Today I turn 34 and something has struck my heart like lighting: Don’t wait. At church this past weekend, one of our preachers told us about a memorial service he had just gone to. A 35 year-old killed was killed in a car accident last Tuesday morning. That wasn’t on the young man’s to-do list for the day or in his plans. He thought he had his whole life ahead of him. The heart of the sermon that followed: You might not have as much time as you think you have. Don’t keep what God has given you to yourself. This thought has permeated every inch of my heart, so here I am. I am fired up to not keep what God has given me to myself in this series, in the book I am furiously writing (my final manuscript is due in 30 days — pray for me!) or in any aspect of my life.
So, the biggest rule to this entire goal setting series is don’t wait. If God puts something good on your heart to do, DO it. Now. Don’t wait till you have a perfect list of 2014 goals in front of you. Do the good you know you ought to do. Do it with gusto. Do it knowing that you might not have as much time as you think!
Prints of above available here in gold foil, on sale for $12 — originally $20.
Maybe this isn’t how you expected I would start this 2014 Goal Setting series, but I’m done waiting. If we face the reality that our lives are not in our control — that we don’t get to decide how long we get to walk this earth — we actually learn to live our lives to the full. Facing the reality of life — and eternal life — makes me feel bold and clear and direct. It makes me want to use every gift God has given me and stop fearing what other people think (<—- how many of you are in that boat right now with me?) or what comforts I might lose if I give more and live with much less. It makes me want to hug tighter and teach Grace love more profoundly quit a lot of things and stop wasting so much time. Anyone feeling this way too? Welcome. I’m celebrating 34 years today — and the fact that I still have the ability to reach you today through this computer — by kicking off what will, Lord willing, be a powerful start to 2014. Let’s do this.
Here’s the deal. Making things happen requires action. As we go through this series, either use the comment area here to leave your answers or write them somewhere. But, don’t just think them. Thinking them doesn’t count. Write them out and, if you want accountability, leave them boldly here in the comments. I want to cheer you on! Friends, help me out here and cheer each other on, too. You never know who you might inspire or whose life you might completely change with your words.
Those of you with 2014 PowerSheets will be all set, although you may need more space to write a few of these extra steps — and there will be exclusive steps just for PowerSheets owners, too! If you haven’t ordered your set yet, you can still order in time for my live 2014 Goal Setting Webinar on January 15! Pre-orders start shipping January 9. But, let me make one thing very clear: you do not need PowerSheets to make things happen. They are just a great tool. They won’t do the work for you. If you just have a notebook to do this series, use that! If you have scrap paper, that’s great too : ) It’s not about the perfect stuff, it’s about how you USE what you have.
We’re going to take this day by day, in small powerful chunks, because there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills For the entire series, I’ll be sharing my personal progress and goals as well. And I have no idea what those goals will be yet. No idea! I know the heart of what they will be, but this is a series — a process — for a reason. You can microwave some goals and have a pretty little 2014 list by Monday, or you can dig deeper and set goals that matter to you over the next week or so with me. You can pray hard about them and really weigh whether or not they are the best use of your time. You can set goals that are twenty levels below the surface, where the fiery good stuff lives. Or you can just make resolutions that get forgotten and tossed aside come February 1. So, steps 1-3 will happen today and we’ll continue on Monday with the rest. And, if you need an extra kick in the pants to make this happen, keep reading. I have a little something for you at the end.
I’ve revamped and updated my Goal Setting series from last year based on what I learned in my own process and what I’ve seen work for thousands of others who joined me. I am very excited about doing this with you and so curious to see where it leads me personally, too. Are you in this for a quick fix or for making LIFE happen? Awesome! Continue…
Before we start, a question: how are you? No, really. How ARE you today, friend? Free-write (or “download” as I like to call it) for just a couple minutes. Be honest with yourself. You can burn your paper after if you want to, but be honest. How are you?? If you need a place to start, write out three things that are challenging you in life today or lately and also write three things you are grateful for today. It’s so important to start with where you are and get it out. Your worries today can directly affect what you write next, so don’t shove them under the table. Acknowledge them. Write them. Call your BFF and talk them out. Whatever works best for you, but whatever you do, do it now. Don’t wait. When you are done with that, take a deep breath and let’s get started with Step One of 2014 Goal Setting.
STEP ONE: Let’s take a look back at what worked in 2013. What are you grateful for in 2013? What good things happened? I know I’m starting with the hardest step. Most people don’t like taking the time to do this because it doesn’t seem like it will get you anywhere fast. Trust me here. It will. Why is this the most vital first step? It’s really easy to look back at an entire year and just see the yucky parts. Like when something happens to you at the end of a day and you automatically call it a “bad day,” regardless of what happened the other 23 hours. Anyone do that? [Raising my hand high!] Let’s focus on what went well first. Make your list right now. These positive things are there to guide you and you should CELEBRATE THEM! Celebrate what you want to see more of. Gratitude changes everything and will show you just how far you’ve come… and it just might give you the energy and hope you need to press on full-force! Make your list of things you made happen and things you are grateful for. You can list as many as you like!
One huge thing I am grateful for is that I started this Goal Setting series a year ago and tracked my progress throughout 2013 with my PowerSheets and here on the blog for accountability. You can read my goal updates (I posted my progress every three months… or when I could!) here: April, August, October. I am so exceedingly grateful that I wrote things down throughout the year. This was new for me and completely changed things. It gave me so much more to celebrate because I didn’t forget things or let negative things overshadow them. This helped me to have the energy and confidence to keep going when things got hard. It helped me see so much more of God’s goodness that was there all along. I will give my final 2013 Goal update and my list of great things that happened in 2013 next week. Gotta use every day I have left to, Lord willing, take more action on those goals!
A few tips on how to make your list that have helped me:
1. Take a look back at your 2013 calendar, blog posts (if you blog) or photos you posted on social media. Those might give you a clue into some of the highlights you’ve forgotten.
2. Talk to your significant other or BFF about your year and ask them to reflect some of the highlights back to you. They may remember some that you have forgotten! This is also a really great inspiring way to celebrate the good things of 2013 this weekend. Make it your dinner conversation tonight : ) And remember, this isn’t all about you – ask others to tell you their highlights, too! Goodness is contagious!
3. Thank people. As you reflect on the good things this past year, say thank you to those who were a part of that. I’m starting today, too, with some texts, emails, phone calls and physical letters and a lot of praise to God. Gracie is doing her happy dance, too : )
STEP TWO: What didn’t work? Honesty time! And before you do this step, remember not to beat yourself up here. You are brilliant and I know you want to make this your best year yet. The past is behind you. The old has gone, the new has come! Just list some facts here. In business and life, what didn’t work well to help you live your best life this year and what needs improvement?
STEP THREE: As a creative, visual person, imagery really lights my heart on fire more than anything. Great photographs and colors can make my heart sing and help me clarify my vision. If you are like me, you will really love Step 3. Make a Pinterest board of images that will inspire a brilliant year. Title your board “Making Things Happen in 2014” so we can search for each other’s boards! Now, one word of caution. I rarely use Pinterest because it can be the black hole of distraction and discontentment. Pin wisely, friends. Pick stuff that lights your hearts on fire and move on! Here’s my board from last year and here is the one I’m starting today for 2014. I am alone with Gracie today, so there will not be much pining happening! Just reading books, running around and singing silly songs : )
OK, that’s it for today and that’s plenty to work on! Take your time with this and remember: PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. This is not about writing the perfect list with a perfect pen or making the most beautiful Pinterest board… it’s just about honesty. To make things happen, you have to start with where you are. This is a process that will have a big payoff, but you have to commit to working through it. Be still and let your year’s vision slowly cook, like a pan of homemade hot baked cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven. They wouldn’t be so flaky and yummy cooked in the microwave, would they? Just a big pile of mushy dough. I’m not going to hand you your 2014 goals. We’re going to do this right and get there together. Sound good? Awesome! Get to it!
If you need an extra kick in the pants to make this happen, I’m going to be giving away a $20 gift code to my shop (there are some crazy amazing new Making Things Happen and inspiring goodies coming to the shop soon!) and goodies from other shops I love on EVERY POST in this series to one lucky commenter per post. You can win multiple times and you can increase your chances of winning by:
– Pinning this post or any in the series
– Instagramming – or “gramming” ? I suddenly feel old. Ha!
– Facebooking (is that a word??)
– Blogging or in any way sharing this post/series
– For all entires, link back here to www.LaraCasey.com/blog and use the #2014GoalSetting hashtag. You are welcome to use graphics from my posts!
– Lastly, leave a comment saying you did any of the above. You can enter as many times as you like on all posts! I’m going to choose some extra winners along the way, too, for some special surprises : )
Why am I doing this? I know God put me here on this earth for many reasons, and He has made it clear that one of those reasons it to motivate people to take action on what matters most. I want you — yes YOU — to make what matters happen in your life. So, help me spread the word and let’s get all our friends in on this for accountability! Making things happen is always better when shared : ) “See” y’all Monday! YAHOO!!!