Anyone feeling like they need a little motivation lately? Some clarity? Focus? (Hand raised!) Welcome. You are in good company. Let’s light that fire again today, shall we?

I wrote a series on Goal Setting & Setting Yourself Up for Success at the start of this year because I got really tired of NOT making progress. Yes, I have made a lot of “things” happen, but deep down in my soul, there were things I have felt God pulling me to do that I just hadn’t done. So, this year, I wanted to be more accountable. I didn’t want to end another year with regret. I wanted to make LIFE happen. Turns out, a lot of you felt the same way.

If you are just stumbling on my blog for the first time, or if you need to start fresh, below are the links to get you moving. It doesn’t matter that it’s April. It’s NEVER to late to do what matters and start LIVING. How many people need to hear that again?? (hand raised!)

lara casey blog

GOAL SETTING + MAKING THINGS HAPPEN

GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 1
GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 2
GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 3
GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 4
GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 5
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: CLEAR THE CLUTTER
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: PREPARE FOR GREATNESS
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: TAKE A BREAK!
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: NAME YOUR FEAR
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: CREATE BOUNDARIES
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: ENCOURAGE OTHERS
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: THE BIG LIST

GIVEAWAY: If you started with me on your goal setting in January or even just last week, I’d love to hear about your progress, big or small. The goal here is PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. Honest updates will help you move forward. So, weigh in below. I hope to encourage you or pray for you. And you just might inspire someone else with your comment! As motivation for you, I’m giving away gold foil prints from my shop and a pair of Tieks (since the first winner never claimed them – YAY!)! So, comment below and fill me in! We’ll check in again on July 10th and October 10th. Mark your calendars!

LARA-CASEY-GIVEAWAY

First, a couple big things I learned overall. As I wrote in January, goals change! I’m listing my progress below on the goals I set in January, but I’ve recently updated my goals using my PowerSheets to mirror the change I’ve felt in my heart the last few months. More on that in a later post. It is so important to evaluate your goals and focus often. The second big thing I’ve learned is that, the more prayerful I am in my decisions, the more radically God changes my path and takes me to places I never thought possible! I’ve seen this play out countless times this year and it’s something I have really had to work hard on. For accountability, I’ve made it widely known in our office that making slower, more prayerful decisions is something I am focusing on. My staff appreciates this too, I think. It makes me a better listener, makes me seek more wise counsel and it means GOD is in control, not me! His plans never fail. I am impulsive by nature, so this has been a huge change and an enormous blessing to practice prayerful decision-making.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

– Proverbs 3:5-6

Goal 1: To know God more by learning about Him in the Bible and through prayer because knowing God means I will know what is right and good and He will direct my path. Everything good comes from that. God is my compass. I want to know everything I can possibly know about God so I can align my life with His will. I want to know God so I can change for the better for everyone in my life. I want to study the Bible and pray without ceasing. That means a lot of things, namely less time in my phone and on email and on extraneous projects and more focused time without distractions, reading. My goal in short: read and pray daily. Repeat.

// YES! This is the goal I am most focused on this year and where I’ve stayed very diligent. I am so grateful for God placing this on my heart. This has changed my heart the most out of anything I’ve ever done in my life. I am, admittedly, a VERY unfocused reader. I don’t read books often. Just the Bible, and before this year, it was just a chapter or a verse randomly without a real plan. In years past, I’d buy all the latest business books and read one chapter and they would collect dust soon after. I’ve always been very hard on myself about this and tried so hard to stay invested in reading. But, now I’m seeing God’s plan in all of this. He wanted my head to be filled with Him first, not someone else’s ideas. Don’t get me wrong, books are great. This is just what I’m seeing God’s specific plan for me has been. I’ve read a book of the Bible each week so far and, using the Goal Plan I mapped out with my PowerSheets, I plan to finish by December 31st. I’ve never been so fulfilled in anything! My marriage to Ari and bringing Grace into the world are close seconds. God’s word is life-giving.

lara casey powersheets

Goal 2: I want Ari and I to have a more thriving joyful marriage because that will help us be our best for each other and Grace and everyone in our lives. Because we are stronger as individuals when we are stronger as a couple. Last year was truly a year of transition and miracles and this year, I want to celebrate life more together. My goal is to plan something epic for our seven year anniversary on March 18th. I also want to plan something really special for Valentine’s Day. I want to plan adventures every week, even if they are really tiny. I want to make Ari feel special and help him be his best. I want to open my heart and let him in more. I know I have a self-protecting wall up most of the time. I want to learn more about what God wants for our marriage and I want to DO those things. I want to help other couples do those things, too. I want to lead by example, in our failures and triumphs.

// OK, this was like 10 goals in one and very ambitious. Phew! Apparently, I’m really excited about our marriage!? This was a lesson that simple is always better and that God truly changes our hearts when we study His word and pray to ask Him for guidance. Ari and I prayed about what to do for our anniversary and Valentine’s Day and… are you ready for this? We went to Whole Foods for both! Once with Grace and once with Susan babysitting. And you know what? It was the best anniversary and Valentine’s Day we’ve ever had together! We focused on praising God for all we’ve been through together and for how he’s changed our marriage, not on a fancy dinner or vow renewal. It was so good. And, as for the rest of our marriage… well, that’s been the best it has ever been these last months. Not without lots of challenge and spats when we are tired from work and weary from parenting, but it has been focused on what matters. God and our family and trying to do God’s will every day. If you want to know more about our story, read here and join us for the Amazing Life Together webinar.

Goal 3: I want to become more physically strong so I can be full of energy to do God’s work every day and give to others. I stopped weight training last year and that is the longest time I’ve been out of the gym. I want to be physically strong so I can live a long healthy active life and be able to teach Grace about God and how to live a good life through my actions. I want to fuel my body to do good things. I want to recognize when I am tempted to use food to control my emotions and choose God instead through prayer, reading, stepping outside to take a deep breath or just by being still and having a good cry if I need to.

// This goal progress makes me laugh. I was on a ROLL in January and February. And then, in March, I found this tiny little black bug on the headboard of our bed and suddenly life got cray-zay. ONE BUG turned into a $1000 bed bug treatment where 5 bug-sniffing dogs came and then they brought 4 commercial heaters in, plugged into literally every outlet in our house and heated our bedroom to 400 degrees for 4 hours to kill said bug/s. We slept in my office for a week. And, even with this heat treatment craziness, I didn’t want to touch the elliptical and weights that live in our bedroom for a couple weeks. So, I veered off my workout plan and ran the stairs in our house for a while. I’m just getting back to business with my fitness this week. But, God works in funny ways sometimes. I had to order a new headboard cover after this fiasco and, for an extra $7, I decided to add our family monogram to it. Why is this so significant? Because, I’ve had it on my heart to finally change my name very soon. I’ve prayed about it for years and God firmly placed it on my heart recently in celebrating our seven year anniversary. It’s time. I’ll keep my name for business, but soon I will be Mrs. Lara Austin Casey Isaacson : ) OK, now that I told you all, I have to follow-through! Keep me accountable!

lara casey headboard

Goal 4: I want to stop breastfeeding, Lord willing, by Valentines day (I started weaning last week) and stay emotionally fit, despite the hormonal changes. I want to keep my energy up and give thanks, despite my current feelings (imagine if you didn’t have a period for two years and your hormones decided to start creating one… that’s where I am). I want to do whatever I can naturally to regulate my hormones so that I can be my best for my family, my staff and my friends. I also really want those 3+ hours a day back to do more for God every day. And, at the same time, I don’t want to lose the beautiful thing I have learned in all of this – that taking time to be still during the day is a very good thing.

// OK, this one, I am so excited to update you on because it taught me SO much about trusting God. I was so so so afraid to stop breastfeeding. I was afraid of the hormone changes being similar to what I experienced with PPD and I was afraid of Grace not getting the best nutrients. I tried to gradually taper off of the pump and, when I stopped, I was in severe pain for a good 10 days. Severe, I-can’t-sleep, don’t-hug-me, this-is-all-I-can-think-about pain. It was the same week as the Making Things Happen Conference where I really wanted to hug a lot of people, too. No hugs for me. But, despite my physical pain, emotionally I felt… FREE. Suddenly, I had 2-3 hours of time added to every single day and I felt like I was on vacation. I could go wherever I wanted to go without worrying about having to be home every couple hours to pump. I was AMAZING and still is. I felt some anxiety for a few days as my hormones shifted, but nothing near what PPD was like. It was a huge lesson to trust God. He brought me through 15 months of breastfeeding and I am so grateful to have had that time and now be on the other side of it. Just yesterday, I finally got my period back after 2 and a half years (crazy, right?), so that’s the only challenge right now. But, I know my body is doing what it’s supposed to do. We’re considering having another baby sometime this year, but still praying on it.

Goal 5: I want to be humble and learn a lot this year about a lot of things so I can do what I do well. I want to learn skills that will help me be a light for other’s to know God. I want to be a better more skilled designer so I can spend less time creating graphics and so I can create inspiring products that help people focus on what is good in life. I want to learn to be a better leader so I can build my team up and equip them to do the same for others. I want to learn how to cook special dishes that make my family feel special. I want to learn how to keep plants alive more than a few weeks. I want to continue my calligraphy training so that I can write beautiful letters to special friends. I want to learn how to be a better writer so I can communicate my thoughts in a more compelling authentic way. I want to learn how to do my job in a more direct, powerful, efficient way so I can make more of an impact on everyone I meet. I want to learn more about investing and finances so I can be a better steward of our money. I want to learn so I can give more.

// Design – Nicole has been teaching me all sorts of amazing things! We’re working on new shop products together now that I’m really happy with. Leading – I’ve been studying the Old Testament leaders in the Bible and following our new staff meeting agenda. So helpful. Cooking – I haven’t made anything miraculous, but I have made a much better effort to cook for Grace. She loooves “brockie” and turkey. Plants – We just closed on our house, so we’re finally getting our yard landscaped! We’re putting in raised vegetable beds all along one side of the house and I can’t wait to get out and garden with Grace. As for keeping houseplants alive… the clovers I bought in early March haven’t died yet. Progress, my friends. Calligraphy – I decided to focus on my handwriting instead. I’ve been having a lot of fun with my #LaraNotes posts on Instagram. Writing – Yes, and this has been humbling. I’ve started to look up grammar rules that I am constantly confused by and really stop to study. Job efficiency – Yes. How’s that for an efficient update? I’ve been forced to be more efficient as my work time has been more crunched with Grace’s needs (and my love of being with her). Finances – I just hired a book keeper. I have learned I CANNOT manage this not-so-small business by myself as it expands. I hope this bookkeeper will truly help us streamline and continue to grow. I’ll keep you posted.

Goal 6: I want to learn how to be more efficient and reach more people with less time away from my family. I want to spend less time on the phone with clients and far less timing emailing. My goal is to find revenue streams this year that are more automated, yet help people in a profound personal way.

// Yes, our shop has done well and I’ve continued to fight for my boundaries to keep my time focused on what matters. Read more about how I set boundaries here. I’ve also discovered ways to be more productive with clients. Phone calls help us have less email together (great for both of us!) and I generally get more accomplished with a client on the phone. There is a far greater personal connection, and that’s the goal. Since I’ve been more prayerful with client work and intentional in how I guide them, I am also loving my work more. I cherish my client calls because, while I might be the one teaching, I end up learning more than I think I teach just in the act of listening. Another rather large development in all of this is that Emily and I decided after the MTH Conference that it is time to take our process to a whole new level. We’ll be taking less full branding clients and making our process more accessible to people who really need it. We’ll be revealing details later this summer. We’re taking big risks for what matters. Also, I had lots of speaking inquiries this year and prayed HARD about which opportunities God wanted me to take. I chose these four and a few other local events that I’m excited about. I fought hard to limit it in order to maximize my time at home.

2013 SPEAKING

Goal 7: I want to learn how to be a better mom. I currently don’t read anything on parenting. I fly by the seat of my pants. I want to learn from others who do it well and become a mother full of wisdom so that Grace can be her best under our care. I want to raise her to be giving and pure and to have a heart of grateful JOY. I want to help Grace have more play friends and be a living example of the Bible for her in our actions. I want to be much more patient and less controlling and let go of my life so I can live in hers.

// I love what I’m about to type. I love being Grace’s mom. I didn’t love being a mom for a long while. I still don’t love some of the harder parts like the many sleepless nights, but then I see how God changes Ari and me in those challenging times. I love Grace so much. Her joy for life is contagious and I want to be around her all the time. I started reading more on parenting (even the first two chapters in Raising Godly Tomatoes helped me immensely!) and praying for wisdom. Grace has daily toddler meltdowns, but I feel pretty calm in handling them now. Getting her to sleep on her own is another story…

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/laragrace
Photo by my dear friend, Gina.

Goal 8: I want to continue to build a remarkable business that is a catalyst for real LOVE. I want my clients to have better LIVES and I want our brides to have strong MARRIAGES. I want to be a centered sounding board and prayerfully guide my clients this year to their fullest potential. My goal is to always come back to our CORE and to keep refining it.

// YES YES and YES! It becomes clearer and clear to me by the day that, the more we focus on our core and refine it to align with God’s will, the more powerful our work is on all levels. Our core mission is to inspire brides to cultivate a life full of love – celebrating their families, the rich culture of the South and what matters most to them – and then to draw from that rich well to create a meaningful beginning to married life! Through our weekly staff meetings and all of the decisions we make, we come back to this core mission daily and it clarifies everything. Another big core-focused goal for me was to host a powerful Making Things Happen Conference in March, and God made that happen. It was the first time we’ve done a 2-day format with guest speakers and a big group, and we learned so much for next time, but overall it was life-changing. I am so grateful! My update on Goal #6 speaks to leading my clients prayerfully. Lastly, I’ve also been very prayerful about which branding and consulting clients to accept (we’re not accepting any more 2013 clients now in anticipation of our new process launching later this year) and I adore every single one of our current clients. We do our best work when our clients’ vision matches ours and I’m so pleased with God’s matchmaking this year : )

Goal 9: To learn how to take better photographs for myself so that I can remember Grace as she is in these sweet moments. I am not really sure why for this goal. It feels like a very God-centered goal, but it’s something I can’t explain. I have this connection to great photographs… they somehow speak to my soul. They change me. I think a gift God gave me was to be able to see the vision of a photograph to create. I can see moments and the big picture and a vision. I don’t have the technical skills to match that to capture the moments I see, if that makes sense. I even bought a great camera last year. It hasn’t been used yet because I get really frustrated with technology and numbers and learning new skills that I have to read a manual for. I want to learn the technical skills of how to take the photographs that I see in my heart.

// Thanks to Nicole and our intern Jessica giving me some pointers (and adjusting my camera settings!) I feel much more comfortable with my little Canon Rebel. I also bought a few cheap foam core boards to use as light reflectors and have had a lot of fun with even my iPhone photos lately!

Goal 10: I want to live with less, keep a new budget based on the historical data we have from 2012, and be more frugal this year because my money is not mine. It’s God’s and I want to do more with our money for Him. I want to not only give away things I don’t need, but give away things I love. Ari is really good at this. His favorite sweater was in our charity pile this weekend and, when I asked him about it, he said he said that it wasn’t really giving unless you were giving something you didn’t want to give away for the sake of someone else. I love that. I want to be more sacrificial in my giving.

// I did well with giving a lot away early this year. I sold a lot for charity and cleared a ton of clutter. The budget, despite hours and hours of work and prayer and conversation, is still yet to be determined. This is the area I am most frustrated with because I am the kind of person that wants things solidified and running smoothly yesterday. We have been in so much flux with not knowing where we were going to be living earlier this year, what Ari’s job and salary would be, how much our mortgage would be wherever we were living, how my business would shape up with me wanting to work less as Grace grows, etc. So, we made a temporary budget that we’ve loosely stuck to and decided to make a new budget when all of those other factors were solidified. Thankfully, they were all solidified as of last week. But, there’s another factor here that has everything to do with the big “P” word… pride. I don’t know how to blog about this without just laying all the facts out. So, here goes. If you know anything about medical training, you can guess that I’ve been the breadwinner in our house for the last few years. After having my parents and Ari support me for so long, I have been very grateful to have the joy of providing for our family for these last years, doing work that I love. Now that Ari is about to finally finish his medical training after 26 years of school (his fellowship ends in July), I will no longer be the breadwinner. Admittedly, I’ve been feeling a little sad about this. And it has made me see how prideful my heart has been in holding the “breadwinner” title. But, even more than that, this process has shown me God’s heart for our marriage. Can you see a theme here?? I am changing my name soon as a way to be closer to Ari and honor his desire for us to share a family name — and so we don’t keep having awkward moments like at our church conference a couple weeks ago when we had to go to two separate registration tables on opposite ends of the room. Ari has been so patient with me and, after that, he just looked at me and said softly, “are you still thinking of changing your name?” Oh my heart. Yes, my darling wonderful husband… I cannot wait to change it now. And let go of control of our finances so you can finally feel the joy of providing for us that you’ve worked so hard for and so we can do this together. Not one or the other, but “bread-winning” as a TEAM! GO TEAM ISAACSON!!!! (Guys, I just got all teary-eyed with excitement!) And did I mention that Grace said “Isaacson” yesterday? I love this Paloma’s Nest house plaque that Emily got us as an anniversary present.

Lara and Ari house plate

Goal 11: I want to build other’s up in faith and give lots of tools this year for people to make that happen. I want to study the Bible with others in my home and online. Going back to goal 1, I want to know the Bible so I can share it with others. Showing people the new life that I have been given and the indescribable JOY and freedom and love and genuine purpose I have found in this new life… well, that is something I want to share. Big time. If you were to find the most beautiful island in the world, you would want to invite all your friends. That’s how I feel about being in a relationship with God. I want everyone to be able to feel this goodness. I want to equip people with basic tools to know God more.

// God has allowed me to share my testimony a LOT lately. And I see the fruit of how He is using my journey to bring others to Him. It’s AWESOME to watch God work and the greatest joy of my life to be His. I am fiercely committed to sharing what God has done in my life and continues to do. I have yet to study the Bible with anyone in my house, one-on-one (if anyone wants to do this, let me know!), but I have been praying a lot lately about starting a women’s Bible study group here. If anyone would be interested, let me know in the comments. And I still don’t have clarity on how to do a Bible study here on the blog. I will continue to pray about that. If anyone has ideas on what they’d love to learn or be encouraged about, let me know that, too.

Goal 12: I want to finally WRITE MY BOOK. I already have most of the content written and just need to put it together. Nicole and I started talking about the printing and technical aspects of this before the end of the year, so it’s in the works. My goal is to release it before the end of 2013, if not sooner. I want it to be timeless and done well so it will help creatives make things happen year after year. I want it to be a legacy for Grace to learn from as well.

// So, I have a rather miraculous update here. Emily and I were in my living room before the Making Things Happen Conference, writing an outline for the book we’ve been dreaming about, and I stopped to check my email for a moment… and promptly leapt up from my chair, started crying and praising God at the top of my lungs! All I could do was turn the computer around for Emily to read the email because I couldn’t stop saying, “WHAT!? WHAAAAAT!?!? GOD IS AWESOME!!!” I got an email from one of my dream publishing houses, asking me to develop a book with them. How crazy is that timing!?? Fast forward to today. I now have a wonderful literary agent and am working on the book proposal this month. This process honestly terrifies me and fills my heart with joy and peace at the same time. It’s a new world for me and a long process ahead, but I am ready. I repeat: God is AWESOME.

Goal 13: I want to continue to paint and create products for small creative spaces that inspire people to live better lives. God is the ultimate creator and I believe He gave all of us creative talents that are meant to be USED. I want to use my creative gifts much more this year: design, painting and singing.

// We successfully launched the LC Shop and sales have been very consistent with little to no marketing. I post about products I’m using every now and then on Instagram, but that’s it. The hardest part has been the back-end. Shop management is brand new for all of us, so there have been a lot of growing pains. Read more about our good growing pains here. The PowerSheets have been our most popular product besides the AMEN print (my favorite), and have sold out now THREE TIMES! These first-run PowerSheets have been our beta sets to see how they help people over the next months. We’re planning to expand on them in the fall from what we learn in using them ourselves, too! Many more new products coming soon. I’ve also spent a lot of time painting and creating new pieces. I paint for my dad. He always wanted me to be an artist. My parents encouraged me to use my creative gifts often and never told me I had to get a “real job”. For that I am EXTREMELY grateful. So I work hard every day to instill the same belief in others and give them tools to make their creative dreams happen. I think of my dad every time I paint. I can’t tell you what a joy it is to call him when someone purchases one of my paintings or a copy of Southern Weddings or a product from the LC Shop. He beams with joy. Thank you, friends. I’m so grateful.

lara casey shop paintings

Goal 14: An immediate goal I have is to finish my website. It’s been over a year in the making and it’s a monster. The coding is almost done, my shop is populated and I just have a lot of site content to populate now. I’m hoping we can launch it late this month!

// DONE! We launched and I still love this site more than all the Luna Bars and chickens in the world!

Goal 15: I want to foster my friendships is a purposeful, focused way because then I will build a stronger bond with my friends and we can do more good things for others together. I want to be more prayerful for my friends, even when they don’t know it. I want to do surprise things for them to make them feel special and build their faith and capacity to love.

// I will let them speak to this, but I have made a much stronger effort to be a better friend and to pray for my friends often. I’m definitely not perfect and there are a couple friendships I’d love to have more time to grow, but my recent motto between work and being a mom and a wife is, “do what you can with what you have.” I’m no good for anyone if I am carrying guilt around about not being enough.

Goals 16: I want to support new moms more. I had a really hard time after Grace was born and several friends sent me care packages that really made a difference. I started a new moms group and my goal is to have several care packages and cards ready to go for new mamas and expecting mama friends that I can send out right away. I want to support new moms locally, too.

// Yes, I have loved working on this goal. I stocked up on Preggie Pops and little baby gifts and have sent lots of fun goodies out.

Goal 17: I want to send more real mail to build stronger connections with others, because hopefully it will help people feel God’s love.

// I sent out about 50 letters this week to thank so many people for donating to Susan’s mission fund and launched my #SpreadGoodnessToday project in the process. It was also a huge blessing that Nicole helped me create new stationery that I LOVE. I’ll post some fun pics soon. Great progress here!

scripture cards - spread goodness-1

Goal 18: I want to do more random acts of kindness. As often as possible because these things can help people feel hope and know that God is good. A little kindness can change someone’s life for the better.

// See above. I hope you’ll join me on Instagram and share your #SpreadGoodnessToday story. Post either something kind someone has done for you or something you are doing for someone else. Spread some love around and share! You never know who you might inspire!

Goal 19: I want to show my family God’s love through my actions so that they will know Him more and trust in Him. My family is going through a lot right now. They need a lot of love. My goal is to be sacrificial with my time and resources so I can support them and take care of them in their distress.

// Yes, God is good. I was able to visit my parents (and surprise them by bringing Grace with me!) in February. It was a really good visit. We are making plans to go again soon all together. But, there is still a big longing I have here. Without going into too many details, my dad needs lots of encouragement. He calls me every day to tell me he loves me because he thinks he won’t be around for much longer. He is struggling a lot and asks us to come visit him constantly. It’s so hard for me not being a quick drive away from them. My crazy prayer is still that God somehow moves them here to North Carolina so we can all be together. Till then, I hope we can go visit really soon and I pray for my dad daily, that he would feel God’s peace. I trust that God has a really beautiful plan here because He started it already. The one year anniversary of my dad’s baptism is on Monday. Can we just talk about how amazing that is!? At 77 years old, a year ago, my dad was baptized by my husband. Blows my mind just typing it. THAT is why I believe in the impossible, my friends. I have proof of God in every facet of my life.

Goal 20: I want to be like Moses this year in the way he trusted and just DID what God said to do. He let God use him. I want to be open to change and trust that God always has the perfect plan. No matter what.

// As with all of these goals, ALL the glory to God! He has put a great peace in my heart this year, knowing that NO MATTER WHAT comes my way, He is in control. That is a scary thing to say and trust in at times, but the fruit of what God has already done in our lives is too sweet to mistake as anything but God’s goodness. It’s there for everyone. For you. Right now. No matter what you’ve done in the past or how lost you feel… God is here. He will make everything in your life change for the better even with faith as tiny as a mustardseed. That’s all it takes for God to make a giant tree of life grow in your heart.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” – Luke 17:5-6

So, what is it that you want to make happen? Comment below to tell me about your progress this year, what’s been a challenge for you, and what you look forward to ahead. We’ll check in again on July 10th. I want to hear from you this week so I can hopefully encourage you and so you can also encourage each other. Make it happen, friends. No more lurking. Making things happen means taking action. So, fill me in! Remember, this is about PROGRESS, not perfection : ) It’s never too late to make life happen. It’s never too late to start. Start today.

GIVEAWAY ENDS MAY 1, so there’s plenty of time to check in!

193 Show Comments
  1. Katie O'Keefe

    Oh my goodness, Lara! So much has happened since setting goals with you this January to literally today! Once I opened my heart to Jesus and gave Him permission to scare me with BIG things, blessings came pouring in. (Kylie and I have e-mailed you a tiny bit of what He is doing in our life over here in Oklahoma) I do have to say the BIG blessings and BIG dreams bring a responsibility that scares me. I want to share this, appreciate it and get others to see the light that you’ve helped turn on for me and some many others. It is certainly progress, not perfection. But for once, my heart is 100% in this – thanks to you and your honesty and love!

    • Lara

      YES!!!! You’ve been on my heart so much the last couple days! I ave emails coming to you and Kylie soon! God is doing AMAZING things in your lives – WOW!!!!!!

    • Kylie Swanson

      Laughing so hard seeing that we both commented within minutes of each other 🙂 and SO HAPPY to hear again what amazing things are happening for you after opening your heart to Jesus to some BIG things! I just adore you!

  2. Kylie Swanson

    Lara—this is SO magnificent! I love reading your goals again & seeing your progress! It truly fires me up beyond belief! Also…

    I have been PRAYING and PRAYING for you to bring a Bible Study to the blog! Goodness gracious that would be amazing! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this with all of us…it truly is the most encouraging thing! Love your heart to pieces!

  3. Emily

    One of my main goals is working on my health. I’ve recently lost over 70 lbs, but got comfortable and lazy and kept making excuses. I ended up putting back on 10 lbs, and stopped exercising. But I’m back at it. Is hard for me to remember that there will always be slip ups, and not to beat myself up over them.

    I have many, many other goals of course. I’m trying to work on being able to work towards all of hem without feeling so overwhelemed.

    You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your life, faith, business, family, etc. with us all. You seem likeSUCH a wonderful woman of God, and you really glow with His light.

    • Lara

      Wow, what a remarkable accomplishment! I am high-fiving you right now!! You can do it, my friend! You inspire me.

  4. Lena

    Lara, I am working on making my work life balance more appropriate. I feel like I spend all day at work, then go home and work/ or do grad school work. I am trying to institute a no computer on MWF nights and spend those days spending more time with my fiancee and our dog. So far it has been working about 75%, I just need to continue on this!

    • Lara

      Awesome, Lena! You can do it! It will be so worth making this effort.

  5. Erin

    20 goals!!!! WOW- go you!!! & fantastic progress!!!! I have a similar goal re: budgeting – have you tried mint.com ? I’ve found it to be SO helpful!

    • Lara

      Yes, Mint wasn’t enough for us for business but we have used it for personal budgeting and like it.

  6. Amanda

    oh Lara this sets my heart on FIRE!! I am SO proud of you, and all your accomplishments!! One of my big goals (since MTH in Oct) was to move away from my parents and the life they had layed out for me… I am so happy that I HAVE!! God has blessed me and continues to bless me since being here. I’ve sent so many hard emails, and said some really hard things, and He has blessed it ALL!! I’m still working on spending constant/consistent time with Him. I’ve decided to do Nancy Ray’s #ContentmentChallenge and actually the day after it started tieks emailed me to let me know the color/size I wanted was back in… I had to take a moment but I successfully have managed (so far) not to order them!! (so to say i’d love to win them would be an understatement.) I have so much, and learning to be content in Him and what I have will be a hard but amazing lesson to learn. Theres much more but thats me right now! Been praying hard for your new nanny! God has the perfect person in store for you and your family 🙂
    Lots of Love,
    Amanda

  7. Yasmin Sarai

    Thank you so much for sharing Lara… It encourages me so much! <3

  8. Meredith

    I am SO motivated to graduate college in just a few months!! Lara, you are so inspiring with your gentle sprit and obedient heart for the Lord. You are such a role model for me and I am inspired daily by your fervent heart for the Lord. I have always wanted to work with weddings, I did so last summer and l o v e d it, and keeping up with you makes me want to do it even more! There is so much joy, creativity, life and a place to witness in this field and I am so thankful I came across your many businesses a long time ago. As an artist myself, watching you fulfill your dreams in that area too is incredible!!! Plans after college are up in the air but I KNOW He is faithful and I am determined to be obedient and follow in what He has for me! That is my goal!! Thank you for encouraging and empowering women to do what they love, you are a light in this world, Casey! The Lord is definitely looking down on you saying “well done, my good and faithful servant!” The Lord has great things planned ahead, I pray He puts goals on my heart that I will run after!! The path may not always be clear but He is unfailing and His love pulls us through. YAY!!! How awesome is that!! Thank you, Casey for reminding us to do what matters and live to the fullest. Such an inspiration you are!!! 🙂

  9. Lauren

    Wow – I love how detailed you are in your goals and how well you follow through. Since MTH, I’ve had alot on my heart that I’m now really starting to bring to reality. My biggest goal though, is to get closer to God and that’s the one that I’m struggling with. Reading your goals really do help me with my own. I love your devotion to God and doing what’s right.

  10. Lindsey

    Hi! I gave birth to my beautiful daughter in October 2012 and my goal for 2013 was to lose weight. I gained 54 pounds while pregnant(gasp, I know) and have lost 61 pounds to date. I have also been training for my first half marathon which I will run April 26! Losing weight and getting into shape are just small parts of the greater goal which is to be a good example for my daughter and glorify God in all I do. This year is proving to be he best and all of the glory goes to God for the strenght, love, support and for blessing me with my main modivaton- my little girl, Briar.

  11. Marquia Jones

    My biggest goal has been to set aside dedicated time to work om my handmade Etsy shop, ALT3. I was working full time as a nanny and it was hard to officially commit to a day to my shop instead of nanny, but both the families I work for were so supportive! Also, improving my time management, work after work if I need to and still balance time for myself, with my Husband and to the care of our residence. I am definitely still learning and my business is still growing // slowly // but I can say I am excited for the possibilities and the plans God has for my little family and business!

  12. Christy

    I so needed this. After moving to Sweden and facing the hash winter I just felt overwhelmed. I am Hawaii girl. New language new ministry, new life , a photography business with no clients and so much more. I have had a great additude about being here but I just felt like I wasn’t getting anything done and I felt like I had no motivation. Its getting warmer and change is happening. Dreams are coming alive as well a little baby growing in my belly (answer to prayer). God is so good! My little photography business is starting again as well as a personal blog. I am so inspired to take pictures for me and not the world.
    Thank you Lara for always encouraging us.
    As my dad always told us growing up “everyone needs encouragement but very few know how to give it” Continue to give!
    xoxo
    cj

  13. Kamaldeep Kaur

    My biggest goal from last year was being vegan and start to eat foods that are not processed. This year is just sticking to it and steadiy decreasing the amount of processed foods to eat. The major new goal for me this year was to start running outdoors. It is so much different that running of a treadmill!

  14. Megan Minns

    I received my PowerSheets in the mail a little over a week ago and started going through our goal setting posts and my oh my how much my life, mindset, and heart have changed already. I’m a naturally impatient person who loves instant-gratification. Thanks to your guidance and insistence that we think through things and take them slow, I have been able to really spend this past week thinking, dwelling, and praying on your blog posts. So much so that I haven’t even started writing on my PowerSheets yet! But I can’t wait to continue going through your posts and eventually getting started on the PowerSheets. I’ve made my own “Make It Happen” binder and put your blog posts, my notes, and the PowerSheets in there. Every night after work, I get to spend a few hours working on my life and my dreams and I couldn’t be happier about it. Following your journey (as well as Emily Ley’s) has done incredible things for me. I have kept the Lord at arms length the past year or so – reluctant of what change He would want from me – and I have finally let him back into my life again. I feel fulfilled, confident, encouraged, motivated, and EXCITED about life! Excited for my future! I have big passions, big dreams, and big goals and I finally feel that they are possible. I am not “stuck” with where I am in life. It is possible to do what you love. Thank you SO much for all you do. You are forever a part of my journey and I am excited to see where it goes! – Megan

    • Lara

      Yes, this makes me SO Happy! I am so proud of you for being so intentional with your process. That’s exactly what I wanted you to do with the PowerSheets – not fill them out right away : ) Keep praying and seeking God’s clear guidance and you cannot go wrong. Filling out the PowerSheets will be a joy when you have taken your time on this. I’m so excited for you!

  15. Lara M

    My biggest goal has been to spend more time with God and my family and less time with screens and I’ve made huge progress there! And my second has been clearing clutter, physically by eliminating excess and emotionally by focusing on the small but significant things and letting draining things go! We’ve donated 7 big bags just in the last 2 weeks and have a set date to donate all the things we have to sell if they are not gone by then 🙂 And I no longer have a Facebook app on any device so it’s much easier to not go there. Thank you for the extra motivation reminders of how much better things get when we clear out the clutter between us and God. Hugs and blessings!

  16. Ana Pyper

    One of my goals is to do big things for God. The problem is I ALWAYS play life the safe route. I’m super conscientious and overthink every decision before I do anything. I recognize that this is a good quality, but as I was reading in Matthew 25 about the parable of the talents, God spoke to me that I need to start investing my gifts and the blessings He’s given me instead of burying them in the ground for safe-keeping. I always stick close to the shore, but I can’t do big things (or little things) for God if I’m just putting my toe in the water. I’ve got to jump on the ship and let God guide my sails. So although my goal remains the same, it represents something different than I had originally thought. I’m beginning to just clear myself out to be an empty vessel for God and be willing to follow wherever He leads. Thank you for sharing your life and being so genuine! I love reading everything you post!

  17. Dana L

    One of my goals is to prayer more and read the bible more. And SO that I can know what God wants for my life, what direction I need to take in my business, and to give my worries and anxiety up to him! I started following aBible plan to read the Bible in a year and this helps keep me accountable and then encourages me to spend time in prayer. Because it’s hard not to respond after reading the Word! Just by spending more time in the Word has reduced my anxiety. I’m so excited for 2013 and so grateful for your honesty and willingness to share with us. It touches my heart each time.

  18. Kelly

    Wow! Inspired does not begin to describe what your blog and has done to my heart. While I have not reached all of my goals to perfection, I have made A LOT of progress and for that I am thankful. What I am more happy about though is the joy that I have felt this year from giving it all up to God – and seeing how that has affected everyone I love and am surrounded by.

  19. Jennifer @ Her Southern Charm

    My big goals for this year were to decide if I truly want to give professional photography a shot ( prayed for a long time about this and decided that YES, I do want to!) So I’m working on the business aspect of that. I also wanted to finish working on my journal project and get it published. This will be in te making for the rest of the year but I’m still trudging away. As a homemaker, I’m trying to balance maintaining my home and making it a special place for my husband, writing when I can and now growing this little photography business. It will be challenging but I want to make it happen and with god, all things are possible!!! Loved reading this, Lara. You are a true treasure!

  20. erin

    Lara, I loved reading this update on your goals and to see all the amazing ways God is moving in your life (hooray for a book deal — that is so awesome).

    April is my first month of goal setting and using your powersheets to track daily, weekly, and monthly goals. I spent a lot of March brainstorming, dreaming, and praying over the goals I want for this year, so April began the journey.
    Having the goals just WRITTEN down in front of me has been huge. It helps to see concrete goals, big or small. I have been giving myself grace when at the end of the day I do not meet every goal, and tell myself I will start again tomorrow. It has been freeing to not have to be perfect, just to see progress.
    I am still tweaking my goals and this is a definite learning process as this is really the first time in my life that I have been doing real goal setting. I couldn’t have done it without you, so thanks!

  21. Sara

    I absolutely LOVE this! I love that you’re BLOGGING it. It’s SO inspiring! I did several of the exercises you offered at the beginning of the year,, but I didn’t actual write out specific goals (going to do that this weekend for the next check-in)! I can say, however, that since I attended Making Things Happen in June 2011, I’ve done way more than I could have ever imagined that day! I ran a full marathon and started my dream job, blogging about health and fitness for brides! It’s not my full-time job yet, and there’s a long way to go to get there, but seriously, every single day, God blesses me with an encouraging comment or email from someone in the industry (or a reader) and/or a new opportunity! I’m doing an innovative photoshoot with Cynthia Kain in May- my first-ever styled shoot! She’s so kind to hold my hand through the process! I’m also taking a Personal Training Certification exam on May 25th, and hope to start my bootcamps soon! Eek! All of this is BIG progress, but there’s tons of little things too: decluttering, cutting back on our expenses, connecting more with my husband, and time management. Less social media. I’m so grateful for you and your never-ending inspiration.

  22. Jenni Bailey

    One of my mail goals for 2013 was simply to SET GOALS. I’ve never been the goal-driven type, but more of a follow-the-wind-and-see-where-it-takes-me type. That’s been fun. 😉 And that is still there in my spirit but I do feel like the time has come to really try the step by step, methodical approach. So I have been! I have a real, live list! It’s kind of a big deal for someone like me. I’ve also made my health and stamina a priority, I have been cycling between 5 and 10 miles every day with the added resistance of a 50 pound bike trailer + 20 pound toddler behind me. It is easier and easier every time I head out and my little one loves it so…double check! I have been writing every. single. day. And, most importantly and most difficult-ly, I have been saying no and pulling back to my core, only taking on work and commitments that feel absolutely 100% right. That has meant passing up A LOT and saying no A LOT. It hasn’t always felt great (it has actually felt really, gut-wrenchingly awful at times) but I fully believe, as you say, that a no to one thing is a yes to something else.

  23. Amy

    Thank you for the inspiration, and the check in. When you post I often feel like there’s a large group of us sitting on a wrap around porch sipping lemonade discussing progress and helping one another along.

    The past 4 months have been hard work, but progress is happening and things are coming together! I set some lofty goals for myself, but the main focus of my year is to be more BRAVE. To take chances. Make mistakes. Be willing to be vulnerable and actually do the things I haven’t done to work on becoming the person I want to be.

    I, like you have found that what I plan for myself, and what the Lord is guiding me to be are many times two different things. I am grateful for that truth, and know that what He’s helping me become is far greater than what I could ever do or be on my own. I take the approach of sitting down at the beginning of every month to evaluate what went well during the previous month, which things did I accomplish and focus on? Then, I take some serious time to ponder and plan what I need to focus on for the upcoming month. My heart is filled to the brim with happiness, gratitude and passion – things are coming together. I would have never thought back in January that I’d be where I am now. I am more committed to being a disciple of Jesus Christ and doing his work. I am taking time for myself to learn, study and progress both secularly and religiously. I have said NO to some pretty hard decisions to help make bigger and greater things happen, when originally my tendency would have been to say Yes. I am running more than ever, I am serving more than ever, I am taking risks, trusting God and know that if I continue to do my part, I can be changed into the person He needs me to be. I am SO very grateful to you! The past 2.5 years that I’ve been reading your blog and MTH have changed me. I have been motivated and I have learned to trust myself and trust God more than ever.

    Cheers to more progress, more change and a GREAT life!

  24. Angela

    Hey Lara!
    I started your goal setting series after I signed up for MTH2013. The primary focus of my goals before MTH was 1. Having a design studio
    2. Getting fitter and healthier
    3. Starting up an Etsy shop where I can generate income that is a bit more “automated” as you say in your #6 goal.
    After MTH, I had light bulb moment during the last few hours of the conference and my goals are about the same except for one new major one:
    4. I want to be an interior decorator with a focus on providing realistic, affordable ways for my clients to experience (get ready, this is part of my CORE) the bliss of coming home.
    Since MTH, I still fight with some old bad habits- making excuses, procrastinating, negative self talk. I bought the book, Nine Things Successful People Do Differently by Heidi Grant Halvorson, and I am on Step 2 -Seizing The Moment -and it’s really firing me up. You decide where and when you will take each action toward achieving your goals and frame it in an if-then statement like for me, If it’s Tuesday at 9 am, then I am at Crunch doing a 30 minute cardio workout, or my favorite, If it is Saturday or Sunday, then I am filling my day doing what fires me up.

    Thanks for this post today. I so enjoyed your openness on your own goal progress. I also wanted to keep putting my goals out into the universe for accountability.

    • Lara

      I am so proud of you and excited for what’s ahead of you!

  25. Mel

    I’m ecstatic to report that I have finally finished decluttering my life….I have been working on this goal for months! I’m in the process of restoring information that I lost and creating photo albums. I’m also slowly working toward launching a photography business. I’ve been wanting to do this for ages, but it’s taking many small steps to get there. And most importantly, I’m embracing motherhood. I really struggled with feelings of failure from being out of the corporate world. But I so believe that God has me exactly where He wants me to be….at home with my baby. THANK YOU, LARA, for being a constant inspiration and for pouring out your heart and love for God.

    • Lara

      This is awesome, Mel! You can do it! Keep seeking God and He will show you exactly what to do. You are a GREAT mama!

  26. Robyn

    Oh, Lara! I love how real you are and LOVE your heart for God, your family, and others. I would absolutely love to join you for bible study anytime, so I really hope you start one!!! 🙂

    I’m so fired up by the progress I’ve made thus far this year, and I feel a HUGE change compared to last year! It’s amazing to see all the wonderful things God has been doing to grow our business, and I’m definitely living a MUCH more balanced life. I’ve been getting up earlier and starting my ideal day almost every weekday morning with God’s word and working out in our gym, thanks to your ‘set yourself up for success’ tips! I’m also much more intentional about taking time for REST and doing more of what fires me up, and this has helped me immensely to just become more grounded and ready to deal with things when something goes wrong. 🙂 Thank you for being such a beautiful inspiration!!

  27. Anna

    I love your volume of goals. Mine is rather the opposite. I feel so desperate to spend proper time with God daily, it’s kind of become my main goal. I kind of feel through that, I will move forward in other areas too! Thank you for all the encouragement. Love it. X

  28. Natalie Clamp

    Lara-thank you for always keeping it real out there in social media world. I truly love YOU for it. This year has been such a great year–ups, downs, I take it all!

    Progress (a few highlights): Taking time out for ME. Last year, I found myself in two worlds-Mommy World and Work World. I made ZERO times for happy hours, girl lunches, talks, you name it. This year, I’ve been reconnecting with my (amazing, patient) friends and it feels so good (1-2 times a month). You children are your everything, your husband, GOD, but connections with good friends fills a big spot in my heart!

    Second: Bringing my marketing efforts back to the core of who I am. When I first started, every month I would meet one on one with a wedding planner, photographer or other wedding professional. It was personal, it was me and those sincere connections are what got me started. Somewhere along the way I lost that, I thought I could get by with just doing several bridal show and attending networking events. My business suffered and it didn’t take long for me to get a handle for what I needed to do. So I’ve taken big steps to get back into that “candy girl” that stops for no reason at a hotel with cake pops or dropping off pink sweets to a wedding planner that is expecting her next baby. It’s random, and it’s me. And in the end, I’ve seen those same people come back with great opportunities and more importantly, stronger connections.

    Stuff I still need to work on: My weight. Having baby number 3 took it’s toll on my body and 16 months later, I still haven’t fell like myself. I’ve always prided myself in staying healthy but it’s been very hard to get back in that mode. And worst of all, I complain about it constantly which drives everyone (including myself) crazy.

    So those are a few of the biggies that jump out at me, very much imperfect but still going! Congrats to everyone else’s progress. Just reading all of your stories, is so inspiring. Let’s go people!

  29. Anna

    PS you’re trying to be led by God in your decisions, how are you going about that?

    • Lara

      Great question, Anna! The answer is 2 things – 1. Reading the Bible so I know more about God’s heart and what He desires for us. 2. Pray to ask Him for guidance. And then I have to wait and listen. There is the old phrase, “What would Jesus do?” Answering that question takes knowing Him first and then asking God what He would do in every situation. When you constantly seek Him, you will find him. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matt 7:7. I hope that helps a little : ) I keep telling myself, “read the Bible, pray and listen.”

  30. Wendy

    I started working on my PowerSheets last week and I have to say I’m struggling with updating them on a regular basis. I’m a “doer” as opposed to someone who writes it down and THEN does it. My life is SO busy with work and family projects and my mind is racing most of the time so I know I NEED to download, plan and record my progress but doing it is another story.

    I’m more inclined to skip the writing down part and move right to the “doing” part so that I can fit “it” in my day.

    But thank the good Lord for giving me another day to get better at it!

    I also have a brand new accountibility partner to help. He’s a master of the “to-do” list and we see each other every single day! He peeped my PowerSheets and asked what they were. (I think he wants his own set!)

    So, Yep! Hubby is going to help keep me on track. I’m excited!

    And for heaven’s sake! I would LOVE those Tieks! I move too fast these days to wear heels! 🙂

    • Anna

      thank you!

    • Anna

      Wendy, sorry for that reply above. Lara I was trying to say ‘thank you’ for your reply re getting God’s direction.

  31. Meghan L

    The last six months have been all about me clearing the clutter. My father passed away in January, and since then, I’ve been letting go of things that do not serve me.

    I actually lost a suitcase filled with personal belongings and Christmas presents when moving home from Afghanistan a few weeks before my dad died. My mom remarked that I was oddly calm about the suitcase, and I replied, “Well, it’s just stuff.”

    Since then, I’ve said goodbye to professional projects that don’t serve me. I’m selling my wedding business. I’ve donated bags full of clothing and books. I sold my car.

    Now that I’ve gotten rid of what isn’t serving me, I have been incredibly blessed to find my life filled with new opportunities…an acceptance into grad school, an anticipated move across the country, new clients and new job offers. Now it’s time to break out my Power Sheets! I believe all of this happened because I first took the time to clear the clutter.

    Now that spring is making it’s way, and I don’t have extraneous stuff around, I’m finding more room in my schedule for what is important. I’m swimming laps three days a week and lifting weights twice a week. I’m prioritizing healthy cooking and coffee dates with friends. Being clear on what’s important to me has been the biggest time saver of all!

    With love, thanks and respect for what you bring to the world, Lara!

  32. Monica T Smith

    Lara;
    So excited to see how God is leading and blessing you and your family! He is worthy to be praised!

    Thank you for offering this time for accountability and encouragement. It always helps to have fellow sisters (and brothers) in your corner, cheering you on.

    As for the goals or the CORE I wanted to stay close to for 2013, God has been faithful, loving and patient. He has just opened a door for me to take what I am hoping is the last course I need to take before pursuing my Doctor of Ministry degree. YEAH!!! I have spent more time at His feet and have begun the habit of getting up at 5:30 am to sit at the Lord’s feet, studying His Word. I have spent more time making meaningful, God-filled connections with friends and am still in the process of letting go of who and what hinders me from serving God with excellence. Some of the letting go is hard and I am learning how necessary it is for me to release some things/people so that my hands will be open to grasp the next blessing or bit of direction from God. God even has me considering/praying about relocating to Ft. Lauderdale, FL (not in my original plans!). I also just received an invitation to speak to two MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups about godly image and beauty. And God is inspiring my writing and showing how to connect the dots of beauty and going deeper in Him. I feel like there is so much work to be done. My prayer is that He makes a way for me to work this ministry full-time with more than enough income to sustain me as soon as possible. This is where I want to spend my time for Him.

    Over the past few months, I have learned the importance of staying focused on my CORE and shutting out the distractions (including hours of TV watching), as well as speaking and standing up for what I believe is true.

    God is faithful and I am excited to see what else He adds to this new year.

    Be blessed,
    Monica

  33. Ashley S

    Thank you so much for the work you are doing for other people. Your movement as aligned with my need to stop the overworking and start taking care of myself… for me, my family, and for my business. Your openness and willingness to share of your self on your blog and over Instagram has been a huge huge help for me. I have been able to refocus… to be BETTER about defending my boundaries… to keep the mantra “Better not Bigger” in my head, as well as “grace not perfection”. That last one is big for me. I am such a perfectionist but I am learning to cut myself some slack and not let perfectionism steal my joy.

    Proud of you!

  34. Wendi Solari

    It is so exciting reading all of your updates. I am so thrilled for you, especially the book opportunity! That is awesome.

    Just 3 weeks ago I FINALLY started weight training again (in addition to the cardio I was already doing, but that wasn’t really changing my body for the better) and got some help on how to eat clean…like REALLY clean. It is scary giving up foods that comfort my emotions and that I enjoy very much, but it is astounding at the amount of energy I’ve gained and how level my mood (read: blood sugar) has been day in and day out. I’m a better mom and wife for it. I can already see changes happening in the amount of weight I can lift since day one. I love that. My biggest goal is to be STRONG and LEAN (NOT skinny) and for the first time in forever…I am on my way.

    Another big thing that I have learned since setting my goals is that I have to trim the fat on unhealthy relationships. That is a hard reality.

    I’ve been praying more but need to keep working on increasing that.

    The one area I am completely stuck on is work/creating income. That is a huge challenge as I am going through some growing, changing, and shifting my my heart. Like I said: more prayer is needed in my life. 🙂

  35. Jessica

    My progress feels oh-so-tiny compared to everyone else’s, but it’s mine and the Lord’s and that’s all that matters! It was a major goal of mine at the beginning of the year to be more organized and clean. I am striving to do a little bit each day instead of having to take a day or two every month or so to get my life and order and being completely stressed in between. Well I started taking 15 minutes each morning right before my quiet time to tidy up and organize my desk. MAN do I feel so much more at peace as I do my homework now!! This week has gotten away from me a bit and I have just let my room and desk get so messy. But thanks to my consistency in the months prior, I will be able to take a couple hours and get everything back in order and be right on track again. Little progress, but so exciting!

  36. Martha

    Lara~

    Thank you so much for your generous spirit. I discovered your blog at the beginning of the year and you have inspired me to begin studying the Bible again and pray more (two of the goals I set for the year). I grew up in the church and have always attended church regularly, but in the last few years my spiritual life has been confined to the box on Sunday morning. God has worked through you to open my heart to break out of that box and while not perfect I have been praying more and studying the Word more diligently this year. My heart is full and I can already see small areas it has made a difference. Thank you so much for the inspiration you post not only here but on instagram. You are such a blessing!

    ps. I don’t have any concrete ideas but I love the idea of a virtual Bible study and would love to participate!

  37. Laura Wadsworth

    Thank you Lara for always sharing your beautiful heart with us!

    As I was looking over the progress I’ve made I got really excited and it has fired me up to work harder at the goals I’ve made! Ultimately my desire this year is to be stronger and healthier physically, mentally, and spiritually. I made a goal to make getting up at 7: 30 and working out four times a week habits. Well I having been getting up at 7:00 everyday, eating a healthy breakfast, and spending time in God’s Word, then working out everyday (I now sleep in my workout clothes thanks to you!). Starting my mornings like this has been amazing!

    Another goal that has been challenging for me is that I want to be more purposefully creative. I find this difficult because usually I create only when I am inspired to. I wrote down that I wanted to set up a creative workspace, which I have started and have made a bulletin board for a mood board. I am still working on setting time to create and actually producing creativity. I took a photography course at the beginning of the year which was amazing and so helpful, I am much more confident with my Rebel!

  38. Ashlee

    Lara, this is amazing! I’m honestly crying right now because you have SUCH an amazing heart and faith. I can’t honestly put everything I’m feeling and thinking into words right now. Just thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such an encouragement! I’m praying for you and your entire family (and all the businesses too!) Blessings X a million! ~Ashlee

  39. Abi Losli

    Honesty time. Ready, go! I feel like I’m barely hanging in there and not making much progress. My biggest goal of this year has been to be balanced as I go back to school fulltime- time with God, enough sleep, healthy food, exercise, time with my husband, and creative expression are all part of what it means for me to be balanced. Now that that’s out in writing, I realize that the situation is not as dire as I first thought.I’m eating well, getting a little time with M, and consistently soaking in the Word with God every morning. It just FEELS like everything is in the crapper because one or two areas are off.At MTH this year I said I was ready to stop just surviving and start thriving. Now that I’m back in school I feel like I am back to just barely surviving. I’m not getting enough sleep, I’m in tears every day, and I can’t seem to pull myself together. I know I have what I need to succeed, but I feel so overwhelmed sometimes that I can’t figure out where to start. I’ve also (this is scary to admit in public!) felt the most alone since leaving MTH than I have in a long while. This may be delving deeper than a simple goals update should go, but being in community with people is at my core! It may not be written down in my goals ( because I haven’t been as thorough in writing these things down as I should), but it matters. I’ve been really surprised and puzzled at feeling this way, because it’s unusual for me and I anticipated something totally different after meeting so many wonderful people.

    On a lighter note, I have made good progress clearing clutter! The two weeks between MTH and classes starting were filled with decluttering, sorting, organizing, setting up, and simplifying. I am almost done clearing out our disaster of a second room. This is an area where I feel the tension of progress not perfection. I want to discredit what I’ve accomplished because I’m not DONE, but that’s the old Abi’s perfectionism talking. I need to CELEBRATE everything that has been happening and the changes that I do see.

    Yikes. Do you feel that crazy tension between positive and negative here? Life has been a roller coaster lately. This was good for me to do today, and I am so, so encouraged to read about where you’re at, and to read all these comments, too! So much good stuff! I know I’ll get there.

  40. kate mcnatt

    Hi Lara! I would love to come to your house for one -on-one bible study and prayer, but it would be a long drive from Kentucky! 🙂 So the next best thing would be an online bible study. Following your journey through faith and motherhood has been such a source of encouragement for me. At 27, I was not even sure I wanted to be a mother. (Until my daughter arrived and changed everything.) She is now eight months old and I have been praying fervently for God to put Christian women in my life to be my friends. As iron sharpens iron, it would be so awesome to be in a bible study with other moms who desire to glorify God and have families full of JOY. I would love to help you make this happen in any way possible. I think I am going to be able to attend the Influence Conference in September and will look forward to hearing you speak! Thank you for always reminding me what matters most!

  41. Liz

    Lara – you are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing so much of your life – it is so amazing. I’ve order my power sheets and am ready to finally take control over my life instead of being to afraid to make decisions.

    • Lara

      Awesome! I’m so excited for you! Start today. I am praying for you. Make life happen!

  42. Mel

    I forgot to mention this in my earlier post, but I would LOVE it if you did an online bible study! I will definitely be a part of it if you decide to do it.

  43. Megan

    I just posted my first quater recap on my blog! Progress, yes! Not perfection…
    http://sugarmegnolia.blogspot.com/2013/04/first-quarter-recap.html
    Thanks for posting, Lara! Fingers crossed those Tieks will be mine! Happy Spring!

  44. Lindsay

    To be honest, I didn’t set any goals for this year in January as I was still getting to grips with having a toddler and new twins. But I have been very incouraged and inspired by your posts and like the idea of setting a few goals based around my faith, marriage & family. I’ve order the powersheets and am looking forward to taking time to pray and spend time with God and my family as I work through them. I’m also hoping to share them with some friends and encourage others with them. God has blessed me with some great friends who have really supported me over the last year & I hope I can bless them too. Thank you for always being so open, honest & vulnerable. What God is doing in and through you is beautiful xxx

  45. Lindsay

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing so much of your heart with everyone. I often feel as if your heart is speaking directly to mine and that I’m not the only one who feels certain things. My husband is in medical school as well and (God willing) will finish May 2014. I’ve felt so contradicting at times because while I’ve had to be the breadwinner for the past 4 years I shamefully admit that I’ve let the stress and anxiety of this role get the best of me and have felt sorry for myself at times. But on the other hand I’m proud that I’ve been able to take care of our little family and pay all of our bills at the beginning of every month. We recently sat down and had a long chat about this which required me showing a not so pretty side of myself in confessing these feelings. BUT I feel like we both came to a wonderful solution together. I’ll be opening a venue soon and with his added income we will be able to give back to more nonprofits, our community, animal adoption agencies, our church family and much more. My heart is full of excitement to learn where God leads us in the next year.

    I also purchased your power sheets and have yet to use them 1. because they’re pretty and I want to know exactly what I’m going to write on them instead of having words marked out. 2. because there are several factors we are waiting on answers in order to know exactly where/how this ‘business’ will work.

    Again I thank you and praise you for having such an open heart. God bless you!

  46. Kristine Aletha

    Mrs. Lara Austin Casey Isaacson. It does have a rather nice ring to it, doesn’t it? And the piece you shared about joining together with Ari and honoring his desire for you to take his name is so spot on. As you know, for me it’s been my fear of jumping with two feet into my marriage and letting myself be completely 100% vulnerable with Cory that’s held me back. Knowing that the fear of being abandoned and alone is just a lie keeping me from living with my whole heart wide open offers me so much freedom. And courage! I just sat down and filled out my social security application–even that was a big step. It’s the first time I’ve actually written out my new name on a legal document: Mrs. Kristine Aletha Galli Hankins. I even practiced signing my new signature too. While changing my name is a way for me to dive wholly into my marriage, it’s also a way for me to honor my commitment to Cory and I know it means the world to him.

    That was number one on my goals list: Focus more on my marriage. Changing my name isn’t listed, since I wrote them out before MTH, but there’s a clear hint in there of me wanting more. I wrote that I wanted to “open my heart to him and share with him more.” This is such a work in progress, and probably always will be, but I’m certainly working on it. And, above all, trusting that God will lead and guide us, strengthen our marriage, and grow us ever closer to Him and His love as we learn to love one another more.

    I’m so proud of you, friend. Let’s make it happen!! xoxo

  47. Mariya

    Hi Lara, I have been reading your blog for a while. And it has been such an encouragement. We had an amazing youth conference this past weekend and I have come out of it with new goals, resolutions, convictions. I want to grow more like Jesus. I have been asking myself this question alot lately, “Is Jesus part of my life or the point of my life?” It truly amazes me how great God is and that I have a relationship with Him! I love seeing your love for the Lord and your constant growth. I have been trying to work on using my time, attention, and money correctly. The question that helps is, “Is Jesus precious to me?” Is that where I spend my time, attention, and money. I have been trying so hard but have failed a couple of times already this week. But I know that God is holding me and will help me get through this. Thanks for your blog and may God bless you abundanlty! :))

  48. Lauren

    So much has happened since I did that goal setting (which I LOVED and forwarded to many friends!). My guy and I did a bit of it together back in January and we just got engaged a few days ago and started home shopping and wedding planning!! 🙂

    One of my big goals was to spend more time with family and friends and I’ve definitely made more of an effort do to this and can see a huge difference in my attitude and outlook and my life.

    One of the biggest changes I’ve made is an effort to read the Bible daily. I try to wake up and reach for it first in the mornings. I don’t always make it but I’ve noticed so many changes since starting this.

    Thank you Lara and community for encouraging words! xx

  49. Marie

    I feel like I’ve made some progress overall, and keep reminding myself: progress not perfection! That’s tough… In an attempt to simplify, I only had three (yet very long and descriptive) goals on my list.

    1. To be more organized in my life. Keeping our home more in order. For a more stress-free life and allowing more time for the things that matter (family, friends, ROMANCE). To plan ahead and be prepared. {Progress: in the past couple of weeks my husband and I have stopped to take the time to DECLUTTER and reorganize our basement -this was a huge burden and seemed so overwhelming to tackle for so long! But we did it and it didn’t take nearly as long as we thought it would. We instantly felt energized and motivated to take on more! I also decluttered my home office!}

    2. To take better care of myself – bring back beauty nights and dressing more like me again (that means making that extra effort and wearing colors, accessories). Get that mojo back! In turn it will be more confident and give off a more positive energy to others and more importantly my husband. {Progress: I took on a 21-day detox and lost 6 pounds within the first 2 weeks! I felt better and had more energy. I still need to work on the wardrobe part and beauty nights.}

    3. Listen to my heart and follow my dreams. To inestimable in my blog and bring it to the next level – take action and finally bring it to LIFE. {Progress: I signed up to take Illustrator 101 with Nicole’s Classes and I’m so excited! I’ve connected with some other talented ladies inquiring about redesigning my blog to a website. I was contacted by someone to work on a very interesting and creative project where the possibilities are endless. With so many ideas swirling around in my kind spilling onto my pretty notebooks, the direction I should take is FINALLY starting to become clear! What’s funny is these things have been right under my nose all along but for some reason I didn’t see them. They are my core – so maybe that’s why they were so hard to see in the first place. They are just a part ofme. 🙂

    I’m sooo excited for the Core classes – I’m hoping they will help really clarify what direction I should take so I can stay focused. so looking forward to connecting with you and Emily and other like-minded women – I’m just craving that so badly. I wish I lived closer so that I can attend all the amazing workshops I see online. Maybe one day I’ll just have o make that happen.

  50. Marie

    Ps. Forgive me for all the typos, I’m on my iPad. For goal #3. the word should read Invest, not Inestimable!

    And to add to goal #1., my husband and I have also gotten our finances in order as well as keeping our documents organized. So much paper..this has always been our weakness but we’re finally getting on track.

  51. Melissa

    Lara!
    What a joy you are. You have been influencing my life in MAJOR ways lately and you are TRULY a blessing! I praise God for your pure heart and your openness and willingness to help women like me have the courage and the tools to live the lives God designed us to live. I would love to join a bible study with you! There is so much I am eager to learn, from being a Godly wife to (someday) being a joyful and Godly mother, and most certainly and immediately being a Godly business owner. The Lord draws me near constantly and feeds my soul and I would love to meet with you and other like-minded women to share these lessons, hope, joys, dreams, and struggles.

    Thank you for your openness and your daily encouragement! You are awesome.

    <3 Melissa Lennox
    @melissaroses
    http://www.sweetmelissacake.com

  52. Ashley Shelly

    I always LOVE reading your posts Lara! I completed the whole goal setting process you developed at the beginning of the year and it helped me so much. This post reminded me to go back to those many pages of notes I made and make sure I am focused on what matters. I shared that process with so many of my friends and even my boyfriend did it with me! We loved sharing that process and praying together about all of it. We are both creatives and were blessed with each other by God. We get to share so much joy with each other, and also pray through the tough times. Thank you again for your inspiration! You know I love ya! 🙂 Such a blessing! I hope to give you a great big hug sometime soon!!!

  53. Meredith collie

    I actually redid the goal setting series after coming back from MTH in chapel hill. I sat there and listened to everyone speak and share and when I left I felt like I was still missing something. Reading through those goal posts on the blog and going through the exercises again, I think it’s finally starting to sink in! And I’m pretty excited about all of that.

    I’m working through the challenge and haven’t brought out my power sheets yet. I’m not sure I’m ready for them yet. But I have been downloading. Not every day but it is helpful for me to know that all these thing s that are in my head, written in various notebooks and post it notes are now all in one place. I’m also working on clearing out the stuff in my house!

    I will say though that I have been thinking a lot about what is important this evening after reading something on Emily Leys Instagram feed that makes me want to slow down a little and enjoy the moments a little more because life can be so fleeting. Tomorrow is mama/Avery day. I think I will worry less about my to-do list and checking things off and just enjoy the moments with her. Her language is really picking up(she’s just 2) and she says the funniest things now!

    Thanks for all the work you have put into this. Thank you for being so willing to share your own experiences.

  54. Kara-Anne Cheng

    Lara!! I am so excited to share my progress with you AND myself! I listed all my goals out on a Word file and wrote from my heart and let the words pour out on HOW I HAVE DONE THEM!! I have never accomplished so much in such a short frame of time (I only properly finished them all in late February) and it has been an amazing ride! I LOVE you so much and you will never begin to imagine how much impact you have had in my life and I strongly believe God placed you in my life (how I chanced upon your blog) to lead me back to Him! All glory to God amen!

    My first goal was to know God better, read the Bible more and serve God using my time and my resources so that I can trust in Him more and have Him as my core and foundation. Oh, how this has helped me and how it has come through!

    I read 3 devotionals daily on YouVersion and finished my first ever devotional COMPLETELY (The soul detox plan, can I have a hi-5!!). I am doing the Joseph Prince Devotional (which seriously, I recommend to everyone!) and 2 She Reads Truth plans. They have BLESSED me endlessly and I cannot begin to say how much more I have learned, how much more I love God and how much more this has helped me everyday (I read them all in the morning just after I wake up!). I also read The Discipleship Journal Daily Bible Reading Plan and I have had so much FUN and LOVE and JOY reading the Bible everyday (I have never done this before, there is such a renewed thirst) and I have been so easily faithfully reading it everyday and LOVING IT so much!! All glory be to God amen!! The True Identity bible for women also helped me so much! It is one of my best buys ever ever ever. I love it!

    I also am starting to serve on 28th April in the Children’s ministry of our church in the worship team. Oh, I love singing and I worship almost daily and it is such a privilege for God to use me with His little children and letting them grow int he Lord and I AM PART OF IT!!! Goodness gracious!

    I am working on my other goals and making considerable progress. I am so happy with myself, with my life and with my relationship with God that is growing everyday, stronger.

    I know that I will accomplish all these and MORE at the next check -in and the end of the year. Thank you for letting me revisit these and be so happy about it.

    I am so happy for you as well and Grace is SO ADORBS!! She lights up my Instagram feed and my day. 🙂 You have made amazing progress and you are truly a woman of God, EVERYTHING you touch is blessed and good!

    – Kara.
    Sorry for being so long-winded and overly enthusiastic. I can’t help it. You bring out this side of me… Hahaha.

  55. Megan Floyd

    Wow, I started typing and could not stop. (I’m still not finished, I just wanted to actually comment here before I finished up at my blog.)

    The short version is that being pregnant with our fourth child… well… it didn’t change my overall goals (praise God for preparing my heart and clearing the path!!!), but the action steps have changed very dramatically in a lot of cases. I’ve been sick enough (with a virus in February and from hormones in March and so far in April) that it’s hard to do much of anything, so I just don’t. I had started filling out my Power Sheets but was still in the prep stages, so as I get more energy and less nausea, I’ll be ready to flesh out my goals and prepare for our October baby.

    (The long version is an insanely long post going up at thebarntales if I ever finish. Sorry, I REALLY don’t like doing that, but it was juuuuust soooo looooong… )

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  59. Lori Ellen

    Hi Lara, I just found your blog so I didn’t get started goal setting with you in January, but I am really excited to read through your goal setting posts. I pretty good about organizing my individual days and getting the things done that need to get done, but I don’t do as well with big picture goal setting… you know, for what matters most…

    So, thank you so much for your inspiration here. It’s so much more refreshing to think about this from a Godly perspective.

    I’m also excited to share this info with my husband who is in a big transitional phase right now. He often is paralyzed by feeling overwhelmed and indecision about what do next, despite feeling like he knows what to do.

    Thanks again for the inspiration and for your openness in sharing your own story.

  60. Leona Morelock

    Thanks Lara as always for sharing. You are awesome!! I just had my son on December 31st so I started my goals with you in March. This past month has been incredible and God has given me peace over all my life. I had a tough pregnancy and I was so worried about my new role as a mom and a better wife and God has put my fears to rest. Thank you for helping others grow and I hope todo the same through my many experiences. God lets you go through them I feel so that you in turn can help others and that is my next step!

  61. Alicia A

    Thanks Lara for always being so inspiring. I check your blog and Instagram every night for words of encouragement. This is the first year I have made goals at the New Year and have already completed many. After being pulled in many working directions the last few years, I have finally settled down into a full-time job and already feel less stressed and more peaceful. I have taken the first step in building my wee-little creative hobby into a small online shop and could not be more excited to share with everyone. I have many more goals I have been working on and many that have yet to begun, but I couldn’t be more excited to see the progress I have made thus far.

  62. Kristin

    I love setting goals, but even more I love posts like this where you can see God is working and things are getting accomplished. This year has been so life changing. My biggest goal was to spend more time in the Scripture. Not just a verse here and there, but really digging into God’s Word. It has absolutely changed my heart. I have a HUGE heart to see women in God’s Word and I love that you are thinking of starting a Bible Study. This has been on my heart for months, but I am not sure exactly how to make it happen. If you need any help, let me know

  63. Blanca

    I cannot tell you enough how thankful I am for your amazing posts/ guidance. You have been such an inspiration.

    I’m really working on getting back into shape and good health. It has been such a struggle but I’m really trying.

    I’m also working on being a better wife and mother. Anything truly great in life takes hard work. I feel that I can always improve on just being a better me.

    Thank you, Lara!

  64. Melissa O

    Just so many happy tears for you right now.

  65. Maria Mauti

    Hello 🙂
    I began my MTH journey in January. I have to admit though, I wasn’t at all public about it. I printed out all the tools and in the beginning kept it to myself. As if, if I don’t make a big deal about it I just may sneak up on myself and stick with this. I have a very old habit if getting really excited and into something and then it fizzles within a month. I knew that who I am and what God has me to do was too important to lose the fire.
    I’ve discovered working through the Power sheets that helping others fires me up more than anything. So I combined my journey of MTH2013 with my passion. I began asking the simple questions you ask–to the people closest to me. My dear friends who are lost or have no direction. I even went so far as starting a business venture where I help small businesses find their “fire” and then my partners and I design and develop their website and identity. The day I received the first business card I designed I looked at it and cried. I felt both vulnerable and powerful. I had DONE something that moves me forward financially, emotionally but most of all purposefully. Weeks upon weeks I felt that at any moment I would give in to fear and fail. But I didn’t. I walked in fear of uncertainty–and there I learned courage. The act of doing something not despite fear but with fear. I don’t believe in fate or accidents. And for a long time I’ve quietly observed the MTH journey. But 2013 was my time in God’s time.

    Thank you for liberating everyone around you by following YOUR journey.

    God is good.

    Maria M.
    CUPCAKE | media

  66. Kailey-Michelle

    I first just wanted to say thank you for continuously encouraging me from afar, to grow in my faith, devote more of myself and my business to God and refine my focus to only that which truly matters! Your authenticity in sharing your journey, both the beautiful and the challenging, helps me feel a sense of community and belonging in my own walk and journey. Your heart sparkles and it’s evident our Lord has a hold of you. What a gift that is!

    As for my progress … yes yes yes, to Progress not perfection! It’s been an amazing journey so far through 2013 and I’m more grateful for the process you took us through in january than my little words could express. My morning devotional times have flourished! I’ve experienced God’s closeness , his wisdom and his leading like never before. I come hungry everyday to learn more about who he is and surrender to the refining he wants to do in me. Im learning more with every passing day what it means to fully surrender my life to his will and with each layer he penetrates, I’m humbled and in awe of his grace, love and beauty- falling more in love with him. I want nothing more than to live the life he’s designed for me, despite the battles with my pride and self-sufficient ways 😉 I can sense an even greater change coming and while before I’d bow away in fear of the discomfort and potential pain thats coming, I’m embracing it. I know his plans are far better than my own and I whole heartedly want to focus on doing only what matter most- his will- letting everything else just wash away. I’ve been saying NO to so many things I would have before jumped at, in favour to saying YES to the things that set my heart on fire- spending time with my family, friends, church community, reading, photographing and writing more. I’ve set boundaries, proper office hours and days off and stuck to them like glue~ Hallelujah!! But as it is with all things, old habits die hard, so I’ve still got lots of room to make progress. I’m not where I need to be but praise god i’m not where I used to be.

    Thank you Lara for listening to God’s calling on your life, embracing the Holy Spirits promptings and refining, all while encouraging others to surrender just the same!
    Love and Gratitude, my friend!

  67. Jenn P

    Lara, you continue to inspire me to pursue my dreams and really let God lay them on my heart with less fear than in years past. We are going through a lot of changes in our first year of marriage {of course} and we aren’t sure what lies ahead for us. I’m not the type of person that does well with no plan in place and I’m learning to let go and trust.
    As for my goals, I need to carve out some time to sit down and reevaluate, but off the top of my head, here’s some notes:
    I had been doing really well with living healthy and working out, but a knee injury came back to haunt me and I’m working back to 100% (I want to get back into running this year so badly!). We’ve yet to set our household budget yet either and it’s something I personally struggle with not being clear on- but we are working on it! 🙂
    These next two are my favorite goals and we are making wonderful progress! We have been attending church together consistently and my husband has even said how much he enjoys it and it fills our hearts with such peace! Also, keeping in touch and making time for people who really, truly matter! We booked an anniversary vacation to the Domincan this year to just get away and we can’t wait! I’ve also been trying really hard to send more snail mail (not been doing wonderfully on that, but this week I’ve written 3!).
    Lastly, I’m making slow and steady progress (offline) toward starting my business {we just need to decide on a home base!}, which “fires me up” so much!!!
    So much more could be said, but you have a lot of comments to read here! Thank you for putting your heart and thoughts out here for all of us to read and be encouraged by!
    Congratulations on your book and all of your wonderful progress!
    Love and Blessings to you and yours! xoxo

  68. Ashlee Proffitt

    Thank you so much for sharing Lara. I have truly loved being an outsider in your life and watching God mold and grow you into this phenomenal woman of Christ. Thank you for being bold with your faith and allowing others in to your daily life, struggles and all.

    I started 2013 with a long list of goals and God is slowly and somewhat painfully showing me that those goals were not from Him. So, my new sole goal is just a simple prayer that God would lead and guide me in the way that He desires.. and that He would radically change my heart in the process….

    Thanks again Lara!

    xoxoxo

    • Lara

      This is so my heart right now, too. God keeps revealing to me that simplicity is His heart. I’m so proud of you and will be praying for you as you let go and let Him work. Your heart always inspires me!

  69. Brooke Matson

    Hi Lara!

    What a great post – thank you for sharing! I completed the goal setting series shortly before MTH and elaborated on them during MTH. Even though it hasn’t been that long, it’s great to check in! All of my goals pertain to life outside of medical school and balancing the two. I’ve been committed to social media-free weekends and “social media-free boyfriend time,” and I’ve significantly decreased my usage of social media during the week. A couple of other goals I crossed off: At home, I activated the security system and got the cooling system serviced. These are tiny things, but ones that have been weighing on me for MONTHS. So excited to cross them off my list!

    Also, I’ve been starting my ideal day each morning with the She Reads Truth devotional on YouVersion. (Thanks for the app suggestion!) I grew up going to church and still go to church every week in Chapel Hill – but it doesn’t feel like enough. That being said, I would be very interested in a women’s Bible study. I’m not sure whether you’re talking about starting a local one in Chapel Hill or starting one solely on the blog – but either way, sign me up.

    And, I just have to say, I love that you’re changing your name. I’m not married yet, but I’ve thought about this last name decision. (As you probably know, many women in medicine don’t change their name.) But, your post provided clarity: Family > people not being able to find papers I published before I got married. Easy.

    Thank you for doing what you do.

    Brooke

  70. Krystin

    With God’s persuasion, I am making a big move to be closer to work, get focused on my career and ultimately go back to school. I am taking a huge leap of faith and hoping to leave behind cultural toxins that are harmful for my soul. Like you reminded me in Matthew 9:9, “Follow me” Jesus told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

  71. Megan Ayers

    Bless your heart for updating us on your goals! It is so encoraging to have someone on the other end speaking their truth on how their goals are coming along!

    I have also shifted my goals for this year. I started with a long list that came to a screeching hault when my husband lost his job last October. I poured myself into making sure he was okay, making sure financially we were okay, and spent the majority of my time worrying, planning, and budgeting.

    Into this year I continued this. My goals were set regarding our finances and to work on myself as I was not happy. I realized by pouring myself into our finances & him, I wasn’t taking care of myself and in turn not being a very pleasant person to be around. I changed my goals to focus on trusting God’s plan, and taking care of myself so that I could be the best friend & wife that my husband could ask for. That has proven to be much less stress on myself, more love for both of us, and has shifted my entire outlook on things. Jobs will come & go, God WILL provide, but making our marriage strong is what WE have to maintain.

    Thank you again for doing this and for everything that you do!
    Megan

  72. Carissa Swartout

    I just started this month and have been unbelievably encouraged. I can see how even just the process itself has opened my eyes to what I want to do more of and what I want to make happen in my business, life and relationships with God and those that surround me. I actually just finished step two in the process. So I have a ways to go, but I am so encouraged to keep going.
    I had heard of the workshops last year but it wasn’t until a friend went to your and I saw some of her instagrams that curiosity struck and now, like I said, I am thrilled, encouraged, and making things happen!

  73. Jasmine

    Lara,

    I’m on vacation with my family and don’t have my goal sheet with me (YAY for not bringing my Mac or planner along, right?!)…. so I can’t really post about my progress like you did.

    BUT, I just want to say this. Normally I jump onto your blog as soon as I realize there’s a new post. But I was almost nervous about reading this post. Why you ask? Because I thought you’d have written about all your amazing progress and how you were gloriously checking things off your list and hoping we’re all doing the same. And I was nervous about feeling like I haven’t made enough progress yet.

    But guess what? Instead I let out a big sigh of relief when I realized that you are just as real and hadn’t been able to DO IT ALL. And that it’s totally okay to dream big but not necessarily have just about EVERYTHING done!

    That’s exactly where I am right now… taking baby steps and achieving some goals but not all. And as I read through your goal progress, I realized that is A-OKAY!

    Thank you for being real. Keeping it real is the absolute core of my business and personal life and that’s exactly why I follow you.

    Hugs from Atlanta!
    Jasmine

  74. Carrie Joy

    Oh my goodness! So excited for this! I have loved seeing everyone’s stories & progress! So inspiring!

    Now to add mine (lurker no more!)
    1) Make time for people.
    I chose 3 friendships I wanted to focus on this year & though I’m still working on this, I’m making a conscious effort to reach out & connect on a regular basis

    2) Take time for personal photography projects
    Just started a small one yesterday & I took time in February to side shoot a couple fun styled shoots with friends

    3) Find a new proofing system for my clients
    Happy to check this one off! And it’s more streamlined & making my life simpler which is a huge plus!

    4) Build a great team for Wedding days
    This was one of my biggest goals going into 2013. For too long I’ve been a one woman show but it was too much & holding me back creatively. I’m happy to say I’ve found a great assistant & am booking a lot more packages that include a second photographer now that I redid my pricing as well. And I have several great second shooters in place for weddings coming up 🙂

    5) Strengthen my marriage
    Still actively working towards this but I’m more aware of issues & working towards solutions. Progress not perfection, right?

    6) Grow spiritually
    So many stories & comments on here really encouraged me today to push towards this goal. I really haven’t stick to a regular devotional yet this year. This goal needs a lot of work

    7) Not neglect my spiritual family
    I’ve taken a lot of Sunday weddings & shoots lately & I feel a little disconnected from my church family. Still working on this

    8) Be encouraging – Practically writing 1 letter of encouragement a week
    Just started this goal. I’m really excited about this one. I’ve written one so far & gathered cards & addresses to make the coming weeks easier

    9) Create my new website & establish it separate from my blog
    In the beginning stages but I found a great designer who’s currently redesigning my logo. Hope there’s more to report soon

    10) Simplify
    Thanks to Clearing the Clutter — which I really read & tackled this week — I’m seeing progress on this one. So exciting! I’m slowly throwing away years of paper piles & going digital in my office which is so huge for me! Also implemented a new digital To Do system which has given me such peace of mind & helped productivity

    11) Business Budgeting
    Still working on this. Not gotten as organized as I would like.

    12) Publish Weddings
    I just signed up for Two Bright Lights this week. I’m so excited to take that step in the right direction. Much more doing to be done on this front though

    13) Blogging 2 times a week
    I have not been doing this. Not even close. Hoping to do more to prepare & plan & write shorter blogs in the coming weeks to make this goal a reality

    14) Take better care of myself
    Finally found a new hair stylist for starters! I get busy & forget to make regular appointments or even eat well while I’m editing & working from home especially. Still working on this but I’m stocking the pantry with easy meals & keeping a water bottle with me… Things are getting better

    Whew! That’s where I’m at! It’s a lot but I really wanted to share. Lara, thank you so much. I’ve been following you for quite some time & have seen the incredible transformation in your life over these past few years. That you for all these posts. I’m encouraged & challenged & I want to share more & be more involved for accountability & growth.

    • Lara

      Carrie, I am praying for you on all of this. Choose what matters and keep seeking God’s wisdom. You have made such great progress so far and I can’t wait to hear your progress again when we check in July 10! You can do it!

  75. Molly

    Yikes. I’m nervous to even start typing a comment! I am a total lurker. I don’t follow a lot of blogs – I don’t have my own computer so my time is limited when I do get on one (I have one all day at work, just not for personal use) and I tend to shy away from things like this since I never seem to be able to express myself authentically. I stumbled upon Hey Gorgeous Events which then lead me to the Making Things Happen site and you 🙂 I immediately got excited about the Powersheets and started to feel some passion in me that had definitely subsided. My main goal is to find my purpose/mission/passion/CORE . Not knowing this weighs on me every day. I know I need to just put one foot in front of the other but it is SO hard to do when you don’t even know which direction to place it. So instead I have been focusing on the little goals. The daily goals. It sounds small but even the simplest thing as making my bed every day will start my day off better so I have been trying to make those things happen to get into a better routine for myself. I still wind up looking at the big picture and get overwhelmed and, I’m embarrassed to say, shut-down. I “found” you in February, bought and filled out the sheets in March, and started them for April so I know I still have a way to go and even if the last two weeks haven’t been amazing it is all progress – not perfection 🙂
    This process and following all the ladies involved with MTH on Instagram and through new Blogs I’m discovering as really pushed me to want to focus on my ultimate goal of finding my purpose, my core. However, when I think of what the steps might be to start a blog, or an Etsy page (two things I can start to maybe discovering my passions) I pull my self back and say no I should be focusing my time , energy, and financials on moving out and buying a car. I moved back in with my parents after college and realized when I started the power sheets I have had these two same goals for the past two years!! Yikes again.
    Whew! My mind often gets ahead me Ha! I do want to say thank you for being such an encouragement. I hope by the next cheek-in I have made some strides and taken some purposeful action. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story! Sorry this was so long!! I don’t want to even re-read it in fear I’ll delete it!! xoM

    • Lara

      Molly! Your story inspires me SO much!!! I’m so glad you aren’t a lurker anymore : ) So nice to “e-meet” you! Keep focusing on what matters and taking baby steps every day to step into your fears. You can do it!

  76. Heidi Bray

    First, I love MTH and the Power Sheets!
    I stumbled upon MTH early in the year and starting following along with the posts. I began writing out goals & what fires me up on some scrap pieces of paper. Later, I ordered the Power Sheets, I still haven’t written in them, but I think of them a lot.
    I have starting following a lot of inspirational women on Instagram by following the #MTH2013 hashtag. It’s great to find other creative women making their dreams happen, small or large. Making things happen was igniting a spark in me that I hadn’t had in a while. On a whim, in early March I applied for a mentorship spot to go along with Marie Forleo’s B-school. And I got picked! My mentor is an amazing woman that I quickly connected with. I immediately signed up for the B-school program but felt pretty nervous about where it would take me. A few weeks into school and I figured out what I wanted my business to be… party planning. It’s been my passion for years so why not help my friends and others host fabulous parties as well?! I’ve been working on building a small business from the ground up. I hired a graphic designer to design a logo that fits me. I’m working on the website and blog with a little help from a friend with tech knowledge. I’ve signed up for the Amber Housley Inspired event for creative entrepreneurs this summer… which was a huge leap of faith!
    I was planning to attend MTH 2013 but it didn’t work out because my husband and I were celebrating my 30th birthday that weekend. I know that the timing wasn’t right for a reason though and 2014 will be my year to attend.
    Right now, I am so blessed and encouraged by where this creative journey is going to lead me. Regardless of where, I have learned so much about myself and my husband that I will be forever grateful. 2013 is the year of making things happen!
    Thanks Lara for your spark!

    • Lara

      Girl! Start writing in those PowerSheets! Remember that your answers don’t have to be perfect. Keep up the amazing things you are doing – you are making great progress! I hope we get to meet at some point soon : )

  77. Taylor

    Oh my lanta! I stumbled upon this blog from a link in another blog. I am book marking this and reading it regularly! I just talked to my friends about blogging and event planning and wondering if I could do it to God’s glory. Your blog and business showed me that I can. Thank you!!!

    Taylor
    liveandmoveblog.wordpress.com

  78. Jessica James

    I just got your Power Sheets and LOVE them! I filled them out two weeks ago and have taken some big steps toward finishing up two of my ‘mini’ goals for this year! I think on my initial go round with the sheets I focused on business related goals but I want to go back and do the same for my personal/family related goals as well! So glad I stumbled upon your site – from a comment you left on a business page for a local shop here in Gulf Breeze, FL! Hope you’ll be this way again at some point with a seminar/workshop! 🙂 Best, Jess J.

    • Lara

      Such a small world, Jess! I am from Gulf Breeze and my parents still live there : ) The shop you were referencing is now a client of ours for branding – Pizzaz. We’re so excited to work with them and I am SO grateful you stumbled on my blog. Next time I’m in town, I’ll let you know.

  79. Sarah Teeter

    I am in love with this stage of my life. I finally feel that I am getting to live with passion and for the right reasons, truly starting to trust God more and not try to micro-manage. My ultimate goal for this year is to grow in God and live simply with intention and be grateful for every moment. This is a huge statement! And I know I will never accomplish this goal 100%, but I can grow everyday, every moment in these areas and always be moving forward. I have been participating in the She Reads Truth series as well as reading Jesus Calling, but I feel a tug to just get into the bible book by book and read. I also had down to memorize 2 verses per month, which I have slacked on for March and April. Since I have the three verse cards I am going to focus on memorizing those three and keep adding key verses to my heart and memory. My other piece is continuing to develop my prayer life. It is easier for me to read the bible sometimes then pray, which saying that out loud makes me feel pretty sad. I enjoy talking to God, but it sort of goes back to the control piece and I think that is why I dance around certain topics. Goodness, Lara, you have a way of making all my thoughts spill out 😉 My other piece is to live simply, which has been so fun! I am much more aware of clutter and mass consumerism now and my junk room of 5 years is down to just some books and a few misc things that need to be taken care (seriously I was unable to walk into the room in Feb). I have been selling, giving away, and purging. Living with intention too makes me look at how I spend my time. How vested I am in relationships and making connections. Doing things that create a spark have not only been amazing in the happiness factor, but it spills over to business clarity. I do have a lot to grow in, but I am also very happy with the progress I have made from a year ago when I was tired, burnt out, and not living. I am living and that is something to celebrate!

  80. Casey Chappell

    Thank you for being faithful to WRITE! I somehow start to tell myself that people just want surface stuff and pretty pictures on blogs to look at and find myself not writing what is really on my heart. I read every word of this and I am blessed because of it. I need to not FEAR what readers may or may not think or do and just write because it’s on my heart…. now, where is that extra hour in the day? 😉 Love you friend!!!

  81. Jennifer Skinner

    Is there anyone out there that’s still clearing the clutter? Oh yes, that would be me!

    I started my goal setting process in January — and have had a few setbacks along the way. It seems whenever I make progress, life takes me in a different direction and I somehow end up back at the begining, clearing the clutter.

    After the MBH Webinar, I felt like things were falling into place and I was right where I needed to be. I registered for the MTH 2013 in Chapel Hill but was forced to cancel less than a week before because a co-worker at my “real job” had to take a leave of absence due to an unexpected death inher family and required me to take on her events that she was responsible for.

    Being forced to cancel going to MTH for a job that is literally sucking the life out of me sent me to a dark place and forced me to take a deep look into my soul and make some tough choices where my job is concerned.

    After about two weeks of a pity party and some searious soul searching, I marched into my boss’ office and asked for a demotion, a schedule with less travel, a role with more work life balance and flexibility to work from home.

    (Sidenote: I am a Strategic Event Manager for a large tobacco company — my job requires me to travel 90% of the time and when I’m in the office I’m forced to inhale second hand smoke. It’s gross and I sometimes hate myself for ever taking this job — shame on me for chasing money instead of authenticity. But as Maya Angelou says — whenyou know better you do better. and that’s when I found YOU Lara Casey and YOU Emily Ley and I promise you and myself am committed to do better. Even if it takes me years!).

    Back on track, my boss was not pleased with my demands but in the end did agree to some concessions — more work flexibility (thank god, I can breathe clean air again) and some administrative help so I’m not working 70 hrs a week. This is not ideal but it has releived some pressure from me. I cannot afford to quit my job, as I am single and rely solely on my income, but I seek employement with a company that is more in line with my core values and that I am proud to work for. And so that’s what I’m doing now — job hunting. And working on the rest of my goals so that one day I can do what really fires me up.

    On a positve note — I’ve accomplished a few of the goals I set for myself and for that I am very proud.

    I reconnected with God and am enjoying my bible study group,

    I took charge of my health and made a committment to eat whole, unprocessed, real food.

    Not only did I run a 5K but I convinced my ENTIRE family of non-runners to run it with me.

    I’m filling my “Jenn’s Book of Big Idea’s” to the BRIM with things I’m passionate about and projects I would like to work on. Not sure what I’m gonna do with it but it’s what is keeping me fired up right now.

    If I had a dollar for every time I said to myself “Progress not Perfection” I think I could retire. I have resolved to myself that I am a work in progress and that a true masterpiece is NEVER finished.

    To keep the forward momenteum going, I ordered the Power Sheets and am “lurking” on the MTH 2013 Conference FB page for inspiration. It still makes me sad that I’m not an alumni and I truly hope it’s offfered again so I have the opportunity to put all the pieces togeter to make it happen. Until then….progress not perfection — KEEP GOING!

    I’m so thank ful to have found you Lara. You are an inspiration. Keep doing good work!!!!

  82. Natasha Gillyard

    *HUGS*

    You rock beautiful!

    I have many goals and want to share four here.

    1.I de-cluttered my closet and took a huge Ross clothing bag and several Target bags to Goodwill. You never know how much extra stuff you have until you start combing through everything and the weight that just *lifts* once you’ve given it away to someone else that can use it.

    2. I really want to do missions this year and at first I thought that I really wanted to go to China with my church. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still interested in doing that, but I’m also doing volunteer training with my local christian pregnancy support center to be a peer counselor. The Lord is going to use me to love and speak to women from all walks of life about the different options (carrying to term, adoption, and abortion). (Sidenote: The center (nor I) does not do abortions or refer women to doctors to do the procedure. All we do is love them where they are and give them medical facts if they ask. ) I know it’s a very vulnerable place and I’m excited to see God just show up and work!

    3. My snooze button and I are not besties anymore, but we are acquaintances.

    4. I haven’t been journaling daily, but I am journaling more.

    Here’s to progress!!!

  83. Lydia

    Accomplishment: some sort of exercise almost every day, downloading and making progress on projects, and totally rethinking my brand as I get ready to work with a graphic designer for a complete rehaul!
    Needs work: staying up too late and not getting an early start to the day.
    Thanks for your encouragement, Lara!

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  85. Bonita Wise

    I am really appreciating your blog and Instagram . So wonderful to see some one else desiring to please The Only Wise God!

  86. Annie {little&ever}

    Lara, you’ve made amazing progress. Wow, such an incredible happening re: your book. I can’t wait to hear more as you work on it. And my thoughts are with your dad.

    I’ve really enjoyed working through your goal setting steps, and posting it for accountability. I get so many ideas from reading yours and others words and it’s nice to be able to give others ideas too. I am working on reducing facebook time, reducing non-helpful internet time, and reducing mindless TV time. It’s definitely increasing my productivity, but most importantly, my mindset. (Less “noise”).

    Ongoing clearing of the clutter is occurring, and I’m nearly finished making my home into more of a home by having a lovely spare bedroom. My first guest is staying in 2 weeks time. Things like this are ‘what matters most’, something you and Emily Ley are so good at reminding. It’s a thought that is now in the front of my mind. Say yes to people. Say no to cyberland. You would think that would be obvious (and even easy), but it is something I want to work on… and lots more tea and biscuit catch ups!

  87. katyrenee

    Thank you for your transparency. I’ve been working on this since Wednesday. It was overwhelming to go back and evaluate, but little by little I am getting there. I am so pleased with some of the BIG things I’ve accomplished. I also found myself annoyed with some of the stalled goals or ones I completely forgot about.

    I found that going through and re-evaluating all my “why’s” were helpful. Sometimes I even put action items by my goals to help me frame them in a way that made them “easier.” My chore goals were more likely to get ignored than the goals that excited me to my core. And the simple act of re-framing them works.

  88. Jessica Chavez

    I know I’ve said ‘thank you’ a LOT lately, but really my heart overflows with gratitude for you, your honesty and your encouragement! I recently remembered that I didn’t print out my Vision sheet and that is my goal for this week! I wanna keep it where I can see it daily to be reminded of what I want this year to look like.
    A couple of accomplished goals are
    – Finishing the website and blog!! YAAY for those two!
    – Define my client gifts from beginning to end. DONE!

    A couple of on&off are:
    – Exercising 3 times a week… this is a hard one for me, but I’ll keep working on it!
    – Finishing the new pricing… even with the website published I still hesitate to give my work its value and a price. Still working on this one.
    – Schedule blogging… this one is harder than I thought, I’m realizing how difficult it is to not be second guessing if what I write is good enough. Yeap! I’m working on this one too!
    – My most important goal is to spend more time studying the Bible and in prayer and even though I would like to say I’m doing great, I’m not. I’m gonna keep it real and say I struggle letting whatever take my time before God, but this is the one I’m trying harder. God’s my core and I can’t start a day without spending time with Him, it makes a HUGE difference.
    I’m glad we still have 8 months to keep pushing through those goals!!

  89. becca ramsey

    Thank you for keeping us updated! I needed the refresher and refocus, life seemed to get really busy with an upcoming move to another state. This motivated me again to really focus on my ideal day- starting first and foremost with the Lord and then going from there! It changes my heart and outlook on EVERYTHING!

  90. Chandra Verbic

    I’ve moved forward with my product line for teachers. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. I want to fill a thankless profession with hope, steadfastness, and peace by providing them with an organizational system that will allow them to focus more on those tasks that matter – their students. Without your constant encouragement and support. Lara, I could never have made this happen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I love you!

  91. Tiffany Abruzzo

    Last year, my big focus was planning our wedding. My hubby and I have been together for almost 13 years and finally tied the knot ! All of that planning put my photo business development on the back burner, so this year I am totally focused on rebranding, revamping, and re energizing the biz! So far so good 🙂 launched the new website, have regularly posted on the blog, booked my first wedding of the year (wish me luck, it’s this weekend!) and have networked more than ever! Progress, not perfection is my focus!

  92. Estella Taylor

    I started the goal setting series with you and then I stopped. Just stopped! It was out of laziness and fear. Laziness because I know how much hard work goes into actually accomplishing goals that you set for yourself and I sometimes felt (still feel) that there’s not enough time in the day for me to take care of me when I have 5 children who need me. Fear because I felt like no matter what I do, nothing works, so why even do this when my goals won’t be reached. Then something inside of me said to stop. My biggest goal was to stop living in fear because nothing comes from fear. I want to credit Lara’s instagram post for being so inspiring and honest with giving me the kickstart that I needed. So I started, late, but I started. I am proud of that fact because it meant accomplishing one of my biggest goals, letting go of fear. I am still working to achieve my goals daily. Sometimes things don’t go as planned but that fine because each day I am doing something towards my goals. I am making life happen! Thank you so much Lara!!

  93. Leika

    Lara, I always love your honesty. I won’t make this a monster comment with all of my goals, but my word for this year is “balance,” and I’ve been working hard this year to have more balance in my life. One of my specific goals was to “Be a better wife and encourager at home,” and I’ve been doing a better job of putting my marriage first, saying no to more so that I have the time and energy to be a good partner. Progress not perfection is definitely the key, but we are making progress and I’m finding more balance and making what matters happen!

  94. Joscelyne

    Hi there!!

    Since discovering MTH, I’ve hunkered down and written detailed notes about the things I want to say yes to more, and the things that worked/ didn’t work prior to sitting down and crafted some pretty incredible goals for myself. This work led me to plans for a lifestyle brand, immediate faith acts and deliberate time with my family. I’m so grateful for this portal. It feels like someone turned on the lights! Thank you Lara & Co. I can’t wait to dig in to the MTH Webinar Series!

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  96. Ashley

    Hi Lara!

    So much has happened since January! Thanks for your openness and honesty and for continuing to challenge me to make things happen this year. I just posted an update on my blog about progress on my personal and business goals. Here’s the link: http://www.ashleydanyew.com/2013/goals-for-2013-april-update/

  97. Sarah

    Lara,
    I have been so very encouraged by your writing and passion for the Lord. One of my main goals has been to be more faithful in studying and applying the Word. I have been a bit fearful about taking things out of context, I want to read it and understand what the Lord is saying in the text, not make the text say what I want it to say. God is so good, He leads me as I study and helps me understand it. I feel like He has been showing me that my job is to be faithful and He WILL be my teacher. So far that is my main goal, consistant time in the Word, sometimes it’s hard to make it happen. My husband works full time and is working on a PhD and I work one day a week outside the home, attend school, and spend the rest of my time with our two year old and eight month old. Sometimes life feels like a crazy whirlwind but God is so gracious and good, spending time studying the Word is exactly what I need in the midst of the craziness. You have really encouraged me in so many ways. I cannot begin to thank you enough for your blog!

  98. Amy

    Yay! Yay! Yay! You inspire me every day even when I’m so tired and wearing sorting through all my plans and ideas! I’ve been so convicted to pray hard lately and also to hang on to the very evident truth that I took from making things happen…that being that I really need to refine who my ideal clients are. I’m happy to say that I’m working on it. I prayed consistently and hard since about the first of the year for some new friends. Woman who will challenge me and hold me accountable and who will be excited and encouraging as I move forward with my new adventures and you know what God did…he plopped a few MTH alumni in my lap! SOOOOO awesome! Thank you thank you thank you for always stirring my heart a little!

  99. Ashley Flores

    Hi Lara,

    I honestly just discovered your page three weeks ago, and I am so glad I did. I have been running a non-profit for six years and I feel like we have hit a plateau. We’re not progressing and I know it’s because of a sudden lack of organization. “Organize” was actually my focus word for 2013, but it has now become “simplicity”. I found that trying to organize 80 things was really just trying to create order to chaos and was causing all of my projects to suffer in the meantime. Our program mentors young girls and I don’t want our lack of proper planning to affect their growth as daughters of the the King.

    So, today…I ordered your power sheets.

    I’m investing in their futures, as well as my families.

    Thank you and I look forward to checking in again on July 10th. (I’ll also be blogging about it throughout the next six months).

    God bless your ministry.

    -Ashley

    • Lara

      YAY, Ashley! I’m so excited for you!!! So great to “meet” you : )

  100. Lauren Jolly

    One of my goals for this year was to make connections with people. I am naturally pretty shy so talking to strangers is not exactly my strong suit. I still struggle with nerves and anxiety whenever I have a client meeting or have to meet new people, but I’ve gotten so much better about it! Working through the goal setting steps and attending MTH this year has helped me get to know myself better and realize that I am valuable. I feel more confident and more relevant. Thank you for everything, Lara!

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  102. Lauren

    Thank you for this! It is so inspiring! One of my goals this year was to get settled. Every house / flat I’ve moved into in the last decade, there’s always been an expiration date of when I was leaving there. I bought a house last year, but I haven’t been able to shake the unsettled, temporary feeling – like I need to be ready to move at any moment. 2 weeks ago, my guy of 2 years proposed. We both want a wedding this year. This is definitely a move towards getting settled 🙂

    P.S. I absolutely love those verse cards? Will they be in the shop soon? xoxo

  103. Jenni

    I’v e gotten as far as the “clearing the clutter” step on your goal setting blogs! Turns out I have A LOT of clutter to clear. But I am making progress on it every day and am so excited to get to a point where I feel like I’ve got the clutter pretty well handled!

  104. Liz

    baby steps is how i roll! 😉 i am trying to set aside “me” time more often to post on my blog. it’s an outlet for me and one that i’ve come to enjoy more and more. joining the southern blog society has helped since they have a requirement of so many posts a week!

  105. Rachel Moger

    Lara, thank you so much for the check-in! I’m also feeling like I need a re-boot. This year has already been so impactful and I’ve achieved a lot of goals that we put in place already. Where I’m at now is fine-tuning what really matters, and making those things habits. I purcahsed the powersheets and am doing my best to put them to practice. We have a new baby coming in June, and life is going to change dramatically! After that, my business officially launches in September! My main goal is to keep level headed and focus on what truly matters. Thanks, lara! xoxo

  106. Shalene

    I’m a stay-at-home mommy to three, but I’m also a former magazine editor (home design publications), and I have lately been feeling the Lord’s pull to start writing again. With three little ones aged five and under, finding the time to write, is exceptionally difficult (especially since all I want to do once they’ve gone to bed is collapse on the couch with my hubby). But I’m beginning to try to work in the time. I recently picked blogging back up, and I will be submitting a few editorial queries to various pubs. It feels good to finally be tapping back into the giftings God has given me! I also have a book proposal that has been collecting dust for five years now that I need to revisit and begin shopping to publishers. So that’s a huge goal! Five years ago I shopped it to one (yes, just 1) large Christian publishing house, and it was rejected solely on the grounds that they had recently accepted a proposal that was too similar to mine. Why in the world did I not take that as an encouraging note and shop it around, I don’t know, but I didn’t. So those aren’t goals! To write more, which includes OFFICIALLY launching the blog and updating the proposal so I can shop it around.

  107. Shalene

    Oops, I meant “so those are my goals.”

  108. Allyson Ward

    Lara, I really needed this check in today. I started the goal setting series before attending MTH, but it has really been since that I’ve started to actually take the necessary actions to achieve those goals. In the last month I’ve cleared out so much clutter, both virtual and physical. Even my husband commented on how much he liked clearing out the closets in the house! I’ve also set office hours, and stuck to them pretty well. I started using Boomerang, and I love setting up those emails the evening before and not rushing to my computer in the morning. I’m still working on some other things to make some repetitive tasks more efficient, but I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made. Although I still have a long way to go, it’s been great to look back and see the small achievements! I know this is reflecting in both my personal life and my business! Thank you so much for your constant encouragement!

  109. Taylor adams

    Lara you inspire me so much! If I’m ever feeling lazy, I just get on your site / Instagram and I feel instantly motivated to make things happen. I have had a rough time the past couple of months but its because of you, your story, your faith and your belief in everyone that I’ve seen it not as a hardship but as a blessing. God broke me down to build me up stronger in Him. Since starting this goal setting and surrounding myself only with uplifting people that are going places – my fiancé and I are closer than ever, I know I am following the path God has intended for my life, I am listening to God and making decisions prayerfully, my fiancé and I pray together very often now (something I was so terrified to do before in fear of what he would think of my prayers. i.e. are they good enough , do I sound stupid, etc) and I just feel whole. I just feel courageous and bold and ready to make things happen. I don’t care what other people will think–I care only what my Heavenly Father will think. I know what his path is for our lives and nobody will stop us from making it happen. So I just want to thank you for always being an example and raising the bar and not being afraid to be your best every day so you can inspire others to do the same. You are such a inspiration to so many people. Thank you thank you thank you!

    • Lara

      I am praising God for you and for your amazing clear heart! Wow, this is such an encouragement! God is working in you!

  110. sarah

    Thank you so much for this post! I needed the reminder and check in. It totally lit a fire under me. Thank you! I’ve started re-attacking my goals. I have a list of books I want to read to help me with my faith and my business- I just checked one out of the library and started reading it. I emailed the HR department at work, asking about how I can go about getting a professional license that I don’t need, but want to advance in my career. These are baby steps, but they’re steps none the less. Progress not perfection.

  111. Heather

    Making progress in clearing the clutter to focus on my marriage, my children, and then work. Keep hearing you tell me that when Jesus gave instructions people didn’t stop or waste time…they got up and acted…this has helped me stop wasting time and start getting things done! Thank you!

  112. Kiah

    Up until this point I didn’t have any goals for this year because I have been working on not being a control freak and letting God have the control. Having gone through a huge period of hearing God say “wait.” I final have few goal that God is in tune with:

    Apply and accept and job that God 100$ says “yes” to.

    Get comfortable with my camera and plan one styled shoot.

    Upgrade and market my blog.

    I just graduated from college and I know God has some amazing things planned for the new season my husband and I are about to enter. With God I can make anything happen.

  113. Dana

    Thank you for this post. You inspire me to want better in my life. Not just good enough. My goal was to figure out what makes me happy to shoot and how to get a little more balance. After lots of prayer, I’ve decided to only work with clients I enjoy and have a huge heart for my art. I also am taking a step back from shooting weddings and only second shooting which has lifted this weight off of me. My next goal is to blog. I’m not perfect but I’m working on getting better. Thank you for pushing me in a better direction and helping me see my purpose and passion.

  114. Kelly

    Hi Lara,

    I love the way you approach goal-setting and life. You take a balanced approach and don’t limit your goals to one aspect of your life (like work, for example).

    Two of my personal, non-work-related goals for this year are to take my hobby of studying history and turn it into something more (and to figure out what “something more” is) and to start writing a book.

    So far, I’ve gotten really plugged in to how I can contribute to the discussion on what I’m interested in in history on social media (it’s amazing what you can do with Twitter!). So my next step is to create my own Twitter (separate from my personal account) and use it to get in and contribute to the discussion.

    I decided last year that I want to write a novel before I turn 30. The hardest part of this is where to start. I have so many fears and excuses to hold me back (I didn’t study writing, I don’t know how to get a book published, etc, etc) but I’m happy to say I have actually started writing. It’s only a few paragraphs, but it’s something! Now, I need to move past my fear and realize that I can do it!!

  115. Jessa R.

    I recently discovered you (and what a blessing it has been!). My goal is to make progress on my dissertation. At the moment, fear of failure has clouded my vision, such that I am having a hard time of evening coming up with ideas. I am trying to learn that my self-worth is not measured by the worth of my ideas (thanks, Brene Brown!). Oh, and I’m trying to have less clutter in my life 🙂

  116. Bonni Mace

    I love your stuff Lara! My friend Jessica from college introduced me to you, and I’m very grateful for that. Thanks for sharing your encouraging wisdom!

    Here is my 2013 goal progress so far:
    • Share my story: I’m a freelance designer and the journey to get here is a good one that people ask me about a lot. I wish I had someone be totally vulnerable with me as I started so I’m going to do that for others now. I hammered out my first 3 posts on Friday!
    • Establish a consistent quiet time. I’ve completed a couple of YouVersion devos and I’ve been doing one consistently for the last 2 weeks.
    • Get healthy. I’m happy to say that I finally snapped into the motivation to get healthy and stay healthy last week. Today will be day 5 of yoga work outs and no soft drinks!
    • Learn to say no when I need to. Working at a church makes this difficult because you want to help everyone, but I’m slowly learning how to say no in ways that are still uplifting and encouraging!
    • Start reading again – Almost done with book #2 for this year! Trying to establish reading time each day, but I still have a way to go there.
    • Allow myself time to grow. This is my newest one and I am glad I’ve realized how important this is. I’m trying to decide if I can manage to dedicate a growth day to myself every week or every other week.

    Thanks for saturating the internet with positive awesomeness!

  117. Brooke

    I absolutely love following you on Instagram and checking out your blog because you always have a way of being super encouraging and you always keep what matters most in front of you, which is something I strive to be better at each day. My goal for this year has been to draw closer in my relationship with God and clear out the distractions in my life and put Him first in everything I do. I also am striving to be the best girlfriend I can be to my amazing boyfriend by growing myself personally and not losing sight of what I can pour into him. Also, we both have big plans and goals together for the business we are building. We have goals of putting together a big team to elevate ourselves to make an impact on many people and to earn a platform to use to glorify our Lord, who makes all we do possible and who will make our lives prosperous from the seeds that we sow along the way.

    Thank you for putting this blog post out there because I didn’t realize how much more focused simply writing these goals makes me and it definitely helps me keep it in front of me! Keep doing what you’re doing because you are an inspiration to so many!

  118. Kathryn

    One of biggest accomplishments so far has been diving in head first and working on my art business. I have “dabbled” with it in the past, but I took a chance this year and it is really paying off. I really hope to stay focused on this throughout the year and see where it takes me!

  119. Kristy DeGraaf

    Lara – Thank you so much for your encouragement and honesty! I do feel like I’ve made progress, but feel like I need a reboot and reminder. I honestly haven’t even looked at my goals for a while. I have a general idea of what they are, but need some reminders. I probably ought to just break down and buy your Power Sheets to help me track. Anyway, I digress. Tomorrow is my birthday and so my gift to myself is going to be some self reflection and reviewing of where I’m at. I really want to do a vision board. I think that would help. But what I can say is this: I have made progress in connecting with other Early Childhood professionals. I have taken time to nurture important relationships. I need to take more time away from my phone and focus on what really matters – my kiddos, my husband, my relationship with God and taking care of myself. I have taken baby steps, but I think I’m still selling myself a little short. My business still needs attention. Things have calmed down and I am developing a clearer picture of who I am and what I’m about, but I need to put more of it into action. Thanks again for the reminder. Hope I win! 😉

  120. Dee

    My new goal is to finish what I start. This was my goal a few years back, but I totally viewed from the wrong perspective. I had the intention of doing everything I started no matter what. As I’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser), I understand a better meaning. It’s only taking to task those things that warm my heart, put me nearer to my purpose, and honor God. In the past I’ve stumbled with not finishing the important things either because I was distracted by the other stuff or simply didn’t have the time. I’ve decided that it starts with what I take in – the “start.” It is making all of the difference in the way I feel about my life these days.

    Powersheets up next! 🙂

  121. Megan Cooper

    Lara you have been such a motivation to me! I just got your Power Sheets in the mail (I ordered a set from the first printing but felt at the time that my mom needed them more to help her get going with her dreams and gave my set away and was so happy to see that you had 7 left last week!) and I’m so excited to start intentionally setting my goals and planning for my future instead of just going whichever way the wind happened to blow me. I’ve been reading your blog since the beginning of the year and feel like I’m finally ready to conquer my fear of I don’t even know what that’s been paralyzing me from moving forward!

    • Lara

      Wow, that is so thoughtful of you! What a wonderful gesture for your mama : )

  122. Kerri

    My main goal is to launch my photography business. I am tired of not living my dreams and dying little by little in my boring day job. I am more than this!

  123. Christina Leigh

    I’m so excited to continue marking off my “clear-the-clutter” check list. It’s been a huge part of my goals this year and this weekend I organized our hallway closet! It’s bee a catch-all since my husband and I were married and it was time to tackles the small room of random! I feel so much more productive mow that I can access everything in the closet! Thank you to my Making Brand Happen Core Group AP, Carlene for keeping me accountable! What an awesome feeling!
    http://christinafrederick.com/2013/04/30/a-place-to-hang-your-coat/

  124. Vanessa

    My goals: Lose 20 lbs (in progress…sloooowly) and blog once per week. I got behind on blogging due to some technical issues and then just putting it off, but just posted again! Gotta keep it going!
    My desktop background is your foil of “Done is better than Perfect”. Such a mantra for the perfectionist in me!! Thank you for your encouragement, Lara!

    • Lara

      Awesome! Those words help me so much, too. Yay! And progress not perfection on your weight loss. When I used to train people back in the day, the thing that helped the most was to try to focus not on a number, but on feeling healthy day by day. You can do it!

  125. Kate

    My progress has been in the area of identifying my core. This has allowed me to make better, smarter, and more powerful decisions. I still work everyday to live life intentionally. It is about progress! Every decision I make that comes from my core and a place of authenticity is a testament to the power of living for progress, not perfection.

  126. Jenn

    Lara- I am finishing up my power sheets tonight and it is absolutely incredible how much focus they have brought me- not just to my daily life but to my overall purpose as a wife, mother, friend, employee, etc… I hope to have progress to report in June after a strong month of reprioritizing and decluttering- both literally and mentally. Thank You for your inspiration and the humble spirit that you exude when sharing it with us!

    • Lara

      YAY Jenn! I am so happy to hear this and so excited for you! Keep me posted on your progress!

  127. Ellen

    I am a new reader, but wanted to post. I typically make a few goals for the year, but the thing I do that helps me the most in the goal/progress area is to keep a google doc that month by month I update with accomplishments for that month. Sometimes they are big-ran my first half marathon, or sometimes small-bought and wore red lipstick. Whenever I am feeling adrift or burned out I look back at these (have done it for 2.5 years now) and am reminded that life is easier and harder at some points, but you can always accomplish something and have progress in one way.

  128. Heather Gardner

    I’ve booked 3 weddings out of my goal for 10 this year. Amazing, scary, thrilling, nerve-wracking to live up to my own expectations above & beyond my client expectations. I want to create something beautiful, fulfilling and meaningful and I’m just getting this train started…

  129. Bianca Andrea

    Done is better than perfect, I have your saying as my computer background. I remind myself daily that as long as I can acomplish a few things a day is better than everything. Thank you for your words of encouragment Lara.

  130. Carly

    My goals have shifted a bit as I just found out my sister is pregnant! So some new auntie-specific goals have been added, as well as being more in touch with my sister throughout her pregnancy.

  131. Tessa Tuttle

    I am so delighted to have cleared so much digital clutter already this year, started going off the grid on weekends & I’ve re-designed my work space to inspire me to face the fear & do it anyway!
    One third way through the year & I’m reading over my 2012 review, reminding myself of what I need to remember in 2013. Still a lot of things I wish would change with the click of my heels – but I’m definitely moving in the right direction!

  132. Becky

    Wow, what an awesome post. Some of my goals for this year have been reading more which I’ve already read several books this year (yay) Finding ministries where I can use my photography (Gold Hope Project & Red Thread Sessions) and finding the courage to run past 20 minutes. (currently at 45! feels like a miracle!)

  133. Caroline Hull

    This year has been amazing beyond belief for me and my business. I finally reached my goal of creating a wholesale wedding collection that is uniquely me and am taking it to the National Stationery Show this year. One goal that I’ve had trouble with, is making God a bigger part of my everyday. Right now I’m reading the bible everyday and really praying which I haven’t done in a long time. I can already feel the amazing power of these actions in my everyday. Now I’m setting new goals as I’m going to be a momma again. One is to get my house and business organized. Two is to figure out the work/life balance a little better. I had it working great and then got super busy so it’s time to reevaluate my schedule and how I’m spending time with my family. Big things happening this year!

  134. Stephanie

    Lara, I love that you are so honest! Thank you for sharing your goals with us and letting us peak into your life; struggles, triumphs… all of it! Reading your posts always gets my wheels turning…
    My big goal this year is to do what inspires me and to do what is important. One of the main components of that goal is opening my own business. I have made a lot of progress and it truly inspires me everyday. That is not to say, it isn’t tiring and difficult! I’m learning how to juggle my life and the business and am hopeful for everything that is to come!

  135. mariana herrera mosli

    Lara, this year has been all about transformation. Learning throughout the process that what I envision is so limited and compared to what God has in store for me, my loved ones, and my business, I MUST fully trust and let go of what I don’t understand. It’s been such a challenge letting go of the need to BE BUSY and accepting that applying my time accordingly and to the right priorities, God will handle the rest. I started writing out prayer lists, and admittedly, it was the first time I’ve ever done that. Wow, it’s so beautiful to be able to actually see God’s daily miracles. I look forward to what’s ahead and feel so blessed! Thanks for always inspiring me, Lara! Much love!!

  136. Kathryn Denelle Stevens

    Lara!! It was so good to read your goals and to get re-motivated for mine! I do have to say that this is maybe the first time in a while that I’ve written goals and then those goals have really changed..or, my focus has really changed. Life has a way of throwing you for a loop sometimes, doesn’t it? One major “theme” of my goals though, was to de-clutter, live more simply and be more organized. And, so even though some specific things have changed, that part has not! So, in that vein, my goals now are to: 1. Start every day in meditation. 2. Create manageable lists of what needs to be done each day and be concerted in my follow-through. 3. Create better systems for my work. 4. Do one personal project this year that involves giving back. 5. Spend time planning and making healthy meals for us and our friends…I needed this…thank you…as always.

  137. duchessbelle

    After getting my bearings last year, this year’s goal is to get back on track, namely with health and fitness. Still a challenge figuring out how to make time during the week with a almost 4 hour total daily commute but the weekends have been great so I’m trying to be happy with baby steps!

  138. Sarah

    Going through this process has truly been life changing for me. I feel like I have let the past several years slip by without making concrete goals for where I’d like to be personally, professionally and spiritually. Having this process to follow has been incredibly helpful. The checkin was just what I needed, too! After working on things for three or four months, it can start to be discouraging. You see how much you have to do still, rather than how far you’ve come. Thanks for the reminder to keep goals in front of us and stay focused on them. This process is has been incredibly beneficial for me.

  139. Jessica

    You asked for honestly so here it goes! I spent so much time reading your posts in January and getting all set up to be more organized and intentional than everthis year. I feel like I am totally failing in this effort so far. I am doing better at staying away from social media and being more present when I am with my little girls. Aside from that, I can’t even remember what I wrote down in January (#fail). I work FT, and getting ready to be installed as president of a large volunteer organization, have a 3 & 2 year old, and we’re renovating a house. I feel like God lead me to read this today and maybe I need to revisit and refocus. And hold myself to a standard of grace. And trust in God completely instead of trying to manage it all by myself … thanks for being you 🙂

  140. Courtney Mezger

    Lara,
    This year has already shown to be quite a roller coaster! Since January (maybe even sooner than that), we have been house hunting. Everything within budget needed too much work, or the deal fell through for one reason or another. It has been head ache after headache. So about two weeks ago, my hard working hubby came to me and suggested that we build our own home. Coming from a family full of contractors including himself — we figured why the heck not! He have put off this idea a few times in the past due to time and money. But now seems to be THE time. We started our application process at the end of last week!! I still can’t believe it’s happening!! Praying everything works out with the bank, fingers crossed.
    If in fact the home is going to be built, we should finish before the winter! By that time our family will be one person larger.
    Even though our goal of having a home by the time baby is here won’t be met, the fact that we will finally be completing a long lived goal of building our own home will be in the progress makes everything so much easier to accept. Thank you for your constant inspiration & encouragement, Lara!

  141. Jasmine Marciniak

    My husband and I have been married a year and we are very close to our families, almost TOO close. At the start of this year we decided to start running to Jesus first, each other second, and our families third. We want to put Him first in our lives forever and always, even though it is very easy to ignore the One who created us. The Lord really tested us and asked if we truly meant what we had promised and we said yes. He provided a job for me across the country and away from all of our family members on both sides. We had a huge choice to make: follow the Lord to sunny Florida and trust Him with everything, or stay where we were a live a mediocre life. We decided to dream big and trust even BIGGER. We have been in Florida for a few months now and had God has blessed us both in immeasurable ways. We still breakdown and argue and call our parents when we miss them, but we strive for Grace, not Perfection. And we are thankful for His new mercies every morning. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us this year. Blessings on your challenges!!

  142. Stephanie Huxter

    Lara, thank you for making frequent posts about goal setting. They really do help to keep me accountable, and are great reminders. The two big things that have stuck with me since January are:
    Progress not perfection.
    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    The verse I have written down for this week is:
    “Acknowledge God in all your ways and He will direct your steps.” -Proverbs 3:6
    …. in ALL your ways ….
    He didn’t write, when things get hard or when you feel alone. No, He wrote in ALL your ways. I love when I spend the day talking to God, sharing in His joy and seeking His council. Not only am I fulfilled and productive, but because I’ve been acknowledging Him, He has been directing my steps. It doesn’t mean I did everything perfect, but in the long run it means a life filled with peace, joy, and purpose.
    What more can you ask for….

  143. Lauren

    My goal since last fall was to move to Colorado by the end of this year. This involves selling my growing company and I started to fear I wouldn’t be able to sell, while also being afraid to move on from it unsure of what type of job I would find in my new city. I’ve feared that my portfolio isn’t enough, or that I don’t have enough experience to be hired on to a larger company, or that I won’t being able to find a wedding planning company that I fall in love with. With this fear in mind, I’ve since found reasons to stay where I am – ideas of expanding my current business to a bigger market, needing to wait for the right time with money, etc. Over the past few months, I’ve started to change my plans to staying here with the business with and focus on expanding. Since I’ve made this decision, I’ve becoming increasingly unhappy. I’ve modified my goals to get around ‘fear’, but what I really needed is to hold myself accountable with my original goal. I need to face the fear to get to the happiness I desire. Like you said, taking big risks for what matters! Making goals each month and reviewing them is something I’ve never done and I definitely think will help me stay on track. I will continually reference your posts and others for inspiration to get me where I want to be!

  144. Meredith

    I love this post Lara! I was making such great progress on my goals for the year, and as soon as I got home from MTH Chapel Hill, I found out I was pregnant! We are thrilled after two miscarriages, but suddenly I lost all my energy and did not want to do anything! I read your post about being pregnant, and really resonate with “falling off the radar” for a few months. I am still not feeling great, still trucking away at my day job, and taking life one day at a time! I’m very excited to be past this phase but working so hard to enjoy it while I’m here. Many of my goals have kept on happening because of the progress I had started… I’ve already booked the number of weddings I had hoped for the year, managed to plant my garden, and have tried to spend much more time on what matters, especially in this season before baby! : ) I’m living by your motto “Progress, not perfection” and “Do what you can with what you have!” My pregnant belly would LOVE a pair of tieks for those summer weddings! Thanks for your continued inspiration : )

  145. Brittany

    One goal that I’ve completed was to create my own font!! It was so exciting and fun to do and I’ve already got tons more ideas for other fonts 🙂 I also blogged every weekday this month, which has gotten me back into the rhythm of posting and it feels good!! Goals that I’m still working on are opening an Etsy shop and launching my new site (which goes live tomorrow!!) so I’ll have an update for you in July 🙂

  146. Nancy Ham

    Oh Lara, your heart inspires me so! This year
    I purchased the powersheets and they have already
    Been fruitful! This year I’m getting my life organized and focusing on what matters most!

  147. Madaline Meatte

    I have truly realized what it means for less it more. That I CANNOT do everything. So I stopped trying. I’m focusing on my husband and our relationship. Spending more time with him. I closed my etsy shop and still do things on the side that are just for me, but I’ve truly enjoyed reading a good book! And not constantly being in a hurry! And I must say that THIS is what matters most!!

  148. Sarah

    I’m still struggling with my goal to be more efficient and effective in my day job (which does not bring me joy) so that I can have more time to do those things that do bring me joy! But I find it hard to stay motivated when I’m not doing the things that fire me up. I know that if I were just more efficient and focused when doing the things that don’t fulfill me I’d have more time for what does… but I’ve not been very successful at achieving that focus. Thank you for your constant inspiring words, Lara!

  149. Kate Eggleston

    I have been working all year to be a more positive person. I am in an incredibly stressful and rigorous academic program and am constantly surrounded with negative people. I want to bring positive thinking to this group and remind everyone that life doesn’t have to be bad, even if it’s stressful. I started by praying in the car every day with words of gratitude to God for all that is good in my life that day. It helps me stay focused and spread positivity! I don’t remember to do it every day but I am much happier than I was last year, so that’s a start!

  150. Mandy

    Hello All! So much has changed since I wrote my goals. My husband and I found out we are expecting out first child this fall (something my heart was not all the way ready for, when we got the news) I have watched my heart and mind shift over the past 4months. My goals were career and achievement based and they are shifting to What Matters Most. Strengthening my faith, connecting with my husband and focusing on developing what kind of mother I want to be to our little one. I am working to find a good mix of work and real life… Its funny how God took the goals on the bottom of my list and made them the goals that are now at the top of my list. I could not be happier with the growth these changes are bringing (even when I hit a hard spot in the transition)Thank you for being an inspiring mamma and wife! -Blessings

  151. Megan Metz

    Well, in the busyness of life, I have forgotten to check in on personal goals I made in January.
    But Im back on track! Goals to get up early, meet with God, workout, and communicate with my family!
    Tomorrow I will be going to a 6 am workout class! Yippee!!
    Excited for baby steps and progress in communication with family!
    Love your blog!!!

  152. Kaitlin

    Hi Lara! Thank you for your passion, love and passion with us via your blog and more. Your posts bring my daily inspiration to keep on keeping on with strength and without doubt or fear. My goal for 2013 is to soak in as much knowledge as I begin my new career in Washington, DC , find myself settled and happy in this new city and begin to share myself with new friends!

  153. Katie Saeger

    With a wonderful new addition to our family in January, I have felt my priorities shift. My goals right now are to figure out how to balance our family life and my business. I want to spend enough time with both my daughter and husband and give my my wonderful clients a great client experience. I try to cross as much as I can off my to-do list during naps, and prioritize what needs to be done each day to keep on top of everything. It’s a tough learning curve, but I wouldn’t trade this time for anything.

  154. Kellie Rose Wilson

    Thank you for your inspiring and positive blog! I am hoping to really chase my dream, I have been doing it little by little but it requires me to move across the country and that is honestly something that scares me a lot! I am hoping to finally make the move this fall and actually make an effort to be a part of an industry that reflects my degree instead of settling for jobs outside my field of interest.

  155. Jessica

    Lara,

    Thank you for inspiring me everyday on instagram. Love everything you share and am blessed to have your positivity in my life!

    xoxo
    Jessica
    http://www.provebsliving.org

  156. Mary Coules

    My beautiful friend Lara,
    You are such a light to me in my heart and in my life. Such an inspiration and SO encouraging to keep taking steps in the direction of what matters. That simple focus has been life changing for me.
    I have to admit I am struggling but constantly striving to celebrate all that I accomplish throughout my day, big or small. I am focused on PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION so much lately.
    I keep pushing through my fears and just trying AND DOING. A huge risk for me has been to share my heart and what I think and feel about life. I have for so long stayed neutral and struggled with making decisions. Just admitting that makes me see how there is no benefit in my doubt and fear. I am always reaching for JOY and believe that LOVE NEVER FAILS in my marriage and the relationships in my life.
    I am sharing my website to date. As IS. Knowing that I will continue to add and build on it from here. THIS IS A HUGE RISK for me and something that scares the pants off me!!! BUT your push to share helps, even though it is not all my goals… THIS IS a really, really big thing for me. For whatever reason, I am not even certain why. But I am sharing it here and now. As my personal step in moving forward into the light. My shining and bright light that God has given me. http://www.marycoules.com
    Thank you for all you do and your friendship. It has touched my heart and filled my life with HOPE.
    I love you!

  157. Kelly Dellinger

    The past four months have been a challenge, to say the least. Starting a business has been rocky and a wakeup call (after some extremely unrealistic expectations going into it), but a test of faith and trust. So much trust. I haven’t been very good at all of the trusting, to be honest — lots of doubt and uncertainty and questioning God’s will. There’s been a lot of progress on little things, like keeping our home tidier, making time together for a vacation, staying awake after Drew leaves for work in the mornings, and even some big goal-aspiring… I’m going to yoga teacher training this July after years of wanting to make that dream happen! I’ve even been teaching private lessons to a fun elderly couple that wanted to improve their flexibility and start building healthier habits now that they’re retired. It’s been fun and oh-so-rewarding! I’m trying to stay in tune with how God’s will might be changing for my life (or at least keeping up with how I need to be pursuing it on a daily basis). Another big thing is us joining our church as official members this year! We decided to make the plunge to talk to someone at this past Sunday’s church service and are now going through the processes to become members. This entails me finally getting baptized by immersion — so excited for this!!!

    Love seeing your progress — you’re such a lovely example. Love your heart!

  158. Linda

    So many goals, so little time! I guess God only allows so much time as He deems necessary for His glory, huh? Recently I’ve said, “I do” to the man of I’ve prayed for all my life. It was the best day ever! Now for the next best thing: being a graceful, loving, and serving wife. That can be hard sometimes! I knowit takes WORK, so this is a big goal for me. My next big goal is taking this plunge into starting my own business. My loving and supportive husband has given me just enough courage to venture and do my dream job; a wedding and event coordinator. It takes a sort of courage that I get nervous about, because I don’t just want to plan and style a fabulous events. I want to celebrate marriage and His glory to shine in all of it! That can be a little scary because I feel like I’llbe judged for it (sounds crazy, I know)

  159. Sabrena Robinson

    God is constantly pointing me in the most perfect ways. I somehow stumbled on your blog tonight and it was like God said…. THIS! I’ve been pouring over in my mind how to do all the things I want, build a brand, thrive, take care of my family and just be…. better. I have yet to start on the journey of goal setting, yet I’m so excited to get started. THIS is exactly what I needed….in every way! I’m so thankful for this moment. WHEW! #chills 🙂 I can’t wait to get started and stay motivated.

  160. Patricia

    So ready to get my life started and the planner is just what I needed!!!! Thank you for your inspiration to start living the life I am supposed to live and to MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!! You are a blessing!! Thank you again.

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    Thank you for inspiring me everyday on instagram

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