now that I have my action steps planned, my desk decluttered, and a couple of mini steps for long term goals for success!

  108. Sara S

    O boy… step one, here I come!

  109. Karen Schlink

    Happy Monday, everyone! I am SO ready to make this week happen! All last week I was sick as a dog, but I let myself admit that I was sick till about Thursday. So what should have been a two day cold has been a 7 day cold. The past few days I have done nothing. I’ve been letting my body take care of itself, drinking lots of water, eating healthier. Today is the first day that I have woke up feeling good, and it feels GOOD. I needed to take these few days off just to clear my mind and heal my body- what good is it trying to do awesome things when you are too sick to realize you are doing these awesome things?! I am ready to full on take on this week and really make things happen!
    My leap of faith today may seem silly, but I am so nervous/excited about it. I am a huge movie person, like the Oscars are so my thing. But I absolutely will not go to the movies by myself. Period. Someone told me once that if you do that, you must be a lonely person, a creep, or someone who is so pathetic they can’t find someone to go to a movie with. But, I don’t agree with that! I mean, I don’t think movie critics go with all their friends, right? So I am going to go to the movies this evening, by myself, to finally see The King’s Speech. I know, it’s probably silly, but I’ve been saying I was going to do this for weeks now, and I am going to do it today!
    Hope everyone has a wonderful week! You all are amazing and capable of anything and everything!

  110. Leika

    Step #6 win: I was dead tired yesterday (boo DST), but I decided that I was going to make the effort to put my own exhaustion aside and do some encouraging at church yesterday. One of my friends said that she hadn’t known how she was going to make it through the service, but my cheerful words and smile gave her the extra boost she needed to dig deep for a little bit extra!

  111. Emily Hansel

    I think in our current culture, with so much emphasis on multi-tasking, it can become impossible to focus on just one thing. I find that downloading before I start something I need to focus on – even before calling my mom – makes me more focused on what I’m doing and not thinking of what I need to do next. Because I’ve figured that out, and it’s written down on an index card.

  112. Making Things Happen: My Experience » Erin Davenport Photography

    [...] of it before or if you want to be part of the movement—check out Lara Casey’s latest blog post, “The Challenge”.  It goes through much of what we did at MTH and is a great recap of the work she laid out during [...]

  113. Lizzie

    Thank you for that reminder Lara – I’m so swamped this week with personal and work stuff, but even doing one of the challenges on a daily basis has been a huge help. Sunday I bought Things for Mac and am utilizing it so I have a visual timeline of where everything is.

  114. Anda

    Okay … STEP 5 = DONE. I am so nervous because I faced a huge fear … the fear of alienating tons of people in order to home-in 100% on my ideal, indie, fun, artsy client … and finally launched my new brand this morning!! Gah — it feels so good and yet so freaky!! It’s nothing like my old, grayscale, forgettable brand. I know that not everyone will *get* it, and that’s scary. But I also know that when the right people see it, they will be so on board. Okay, on to step 6. Not so insurmountable :)

  115. Brit @ Landlocked Bride

    I’ve slowly been tossing the clutter. I find it much more digestable to do it in chunks, and the clarity I find through it all is great.

    Social media is still a huge part of my life due to my real job, but I have learned to really clear out the people who are negative, and it has really made a difference.

    I’ve set boundaries in other ways with office hours, which has made a world of difference.

    And, luckily, I have always been a proponent of breaks throughout my work days and week. It really keeps me motivated, and gives my mind a moment to say “Ahh.”

  116. Becky

    No lie, this challenge, is a challenge–some days more than others. I have struggled some days finding my rhythm between day job-business-keeping the house-being a good wife, daughter, friend, and doggie mama–none of which is more or less than anyone else has on their plate. Lara, your last comment was so encouraging. I am reminding myself DAILY that this is about progress, and discovering what God has in store for me. Thank you (again) for your encouragement!

  117. Jeremiah Daniel,

    Working on naming my fears, for some reason that seems hard, since I’ve spent alot of time avoiding them. Loving this process though, it’s already helped me soooooo much. Got so much done by avoiding Facebook this last weekend lol

  118. I need every single person to commit to « Lara Casey

    [...] need every single person to commit to The Challenge.   Especially those of you who say you have no time.  I wrote The [...]

  119. Stacey Halphen

    I hate to admit it, but I am still on Part 2 of the challenge. I had a little hiatus due to lack of energy from some overwhelmingly stressful things at my day job. I am sop grateful Lara sends us little reminders to document our progress b/c otherwise I might completely fall off the wagon. Over the next couple days I plan on getting back on track with downloading, and I also plan on completing Step 2. I am pretty proud that I did take a social media break this weekend beginning at 6pm on Friday. I think I can keep that up every weekend, so I can be more present in my life. I do have a lot weighing on my mind regarding the structure of my business. I am looking forward to digging deeper into these thoughts, so maybe I can clear some of the stress due to my current structure. I will also say that even though I am not quite meeting my goals with this challenge, I am pretty proud of myself for the strides I am making to improve my relationship with God. It is so exciting, and I cannot wait to share more of my personal and spiritual journey.

  120. Becky

    Tonight I did a combo move–clearing clutter and facing a fear. J tackled an embarrassingly old box of random papers that I had shuffled away at some point. I was a little worried about what I would find in the box, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had convinced myself it would be. Not only did it take half the time I’d thought to get through it, I was able to see the progress I’ve made in terms of organization. Iam by no means the picture of organizational perfection, but I can’t imagine, at this point, ever letting something go like that again.–PROGRESS RECOGNIZED!

  121. christina moodie

    Today was so good. For the past week I had been letting fear get to me. It was just those little thoughts in the back of my mind that kept popping up and I kept burying them. Today, I named all of my fears for myself and my business. I looked at them and faced them head on. It felt good to acknowledge what I am feeling and deal with it instead of just pushing it aside.

  122. Kathleen Frank

    I so need this challenge! Just started part one, downloading my brain clutter. Day one was AMAZING! I can’t believe it actually worked! I focused on the three things on my list and was able to give so much energy to those things with plenty of freedom to enjoy the life around me. I was just astounded (and so was my husband, btw. He completely noticed a difference in me).

    Day two, I totally bombed and forgot to do the exercise. I got completely caught up in a crazy work day. But day three is tomorrow and I’m determined to get back on track!

  123. Courtney

    I am working on my fire me up list today and I LOVE this exercise! I have been thinking about it since Vegas and writing things down here and there, but today just felt right to jump in and write it ALL down. I am also super excited to make it pretty so I can print it out and hang it on the wall. I know looking at it every day will make such a difference in my daily approach to life.

  124. Hannah

    Okay, I am late, but I am so doing this. I need to do this. Off to read and complete part one…

  125. Jenni Bailey

    You know how every so often you go through your closet and get rid of everything that’s just wrong? Like all the shirts with unrolled hems, the skirts that are way too short, the impulse-buys and ill-fits. And afterward you have all this space. And you rediscover that pair of jeans that always looks and feels perfectly awesome. You wonder why you haven’t been wearing them, how you could possibly have forgotten about them there in the back of the pile because they are just SO YOU.
    That’s how this challenge feels to me. New and exciting but familiar and satisfying at the same time.

  126. Jeremiah Daniel

    Heading to a client meeting, prepared and excited, more than I think I’ve ever been. The encouragement and drive I’ve gained just from working through these steps is awesome. I hope all of you out there are having as much fun as I am:)

  127. Becky

    Tackled a BIG fear and printed and organized all of my remaining online receipts and invoices from 2010. I’ve been completely avoiding taxes b/c I’m afraid of the red number I’ll see in my first year of business–BUT what’s done is done. Forgive and learn in 2011. Tomorrow in input and seeing the bottom line! Tonight active rest with friends!!

  128. Nancy Mitchell

    Thanks Lara for being such an incredible inspiration to all! I have been doing this list of little things and they have made a big impact in my life! Thanks again for all that you do for the community!

  129. Anda

    I’m starting on step 7 right now, but I wanted to pop-in to update on STEP 6 = DONE! Encouraging others has always been a huge part of my life. I can remember doing it from a tiny age. I’d write little encouraging notes to my mom or my classmates or teachers and I took great care in this process and it made me feel wonderful to see someone else smile. I used to love writing hand written letters but rarely find the time now. This challenge has made the space for me to schedule one morning a week where I pick someone, anyone, and write her/him a letter. I’m really excited about this :) Another thing I loved reading about in this step was how we shouldn’t look to others for affirmation or encouragement before just saying GO! I look for affirmation a lot, I feel. I think it’s scary to zig when everyone else is zagging, but I am trying to do that a lot more. To look outside my comfort zone. MTH has helped me so much in this. :) Happy Monday.

  130. Natalie

    Quick update: taking 5 minutes to declutter my area. My physical workspace, TODO lists, as well as all the mental clutter. Checked out my uusal social networking sites, now have closed everything. It’s all about no distractions!!! This week have started taking big steps towards some of the bigger decisions on the horizon. Going to be some changes along the way but I have to do what feels right, and most of all, what makes me feel “alive.” So on that note, Happy Monday, everyone….

  131. Jeremiah Daniel

    Booked a wedding on Saturday, have another Client meeting today. I feel confidant, and authentic. I decluttered my workspace yesterday, so much better, and can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel for my day job. I’m still working on my FB/Twitter addiction, but have really scaled it back(PS I love love boxcar) Downloading every night has cleared my mind, its odd how well that works, and I wake up knowing exactly what I need to tackle first.

    After my meeting today I’m going for Step 8:) I have tons to celebrate

  132. Kathleen Frank

    Starting step 2 and purging my online life away! I can do this! This is such a needed step for me. I meander online and waste sooooo much time. All because I am overwhelmed by the things on my to-do list, the things that I know can get me closer to my goal. Deep exhale. I can do this!

  133. shannon kelley

    a little challenge update… tomorrow, for the first time in months, my family is heading up to the mountains for the night to just enjoy. Taking a break before a crazy destination wedding weekend starts. Seriously wouldn’t even be thinking about a break if it wasn’t for this challenge but you know what? I’m going to enjoy every minute of it!

  134. Lindsay

    I’ve been trying to read through this post for 3 weeks now. I’m in. I’m accountable. I’m going to make changes!!!

  135. Geomyra

    I am at a point in my life where I need to fear the fear and do it anyway. I have finally given myself a realistic deadline to make things happen. Through working through “the challenge,” I have seen significant changes and progress in my everyday life. I have started to declutter, planned vacations, and have taken steps to building the brand that I have always dreamed. MTH has taught me that baby steps lead to big change. I declared 2011 to be my year, and I am off to a great start. I am learning to plan and execute by workign smarter, and not harder. This always me to have a better balance in my life. Thank you again Lara, Gina and Emily, you are truly an inspiration and continue to be some of our best cheerleaders!

  136. Kathleen Frank

    I have been working hard at steps 1-4, and it has been amazing! Only small changes so far, but there have been changes! I just can’t believe the change in my mental state. I am slowly working through my to-do lists, walking away from internet time-sucks, and reprioritizing my life. It’s so funny that most of my changes have not been about my business yet. They have been about my life. I am giving more time to my husband and gaining more balance for my life. I am finding time for so many more things in all areas of my life instead of being 100% consumed by business. Yay for the challenge!!! I am so excited to keep going!!!

  137. Lindsay Hess

    i’m taking the challenge from Charlotte, NC :)

  138. Anda

    STEP 7 is now done!! I spent the most time with this step … I really wanted to define solid boundaries all over the place and then try to put them in action for a few days. Email boundaries = amazing. Seriously. Of course someone can wait until tomorrow if they write me at night. I never expect a response from someone else right away! Along with email boundaries, setting office hour boundaries worked hand-in-hand I thought and it was great. In another step you mentioned setting a timer, which I’ve been doing … and that race against the clock mentality means I get a lot more done during the day and I want to avoid distraction too. I also know that when my final timer goes off, I’m done for the day. “Schedule” boundaries was the biggest eye-opener and hugest thing for me to implement! Only take meetings outside office hours once a month? Maybe only shoot sessions on a Sunday once a month? Only have one night a week designated for shooting sessions? Brilliant! It also made responding to inquiries much easier! Clients were quicker about choosing their engagement session dates because they were so limited. One more thing (your writing about why you started lara casey reps made me think of this) … I have a lot of friends and clients who ask me for advice on shooting, post-processing, etc and often spend more than half a day each week sitting down with someone and walking them through everything. I love doing it and I want everyone to learn, but I’ve really been thinking of setting up mentor sessions. I’ve been nervous that others in my area will think I shouldn’t be teaching and charging for it … but I’ve learned I don’t their affirmation or go-ahead :) I totally think that having all these new boundaries will make people respect my time, and therefore me, way more.

  139. Anda

    oops — i think i left my previous comment “in reply to” someone, but i meant to post it as an independent comment!

  140. Jaime Nash

    I started a while ago, then stopped. I’m back in. Officially. Woop woop!

  141. Jaime Nash

    Forgot my twitter name!

  142. Brit @ Landlocked Bride

    Step 7 is my next step to tackle and is a priority!

  143. Cristy Stibal

    I am in.. Posted under 1st challenge.

  144. Rebekah

    The system is still working fabulously, and now I’ve got my husband in on it!

  145. emily hansel

    When I wrote my first download at MTH it was full of stuff that needed to be done in our new house, much of it things that will be done down the road. Many of my step 3 decluttering projects have involved the house and even though they are different from the things on my original download, now that I’m doing SOMETHING for the house, my downloads are less house-based. :)

  146. Jeremiah Daniel

    Working on my fires me up list:) this is fun!

    Rain, Coffee, Tea on a cold day. Getting the shot, Feeling the moment, The feel of my camera in my hand, Making people look beautiful, vintage Cameras, amazing Technology, Apple anything, Sunrises, full moons, Fog, Rocking out to the Killers, Rocking out period. Taylor Swift, Running till I can’t anymore, being focused. Writing in a Moleskine Notebook. Letters, Polaroids, Roadtrips, Ocean, Being out of my Element. Love, Weddings, Quotes by amazing people. Old Motorcycles, Ferris Wheels, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hospitals, Peanut Butter, Long Naps, Forests with lots of Moss, Fairy Tales, Beauty, Eyes, Friends, Fall leaves, Classical music, Long walks, Late night conversations with the people I love, Hard work, Pushing myself, Sushi, Serendipitous moments, First Snow, Sunlight streaming through window shades, Getting up before the sun, birds waking me up, Feeling God speak, knowing how helpless I am without Him, letting my heart surrender completely,

  147. Jacinda

    I’ve only made it through step five so far, but these past couple of weeks have been some of the best of my life! I love how downloading has helped to put my mind at ease. It also lets me see what needs to be done and motivates me to complete things that I don’t feel like doing. Thanks for posting these Lara! Keep shining!

  148. Michelle

    This challenge has really helped me focus in on the work that I’ve had to get done these last few weeks. The work that I’m EXCITED about ALL DAY LONG. My notebook is filled with the most incredible ideas that I cannot wait to execute. I stopped keeping facebook and twitter open all day and have gotten so much more accomplished. I’ve also told myself that it’s Ok to veg out on the couch for an hour on the weekends without feeling guilty. couldn’t be happier right now!

  149. Anna Kim

    Yes, I am in! Absolutely!

    Today is day number one. The decluttering is going down today!
    Thank you for this kick in the butt, it’s much needed.

  150. Stacey Halphen

    I have to admit I am not exactly proud of myself regarding this challenge.I cannot seem to stay on task. This weekend I did have a breakthrough. I realized I needed to get things back to “normal” in my house. Ever since finding out I was preggers, I moved my office into my bedroom to make room for the upcoming arrival of the little one. After the miscarriage, family and friends encouraged me to keep my house the way it is b/c a baby would come again in the near future. Having the room set up with a baby bed was an unpleasant reminder that I would not be a mom in August. I realized it was time to get rid of this distraction and take down the baby bed. It was a sad day for me, but so worth it. I cannot wait to put my office back together again in the spare bedroom and move on with this challenge. I believe facing the reality of my miscarriage will help me move forward in my life and my business. I look forward to reporting my progress as I write this new chapter in my life. Fingers crossed that I win the one-on-one coaching with you!!! Lots of love! -Stacey

  151. Natalie

    So today I’m giving an update on Step 7 was a big,okay, HUGE step for me. I have a growing family (3 boys) so for me, the choices have always been simple. Family first, everything second. Finding a solid balance between all three elements: my work vs. family has always been a struggle. But I’ve taken this challenge, about what really makes me feel alive and made a choice. (taking a deep breath) I made a choice to finally take the plunge out of my day job and dive head first into taking on chic sweets full time AND being a mother to my boys. In about two months (as I tie up loose ends), my life will take a drastic turn, but as scared as I am, I feel a sense of peace everytime I think about. Will it be hard? Undoubtedly. Are there a list of questions left unanswered? Sure, I have a list. But it’s taking hard look at what makes me feel alive that has pushed me to this place. Thanks again Lara and MTH team for always reminding me of what I’m capable of.

  152. weekend recap « beka.g.photography.

    [...] starting The Challenge tonight. I’m embracing the unrest; it’s a healthy growing pain. But I’m ditching [...]

  153. Dana L

    I can’t explain what this blog and the MTH blog have meant to me. Opening up this organized world to me and kicking me in the butt everyday to keep going and not give up and REMIND me of the person I am and want to be! It feels so much more natural now to be this way. Practice practice practice. Have boundries. Make progress. Don’t give up! I have involved my husband on my new changes and it’s even motivated him seeing me be this way! thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been reminded how short life can be lately and why don’t we wake up and try to be the best us we can be each morning? Encourage others, lift them up, be positive, make a difference. And go for dreams! I would say my progress has been great :)

    • Dana L

      Update! Update! I have redesigned my website, took the leap, and launched it last night! I want to do this and I want people to take me seriously and there’s no better time than now! I’m so excited. I’m moving forward and that’s all I want! http://www.danalaymonphotography.com :) Thank you, Lord.

  154. Beka

    Oh my land. OH MY LAND. I could not be more excited for this. I’m a late bloomer to The Challenge…but “better late than never” never sounded so good! I just took the first step tonight and plan on powering through the rest of the steps over the course of the next few days. Getting everything inside of my head outside of my head was so therapeutic. I think I may physically weigh less now that all of the clutter has been cleared. Three things down, lots more to go, but now I have the clarity and motivation to actually do them! And I’m officially adopting a nightly download session. To-do list insomnia be gone, haha! :) Thanks so much, Lara!!!

  155. almond butter adventures « beka.g.photography.

    [...] yesterday’s Monday Motivation I mentioned that I was starting The Challenge, which is basically a 10-step boot camp for making things happen. Things like this ordinarily [...]

  156. Monique

    What do you do when obstacles are put in your way? I’ve been addressing that question for about 5 days after I hurt the muscle that runs from my shoulder blade to my neck. I was dealing with pain and physical limitations. I laid around feeling pretty miserable. Pain medication wass only mildly numbing the pain and I was still not capable of full range movement. It took me a couple of days though to realize there is so much I CAN do! Why should I set mental limits for myself?! So during the past few days I’ve managed to devote time to my business plan, write out a life map (direction I want to be headed 1, 3, and 5 years from now), do research and planning to homeschool my ADHD child, and make dinner every night.
    A good lesson: even with obstacles in our paths, we can take the long but successful trek around them to success!

  157. Bonnie Marie

    I want to be you! Getting everything inside of my head outside of my head – hear ya, girl. Is it like breathing out in yoga, where your belly button reaches your spinal cord?
    I wish I had found this site sooner, tomorrow’s the last day for the challenge, boo hoo! Guess I could do it anyway, with no prize …

  158. Christina B.

    Totally in. I was given a fresh start this month. Watch out world!

  159. JESSICA

    I walked away from MTH 2011 (NY) with the skills I needed to create momentum in my life. As time passed, and life got in the way, this [these, TUMBLR] challenges helped me maintain areas and reignite in others, that fire I so lovingly cultivated that day.

    I decided not to post everyday/week but wanted to post at the end of the month – two fold, so I can see the overview of my effort in this challenge and to see where I had movement and which areas need more tilling.

    Here’s my breakdown…

    STEP 1: DOWNLOAD
    I keep a dedicated pad on my desk and I do this 2-3 times a day. Once at night for the next day. Once in the am, if needed, to clear my head before work. Sometimes throughout the day…I may be working and something will pop into my head. Instead of saying, oh, I’ll do that later – because, most often I forget – I write it down.

    This has helped me in so many ways. I feel more organized now that all my lists are in one notebook. I feel accomplished when I get to check things off or even rip pages out buying the appropriate domain name(s), creating a DBA, setting up a blog, getting lessons, teaming up with another photographer to second/third shoot and practicing.practicing.practicing.

    I loved this step, because even though I felt the fear, I did it anyway! It’s taught me a lot about myself … what I will and wont do, what I’m made of, recognizing my strengths and my weaknesses and what I will/have to do to FIGHT to make this happen for my life what was once forced is now becoming an adopted frame of mine.

    STEP 6: ENCOURAGING OTHERS
    Something I do on a daily basis.

    In doing this, I found that I am the best me when I’m encouraging and lifting up others!

    STEP 7: DEFINE AND IMPLEMENT BOUNDARIES
    Another one that needs some work but I’m finding, as I work through these steps, I’m defining/learning my own value – in myself and my work – clearly helping me decide what I will and will not do/put up with, etc.

    I have had opportunities where I had to say no due to timing (their lack of) and I did not feel bad about it.period!

    SETP 8: CELEBRATE
    oh, I do this one very well. SHOPPING ANYONE?

    STEP 9: DEFINE AND DO WHAT FIRES YOU UP
    Photography fires me up – I am actively and aggressively seeking it. sleeping it. breathing it. doing it! I am not waiting for it to come to me but knocking on opportunities door – even at night, there is no shame in my game, haha!

    STEP 10: DON’T STOP
    I rinse and repeat as needed!!

    I really am a better person from my MTH experience and these steps have only helped me solidify what was birthed in me that day. I am forever changed. grateful. happy. loving the new me!!!

    I seriously want to squeeze you Lara, for having the courage to do this. For without it, you wouldn’t have met Gina, Emily or Natalie and pressed on to making this happen for me, for everyone.

    You guys are the bomb!!

    Jessica :)

    • JESSICA

      Somehow my message got chopped in the middle, weird. So, I wanted to resubmit the parts that are missing. For no other reason then to have it on record, the profound change this challenge has given me. Sorry for the parts that are repeated :)

      STEP 1-5:

      STEP 1: DOWNLOAD
      I keep a dedicated pad on my desk and I do this 2-3 times a day. Once at night for the next day. Once in the am, if needed, to clear my head before work. Sometimes throughout the day…I may be working and something will pop into my head. Instead of saying, oh, I’ll do that later – because, most often I forget – I write it down.

      This has helped me in so many ways. I feel more organized now that all my lists are in one notebook. I feel accomplished when I get to check things off or even rip pages out buying the appropriate domain name(s), creating a DBA, setting up a blog, getting lessons, teaming up with another photographer to second/third shoot and practicing.practicing.practicing.

      I loved this step, because even though I felt the fear, I did it anyway! It’s taught me a lot about myself … what I will and wont do, what I’m made of, recognizing my strengths and my weaknesses and what I will/have to do to FIGHT to make this happen for my life what was once forced is now becoming an adopted frame of mine.

  160. Anda

    STEP 8. Wow, celebrate your success. Definitely a novel idea in the life of me. I’m always looking ahead at my to do list and rarely looking back to celebrate what I’ve accomplished. So I’m grateful for this Challenge … that I started it and have been diligent about working through it. I’m grateful for taking chances to meet incredible people that I may have missed out on otherwise. For overcoming a mild panic attack to finally release a brand that is 100% Anda on overdrive :) . For downloading every single night and keeping my to-do lists to only 5 items per day. I’m grateful for laying out my outfit at night more times than I ever did before and for slowly but surely waking up early more times than I did in the past. I’m grateful for coordinating personal shoots with local hair and makeup artists I admire and for standing firm and only booking the clients I truly madly deeply want for 2012 weddings. I’m so grateful. Thank you, Lara, for making the space here for all of us to realize why. xo.

  161. Karen Schlink

    Man, this month FLEW by! I have to admit, this month was a bit of a struggle due to home life issues. But in the end, every hard moment was 110% worth it and made me so much stronger. By far the biggest thing I’ve learned this month is PATIENCE. I was sick for two weeks straight from pushing myself too much and not taking time for myself, and it took me another week to recuperate completely. During that recuperation period, I forced myself to do work, pushed my body, and put myself into over drive. That led to me getting sick again, naturally. This is when I really stopped life for a few days- just sleeping, relaxing, and just letting life take its course. I didn’t worry, I didn’t stress out, I just relaxed and let things happen. And when I did this, so many wonderful things happened! I’m learning how to balance work life with personal life- and it’s not easy. What’s easy is saying, “Okay, no more emails after 5pm”, but what’s hard is that last thought before you go to bed thinking, “Well, if I just message so and so right now, it’ll be okay!” Really setting boundaries is key and something I am working on.
    This month was about babysteps, just tackling a few small things. Now these small things are leading to bigger things, which is such a blessing! Sounds crazy, but I am so thankful I was sick! If I hadn’t, I would have never taken the time to relax and really see what was going on.
    Here’s to April, taking baby steps, relaxing, and Making Things Happen! :)

  162. Andrea

    So thankful & needed this! I am ready to take your challenge. to make. it. happen. I’ll be checking in again :) :)

  163. Meredith

    I finally got the courage to start my own business! This challenge is exactly what i need. My goal is to be able to quit my day job and be a full time photographer. With the help of MTH I’m on my way!

  164. challenge yourself « beka.g.photography.

    [...] by beka.g.photography. “In yesterday’s Monday Motivation I mentioned that I was starting The Challenge, which is basically a 10-step boot camp for making things happen. Things like this ordinarily [...]

  165. Portia Chandler

    GRATEFUL, AND INSPIRED by this post. At 5:40am God encouraged me through this blog. I have always been known for making things happen in others life and I am sure we both agree that at times doing it for yourself can be a challenge, I have gained strength and the kick in the BUTT I needed to refocus. Be blessed and keep Pressing

  166. April

    I have been hit and miss with my staying on the “focused track” so this weekend I took a total social media break which was perfect. I was able to spend time with the family and then finally get some much needed work done on my new website. I have been trying really hard not to work on the computer when the kids are awake so I can focus my time on them and on the house. It has been tricky for me finding the right balance, with getting stuff done. I realized facebook and blogs is a HUGE distraction, even when I limit myself it is too much!

  167. Natalie

    So have an another update to share now that the challenge has been extended (a big thanks to Lara Casey). So “removing the distractions” has been an important lesson lately and one that we talked about in detail at MTH Tampa. Distractions can be in the form of social media, current situations and even people in your life. Now that I am making some big changes by transitioning from my day job to Chic Sweets (full time), I’ve found myself only sharing the news with my “core group,” my inner circle of friends and family that challenge me but also keep me positive. On the other hand, I’ve found myself holding off on telling those people that are great, but tend to sometimes bring me down, or fill me with doubts. I realize that may hurt feelings, but (taking deep breath), sometimes I think you have think about yourself and how you can grow with great people surrounding you. So making progress….baby steps. Have a great day everyone!

  168. Jenni Bailey

    Since starting this challenge, I have accomplished things I never even admitted to myself that I wanted. I let fear and self-imposed odds and obstacles hold me back. I went with Plan B (or C or sometimes D) because Plan A seemed impractical or silly or…something. I don’t even remember now. Now I wake up every morning with my heart pounding, so excited to dive in and learn and work towards a goal that feels brand new (even though it’s actually and old one that just got buried somewhere along the line). The biggest part for me right now is setting boundaries. I have to force myself to turn off the computer and go to bed at night. I remind myself that sleeping isn’t the same as losing momentum, it’s just recharging so I can go ahead at full speed again tomorrow. I feel more confident and capable and excited than I ever have before. I honestly didn’t even realize this level of inspired joy was possible. Completely exhilarating.

  169. [fearless friday] fear, banished | thebarntales

    [...] 4×6 index card of TheChallenge [...]

  170. Kim Percival

    I have been working this challenge whenever I can. You know this from our work together in Making Brands Happen. I have implemented many of steps outlined above, but still struggle with eliminating distractions. That would be the distraction of my children! Ha! But it’s not about elimination really, but finding the balance needed to be present in both aspects of life, business & personal. It’s been a work in progress & I continue to make progress. I’ll let you all know when I figure it out! To help in this though I will be going back to our MTH exercise of not only outlining my ideal day, but also my ideal week & maybe even month. I think this will help identify areas where I am wasting time or can combine tasks to be more efficient, thereby eliminating the unnecessary.

    As always Lara. Thanks for the push you give to us all to be better.

  171. Kim Percival

    And I forgot, I struggle often with naming my fears. I have come to realize a huge fear of mine, which I have never named before & actually, recently discovered is the fear of self-promotion. I never want to shamelessly promote myself, but realize that I can tastefully promote myself & I need to! So with the launch of my new identity, I will get over myself & promote.

  172. weekend wonder : the no phone zone « beka.g.photography.

    [...] Penny De Los Santos’ creativeLIVE weekend on food photography, rereading and reimplementing The Challenge, diving into a few new books and magazines, and possibly venturing out for a Barnes and Noble [...]

  173. MAKING THINGS HAPPEN :: THE JOURNEY

    [...] It’s never perfect but worth working hard for. AHHHH… TRUTH well spoken. She also launched ‘the challenge’, a great recap of the work we did (for those of you who couldn’t attend) and a fantastic tune-up [...]

  174. What Works For You? | Honeysuckle Life

    [...] What are possible ways to achieve your goal? For organization: Franklin Covey, David Allen, Lara Casey, Action Method. For exercise: go to the gym, workout outside, swim, run, jump, hike, bike, zumba, [...]

  175. an interview with Lara Casey!!…publisher and editor-in-chief of Southern Weddings Magazine | Southern Grace Design

    [...] series dedicated to building a solid foundation and clearing the clutter in life and business:  http://laracasey.com/blog/2011/03/02/the-challenge/  I also have an incredibly driven team that keeps all the wheels turning.  I couldn’t do my [...]

  176. Time in perspective «

    [...] reminds me of The Challenge by Lara [...]

  177. Kim Percival Photography | Making Things Happen

    [...] that being said, it was meant to be that the overall message and lessons of the intensive (see The Challenge for a highlight) stuck with me during my family’s move from New Jersey to Texas 3 months [...]

  178. Clearing the Clutter « Iris Multimedia – Greensboro, NC Wedding and Portrait Photography

    [...] knew when I woke up this morning that something needed to change. Today, I revisited The Challenge by the ever-inspiring Lara Casey. This amazing set of blog posts is designed to help you cut out the [...]

  179. Happy September! » nancy ray photography

    [...] thing that is a proud accomplishment of this past month is the fact that I completed The Challenge. Every single step.  This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time, but I [...]

  180. Fully Myself « Ashley Morgan Arts

    [...] constructive criticism and learning from the experience, holding on to hope, learning to listen, taking action on the things that I care about, and showing grace to myself and others. [...]

  181. The challenge. « 2012: Gratitude and Attitude

    [...] to get fired up?  I found this: http://laracasey.com/blog/2011/03/02/the-challenge/  through another blog and love the motivation and ideas offered.  A suggestion on this post that [...]

  182. Today « Monica Brown Photography [Blog]

    [...] last year, I am fully seeing the results.  I have been (and still am) a work in progress.  But THIS CHALLENGE started it all.  And the journey has been rewarding, enlightening, and has lead to such a peaceful [...]

  183. beka stays real : my Making Things Happen application | beka stays

    [...] About a year ago I blogged about taking the Making Things Happen Challenge. [...]

  184. Sheila Sheridan

    I just found your website today from Hello Gorgeous blog..and fell in love. I am going to start your challenge tomorrow and excited to see some new changes :) I also am soo excited to find a blog that is connecting with mine…Dreaming awake, acting on your dreams in order to make them happen and CHOOSING joy where you are. Amen. Excited to be a new follower!

  185. Starting Over: 101 goals in 1001 days!! | Alyse French Photography | Houston-Based Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

    [...] 70. Be selected as a Little Black Book vendor for Style Me Pretty 71. Snazzy-up the blog a bit (Completed 3/22/12) 72. Complete the CLEAN Program 73. Write a systems manual for the business 74. Trick out my office/meeting space in our new home 75. Establish vendor referral system 76. Establish strict 9AM-5PM office hours 77. Retake the Myers-Briggs test again 78. Complete The Challenge [...]

  186. Rebranding L+L in Africa | Lemon + Lavender

    [...] in one of these lows, a few months after we landed in Africa, I discovered through a dear friend, The Challenge. Lara's inspiring challenge really help push me to start making things happen. I was so lost [...]

  187. Clearing the Clutter (and A Surprise Find) | Elizabeth Ashleigh

    [...] you this was a year for change and making things happen, right? Well, I started the year by taking The Challenge by Lara Casey. Truly a great process to help you change your life for the better by helping you [...]

  188. Lucy Celebrates | Dream Home

    [...] that I have completed The Challenge, I am working on the personal brand section of my new branding report. One of the questions asked [...]

  189. February Goals | Elizabeth Ashleigh

    [...] Define 2013 goals • Find an accountability partner • Take The Challenge • Stick to daily goals • Establish good habits/ set myself up for success • Plan a girls [...]

  190. Olimb Photography Blog » what did, what didnt, and what’s next

    [...] the challenge – i’m a stickler for getting things checked off my to do list. if i do something that [...]

  191. To Name Your Fears Is To Destroy Them | Light and Hope Photography

    [...] incredible, Lara Casey’s blog, has given me a jump start on getting things done. I joined, The Challenge, not to long ago, and on July 10th there will be a massive check up. I have to make sure I’ve [...]

  192. Destroying Fears | Photographs by Jenna Leigh

    [...] because at the time, we probably didn’t comprehend what they even meant. A sweet blogger, Lara, once said “To name your fears is to destroy them.” A bold sentiment, but something I [...]