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She thought that being popular would bring contentment. She never felt like she was enough. She believed the success equation was: work 24/7 + more work. She chased bigger and faster and more more more. Her marriage began to crumble. Yet, she believed she couldn’t slow down. If she missed a minute on social media, she might miss something. She didn’t think she was doing anything wrong, just what she had to do to keep up. She chased an elusive standard of perfection and she MISSED HER LIFE.

She was me several years ago. I chased my tail until it all began to crash and burn.

If you have been feeling restless lately, so badly wanting things to change, but believing that it’s impossible, I know one thing for sure: there is a way out. Going from constantly chasing something I would never catch, to living in grace didn’t happen overnight for me, but it did happen. It happened little by little, step by intentional step. And the little-by-little, and big leaps of faith along the way, were worth it!

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Hi, friends! Welcome back to Part 2 of 2017 Goal Setting. If you are new here, welcome! Hop on over to read Part 1 here to get started.

And thank you all for the birthday wishes.   I’m so grateful for another year of life, and that I get to spend my birthday each year here with you, planting good seeds for what’s ahead! Today is a good day!

Okay, let’s get to it.

I wrote the handwriting piece above (which has since been shared on the interwebs tens of millions of times—so crazy) not about skydiving, traveling to a foreign country, or anything you might typically see on a bucket list. I wrote this late one night in my kitchen, just after putting Grace to sleep when she was a baby, about wanting to finally read the Bible from start to finish. It felt like a daunting task, but I wanted to grow my faith. I was determined. This really mattered to me. And when something really matters to you in the big picture, how you do it doesn’t matter as much as why you do it. My why drove me forward, especially during the many times I fell behind or wanted to jump ship. Little by little, over the course of a year and a half, I did end up reading the Bible–and it changed everything. The little-by-little added up.

Maybe you want to cultivate a stronger marriage, find confidence in your career path, or grow in community with others. Maybe you want to learn to steward your finances well, live with less, or finally do that thing that’s been on our list forever. Whatever it is, let’s talk about it! Let’s plan the first seed.

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STEP FOUR: As we start this journey together, what’s one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead? No perfect or polished answers needed here! This is just to get you thinking as we start uncovering the good stuff. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Write it down, and I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments for accountability, and to encourage others too. I’m going to leave my answer in the comments alongside you!

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STEP FIVE: We talked about the good things from the year in Part 1. Now, let’s look at the hard things. What were the challenges you experienced in 2016? What areas of your life need to be tended, watered, or soaked in sunshine? Don’t just write or say, “Everything.” Get specific and list your greatest challenges—the places that feel overgrown with impossible weeds right now. I know you want to make this your most purposeful year yet, so don’t let negative self-talk paralyze you as you make this list. Write the facts and move forward. Each thing you write down is a potential area of your life that could be made completely new.

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Once you have your list of the challenges from 2016, name some of the lessons you learned from those challenges. Here are some my lessons from 2016…

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A note of encouragement. Perhaps you are still in the thick of a challenge right now, and have no idea yet what it’s supposed to teach you. That’s okay! Wherever you are, let’s share the challenges and encourage each other. Leave your thoughts in the comments and help encourage others as well.

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STEP SIX: Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2016? Looking back at your list of good things from Part 1, and all that you’ve written so far in this series, who helped you to live on purpose this year? Who encouraged or inspired you? Download a free printable worksheet here. Write the names of those you are grateful for and why. And then… do something about it. Thank them for the specific things they helped you with or inspired in you! You may think they don’t need encouragement, or it won’t matter, but words have power. Gift your people with those words! You never know what good it might spark.

View More: http://robynvandykephotography.pass.us/sipnseePhoto by Robyn Van Dyke from baby Sarah’s Sip-n-See. I love these friends!

This year, more than ever, many friends made enormous sacrifices for our family. Here are just a few of the many.

– Every single person who was a part of our adoption—from our adoption consultants, to my friend Casey, and many more. Thank you to so many friends who prayed us through this! We kept a private blog throughout the process for family and close friends, which was one of the best things we did all year. It was a safe space for us to share what we were experiencing, and allowed friends to connect with us and pray specifically.

– When you’re in the thick of it, it can be hard to reach out and ask for help. Knowing this, lots of friends simply showed up. They showed up with food, extra hands, prayers, and encouragement. My friends Talia, Tori, and Bianca often took Grace for play dates with their girls, and this was huge. It was a hard transition for Grace with two babies added to the family so quickly (and two very tired parents all of a sudden). Our friends took her out for play dates, and this was so good for her little heart. I’m so grateful!

– Several generous friends gave us milk for Sarah. This was an enormous gift. I pumped for Sarah while I was still nursing Josh and made enough for a couple bottles a day, but it was undeniably hard. That is a story for a whole other post! These friends filled in the rest, and what a blessing. I’ll never forget this gift.

– As the transition eased and the hard season came to a close, I needed someone to help me sift through all that had happened, and to make some decisions about how I would spend my time moving forward. I began coaching with my friend Diana. Diana has helped me make God-led decisions in the wake of such rapid life change.

– One year ago, I prayed for a wise mentor to help me prepare for adoption, write my book well, and grow my faith. That was a tall order! But, God sure did answer. I still can’t believe how He orchestrated this. I was in an airport going through customs and I heard, “Lara!!” We had never met in person, but Renee spotted me and we exchanged emails. Months later (and I don’t even remember exactly how this happened but that’s God for you), Renee generously offered to drive three hours to my house to help me with my book outline and to encourage me as we prepared for adoption. I was blown away. She showed up with buckets of encouragement and wisdom for me… and it turns out it was her birthday! This generous and selfless gesture sprouted a friendship. I don’t know what I would have done without this lady in the hard seasons of this year. I love you, Renee!

– My team. My team! This has been quite the year for us. As I’ve mentioned, beginning of this year with all of our family transition was trying on our team. But through it all God was growing all of us. I am so grateful for these women.

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There are so many more! If you’ve sent me an encouraging email this year, prayed, given me a hug, or if you were the lady in the grocery check out line who told me I was doing a great job on my first outing with all three kids by myself (when two out of the three were crying, and I was feeling anything but confident in my ability to wrangle three littles at the grocery store at the time!)—thank you. Your encouragement has genuinely made a difference.

Who are you most grateful for this year? Leave your answers in the comments, but most of all, send some love to the people on your list!

OPTIONAL* BONUS STEP: Get visual! Great photographs and colors can make my heart sing. If you are like me, you will really love this step. Make a Pinterest board of images that will inspire a purposeful year. What do you want to grow? Title your board “Make it Happen in 2017″ so we can search for each other’s boards! Now, one word of caution. I rarely use Pinterest (like, twice a year) because it can be the black hole of distraction and discontentment. The goal isn’t to have a Pinterest-worthy year, so pick images that have deep heart, not just pretty things. Here’s my board from last 2013 and from 2014, 2015, and 2016. I’ll be pinning 2017 here. *I made this step optional for a reason! If Pinterest distracts you too much, skip this step! There are no rules here. Do whatever will help you to make what matters happen.

Okay, I’ll be back tomorrow for Part 3. Tomorrow’s post includes a powerful step that will help you simplify your year ahead, and I can’t wait!

Comment with your answers from each step as we go through this series to be entered to win the prizes below. I can’t wait to read your answers, and share mine with you too! One person who comments with answers to every step in this series will win a bonus prize: one of everything from the Cultivate Shop! Yes!!! This includes 2017 PowerSheets, the Cultivate What Matters sticker book, the Cultivate What Matters flair pens, books, journals, art prints and so much more!

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1. 10 sets of 2017 PowerSheets!
2. A Fitbit Flex
3. A gift card for a massage
4. The 2017 Floret wall calendar
5. A Fresh Start prayer journal from Val Marie Paper
6. Farmgirl Flowers bouquet
7. A (monogrammed!) Cultivate clipboard
8. Watercolor set from Artist’s Loft
9. 2017 Simplified Planner
10. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?! Mrs. Meyers cleaning products + a free house cleaning!
11. Sweeter than Honey coloring book from Lindsay Letters
12. My favorite Jonathan Adler Grapefruit Candle
13. Five copies of the Make It Happen book
14. A Write the Word journal (we’re sold out of all of them except peach!)
15. A Meyer lemon tree – a family favorite around here!

Enter below and be sure to leave your answers to each step as you go through the series with me!

Pssst! Head to this post to find out if you’re a lucky winner!

 

Giveaway ends January 30th. Winners will be announced on January 31st here on the blog. Shipping some of these items can get costly, so hard goods are for US entrants only. We can convert some of these to digital prizes for my international friends, though (gift cards instead of shipping the item). If you don’t claim your prize within 48 hours, another winner will be selected, so mark your planners and stay posted! : ) Also, this post contains some Amazon affiliates links. No extra cost to you, but it helps us raise funds for Love One Another Project!

Ready for 2017 Goal Setting, Part 3? Here you go!

177 Show Comments
  1. kimberly

    I am LOVING this series. It’s my first time using the power sheets, andI can’t wait to see what happens!

  2. Chalyse

    One of my challenges this year is still in process – our international adoption of 2 kids. It’s been a crazy 14 months so far as we wait for them to come home. God sure is testing my faith in this and I’m excited to see how He finishes this! <3

  3. Kristina

    Lara, every year I find so much encouragement through this series! thank you! This year I intentionally decided to wait until the middle of January to dig into my PowerSheets simply because the end of 2016 was crazy and I have not yet had the mind capacity to think about 2017. But even though I have’t received my powersheets yet I still love reading through your posts everyday. They give me inspiration for goal ideas, encouragement and make me super excited for goal setting. Thank you so much for doing this series every year!

    Wishing you a very happy birthday today and a wonderful time with your family in Florida! Lots of love from Germany, Kristina

  4. Kate Mariani

    Loving these reflective moments!
    Step 4: I want to cultivate liturgical rhythms- be them morning or evening habits to incorporate my faith and values into what I do and think. // (this includes Evenings of Recollection, regular confession, seeking out spiritual direction from a priest, keeping regular family prayer times)

    Step 5: Challenges- betrayal in friendships, battling a sense of inadequacy with most things as I attempted to balance working from home, newborn baby, general household responsibilities, etc., encountering family hardships and tensions as an in-law, over-committing to hospitality outreach at the expense of personal family time and investment, impulsive yes-ing and spending

    Step 6: Who helped you cultivate what matters- Mark (my husband), Scott (my newborn baby- really helps me minimize and focus on what/who matters most), Sue (a mentor who encourages me to refocus my time to reflect my priorities instead of the other way around and to say no to things…and to not feel bad about it), Brittany and Lisa (dear friends from past seasons who have remained faithful companions and who provide camraderie as we seek to live life well and faith-full-y), the Ulricksons and Davids (two couples with whom we share a love of the church/faith and who have loved our newborn as godparents and done so much as we transition into being new parents)

  5. Victoria

    I want to cultivate my growing family this next year. My baby will be born in April and I honestly can’t plan ahead for it at this point. All I know is that I want to learn how to mother him, and to continue a strong marriage with my husband, and to trust God. I know that some sort of self care for myself will be important for all of my goals, but what any of this looks like when my life changes completely is out of my hands. I am trusting Him to guide me as and when the time is right. That is what I want to cultivate!

  6. Elle

    Wow! A lemon tree!!! Haha what an exciting giveaway. 🙂 I just ordered my PowerSheets and want to come back to the blog once they get here, but I love your stories of community

  7. Liz Krieg

    YES! Thanking all of my many Helpers. I am also going to thank Me. This last year, I deliberately – at the mirror- would look me in the eye and say “Thank You Liz for all that you do, You are doing Great!” = Actively working on my feelings of worthiness. I have always been too hard on myself…somehow this act helped to center and strengthen me.

  8. Karen G.

    Lara,what a great series! it’s been so helpful to look back over the year and see just how faithful God has been to us. It truly does make me so very grateful to Him. Even the difficulties have caused growth.
    So Step 4 is to grow even more in my love for God and my gratefulness to Him.
    Step 5: challenges: not having much energy to do all the things I would like to. I plan to address that with more consistent exercise and a healthier diet. Because we are in ministry, I can tend to get overwhelmed with the needs and problems of others and can give in to negative emotions. My focus needs to continually come back to the Lord, His goodness and grace, and His ability to bring about change. He is trustworthy!
    Step 6: This step again just fills my heart with gratitude for so many and I do plan to take some specific steps to thank them for their encouragement this year.

  9. Merit

    #4 I want to cultivate JOY! Spiritually, emotionally and physically!
    #5 Finances – still need to get a grip. Faith – I have always had such a strong faith and the past year it has completely changed and I am in a deep struggle.
    #6 WHO? Oh so many! My husband, my two amazing daughters, my friend Cameron, my new friends Shannon and Nicole and Alana and Tracy and Misti and Bill…

  10. Danielle

    Step 4: I want to cultivate contentment and joy, right where I am in my life.

    Step 5: My greatest challenges in 2016 were battling loneliness and depression. I believe God let me feel all of those sad emotions so I would fully turn and trust Him alone. Coming out of that time with renewed trust in Him was such a beautiful feeling.

    Step 6: God, first and foremost. He showed me who and what truly matters. My husband, who stuck by my side through all my times of depression and extreme sadness. My children, who were always here to give me a hug and kiss, draw me a picture and especially my daughter, who is such a little prayer warrior at the age of 9, who was always the first to suggest praying.

  11. Allison

    This year more than any other I realized the importance of not dwelling on the negatives. I just wrote a couple of things, moved on, and didn’t look back. So grateful to spend intentional and precious time looking back on the year in order to better the next. <3

  12. Jen

    I want next year to be quiet, still, cozy, peaceful, and filled with wonder. I want to breathe and smile. I think Im leaving it at that. I dont want to over complicate it. There are so many changes in the air for this year and instead of controlling it, I want to ride the waves.

  13. Lindsey

    Step Four: I want to cultivate a life of contentment and stop comparing my life to what I see others “appear” to have on social media. I also want to cultivate a God-centered life where others can see God’s love and light radiating through me.
    Step Five: I had to work through some family issues that finally have come to fruition and I have realized that I have been holding on to things in the past and haven’t dealt with them and I need to begin dealing with them so I can move past and be a good wife and mom for my own little family.
    Step Six: I am ashamed to admit it, but I really don’t have any super close friends I feel like I can discuss things with. I have a couple of friends from work that I can skim the surface on some things, but no one I feel (other than my sister – who has been busy this year dealing with her own issues so I haven’t really bothered her with mine) that I can just be real and honest with. This is definitely an area of my life I am praying that God will send someone to help encourage me and be there for me.

    • Victoria

      Praying for you to help you build a community! I had been trying to cultivate that for years and this past year I finally started letting people in and it has paid off.

  14. Tara

    Step 4: I want to cultivate Joy and Compassion. I desire a prayer filled life
    Step 5: After listing my challenges in 2016, it’s apparent I struggle with Time Management and I am easily distracted!
    Step 6: My friends Jenn and CiCi are a gift from God – doing life together and growing in Christ together – it’s a beautiful thing! My hubby – he always has an encouraging word to offer – He lifts my spirits in so many ways. My 4 kiddos – they don’t know it, but I learn more from them and more about myself just because they exist – so thankful for the refining fire of motherhood! My mom – she is so merciful and I could stand to learn a thing or two in that area.

  15. Marissa

    I’m loving reading others’ joyous moments, deep sadness, and ways to move forward. What a special place for honesty with complete strangers!
    #4: I want to cultivate more joy, discipline, creativity, and purpose.
    #5: 2016 has been a rough year. We struggle with infertility and had multiple IVF cycles all resulting in miscarriages we are deep in grief; this has resulted in comparision, jealousy, fear, and helplessness. Infertility affects all areas– physical, emotional, spiritual, relationally– and we have no idea when or how it will all end.
    #6: My husband, who shoulders this burden differntly but simultanously with me. My friends Amanda and Kristi who show up in the depths of grief and feritilty friends Lauren, Tricia, and Jenn who walk this journey side by side.

  16. Emily Enockson

    Good Things:
    *Coaching with Diana(that girl was hands down one of the biggest blessing in 2016)
    *Prioritizing Sunday Sabbath and Self-care
    *Living within my means so I can spend on what matters and save!
    *Loving people well(not perfectly, but well!)
    *Holy Yoga and early morning swims at the Y
    *No TV during the Summer
    *Sharing little pieces of my story for God’s glory
    * #newin2016
    *Cultivating a spirit of adventure and contentment

    Challenges:
    *Comparison
    *Dwelling on “what ifs…”
    *SG
    *Thriving during seasons of challenge and change
    *Letting go of control
    *Trying to do it all
    *Doubt
    *Playing it safe
    *Being hesitant in my leadership

    LESSONS LEARNED:
    *Embrace rhythms of seasons in your life instead of trying to balance ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME!
    *You can’t do it all and do it all well. Share the load and let someone bless you
    *No matter how big your dream may be, God is able to do immeasurably more.
    *His way, His time <3
    *Spring ALWAYS comes, so does HOPE!
    *Gratitude really does change everything!!
    *Make time to dream and vision cast-get it on the schedule and don't neglect that heart stuff.
    *Make time to invest in YOU (rest well, eat nourishing food, get quality sleep and live an active and adventurous life)
    *You have the choice to flourish right where you are-so go and be who He created you to be <3

  17. Rose

    Happy birthday to you
    Happy birthday to you
    Happy birthday dear Lara
    Happy birthday to you

    To think you are celebrating us on your special day!

    Thank you Lara and your team!

  18. Leigh Clemmons

    The best lessons always come through the toughest challenges. 2016 had its fair share of challenges. Love how PowerSheets process helps reveal the lessons learned. The shift in perspective is so very powerful and transforming. GOD never wastes a thing!

  19. Melissa Affleck

    This year has been a year of transition and change and so many blessings: a nephew, a brother-in-law, a new home and a new job. My family has grown in the best way and I am so grateful.

  20. Laura

    Lara,
    First of all, HappyB day to you!
    Step 4: uncover, build and live my purpose in 2017

    Thanks and blessings for all Lara’s team

  21. Rebecca Dale

    4. I want to encourage less time getting ready in the morning. It is such a time sucker and I often feel & want to be ‘all put together’. I enjoy getting ready but I also want to give myself permission to throw a hat on, have messy hair, and not feel like I need all of the makeup, etc.
    5. Challenges: Wanting and expecting myself to do ‘all of the things’, not giving myself reasonable or attainable goals or expectations, projecting my expectations for myself onto what others should expect of me. Also becoming a wife and learning what that means and what it means to commune with another flawed human being – it has brought challenges (but huge growth too!). Stress.
    6. My fiancé helped me, along with my past roommate Whitney and my forever friend Olivia.
    Bonus step: my pinterest board is made!

  22. Jessica

    Step 4: In 2017 I want to cultivate a stronger marriage, contentment, and simplify. I am craving a feeling of community and also feeling grounded.

  23. Ingrid

    Thank you, as always, for your vulnerability. I’m so encouraged that going and doing The Thing is not always some spectacular big splashy event; for me, it often feels like the courage to try again and throw more of myself into my work.

  24. Ingrid

    step four: i want to cultivate joy in service- to others, to God, and for my own care of self
    step five: clinging too tightly to things i have outgrown & that God is asking me to release- emotions, habits, thought patterns
    step six: my husband, who quietly and firmly stands in his faith and in his conviction- encourages me to dig deeper and to root out what doesn’t serve me
    my dear friend, whose life intimidates me but inspires my soul to go further, make the wild choice, seek God’s approval and not man’s, serve my home, serve the Kingdom, and to settle in to the present season of her life

  25. Stephanie Osborne

    I want to cultivate FREEDOM.

    Challenges:

    1. Keeping up with my home
    2. Being patient with my kiddos
    3. Respecting my role as a wife
    4. Neglecting my body aka Gods Temple

    Lessons:

    These all stem from a disobedience to God and His word. If I were to really respect and cultivate my role and it’s duties many of these things would cease to be challenges.

    I owe a big THANKYOU to my Great God! My husband, my kiddos and my church. And especially my girls…

  26. Jessica

    I love the goal setting blog posts! I need this so much for 2017!

  27. emily

    Looking back on the good in 2016 was SO huge for me. Its been a rough 2 years for me but seeing all the GOOD in this year has helped me go about my goal setting process for 2017 in a more grateful and intentional way.

  28. Lindsay Baker

    4. This year I want to cultivate good finances.

    5. Challenges: worry, self doubt, shopping to feel better.

    6. My husband, my team at my business, my Mom.

  29. Emily DeArdo

    I hope you have a GREAT birthday Lara! I love the “good things” part of the powersheets because it enables me to realize the good things that I might have forgotten about, but it also spurs me to be even more grateful about all the wonderful things God has given me and the progress I’ve made!

  30. Megan

    Step 4: I want to cultivate peace and wellness.

    Step 5: Challenges popped up all year long. One of my biggest struggles this year has been my health and my fertility. In all things, I always need to control, control, control. This particular struggle has allowed me to see just how little control I have and how much God controls it all.

    Step 6: My husband and my sister were huge helpers this year in helping me cultivate. They both supported and pushed me to go for my dreams and work towards a career I want.

  31. Tessy

    I answered all the questions here on my blog: https://longlettermemoir.wordpress.com/2016/12/27/goal-setting-part-2/ – Thought it easier to share instead of a long comment 🙂

  32. Alicia Zaleha

    First of all, Happy Birthday Lara! My birthday is on Thursday so it is nice to find someone else with a December birthday between Christmas and New Years!

    Okay here we go on Steps 4-6…

    Step 4:
    One thing I really want to cultivate in my year ahead is continuing to grow my faith. Like you mentioned in your post here Lara, I would love to read the Bible from start to finish and grow my faith in the process over the course of the next year (maybe even year and a half).

    Step 5:
    I had several challenges in 2016. The biggest one for me was probably having my lung collapse on 2 separate occasions. The first time I spent about 4 days in the hospital with a minor procedure to correct the problem. However, the 2nd time it happened, I ended up in the hospital for almost 3 weeks with 6 different chest tubes and 2 surgeries. It was one of the most difficult and painful experiences of my life. During my recovery, my family dog passed away so that was also difficult. A couple of other things involved heartbreak from past relationships and dating but those seem pretty minor in comparison to my health.

    Step 6:
    There are so many wonderful people that God has blessed me with in my life. My family, Sarah, Cari, Jenn, Angie, Lacey, my co-workers…so many people helped me to cultivate good things in 2016. I love each and every one of them!

  33. Alaina

    Step 4: I want to grow in community, especially with LGBTQ Christians so that I have a group of people I can be growing in my faith with.

    Step 5: 2016 Challenges–getting and keeping money; not taking care of my mental health; the differences between undergrad and grad school; feeling at home in a new city; a consistent relationship with both my parents and my extended family; building my own family/dating/courting/lack thereof; commitment to myself and others (keeping deadlines).

    I’ve learned that people can help me if I just give them a little bit of rope, that procrastinating is useless and tiring, that making community is work, and that God wants me functioning at my best to find and fulfill my purpose and I can’t do that if I don’t take care of my mental health.

    Step 6: SO many people have helped me. From my friend April and her daughter letting me be a part of their family in Greensboro, to my mom for her everlasting love and support. My new colleagues in grad school: Khristian, Kara, Eric, Christine and Jess especially. My advisor who calms me down when I’m worked up, Paul B-R. For my coworkers who have become chosen family: Mey, Cecelia, Carolyn, Riese, and Abby. For my home church back in Greensboro, NC–College Park Baptist Church. For Ainsley, my best friend always holding me even though we live thousands of miles away from one another. And for my cats. They’ve given me routine, consistency, unconditional love.

  34. Ashley Gernon

    Thanks for your encouragement!!! Needed this so much today!!! Can’t wait to make 2017 the best yet!!!

  35. Ashley

    I cannot wait to dive into my PowerSheets this week! I bought a set this past year, but never dug in. Instead of being upset about it, I bought a new one-year set and gave my unused set to my best friend so we can embark on this jounry together!

  36. Ashley

    I shared PowerSheets, the Cultivate What Matters shop, and Lara’s blog with my dear friend. Here’s to embarking on our PowerSheets journey together in 2017!

  37. Ansley

    1. One thing I want to cultivate in the year ahead is CONTENTMENT – aided by a grateful heart 🙂
    2. 2016 challenges: feeling antsy for change in a season of steady. family relationships. paying off debt. lack of deep community.
    3. Who helped cultivate what matters in 2016? my mom, my boyfriend, my best friend, mentors at work

  38. Ashley Henry

    I’m so inspired by this right now! I feel like God is calling me in a certain direction and I’m ordering my powersheets now so I can really get to where God wants me to be!

  39. Jill

    2015 and 2016 were years of loss for us. My mom passed away in March 2015 from Alzheimer’s disease. My dad passed away in June 2016 (Parkinson’s), and my mother-in-law passed in July 2016, unexpectedly. Loss absolutely affects the mind and certainly the emotions. It takes a while before clear thinking is the norm again. For goal setting this year, the simpler, the better is the only thing that will work for me.

  40. Jamie Suel

    Step 4
    Financial freedom/ stewardship- I hate that this is the first thing that came to mind, but I have a feeling that if I will just go there good things will happen
    Step 5
    God called me out on the water in some big ways this year. ANY time I looked to anything/ anyone but Him I really FELT the sinking. Worry, fear of what others might think of me, overscheduling, saying yes even when I thought I should say no, withdrawing rather than engaging when things got hard, these were signs that I wasn’t looking to my Good Shepherd.
    STEP 6
    Whoa, so many people helped.
    My core group through church, my counselor, my friend and yoga instructor, specific friends at church, my new co worker, my mom, my kids, my husband, my ministry supporters,…
    No pinterest board for me- social media management is a big goal for me this year.

  41. Erika Quagliano

    One thing I want to cultivate this year is to take time for myself. I usually put everything else before myself and that’s not a good mix.

  42. Catherine Henry

    Can’t wait to get started on my power sheets!! First time doing them and I absolutely cannot wait for what 2017 is going to hold!!

  43. Elle

    Lara and team! Thank you for sharing with us your heart and soul. This is a hectic time of year (obviously) and I appreciate that you help us slow down and think about what is most important in this moment and in for our futures. I’ve loved starting my own PowerSheets for 2017 and would love to help my friends do the same!

  44. Sunee

    Step 4: I would like to cultivate a God-honoring cycle of work and rest in my life. I usually find myself either stress-working (like frantically cleaning my kitchen while mumbling under my breath the futility of it all!) or rest/escapism (like avoiding printing out the worksheets for our next semester of homeschool by sitting on the couch and watching YouTube videos!) I think a God-honoring cycle of work and rest would probably look the same to an outsider (I will still clean my kitchen, print out worksheets and watch useful YouTube videos!) but I would be different on the inside. My motivations would be right and therefore, my emotions would not be stress-related, but joyful and hopeful.

    Step 5: I had a hard time doing the practical tasks that go with moving. We moved to a smaller house and I’m working on how to make it feel less cramped and messy. Diet always slips when you move, too. Another challenge is increasing the homeschool workload to match the kids’ growing abilities and independence without overloading my responsibilities.

    3. My husband and I are learning how to make hard decisions together, like where do we eat while we’re living in a hotel and we’re all getting over jet lag and we’re starving? Or should we buy a second car while here or get by with one? It sounds so simple, decision-making with a spouse of over a decade, but it is something that we are growing in with each huge life change, like moving. Decision-making takes an investment of trust and I’m thankful to my husband for investing in us. Our friends prayed us through the transition and provided practical help, like air mattresses to sleep on when the movers took our stuff, and a ride to the airport when our van was shipped ahead of us. I’m also thankful for our new church family, who accepted us so quickly and completely.

  45. Chantal

    This is so great and super helpful!! I wouldn’t be able to be so inspired without all the help from amazing people like you!! I can’t wait for 2017! Blog post will be live in a few days!! And I try to encourage someone at least once a day!!

  46. emily

    I received my 2017 Powersheets today! Can’t wait to get started!

  47. Sara

    Step Four:
    I want to cultivate healthy habits.

    Step Five:
    A big challenge has been my health. I was in a good place in the beginning of the year in regards to eating well and exercising, but went through some hard times during the summer that negated most of what I had done. The rest of the year was a blur as I tried to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. So the biggest area that needs to be tended is making healthy choices, and doing it only for myself.

    Step Six:
    My brother, my friend who is a nutritionist, and many beautiful women who have opened their lives to me and made me feel like a part of their familites.

  48. Rosangela Neres

    Hi Lara! I’m so excited for this goals setting week. Thank you for all inspiration!

  49. Heather Perrin

    Step 4:
    I want to grow so many things! My marriage, my faith, a business, friendships. Jesus, make my desire for you grow. Cultivate desire for you in me.

    Step 5:
    1. Faith – laziness, selfishness, and busyness won the day
    2. Love – anxiety and fear
    3. Work – discouraged, unappreciated, frustrated, stuck

    Lessons:
    I am good at coordinating weddings.
    There is grace upon grace.
    My husband is a gift. We’re going to be ok.
    My job has taught me so much, and it’s OK to leave.

    Step 6:
    Ashah and Ben
    Erin
    Tanner
    Keith
    Kaitlin
    David and Alyson
    Mom and dad
    Amanda and Mollie
    PLE

    GRATEFUL for the good things in 2016.

  50. Sarah

    I’m so excited to start prepping for 2017 and to really set goals for myself. I’m hoping to really accomplish big (to me) goals and truly cultivate what matters.

  51. Candace

    In 2017, I want to cultivate gratitude, prayer and learn to behold my God and not my circumstances!

  52. Ellen S

    I happened open your site today and am really encouraged. So bummed to see you are already sold out of the year powersheets. I hope to win a set!

  53. Janessa

    Step 4: my relationship with God and contentment and joy with what I have!
    Step 5: challenges- we had several bad illnesses, deAths, medical emergencies, and being completely overwhelmed by life with a second baby and working, taking care of everything…
    Step 6: Church family, friends and counselor helped me immensely!

  54. Kate

    Happy, happy Birthday!! Thank you for this jumpstart series. I ordered my Powersheets yesterday and am looking forward to digging into them. I have 4 pages of notes just from these two posts 😉 So here goes:

    In 2017 I want to cultivate me, my self confidence, my gifts. To do this I believe I need to create a flexible routine that fulfills me so that I can live my best life.

    Step 5 is such an awesome question that I often forget to reflect on when I’m looking forward to a new year. My physical self care is one area that I need to grow. All to often I make choices that are not providing my body with what it needs to run at its best and that is shown not only physically, but also socially and mentally. I know that I’m a better person when I take care of myself.

    Step 6: I’ve had loved ones who I’ve know a long time help me cultivate 2016 and new friends too. My husband, Mike, my sister, My Mom, Sarah, and Erin.

  55. Brooke Snow

    This is a great exercise!
    Step 4: I want to cultivate better health and habits, closer relationships with God, Husband, myself,kids, and my community. I want to experience real transactions in my business and make my first dollar!, I want to host people in my home and cultivate new relationships and memories, I want to learn to play the guitar!
    STEP 5: There were lots of hard things in 2016. PTSD and Anxiety wrecked havoc on my life in the first half of the year. I learned about mental illness, and struggled to heal and successfully manage anxiety. My business partner left, which was an enormous thing to recover from, I didn’t earn a single dollar from my business in 2016–despite a whole lot of work/time/expense, I struggled feeling like a failure and attaching my worth to income/success, I had some major moments of losing my temper.
    STEP SIX: I have been so blessed with good supportive friends and family. I started meeting with a mentor in 2016 and it has changed my life. Thank you Shannon! I also have great friends who listen to me process my life (thank you Davina, Sarah, and Mom and my sister and husband)!

  56. Dana

    STEP FOUR:
    I want to cultivate healthy rhythms… work/play/rest, connection, tending finances, relationships, home, hospitality, etc.

    STEP FIVE:
    Challenges of 2016
    Striving for acceptance to the point of burnout and hurt. God had to make it clear that I needed to pull myself out and sit out and rest, focusing only on Him.
    Misplaced identity
    Recession impacted us significantly – woke us up to our need to change and initiated drastic changes
    Over scheduling
    Unforgiveness
    Painful history showing up in the news and my church
    Friends struggling and hurting

    STEP SIX:
    Jeremy (husband), Jill (sister), friends (especially Kristin, Janell, Krytondra, Lindsey, Hannah, Holly), Jeanne, mom, Ann, Ruthann, Corinne turned some important words into a beutiful piece of art, Renee took me to a conference, Marcia held my hand, Kevin and Kelly showed compassion, Julie gave me an opportunity.

  57. Rachel

    Step 4 : what’s one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead?

    I want to cultivate confidence in my career path. I have experienced so much fear and uncertainty here and it has really affected my perception of reality and my ability to do my job well.

    Step 5 : what challenges did you face in 2016 and what did you learn from them?

    –perfectionism-induced paralysis : when my focus is on myself, I get concerned with preserving a reputation instead of being concerned with the souls around me. I become paralyzed and lose opportunities to connect with and encourage the people in my life
    –strong emotions : my family is still grieving a deep loss from last year and sometimes these deep emotions surface out of nowhere. I am learning that it’s important to let myself feel these emotions and then cope with them healthily (hold them up to the light of Scripture, process by journaling, praying, talking it out with a trusted friend).
    –financial insecurity : let me tell you this while preaching to myself: He is just as trustworthy in the valley as He is on the mountaintop. He is still good and you have only to be silent and let Him fight for you.

    Step 6 : who helped you cultivate what matters in 2016?

    –My mom : what a woman of Godly wisdom! She patiently listened to me verbally process things, called out lies I was believing, didn’t let me off the hook, and affirmed over and over again my worth as a blood-bought saint. She encourages me to go to the Lord with my discouragement and temptations to respond incorrectly to difficulty and she pushes me to get back in the saddle. She cultivated perseverance in me.
    –My sister : my cheerleader 🙂 she helped my gain perspective about my job and the work God has for me when the going got tough. She encouraged me to believe hopefully about the future and what God has planned for me. She cultivated perspective in me.
    –My coworker : we have been through a lot together and I have so much respect for her. She challenged my thinking and ideas and got out of my comfort zone to try new things. She called me back to the reality of Scripture when I was discouraged and disillusioned. She cultivated adventure in me.

  58. Becky

    Yesterday I wrote about how hard it is has been going through a divorce this year. But the good from it? So many friends have reached out and offered to talk, go out for coffee, and spend time with me & my boys. My boys are the ones that have also helped me cultivate what matters, because they remind me every day what truly matters: they do! They are the reason I do all that I do. And I am so grateful for them, even in the midst of a very hard season.

  59. Becky

    Yesterday I wrote (via FB comments) about how hard it is has been going through a divorce this year. But the good from it? So many friends have reached out and offered to talk, go out for coffee, and spend time with me & my boys. My boys are the ones that have also helped me cultivate what matters, because they remind me every day what truly matters: they do! They are the reason I do all that I do. And I am so grateful for them, even in the midst of a very hard season.

  60. Elle

    I’ve read when you have talked about the why before, and how a good why changes motivation and likelihood of accomplishing a goal. My question is: How do you change that why and get that change to sink deep so it is in the heart not just on paper?

  61. Dani

    4) I want to cultivate a love for learning “school” in my 5 year old.
    5) My marriage was hard. We were both distracted. But it’s slowly getting better. Keeping up with the household was hard also as I dove into my business.
    6) The list of helpers is so long! My sister, many flower friends, my husband was a huge support and many close friends were constantly cheering me on as I took on more in my business.

  62. Rose

    #4 What’s one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead?

    Honestly, the first thing that pops into my mind is love… I want to cultivate love…

    The love I read about in 1Corinthians 13(MSG) sums up my heartfelt desire … “But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

    I want to place all my trust in God, while being steadily and unremittingly full of hope and extravagant love…

    #5 What were the challenges you experienced in 2016?

    I faced the challenge of walking through my most painful and difficult season with my son… He was physically and emotionally harmed by a young man he thought was his friend…leaving deep wounds and scars that only God is capable of healing…

    I was faced with the challenge of setting boundaries with family members regarding my son. This has been a blessing as I am learning that I can still be loving yet firm. Our bible study talks about tenderness and strength being attributes of Jesus. Attributes we should cultivate in our daily lives… I am being intentional in this area of my life…

    My son has special needs so I was faced with navigating physicians and specialists as we work to uncover my sons challenges with more accuracy…

    I was also forced to look at my fears… fear that my son’s differences would continue to make him a target… so I found myself being harsh in my words to make my child stronger… only I realized he needed my love and tenderness along with godly strength to nurture him…

    I was faced with the heart wrenching conversations with my son… why do bad things happen to good people? Which lead me to dig deeply to the Word of God… to remind my son and myself…as Romans 8:28 (KJV) says it best, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Reminding us that God would use this and that we have a purpose through Christ’s undying love.

    I was faced with discussing my son’s challenges as a direct result of his birth mother’s addictions… He has FASD and his Dr. discussed this with us… As a teenage boy… this is a painful reality… So we pray and we discuss the disease of addiction and we pray some more…

    I was faced with my own challenges navigating the muddy waters of feeling helpless, shame, guilt and incapable of changing my sons reality…

    I was faced with navigating magistrates and the hard reality that not everything in life can be solved in a court of law… wounds and scars can only be healed by God…

    I am a single mother … not because of divorce but by God’s design… I was faced with accepting and getting comfortable with my truth…

    With all the trauma this year… I was also faced with God’s redemptive love. Praise Him!

    What areas of your life need to be tended, watered, or soaked in sunshine? Get specific and list your greatest challenges—the places that feel overgrown with impossible weeds right now.

    I need to tend to my soul this year… I need to dig deep and plant in the garden of God’s word…reading His word to garner rich soil, ground to plant… praying, fasting and staying pressed into His goodness. With my heart’s desire to cultivate a life full of love and godly purpose and direction. I yearn to see His hand in everything…

    This year I desire to get rooted in God’s word to prune me, refine me and harvest good fruits for my heavenly Father. I know it will be messy and some things must be uprooted and like a garden cut out…

    Planting and harvesting good fruit is labor intensive… yet so worth the process… John 15:1-5 (ESV) says what is in my heart…“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit…”

    Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2016? Who helped you to live on purpose this year? Who encouraged or inspired you?Write the names of those you are grateful for and why.

    My mom. Wow! What a blessing she has been. My mom listened.She allowed me to cry and prayed over me. She loved me through such a painful season. She sent me cards to encourage me. Starbucks cards to love on me. She called me throughout my day. She came and stayed with us. Loved on my son. Spent time with him… Listened to him… Loved on him… She read the Word and prayed for us… She walked the road beside us… All the while traveling to us to support and show God’s love for us…

    My Dad. He listened. He came beside us when it mattered most. He calls my son nightly and has been a backbone of love.

    My mentor…She has prayed for us. She listened and encouraged me to get involved in Women’s Ministry. She asked me to come beside her to lead a women’s small group. I did.

    I am terrified of public speaking so she nurtured me with baby steps… reading an excerpt from a book… then leading one week of a study… In time God’s grace has allowed me to work through my fear and I was able to speak at our Women’s retreat and special event.

    My son…I was shopping one day and a “seasoned” gentleman shared with me, “Our children are excellent teachers.” This is so true… I have learned so much from my son… He teaches me something new every day… I am a better person because of him.

    Last night while praying by my son’s bedside… He prayed for the young man that deeply hurt him… I was humbled… He teaches me every day. I am so thankful for him.

    Last but not least you Lara, your husband, your team, your children, your mom, your family and friends…

    You all allow me to learn from your authenticity and collective experiences… Your honesty, integrity and godly pursuit of grace…. I am so very thankful for each of you!

  63. Rose

    #4 What’s one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead?

    Honestly, the first thing that pops into my mind is love… I want to cultivate love…

    The love I read about in 1Corinthians 13(MSG) sums up my heartfelt desire … “But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

    I want to place all my trust in God, while being steadily and unremittingly full of hope and extravagant love…

    #5 What were the challenges you experienced in 2016?

    I faced the challenge of walking through my most painful and difficult season with my son… He was physically and emotionally harmed by a young man he thought was his friend…leaving deep wounds and scars that only God is capable of healing…

    I was faced with the challenge of setting boundaries with family members regarding my son. This has been a blessing as I am learning that I can still be loving yet firm. Our bible study talks about tenderness and strength being attributes of Jesus. Attributes we should cultivate in our daily lives… I am being intentional in this area of my life…

    My son has special needs so I was faced with navigating physicians and specialists as we work to uncover my sons challenges with more accuracy…

    I was also forced to look at my fears… fear that my son’s differences would continue to make him a target… so I found myself being harsh in my words to make my child stronger… only I realized he needed my love and tenderness along with godly strength to nurture him…

    I was faced with the heart wrenching conversations with my son… why do bad things happen to good people? Which lead me to dig deeply to the Word of God… to remind my son and myself…as Romans 8:28 (KJV) says it best, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Reminding us that God would use this and that we have a purpose through Christ’s undying love.

    I was faced with discussing my son’s challenges as a direct result of his birth mother’s addictions… He has FASD and his Dr. discussed this with us… As a teenage boy… this is a painful reality… So we pray and we discuss the disease of addiction and we pray some more…

    I was faced with my own challenges navigating the muddy waters of feeling helpless, shame, guilt and incapable of changing my sons reality…

    I was faced with navigating magistrates and the hard reality that not everything in life can be solved in a court of law… wounds and scars can only be healed by God…

    I am a single mother … not because of divorce but by God’s design… I was faced with accepting and getting comfortable with my truth…

    With all the trauma this year… I was also faced with God’s redemptive love. Praise Him!

    What areas of your life need to be tended, watered, or soaked in sunshine? Get specific and list your greatest challenges—the places that feel overgrown with impossible weeds right now.

    I need to tend to my soul this year… I need to dig deep and plant in the garden of God’s word…reading His word to garner rich soil, ground to plant… praying, fasting and staying pressed into His goodness. With my heart’s desire to cultivate a life full of love and godly purpose and direction. I yearn to see His hand in everything…

    This year I desire to get rooted in God’s word to prune me, refine me and harvest good fruits for my heavenly Father. I know it will be messy and some things must be uprooted and like a garden cut out…

    Planting and harvesting good fruit is labor intensive… yet so worth the process… John 15:1-5 (ESV) says what is in my heart…“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit…”

    #6 Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2016? Who helped you to live on purpose this year? Who encouraged or inspired you?Write the names of those you are grateful for and why.

    My mom. Wow! What a blessing she has been. My mom listened.She allowed me to cry and prayed over me. She loved me through such a painful season. She sent me cards to encourage me. Starbucks cards to love on me. She called me throughout my day. She came and stayed with us. Loved on my son. Spent time with him… Listened to him… Loved on him… She read the Word and prayed for us… She walked the road beside us… All the while traveling to us to support and show God’s love for us…

    My Dad. He listened. He came beside us when it mattered most. He calls my son nightly and has been a backbone of love.

    My mentor…She has prayed for us. She listened and encouraged me to get involved in Women’s Ministry. She asked me to come beside her to lead a women’s small group. I did.

    I am terrified of public speaking so she nurtured me with baby steps… reading an excerpt from a book… then leading one week of a study… In time God’s grace has allowed me to work through my fear and I was able to speak at our Women’s retreat and special event.

    My son…I was shopping one day and a “seasoned” gentleman shared with me, “Our children are excellent teachers.” This is so true… I have learned so much from my son… He teaches me something new every day… I am a better person because of him.

    Last night while praying by my son’s bedside… He prayed for the young man that deeply hurt him… I was humbled… He teaches me every day. I am so thankful for him.

    Last but not least you Lara, your husband, your team, your children, your mom, your family and friends…

    You all allow me to learn from your authenticity and collective experiences… Your honesty, integrity and godly pursuit of grace…. I am so very thankful for each of you!

  64. Jennifer B

    Step 4: I want to cultivate so much. Mostly, though, I want to cultivate a happy baby. That means exposing him to fun and new experiences, but also making sure my husband and I continue to display happiness and patience with each other and with our son.

    Step 5: The reason for my answer in step 4 is because there were moments that my husband got frustrated at each other for no reason (I think it’s natural that a newborn will do that to you). Also, between maternity leave (unpaid for part of it) and a month that I took off between my prior job and the job I just started, I had to dip into savings for the first time in years. Thankfully, that has been built back up.

    Step 6: My husband definitely deserves all kinds of kudos. He was there every step of the way during pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery (c-sections are no joke!) He’s always been the best encourager. Also, my friend Krystal is my accountability partner officially. Meaning we were intentional about talking about it and what that means. But before that we’ve always encouraged each other in goals and our blogs and life (we’ve been friends for about 20 years now).

  65. Emily Esparza

    I LOVE this! I am choosing to cultivate and grow my relationships with my three kids this year. Last year was a huge area of growth for my marriage and this year I am really hoping to be able to set aside my “agenda” and make time for my kids in the simple small ways that they need it every day. They are all young and full of questions and I am praying God will give me patience to love them well and do what seems to come the hardest to me- just play with them.:)

  66. Bethany B.

    I am still working on my steps but really want to cultivate joy this year. Last year my word for the year was JoyFULL and I feel like it will carry over into this year because it is a continued journey I am on 🙂

  67. tori

    Step 4:
    I want to cultivate my marriage, my relationship with God and my career.

    Step 5:
    My Fiance at the time lost his job. I wasn’t sure if we should continue with the wedding and I also started to question if he was the right man for me.
    What I learned is that things will work out if you have faith. My now husband eventually found another job. His new job is a 10 minute commute versus a 40 minute commute with good traffic.

    Step 6:
    I am so very grateful for my mom and for my godmother. These incredible ladies have always supported me and encouraged me. I’m also grateful for 2 friends who inspire me daily with their awesomeness.

  68. Amy

    Hope your birthday was lovely! In 2017, I plan to cultivate living more purposefully. This past year I leaned that setting clear boundaries and expectations with myself and others is essential. I fell short in both areas which led to the work and personal challenges I faced. I’m so thankful for a wise counselor and my awesome mom’s group for their insight and encouragement.

  69. Tanisha

    It was so helpful looking back on the past year and writing out the good things and the challenges of the year and what those challenges taught me. One of my challenges is letting go of control and trusting God…definitely something I need to work on next year!

  70. Nicole C.

    These steps are helping me so much, thank you!

    STEP FOUR: I’d like to cultivate Discipline. For me, everything else – speaking positive, faith, grace, relationships, gratitude, etc all stems from that one word.

    STEP FIVE: Challenges in 2016
    If anyone’s read The Dream Giver, we’ve been in a wasteland phase of our business, but we can see the promised land now, so to speak. I’ve battled a lot of fear and doubt, and breaking through those barriers by taking action despite how I may feel. My weight/eating habits seem impossible right now, and my self-image and attitude have taken a hit because of that. Patience with family has been a challenge. And the biggest challenge that I have been growing so much in has been speaking to my husband in his love language and being more present. I get better everyday in this area!

    STEP SIX: My mentors have been monumental in this process, as has my husband. Our business team and a few key other ladies that I’ve built meaningful relationships with this year and who challenge me have also helped on this journey.

  71. Deanna

    STEP FOUR: I want to cultivate a lot of joy, good memories and peace in 2017!

    STEP FIVE: Some of my challenges revolved a lot around my job and me and my husband saying yes to hosting an 11-year old boy in our home (similar to foster care). That has brought insecurity for me as a “mom” and not knowing how to handle behaviors that arise from trauma. My perspective was so focused on comparison and discontentment and was not life-giving to me or to those around me. Overall, this past year (and going into this new year) is teaching me to persevere and stay committed in the midst of difficulty.

    STEP SIX: So much credit goes to my husband and his family.

  72. Tiffany

    I’m enjoying these steps!

    Step 4
    I want to cultivate courage in my life. I’ve always wanted to be careful and not do the wrong thing. Being a “people-pleaser” is something I’m good at. But now I want to have the courage to follow my dreams and make it work.

    Step 5
    2016 was a challenging year but it developed me into a stronger person. We opened the art studio and we were so nervous. My boyfriend was freaking out because it’s such an investment, but now we are walking by faith since i’ve put in my two weeks notice! I was also challenging dealing with his parents and working two jobs…but we pulled through.

    Step 6
    My family and friends helped to cultivate what matters. They were the ones who came and supported our art openings and shared our progress on social media. It’s been a wild ride, but I’m so glad they’ve been there for us.

  73. Ashlee

    Step 4 – I want to cultivate becoming a stronger resource of encouragement to others, as well as a re-established and refreshened connection with my husband.

    Step 5 – wrist pain causing a halt on doing the therapeutic things that I love, losing Hank (our dog), disconnection with my husband because of our differences in grieving, grumbling about difficulties with family

    Step 6 – I’m so thankful for my husband who made ALL of the good stuff possible because of his belief in me and love for me, my therapist, Meredith, and all of our dog-loving friends

    Thank you for this, Lara!

  74. Paige

    Step 4- cultivate a healthy routine!
    Step 5- time with my husband, work.
    In both areas I have learned to slow down & listen to others needs
    Step 6- my husband & Christ through reading more of the Bible

  75. Amber

    I am just loving this.

    Step 4 I want to cultivate my creativity, which often gets shoved into my messy art closet.* A better way to love my wonderfully weird husband, and a more *organized home (see above).

    Step 5 We faced several challenges, but looking back God met us in the middle of each one. After my dog having two EXPENSIVE surgeries and my husband returning to school, somehow, we’ve been able to pay for it all with no problems.

    Step 6 I started seeing a counselor in 2016, and she became a great friend for both me and my husband. She was definitely a gift from our Father.

  76. Nancy

    I am most grateful for my mom and my sister. they listen, they cheer, they help, and without them I could not accomplish anything.

  77. Sasha Katz

    My 2016 challenges:
    1. Marriage
    2. Health
    3. Extended Family Changes
    4. Trying to do it all, without asking for help

    I learned
    1. We need a date night! I can be honest about my struggles and emotions
    2. I have to be kind to my body. I can’t run it into the ground!
    3. Not sure about extended family yet. Trying to find a balance with love, peace and joy.
    4. My most freeing lesson this year is that I can delegate what I can’t handle to people who care a lot.

    I am looking forward to reaching out to whom I am grateful to.

  78. Kricia

    Step 4 – I want to cultivate a strong, committed and loving marriage, unshakable faith and surrender to God, and a sense of ‘ENOUGH” in my life.

    Step 5 – What didn’t work: Selfishness, not praying but still expecting rewards, expecting relationships to flourish without putting any effort back into them, over planning, wasting SO MUCH TIME, the paralysis of indecision, demanding perfection with no show of mercy and grace to those in my life.

    Step Six – Lessons

    1. Every choice that I make has an impact on my life.
    2. To make change happen, I have to be willing to move
    3. Things will never improve with just desire, you must be willing to make substantial effort.

  79. Kricia

    Step Six – Gratitude

    My husband, my friends, my mother in law…my mentors and my support system, the ones who love me, support me, challenge me, provide for me, pray for me, and make sure that I stay humble and grounded.

  80. Nicole

    4. What’s one thing I want to cultivate in the year ahead? My marriage. This last year has been the hardest yet. I am only 3 years into my marriage and it has been on huge train wreck. It was like getting married and finding out the person you married isn’t who you thought they were at all, but it has taken years to discover. So I desire to learn about my husband, from his point of view and perspective and help save our marriage and grow it. Cultivate it. To share in each others passions, and desires, but start small in do small things, little steps, not making it so difficult to achieve.
    5. What were the challenges you experienced in 2016? My marriage! Same as question four because this year is when it truly fell apart and things just came tumbling down. It has been the most difficult time as it’s not fighting about little insignificant things, but HUGE really important things that should have been discussed before marriage. Learning about those things after three years of marriage is hard. So I hurt, frustrated, in pain, and sitting in the thick of it all still. This has been my biggest challenge. There were others, but they are not as big. Lessons Learned? I am stronger than I seem. The Lord is my strength and he can do anything. And Isolation doesn’t help. I need to connect with others, find community, ask for prayer as others might not know what is going on, and don’t focus so much on social media.
    6. Who helped me cultivate what matters in 2016? My family, friends, and girls bible group. They supported with prayer, with laughter, joy, happiness, had coffee with me, took me to movies, talked with me, and just loved me as I am. They loved me unconditionally, brought me gifts, words of encouragement, and we made memories together.

    Here is my vision board for 2017 so far: https://www.pinterest.com/the_peach_life/make-it-happen-in-2017/

  81. Jaime

    This post was wonderful – Thank you!

    Step 4 – I really want to cultivate my marriage and my faith this year. I want to grow closer to both of my loves and I want my husband and I to grow closer spiritually too!

    Step 5 – I never realized how difficult it was for me to write or acknowledge the challenges, but this was so good – to bring to light where I can grow, and even better where God showed up. This year we lost a few relationships, both physically and emotionally and that was tough. I also had some health challenges and this year was a tough one financially for us too.

    I learned to trust God and that his plan is bigger, better, and so good. I learned that I need to take care of myself better and I need to be intentional to steward my time and finances. I also learned that I need to PRAY more! God is so good and gracious!

    Step 6 – I am so grateful for so many of my friends and family for their support in this season of transition and can’t wait to send them each notes, especially for my husband.

    I am also so grateful for Lara… I started this year with a HUGE life transition that was a result of lots of prayer and reading Make it Happen. Taking that leap changed my life and your guidance online this year has been so encouraging and powerful. Thank you, Lara!

  82. Leslyn

    4- I want to cultivate my relationship with the Lord through scripture memorization
    5- 2016 was challenging because I overanalyzed too many things
    6- my husband and children were constant reminders of what matters

  83. Becky

    Step 4
    I want to cultivate…being more focused & wasting less time online. I have a lot to get done.

    Step 5
    -divorce
    -moving teams at work
    -struggling with my diabetes
    -long distance friendships & partnerships
    -being patient
    -being present
    -kindness (for others & myself)
    -focus

    Step 6
    -my boys (all I do is for them)
    -my parents (by helping the best they can)
    -friends (jumping in to help, offer encouragement)
    -support group (group of divorced moms helping each other out, offering advice & encouragement)

  84. April Emery

    Part 4 – what’s one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead?
    Follow through – when I say I’ll do things I do them, and the things I need to do I do instead of procrastinating (like responding to correspondence and sending thank you’s re: my Trades of Hope business, for example)

    Part 5 – What were the challenges you experienced in 2016?
    Time management, self-control (food addict here), lack of follow through

    Part 6 – Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2016?
    My Community Bible Study Group, a dear intentional-minded friend, my husband

  85. Kristi

    #4 I want to cultivate CALM.
    #5 My challenges in 2016 had to do with setting financial goals so big that they made me wish away my days. There was a little TOO much sacrifice. My plan in 2017 is to set goals that still allow my family to enjoy life.
    #6 My husband always helps me cultivate what matters. He is a master at giving advice and encouragement!

  86. Little Miss Imperfect » You Make Me Brave

    […] year not so much. This year when my favorite annual goal setting posts popped up in my RSS feed I didn’t even click it. I couldn’t bring myself to plan and […]

  87. Tasha Lenart

    Step 4:
    A few things I want to cultivate are I want a stronger marriage as it has been on the rocks and not in Gods hands until this year. There has been a lot of hurt and many things broken in our hearts.
    I also want to grow in my faith. To be able to read my Bible daily and pray but not just pray. Listen to God and take EVERY SINGLE step he wants me too.

    Step 5:
    There were many things that didn’t not go well in this year. From a failing marriage, lost hope and faith in myself and financially we are drowning due to the blessing of three children under three that were not even possible a few years back. Things in our life this year have just gotten bad and not headed in a direction that gives hope but I know there is hope in God. So I want to water, give good soil and leave in the sun my life, mostly my marriage, finances and walk with God.

    Step 6:
    I absolutely loved your I’M QUITTING story!! This is where Im at in my life right now and have been for almost a year. Im trying to juggle school, three kids under three, a business, being a Godly mom and wife along with finding true happiness and my calling. Id give it all up if I knew where and what he wanted me to do in my life for Him.
    My mom has been there to help encourage me this year to not give up on Gods calling and will.
    My husband has been there for the confidence to do whatever I want. And many coaches there to keep following my dreams, I just haven’t figured them out yet.

  88. Mary

    Step 4 – Delving deeper into God’s word. I HAVE to prioritize my time with Him.
    Step 5 – Let go of my need to control my kids behavior. “Feeling” like I’m living in limbo. Feeling at times that I couldn’t get out of bed and face another day. Tension of desiring a need to find fulfillment outside of “motherhood”.
    Step 6 – My husband, Book Group girls.

  89. Kiersti

    Step 4: I want to cultivate vision and action upon what the Lord has been ‘brewing’ up in my heart.

    Step 5: My greatest challenges in 2016 were battling loneliness in surgery recovery and pride!

    Step 6: My parents, Youth pastor, sister-in-law, my bible study gals, fellow Young Life leaders

  90. Emily

    Step 4: I want to cultivate my friendships in 2017!

  91. Emily

    Step 5: I experienced challenges with friendship/community this year as I often felt too tired or too overextended to engage fully and deeply.

  92. Emily

    Step 6: My husband and mom constantly encouraged me in the times I felt exhausted or overwhelmed. They helped me to say no to the things that don’t matter and cultivate time, energy, and space for what I need and want to do.

  93. Jaime

    Step 4: In this fresh new year I am so looking forward to cultivating community, what God says about community and bridging the gap in communities. Taking the time to listen and learn about others, to love them well – right where they’re at – will help us to make a strong impact on our communities, near and far. In doing this we desire to raise our children with a heart for others and an empathy to how others live, to help them grow and succeed so we may all enjoy an eternal community together.
    Step5 – Oh what challenges we faced in 2016. Starting this new endeavor as a family, creating our own products, blogging, food blogging…challenges – umm yes! A plenty! From explaining why I was leaving a successful career to start this, when in all actuality I had no idea what I was doing, and just dove in head first (still fixing the ramifications of that – but boy did I learn ALOT). From getting turned down from non-profits who didn’t want to ‘partner’ with us because we are Christian to friends who continually ask why we are giving so much profit back into the community, to technical issues with our web-site to promoting issues to creating a new web-site….Oh the lessons learned…oh oh oh, the lessons learned – I think the number one lesson learned is that you can never fully explain the calling you feel God has placed on your heart to someone else. And it’s OK! I would say that is my number one take away from 2016 – nobody else has to understand, what or why we are doing what we are doing.
    Step 6 – This wonderful community we have cultivated this past year has been so encouraging in so many different ways – I love how God gives us different people to inspire, love us, and encourage us in so many different ways…thank you Carolyn, Rebecca, Steve, Andy, Gretchen, always, my husband Bill, Amy, Joe, Amber, Christina, Derek – thank you all so very much, you have been a huge part of 2016!

  94. Olivia Meade

    I am loving this series. Thank you, Lara!
    Step Four: I want to cultivate my personal ministry. Stop wasting time on things that are mindless and spend my time with intention!

  95. Angela

    This is all so great and inspiring, and happy belated birthday, Lara! Here are my answers for today:
    #4: I want to cultivate connection, love, and prioritizing experiences over things.
    #5: Challenges were self-comparison, not feeling like my actions were aligned with my values, taking things personally, interpreting situations as stressful when they didn’t need to be. I learned to be nicer to myself, to prioritize, to be more open to feedback, and to slow down.
    #6. My friends and my co-workers (who are also my very close friends!) mean everything to me and helped me get through it all.

  96. Alex

    Step 4
    Challenges:
    Conflict about where I wanted to go w/ Alex Mae Designs and my professional life
    Not having faith in our relationship
    Body changes and injuries
    Financial changes and struggles to keep track of spending, not saving enough
    Poor meal planning and dedication to nutritious meals
    Not enough time visiting family
    Sometimes misguided priorities
    Not enough exploring and adventuring with doug

    Step 5:
    Lessons I learned:
    You’ll never have the perfect answer
    You can’t do it all
    It’s important to dedicate time to the things that matter
    The grass will always be greener on the other side if you don’t spend time taking care of yours
    You’ll have this body forever – it’s the only one you’ve got so take care of it
    Having nice things is nice…but it doesn’t get you anywhere
    If you have big plans, you better make a map of how to get there
    Nourish your soul with good foods
    Take care of your body and what you put on/in it
    Your family are your roots and they need to be tended to
    You don’t need anything to make life great
    There’s a whole world to explore and it can’t be seen through a screen

    Step 6:
    People who helped me cultivate what matters
    Doug showed me compassion, gave me support, and helped me reach my dreams
    Emma’s friendship gave me fun and growth
    Ogden’s listening ear gave me a space to share and learn
    Kristen inspired me and gave me comfort
    Family supported me and gave me opportunities for love
    Belle taught me and pushed me to be better
    My new coworkers welcomed me and helped me get settled
    LBC showed me friendship and strong women

  97. Siena H

    Step 4: What I want to cultivate in 2017
    The first thing that came to mind was memories- i want to remember the things that happen this year so I can look back and see God working! I don’t want my life to zoom by and not remember any of it, I want to cultivate memories not only in the remembering sense but also in the adventure sense, I want to do adventurous things in the midst of the chaos of school.
    Secondly, I want to cultivate growth, in my faith, relationships, and health.
    Step 5: Challenges of 2017
    -money
    -relationship with my mom
    -school, changing and catching up, staying caught up
    -relationships with dad, step mom, and sister
    -Tijuana (the best kind of challenge)
    Lessons from my challenges:
    1. God is faithful!
    2. Hard stuff is good
    3. He’s always working, I have to trust
    Step 6: Who helped you cultivate what matters is 2016?
    My old friend Rachel was always an encouragement to me and helped me refocus on what was important.
    My pastor, becouase he pushed me towards what would past and helped me step out of my comfort zone in a place I thought I’d never go.
    Michelle, my leader in Tijuana who showed me what trusting God looked like, showed me what a woman of God in action looked like.

  98. Erin

    I’m grateful for my Lord first, then my family. Also friends, both old and new, who have taught me about love ,life, and strengthened my faith.

  99. Nicole B

    Some challenges for me in 2016 were finding my new balance as a part time work at home mom & learning new spending habits as basically going down to almost one income.

    Lessons I’ve learned:
    -That anytime I invest in my marriage it is rewarding & fruitful. Anytime I don’t, I see how it affects the whole heartbeat of our family.
    -I’ve learned how God is with me in the everyday moments of diaper changing & washing dishes. So thankful for this!
    -When my how is organized & simple, I feel so much better!

  100. Sarah W

    Step 4: I want to cultivate wholeness and peacefulness in every aspect of me and my life.
    Step 5: My challenges were mostly relating to feeling inadequate, overwhelmed, stressed out and frazzled. Also some health issues and major trials for friends. The lessons I learned: Life is precious and live with an eternal perspective. My children are a gift. Older kids are fun! Kids copy what they see and my husband and I were really disconnected because of our schedule (consistently stayed up late).
    Step 6:My husband, 3 close friends, small group ladies, pastors, leadership committee

  101. Laura

    Step 4: I want to cultivate the kind of mother I am to my son. I want our time together to be intentional, not distracted. I want to spend quality time together and live in the moment so I can savor our time together and not feel like time is flying by.
    Step 5: I spent too much money. I started projects and routines and didn’t stick with them or finish them. This year flew by and I don’t remember much of it. Not being intentional with the time my son and I spent together. My priorities were totally out of whack. A lot of time wasted on meaningless stuff.
    Lessons learned:
    1. There needs to be a reason behind why I start something in order for me to have the incentive to finish it.
    2. Put down the phone and don’t always worry about the to-do list. Be present and live in the moment when I am with others.
    3. Order of priorities: 1. God 2. Family 3. Everything else.
    Step 6: My husband, my accountability partners.

  102. - ColorfullyEnthused*

    […] the good. In order to set achievable and meaningful goals for the next year, Lara Casey leads us (in her Part 2 post) to also determine the aspects of our lives that we’d like to cultivate, as well as the […]

  103. Rachel kim

    I am loving what everyone is sharing. Going through this process using true power sheets for the first time has been extremely eye opening !

  104. Claire Wood

    STEP FOUR – Cultivating one thing

    -One thing I want to cultivate in the year ahead is community. I’ve never been good at staying in community; I always seem to leave after a little while. I think I’m afraid of people leaving me because that happened to me when I was younger. I want to learn how to stay in community with people more than I have.

    STEP FIVE – challenges in 2016

    -Oh my gosh, so many. My own faults – anxiety, overthinking, impatience with others, selfishness, discontentment, lack of thankfulness, lack of relationship with God, getting lazy with schoolwork. Other things – losing my church community, feeling totally lost. Feeling lonely and depressed. Feeling a lack of direction with my life and a lack of motivation to do much of anything. It was a difficult year.

    STEP SIX – who helped?

    -My family really helped cultivate what matters in 2016. Through the hardships, they were there for me. My boyfriend has been by my side through this entire year, despite his own stress and hardships. We were there for each other. He encouraged, comforted, and lifted me up so much.
    -My mentor friends. They were so comforting and encouraging and wise every time we got together for coffee. They’d listen to me spill and vent about the tough things that were happening in my life.
    -This might sound silly, but honestly, all of the amazing people I follow on Instagram. The entrepreneurs, writers, artists, cooks; all of these people inspired me and kept me going. In my most emotional times, laying in bed alone feeling so down, I could scroll through and read inspirational, wise posts from these people and it would lift my spirits enough to get out of bed.

  105. Heather

    Step 4: I want to cultivate my relationships with God and my family

    Step 5: My biggest challenges this year were cultivating consistent time with the Lord and parenting. I felt like parenting was so stressful and I was constantly anxious about how I was doing with them and expecting perfection and getting frustrated, etc…

    Step 6: My husband, and my sister, and actually Sally Clarkson. I read a lot of her books and listened to her podcasts and it was super life giving

  106. Kate

    STEP 4
    I want to cultivate my relationships more. Relationships with my family, friends, and God. I want to spend more time with my musical instruments.

    STEP 5
    Fear. This is the big thing I struggled with this year. Fear of losing control, fear of disappointing others etc. I also have struggled with motivation to exercise and eat healthy as I finished my first year of teaching. Now I find it difficult to get back on track but I know I’ll feel better if I do.

    Lessons learned
    It’s exhausting to fear all the time. I also learned recently that I need to be in control. I learned that I need to find my affirmation in the Lord.

    STEP 6
    My parents and Grandma-they always remind me of who I am when I feel like throwing in the towel. I have wonderful friends who have helped me in a time of great transition in my life as I moved for my job.

  107. Caryn

    #4 Prayer, Movement, Simplicity, Joy
    #5 Trying to do it all, and do it alone; priorities out of balance
    #6 A list of at least 9 dear folks. 🙂

  108. Grace

    The one thing I want to cultivate next year is total belief and surrender to God. Doing this would boost my self confidence which I need to stop playing small and kickstart my business so I can help more people and grow my income as well which will also help me be able to contribute to charity as much as I want to.

    Major challenge this year was having to end my relationship. The break up was nasty so much so that it caused a strain in my relationship with my mum and had me almost closed out to the world.

    I however did learn that I had so much baggage to deal with that if I had gotten married then my marriage would be a hell hole. From learning about choosing interdependence instead of “independence” to being vulnerable, open and Unashamed with God and those dear to my heart, I learnt quite a lot.

    I am particularly grateful for a mentor, God gave her to me. We are continents apart but she has helped me get clear about my goals, inspired me to get started with a book and just encouraging and cheering me on. A friend of mine who was by me through out the nastiness of the break up, he listened without judging, encouraged and comforted me and kind of taught me to be vulnerable and open so I can really experience love.
    My business beastie, God brought her my way. She was on my case ensuring that I write a book, encouraging me to start sharing what I know and have learnt and stop playing small. She inspires and pushes me to keep going

  109. Karen

    I want to cultivate time with family in 2017, lessons from last year: live for today and love

  110. Katie @ A Place to Dwell

    One thing I really want to cultivate this year is a deeper connection and knowledge of God. I want to really study and know His Word in a way I never have before. Lara, your words above about your commitment to read the Bible in a year really resonated with me. And it was amazing to read those words when I’ve been thinking so much about finally committing to reading the entire Bible myself in 2017. It’s something I’ve tried in y ears past, but have always gotten behind and discouraged. So, I am excited to make that happen this year! Little by little! 🙂

    My main lessons in 2016 were that His ways and plans are always greater than my own. And that the new life season I find myself in means new routines and rhythms and learning how to still prioritize God in the midst of all of those new blessings and changes.

  111. Harley

    Step 4:
    I want to cultivate proper focus. To focus on the important things, the things that need to be done when they need to be done. Not get distracted from my goals or assignments for the day. To not lose motivation when the going gets tough because it’s going to get real tough.

    Step 5:
    1. My second “internship” with the company I received an offer for was kind of a bust. I wasn’t as focused as I should have been, was distracted often and by things I normally wouldn’t be distracted by at work.
    2. My finances are horrible. I am struggling with keeping food on the table and a roof over our heads. Being as frugal as possible to make the bit of money I have last as well as manifesting what I can, whenever I can. I feel like I need to do more though.
    3. My health isn’t the best. Started working out and quit a few times, same with eating better. Wish I could maintain my focus here and stay motivated to take better care of myself.
    4. Uncertainty towards my blog. I opened it in Nov with great excitement and I know there is a need out there for me – but I haven’t done anything since. No blog posts, no social media updates, nothing. I’ve ignored all the things I need to do to get my blog going. I am not sure if I should pursue it or close it down and wait another year until my life isn’t full of grad school + CPA exams.
    5. Being an understanding/calm mom. I love my daughter to pieces but she frustrates me often. She is so smart and witty that I forget that she’s only 8 and still learning the world around her. I expect more from her than I probably should but I don’t know what’s reasonable for her to know. I feel like she should have learned from past mistakes quicker and pay attention to what’s going on around her.
    LESSONS: When my focus is aimed in the wrong direction, it causes me so much trouble. Even when it doesn’t affect those around me, it affects me. Manifesting is magical. It’s a hard part of life but it won’t last forever. I have a wonderful daughter who loves me even when I’m not the best I can be, who understands me more than anyone has ever understood me.
    Step 6:
    – My few friends who have let me rant or rave. Who have encouraged me and gave me virtual hugs.
    – A holiday wishlist community that allowed me to ask for a few things and ended up with a wonderful lady sending me a few packages of healthy snacks (which helped me so much as I was able to put them in my daughter’s lunches.)
    – The penpal community I’m a member of who showed so much love towards my daughter on her birthday by sending such lovely cards, many with stickers and little goodies to surprise her with.
    – My friend who sent my daughter a crisp $20 on her bday and made her feel like an adult who was able to spend her money however she wanted. (She bought a Merida Barbie doll, an outfit for Ken, and a Barbie car… with the help of a gift card my mom got her)
    – My life coach (same as yours! Diana is fantastic) who helped me set up the beginning of my year, make some tough decisions, and get to a better place in my life.
    – My accountability buddy, who I discovered the end of October who has been there for me and let me cry and panic while being solid and encouraging.
    – My daughter for the hugs she gives me when she seems to know that life is being especially hard on me.
    – Myself for keeping strength when I was scared and broken, for realizing when I’ve been wrong and for trying to fix it, for fighting when I felt like giving up.. even if that meant I took a day off and binge watched TV.

  112. Erin C.

    STEP FOUR

    I want to cultivate my relationship with the Lord. I often mull over circumstances, which results in anxiety, doubt, fear, and discomfort. I know in my head the radical shift that is possible when every step of life is taken with the Lord as guide. But I have not adopted it in every area of my life. I know by taking this as my aim each day will transform my circumstances.

    STEP FIVE

    A lot of my challenges were also my “good things!”
    – Our dog was the biggest one for me. It seems silly, but I had such different expectations for what it would be like to have a dog. I’ve learned lessons of responsibility and patience through him.
    – My medical journey. I’ve had to wrap my head around doctor opinions, strange symptoms, and lots of scary words. I’ve learned that the Lord is faithful even and especially when I am afraid. And sometimes he uses pain and fear to slow us down and give us a chance to re-focus our perspective.
    – Balance and time-management. The demands of graduate school and work were much higher than usual this year, and I had to be careful to not let them run me into the ground. I found myself drained and exhausted most of the time. I saw many 2:30ams and arguments with my husband because of my lack of balance in this area. I learned that perfectionism is a dangerous striving and that rest is golden.

    STEP SIX

    My people!
    – My husband constantly encourages me to look for the Lord and seek the light. He leads me well – by word and example. He puts purpose into perspective for me. Forever grateful for my life-mate.
    – My younger sister lives in a different city, but she blew me away this year by her growth, her heart of service, and her offering of vulnerability. There wasn’t so much verbal encouragement as there was God pointing me to her example of faith and trust as inspiration to do the same.
    – My community. We hold a bible study in our home each week and have grown increasingly closer and more vulnerable throughout time. My friends constantly pull out my strengths and encourage me in my weaknesses.
    – My parents have loved me well from the day I was born until now. They grant me all sorts of insane grace and pour love over me

  113. Janice

    Step 4: I want to cultivate my relationship with God, to hunger for Him and be satisfied in Him.
    Step 5: A big challenge for me this year is realizing how earthly relationships fail me. I’ve heard a still small voice throughout the year encouraging me to run toward a deeper relationship with One who promises to never fail me but I sadly didn’t listen to the voice and felt myself disappointed by various friendships, time and time again.
    Step 6: I am most grateful for few of my closest girl friends who have each played a different but important role in my life in the past year, whether it be serving alongside me, being a shoulder to cry on, or trusting me to pray for their needs. Also I am very grateful for my parents who never cease to pour out their love and generosity.

  114. Kat H

    I want to cultivate the feeling of being content. Life is a race for some people, myself included, and I need to learn to be content with what I have instead of yearning for more or different.

  115. Misty

    So…I’m grappling with this, but I feel the one thing I need to cultivate this year is actually me. I hate that it sounds selfish, self -centred (insert nasty adjective here). But as I’m working through these goals I realised that I allowed my heart to shut down a long time ago. And I reject myself. So working on cultivating me is about dealing with those rejection roots and allowing my heart to dream again.

  116. Becky S.

    Loved today’s assignment.
    Step 4: What’s the one thing I want to cultivate in the year ahead? JOY… bubbling up and spilling over joy!
    Step 5: What were the challenges in 2016? depression, anxiety, hopelessness, fear, health issues, anger
    My heart needs to be tended.
    My hope, my confidence, the things I know to be true about the Lord and His promises, my belief about who He says I am all need to be watered.
    My emotions need to be soaked in sunshine.
    Step 6: Who helped me cultivate what matters in 2016? My sweet husband, Brian, my kids, my parents, grandmother, and friends – Marilyn, Jenny, Mistie (and Sally Clarkson!). I’m sure Lara Casey will be on my 2017 list. 🙂

    • Becky S.

      Forgot to tell some of what I’ve learned…
      God is always working, even when we can’t see it. He works all through the night. He shows me treasures hidden in the darkness. He will fight for me. I need only to be still.

  117. Veronica

    Today made me realize I haven’t shared enough with people. I want my list of people to be big and long next year because then I know I’m really investing in other lives too!
    I’m interested in cultivating a heart of gratitude, dependency and craving for the Lord. I want to invest in relationships with women around me more.

  118. Natalie

    Part Two

    STEP FOUR

    I want to cultivate a LOT. I want confidence in my career path (whatever that should be), I want to live with less (because I have always thought that I need more – which I don’t), I want to be financially smart and peaceful, and I want to actually take my health seriously.

    STEP FIVE

    There is so much stress and anxiety that is surrounding my life and it’s consuming me. I feel lost regarding what was supposed to be an amazing career opportunity – now it just feels like a burden I have to pick up and carry every day. I’ve been spending carelessly and holding onto junk that I don’t need.

    Lessons I’ve learned are that I cannot do it all. I had to cut back some in my life and there is still a lot of cutting back that I need to do. I learned how important it is for me to stay connected in a Bible study and just how important personal time and reflection is. I have to create time for myself to read, write, flip through a magazine, enjoy a cup of coffee… anything that helps me relax and refresh myself.

    STEP SIX

    People I’m Thankful For:
    1. My mom – Thank you for being my crying shoulder, an open ear, a warm hug and my best friend. Without you I wouldn’t have made it through grad school this past year, or through the ups and downs of a long distance relationship. Thank you for being my favorite person to do nothing with. My life would be immensely different if I didn’t have you in it. Our relationship means so much to me, and has taught me how to be an amazing mom. I hope that I can be half the woman you are when I’m your age.
    2. Kirby – Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for always listening, even when you think I’m being ridiculous. Thank you for supporting me in all my endeavors and for your willingness to do whatever to make our long distance relationship work. Thank you most of all for being willing to move to Dallas, but even more for having the courage to ask me to move to Phoenix. Thank you for helping shape my worldview and for softening my heart. I love you.
    3. Kassie – Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for putting up with my anxiety and my introvert spirit throughout the last year, I know that it was hard for you at times. I appreciate your endless friendship and your encouragement that you’ve always given so generously. You give way more than I deserve.

  119. Amy

    I encouraged my friend Tia with a text!

  120. Amy

    Step 4: I want to cultivate holistic health – spiritual, physical, and emotional. Well rounded health.

    Step 5: Challenges- a lack of a plan at work left many days full of wasted time and no productivity, gaining back a considerable amount of weight I had previously lost when I changed jobs, frustration in my relationship with my spouse with his attitude

    Step 6: Who helped you cultivate what matters- My husband – despite his attitude about his own work/contributions he continually encourages me in my dreams. Tia, Cassie, Ashley, and Kim – new writing friends who encouraged me with a swift kick in the pants when I needed it. The leadership team at my new job who both took a chance when they hired me and continue to invest in me as a leader.

  121. Rachel

    4. I want to cultivate many things: my prayer life, my marriage, my health, my job, contentment and joy.

    5. Challenges in 2016 included: fear, anxiety, disappointment in job, lack of motivation to be healthy through exercise.

    6. People that helped me. My amazing husband, my old community group and our pre-marital counselors. So thankful for all the people that pour into my life.

  122. Kara-Anne

    What is one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead?

    Confidence. In myself — liking myself more — and in God. Having full trust in His plans.

    What were the challenges you experienced in 2016?

    – Procrastination: Inability to make anything happen due to my own insecurities and fear, especially after a way-too-big year in 2015.
    – Anxiety and depression caused me to be paralyzed when it came to going out of the house, supporting my husband and working on my business with a happy heart.
    – Unhappiness with the husband’s job and allowing that to affect our marriage.
    – Not having business support with other entrepreneurs.
    – Not reading my Bible enough or seeking it for wisdom enough; and really not clicking with the people in our home church and yearning for more and deeper connection with our God.

    Three lessons you learned from the challenges:

    – A happy heart is the greatest gift of all; without it, I can do nothing and serve no one. Work on cultivating a happy heart.
    – My actions / emotions impact others and people around me feel my vibe. I am not an isolated being. I need to be more aware of how I act and react and understand that sometimes things happen because of the way I react to something. Seek support if you need it.
    – Without God, I can do nothing well. I can do many things with brute force, but none of it will be done well. I was not built to be like the rest of the world, and following God will lead me to my true path.

    Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2016?

    – My husband.
    – Many, many authors.
    – I did not seek for much support in 2016. 🙁

    Just got started:
    https://www.pinterest.com/thepetiteco/make-it-happen-2017/

  123. Lydia

    Encouraging and visiting a friend who’s alone at home!

  124. April

    Step 4
    FRUITFUL OBEDIENCE
    – To follow God’s commands immediately and grow the fruit
    – Push through self-centered emotions to just FOLLOW

    Step 5
    Did Not Work
    – With every step of God’s refinement, I complained and worried – HE WAS THERE, why didn’t I trust?
    – I pushed inward and not out to others when feeling lost/scared
    – Emotional eating
    – Putting myself last – allowing others to push their agenda on me – Do what God calls, others agendas aren’t an issue.
    Did Work
    – GOD IS ALWAYS THERE – even when I forget. Or choose not to believe it.
    – community is how God gets into the places I won’t allow him into myself
    – Food, restriction or decadence in, will not.solve.anything.
    – I Need. And that’s ok. (Right? Still working through this one.)
    – God prunes those who he has a mission for. The more pruning, the more mission. THANKFUL FOR THE PAINFUL PRUNING.
    – God’s promises, no matter to whom they are given, STAND.

    Step 6
    My Husband – I wrote him a letter thanking him for being the servant leader that our home has needed through the hardest season of both our lives. So thankful for his tender leadership and grateful heart.
    My daughter – Ive started writing the beautiful story of how God is moving like a freight train in our lives. I’m looking forward to getting to tell her of our own desert story when shes old enough to behold just how good of a God we serve.

  125. Jessi

    In 2017 I want to cultivate my finance and faith.

    This year I put many things before me and my health, which has never happened befor. Fear, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy ruled much of 2017 and I chose to cope with food, alcohol, and spending. I was following MY path and Ignoring HIS which led to so much pain and exhaustion.

    I learn d my way isn’t working and I need to put full trust in HIM and then plans he has for me and it is difficult to be a present wife and mom when I. Haven’t taken time to care for myself.

    Th list of people is long and I am beyond grateful for thfor community that the Lord grew for us in 2016.

  126. Jennifer

    These posts are so wonderful, thank you, thank you.
    1. I want to cultivate my soul this year. Not stuff or others, but my own soul.
    2. So many challenges in 2016 that took me away from my own care and my own head. I need to tend to me a little so I have strength and grace to continue caring for the others I have been blessed to have or find.
    3. My mom, my best friend, my mom groups.

  127. Joyagg

    I want to cultivate a healthy lifestyle in 2017.
    2016 seemed filled with complacency and that is not how I want to live.
    My word for the year is Grace. I have been abundantly given God’s grace. I need to extend grace to others (and mydelf) and shine God’s grave in the process. So many ideas of Grace in Action have come to mind…hmmm…Grace in Booties walking around. 🙂

  128. vb

    Read more of God’s word and pray more. I have been a slacker for too long.

  129. Anna

    4. I want to cultivate time for reflection, gratitude, and social media boundaries.

    5. Challenges: being scared of being average, laziness, balancing work and parenting

    6. Who helped? my spouse, who i am grateful aims to be my equal partner at home and in parenting, my parents, my aunt, my mom friends, my boss

  130. Lauren D.

    Thank you so so much for these posts!

    Step 4. I want to cultivate our home and bring balance and joy into it.

    Step 5. Multitasking did not work. My mind was trying to do too many different things and I wasn’t focusing on what I was doing. It made it hard to complete tasks, remember what I needed to get done and just be present with my family.

    Step 6. My amazing husband, who after working a fulltime job starting early in the morning, comes home and relieves our nanny and spends the afternoon with our kids AND makes us dinner.

  131. Lauren D.

    I encouraged a friend who is having a hard time with her in-laws.

  132. Jessica

    I am so excited about 2017, and I am genuinely encouraged by this community of women who are working toward what matters!

  133. Kristen

    These steps were a little harder for me to write but I am so glad I pushed through!

    Step 4: One thing I want to cultivate this year is contentment. I find myself always wanting more. And this year, I want to be content knowing that what I have is enough and who I am is enough.

    Step 5: My biggest challenge this past year was learning to trust God’s timing. There were some big things I was believing for and they kept seeming out of reach. The whole time God was with me and helped me to make it through the waiting season.

    Step 6: My friends, my family, my husband, our pastors all encouraged me and pushed me to believe for the best this past year.

    I am excited for the things that I will be choosing to cultivate in 2017.

  134. Tiffany

    I want to cultivate JOY!!!

  135. Bre

    4. I want to cultivate healthy habits for mind, body, and spirit.

    5. Challenges- Going from working from home to an office: battling mom guilt, struggling with work/life balance, selfish and not trusting.
    Lessons: God’s path is not always what I have envisioned for me or my family and trusting him is everything. Time with family in this season might mean dishes go unwashed or laundry is not folded and that’s ok.

    6. Husband, Miranda, Brandi, My Mom

  136. Meghan Poort

    I am so very very grateful. Family, health, my business. We are blessed beyond compare and I hope to slow down in 2017 to truly be able to realize that more and more each day and to fill my life with more gratitude.

  137. Mary Smith

    From the green mountain state of Vermont! Starting goal setting…

  138. Traci

    What do you want to cultivate
    – Want to cultivate deeper commitments to my goals —-I’m famous for starting and stopping things so I want to “go deeper” and really commit to health, financial independence, stronger relationships. . . .

    What were the challenges in 2016
    – I was really challenged in my marriage this year, my thoughts and over analyzing everything, worrying, not being strategic in how I spent my time or money

    What lessons did you learn
    – I learned I need to get out of my own head! You can’t let your emotions and thoughts run wild you really have to hold them captive like the Bible says. And worrying is not ok — it’s a total lack of faith. You can be concerned but eventually you have to move on!

    Who helped you cultivate what matters
    – Other blogs helped me, my mom, my sisters, my best friend, but most of all Christ!!!!

  139. Sarah Oneal

    For 2017 I want to cultivate joy, and intentional living.

    2016 was hard.. I learned how much I’m not in control, and it’s a good thing. Even when it feels like it’s not. I’ve been learning through the eyes of my kids who I am and what I should be in the Lord. You know when you tell you kids to trust Jesus for such and such, and He simply says “do you believe this too?” It’s totally amazing how I can tell my kids about the Lord in awe, and it starts to convict me. Just reading George Muller to them was wonderful!

    I’m thankful for my family – This includes my mother (my best friend) and father and my husband (my other best friend) and kids. 🙂

  140. Elizabeth

    This year, I want to cultivate my relationships – with my husband, our son, my parents, and my friends. I’ve realized in the past year since living abroad and having a child how important these relationships are to me, and they are worth spending time to develop.

    Challenges from this year were spending too much time getting sucked into the Internet, lack of sleep which caused lots of frustration, not having/taking time for myself, and too little time connecting with my husband. Navigating motherhood was hard on almost every aspect of my life, and I realized I need to take time to develop balance.

    As for who helped me cultivate what matters, my husband was a huge help – especially in those newborn days, my parents have been super supportive and helpful in this crazy year, fellow mom friends (Kellie, Christina, Bridget) were a huge source of support when I felt like I was losing it or just had no clue. So grateful for all these folks!

  141. 2017 Goal Setting Series: Part 1 | Revolution of Love

    […] Part 2: Cultivate What Matters (Steps 4-6) […]

  142. 2017 Goal Setting Series: Part 3 | Revolution of Love

    […] Part 2: Cultivate What Matters (Steps 4-6) […]

  143. Jen Myers

    STEP 4
    I want to cultivate my creativity. I used to write… all the time. I want to pull together all of my writing that makes me proud, re-read it all, post it somewhere, and then commit to doing more. It’s so easy to get caught up in the bustle of going to work, making dinner, playing with the kiddo, catching up on my shows, and then being too tired to do anything else. In 2017, creativity is going to be one of my main focuses.

    STEP 5
    – I let negativity overwhelm me. My job is hard and the environment I work in can be toxic. I let it take over and then contributed to the cycle.
    – I experienced a lot of self-doubt about not being good enough/pretty enough/skinny enough to be loved.
    – After getting two pay raises, I bought a new car that I shouldn’t have and have struggled to find the right balance in my budget since.

    Lessons learned:
    – Every moment we have a choice to be positive or be negative. If we go for the negative once, it doesn’t mean the whole day is on that track. Each moment it is up to me.
    – I need to take small steps in becoming healthier and happier. I always tend to make big goals (lose 70 pounds!) when it would be more productive to start small (no soda for a week). Doing otherwise just leads me to failure feelings and that sets me backward.

    STEP 6:
    I have a core group of girl friends who always lift me up when I need it and who are endlessly responsible for helping me cultivate what matters: Adriel, Mariah, Michelle, Jenn, Katie, Taylor. I wouldn’t have been able to get through without them.

    My family, including my “big brother” Thom, support me even when I’m at my worst and help me know that I am capable of all I want to do, if I just get out of my own way first.

  144. Lauren

    Slowly getting through goal-planning/goal-getting! Slow growth, right?!
    #4: I am now starting a new career as of this week and am getting married later this year. I want to cultivate my relationship with my fiance (emotionally, spiritually, you name it). I also want to focus on being content and not chasing after that perfection like mentioned in Step 2. I want to cultivate patience as I transition into a new role and find “myself” through the process.

    #5: There were a lot of transitions in 2016 and reflecting back, there were at times confidence issues and lack of trust in myself! I prayed regularly and knew God’s plan would prevail but I always wondered *WHEN*. I graduated in May with a master’s degree, moved to a new city with my fiance, and it took so long to land a job. The song “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott got me through some rough days but now it’s 2017 and I am employed and ready to get after this year!

    #6: So many people helped me through this past year. Through it all, my fiance, family, and close friends stood by. Finishing up my last semester of grad school were my cohort members and friends. Through the job search process were my mentors and colleagues. Ultimately, God did it all for me and led me to where I am now.

    Looking forward to getting through the series!

  145. Sarah

    STEP 4. I want to cultivate: time management! I want to be able to use my time wisely so I have more time for what matters.

    STEP 5. Challenges – procrastination, complaining, worrying, trying to control everything. I’ve learned that it pays to plan in advance and that the Lord is ultimately in control, not me (and I am so thankful for that).

    STEP 6. Grateful for: my speech + debate servant leader team, my close friends, and my blogging friends who have encouraged me so, so much.

  146. Sara

    Step 4 One thing I want to cultivate in the year ahead…

    A love and renewed appreciation of scripture. I want to fill my mind, heart, and spirit with what I believe to be true so there is no room lies to settle and steal my joy and peace.

    Step 5
    What challenges did I experience in 2016?
    1. Family crisis
    2. Hospitalization for my youngest babe
    3. Passing of dear friend
    4. Identity crisis (realization that dysfunctional co-dependent behaviors existed in most all my relationships. Began learning healthy ways of relating to others)

    What did I learn?
    -To live a life of peace and freedom, I daily choose to surrender control to Jesus.
    – There is great comfort and strength found in community. I’m not meant to do life alone.

    Step 6 Who helped me cultivate what matters?
    – my husband, small group mommas, mentor, pastor(s), and recovery group community

  147. Amanda Rahn

    Step FOUR:
    I want to cultivate INTENTION this year. ‘No more going through the motions & just existing. I want to L I V E and live INTENTIONALLY.

    Step 5:
    Challenges of 2016
    -anxiety
    -procrastination
    -avoiding friendships and church in India
    -allowing fear to get in the way of moving forward

    I have learned that fear will stop me from great things EVERY time I allow it to win. I have also learned that I NEED people to do life with here, and it’s ok to be vulnerable.

    Step 6:
    Who encouraged me this year?
    First of all Pastor Bill Wilson, the founder of the ministry I work for. He believes in me when I don’t believe in myself and always champions the greater things that are within me.

    My family. They help me plan speaking engagements in the states. They helped me plan, decorate, and execute a larger than life banquet I dreamed of. They always cheer me on in my crazy dreams!

    All the people who support me while I serve on the mission field. Whether they send hundreds a month or 20 dollars.. or if they just pray for me. It is the best feeling to know that they are there, making a sacrifice every month so that I can continue to reach children here. My heart is so blessed by them all! ❤️

  148. Tami Owens

    God has been leading me to give up perfectionism for the past couple of years and just wait on Him for the life He has for me. It has been a journey but so sweet. I discovered your awesome power sheets and tools a little too late as they are sold out. 🙁 I’m hoping and praying I can win the bundle to help get started on a grace-filled and intentional 2017!!

  149. Catherine

    STEP 4: I want to cultivate peace, joy, gratitude and most importantly, a closer walk with Jesus. I want to pray more, love God more, and listen better to the Holy Spirit so I may do the good things God has prepared in advance for me. 🙂
    STEP 5: Challenges in 2016 included some health problems that are still not resolved. What didn’t work: comparison, zoning out with mindless scrolling/games on my phone/TV, not getting enough sleep and then being cranky the next day, trying to make too many changes at one time, procrastination, never-ending paper clutter! Some of the lessons I learned:

    God provides in ways I never expected!
    When it comes to food, I do better abstaining from flour/sugar rather than trying to practice moderation.
    Comparison is poison.
    My son and I both function better with established routines.
    Creative pursuits (like making soap or working in the garden) are fun and feed my soul.
    It’s always worth investing in relationships rather than resting on the couch.
    Zoning out makes me feel better in the moment but much worse later, because it isolates me from those I love and keeps me from being present, plus it’s a waste of precious time.
    STEP 6: I loved writing down a list of people who helped me cultivate what matters. I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful, loving, supportive people! My parents and siblings, my son, and my ex-husband top the list. (What a blessing it is to have such a close relationship with my ex! God works in mysterious ways…)

  150. Annie

    STEP FOUR:
    One thing that I want to cultivate meaningful friendships and relationships. Those relationships that challenge me,
    encourage me and make me think in ways that I didn’t think of previously. And to have those relationships that are reciprocated, those that both give and take.

    STEP FIVE:
    Challenges of 2016: Setting boundaries with my parents, not expressing my emotions, and have them be released at an unexpected time later, taking care of myself and not trusting God in His timing.
    Through these challenges, I learned a lot including: to trust God with my struggles, difficulties and emotions, learning that it takes time to process emotions, especially those that are difficult , that even God himself set boundaries and that God loves me more than I imagine and He wants to take care of me.

    STEP SIX: Making this list helped me realize just how many people I have in my life who are there to support and encourage me, regardless of what happens. Being honest with these people has been such a relief and blessing. Some people that I included on my list include: my friends Kelly, Liz, and Lauren, my dad and my brother, my dog (SO much love!), my therapist and psychiatrist, my coworkers and my chemistry lab professor.

  151. Trisha Goddrad

    Step 4: What’s one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead? My relationship with God.

    Step 5: What were the challenges you experienced in 2016?

    1.) Dealing with Burnout/stress – I learned that I need recognize the signs of burnout/stress and begin to eliminate burnout and relieve stress before it becomes unbearable. There are ways to do this without “running away” from

    2.) Leaving our second mission organization, and joining a third. I learned that it is OK not to always be OK. I did not need to worry about what others said. I only need to OBEY – do what GOD has for me (and my family) and follow HIS leading.

    3.) Worrying about what “might” happen. I learned to bring it before God’s throne. He is King. He knows. I can TRUST Him.

    Step 6: Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2016?

    My husband. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law (also our coworkers). My children. The Raising Generation Team. My in-laws. My mom and sister.

    They helped me cultivate what mattered in 2016 with their encouragement, praying for me, loving me, walking alongside me, and doing life with me.

  152. Kathy

    What’s one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead?
    A better Relationship with God! A Healthier lifestyle!
    What were the challenges you experienced in 2016?
    This year our family faced lots of sickness and death. My nephew died in a car crash in June and Brunson’s father died after 45 days in ICU. My father also lost a brother (Uncle) and a sister (Aunt) this year. It has been a tough year.
    Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2016?
    God was there for me through all of it. Brunson. My kids. My Family. My Church. My Sister and Parents church family.

  153. Sarah

    Step 4: I want to cultivate more contentment in my life by NOT allowing comparison and “want” to continue growing in me

    Step 5: Our miscarriage, and dealing with the aftermath emotionally and physically, was my biggest challenge this year. I have learned that that the only thing I can control is my actions and reactions; and that I need to let God give me the serenity to accept those things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
    Another challenge was the strain on our marriage through our miscarriage. My husband has healed much quicker than I (not a surprise for this to happen) and as a result I rushed through my healing and pretended (to myself and others) that I was “okay” or “better” when I wasn’t. I need to invest more time in our marriage, be more open and honest about how I’m doing each day (since it can change wildly) and give him the opportunity to be there for me when I need it.
    Some other challenges that I hope to invest more attention to in this next year are:
    – our finances – savings goals, organizing investments and 401ks
    – our home environment – we invested a lot of work on our home in 2016, but now need to invest in making it work for our lives to function better so it can feed and support us rather than drain us
    – spiritual growth – I say I want to grow in this each year, but let other things distract me from this goal, and I need to be more firm in my dedication to this
    – my career path – I’m at a crossroads of staying in my current career, where I’ve already invested a lot of time and effort, but don’t feel it feeding me as much any more, or branching out and jumping into a new career path I’ve set the foundation for that excites, but of course scares, me, because I wouldn’t be at a traditional company with an office, co-workers, regular salary, benefits, etc. My heart is leading me toward this new career path, but I need to decide when is right for me and my family to make the transition – I’m likely close to a promotion and salary bump at my current career, and there are some exciting changes happening at this company soon, as well as I hope to get pregnant again soon and they offer at least partial financial assistance during maternity leave – so all of those things have me hanging on to my current career, while my heart is feeling pulled in a different direction.

    Step 6: The people that have helped, encouraged or inspired me include:
    My husband – he really is my rock
    My mom – through mentorship of this new career path
    A particular couple who are friends of ours that have gone through miscarriage were especially there for us during the time closest to our loss to provide friendship and a particular perspective that other friends who haven’t experienced this before weren’t able to
    Friends that reached out to let us know they were thinking of us even though we hadn’t seen them in a while
    Friends letting me know they enjoy my company, when I didn’t particularly felt like my presence was doing anyone any good because of how depressed I was
    Friends that gave up their time, effort and sleep to help us work on our house
    All of our friends who enjoy our company, invite us to do things with them, who accept our invitations to do things, and that we can be ourselves with.

  154. Susana Kury

    Ok, here goes part 2:

    STEP 4:
    – Organization: i want to better organize my time, my house, my finances, my free time
    – Faith: go to church weakly with all family members
    – Knowledge: I want to learn more about what I do to better help others

    STEP 5: (Hardest step)
    – Time management, at one point i genuinely felt like it was impossible to do it all (mom, wife, physician, daughter, sister…) and feel satisfied (partly from a letter that circulated around FB, worst thing I ever read, made me feel so hopeless…).
    – Financial management: i want to learn how to do a good budget planning

    STEP 6:
    – Husband and mother: incredible support through it all every day
    – Clients who have referred other clients

  155. Mikaela

    Part 2!!

    STEP 4: I want to cultivate a strong career path. I want to find a job that allows me to be a problem solver, think outside of the box, and become an effective communicator. I want to be in a role that gives me purpose, and allows me to contribute positively to this world.

    STEP 5:
    – Time management: allowing myself to procrastinate or become overwhelmed by to-do lists. Feeling I was always just “getting by.”
    – Lack of confidence: Feeling like I don’t have any good ideas or talents to contribute.
    – Lack of clarity in my path: At the end of the year when I moved to NYC I felt very lost about the next steps and what I wanted to do with my life. This made it hard to channel my energy or work towards a specific goals.

    Lessons learned from above: I have the power within me to make positive change in my life. Spending time with yourself and self-reflection are very important when try to figure out your next step and true desires.

    STEP 6:
    – My love
    – My parents
    – My mentors
    – My best friends
    <3 <3 <3

  156. Mina

    Step 4: This year I just want to cultivate happiness. Just pure joy.

    Step 5: I had to deal with a lot of not-so-nice people last year and in 2017 I just want to let go of all toxic friendships in order to become a better person.

    Step 6: My family and real friends have been so supportive of me and have just been the best things in my life.

  157. Christina

    Step 4:
    I want to cultivate an attitude of humility and gratitude in all things, and especially in my marriage.

    Step 5:
    My biggest challenge in 2016 was myself, and learning that (the hard way) has been one of the hardest lessons of my life. I made everything about me. I focused on me, myself and I, which of course brought nothing but discontent, which is so CLEAR to me looking back on the year now. All those internet memes about being petty??? TOTALLY ME!

    Step 6:
    Although so many that I love tried, sadly no could could because I shut everyone out thinking I knew better than anyone what I needed. (Its been so sad but so EYE OPENING) for me to look back and see how selfish I was and how in-control I felt like I had to be…)

  158. Susan Goetz

    ok – I see I’m WAY late in this 2017 Goal Setting….but than nothing I do is done the conventional way. I am a resolution girl to the max…so when I came across your pinterest page searching for vision boards I was instantly hooked, albeit late.

    I LOVE part 1… my main comment is what have I been chasing? WOW – the perfect new job! I recently left my church position to pursue my God-given creative talents…but I am not sure what that “perfect” job is that entails all I want to do! I have tons of interests so am waiting on Him to direct my next steps – the problem is I have been waiting for a few months now. My inclination is to not do anything until I have the “perfect” 😉 plan all devised. Here is the biggest lesson I have learned: by waiting to have it “ALL” perfectly figured out, I am moving NOWHERE!!!

    So my check-in on WORK results in a big fat 1….I at least know my season at the church has come to an end. But this is dirt and I will let it be that – dirt. Being still with that feels…refreshing is the word that comes to mind.

    I can’t wait until Part 2!!!!!
    Thank you for this encouragement!!!
    ~Susan

  159. Ashley P

    Step 4: This year I want to cultivate joy in my life.

    Step 5: challenges in 2016:
    – fear and stress
    -negativity
    – lack of community
    – adding pressure to myself
    -poor eating habits
    – comparison
    – chasing perfection

    One lesson I learned from these challenges is that I have a tendency to operate out of obligation at times and that tends to feed stress.

    Step 6:
    – my parents, especially my mom
    – coworkers

  160. Jenna Gilbreath

    Part 2 in Goal Setting!

    STEP 4: Developing the relationships, good habits and fun, creative projects that have been tugging at my heart to do for far too long. No harsh expectations. Just push forward to develop!

    Step 5:
    -Not prioritizing the Lord first!
    -Scrolling on my phone, mindlessly, far too much
    -Saying “yes” in order to people please, but burning myself out in the process
    -Saying “I’m too busy” but not working on the projects that I know are life-giving!
    -De-stressing after work. I can’t seem to wind down with my stress or work past anxiety driving into work.

    Step 6:
    -Hands down, my husband
    -My small business partner, Lindsey
    -My Sister, Julie
    -My Community Group ladies

  161. Rachel

    Step 4: The one thing I want to cultivate in 2017 is my Catholic faith so I can share it with my family and help them to grow in the faith as well.

    Step 5: 2016 was a very dry, hard year. It was difficult financially, which took a toll on family relationships. However, this helped my personal faith in Jesus grow as I learned to rely on Him alone.

    Step 6: My husband, my children, my sister and my parents encouraged me through the difficult times. There were so many tense moments, but we truly love each other and that’s definitely what’s most important.

  162. Petronella

    To draw closer to God through prayer & reading the Bible

    To seek relationships and activities that fill me up emotionally, mentally, physically

    To cultivate an intentional lifestyle

  163. Jill

    Step 4: One thing to cultivate in 2017? Putting God first. Then other things should fall into place. (Matthew 6:33) Some areas to work on: putting God first in my time, my desires, and my finances.
    Step 5: The challenges of 2016: The death of two family members, especially after my mother passed away in 2015.
    Lessons learned: God is in control of our life (and our death). We don’t get to choose how many days we have left. We don’t get to choose how and when we will die. But we also don’t have to worry. God is good and will not ever do wrong to any of us. God doesn’t want us to worry about these things but to trust Him with our lives.
    Step 6: Who helped me cultivate in 2016? My husband is my dearest friend and cheerleader. We work together as a team.He has helped me more than words can say. Also many good friends came alongside me this year to encourage me.

  164. Nicole Budd

    Love reflecting over my year and getting perspective

    Step 4
    What do I want to cultivate?
    ME!!! I am taking time to focus on me this year. I have always been someone who puts others needs ahead of my own and with a husband in residency and two kids that doesn’t leave a lot of time for me. I want to grow this year in all areas of my life.

    Step 5
    The hard things this year.
    My spouse and I were at a point of considering separation we were tired and didn’t know how to make this work.
    Feeling lost and alone in my marriage
    Not feeling like I have a purpose outside of the roles of mother/wife
    not being able to get pregnant after trying for a year.

    Lessons Learned:
    My husband and I are on the same team and it’s important to listen to your team members. I need to listen to his heart and allow him to help me grow as he grows. That I have to power to build him up or tear him down with my words.
    God will provide at the right time. We got the house that was the right fit for us at the right time.
    God’s timing is perfect. I had both of my other children at a time when I wouldn’t have chosen but it was the perfect time.
    Most importantly that God is real and has not deserted me. I will never know why he let so many loved ones die so young from cancer, but he is with them now.

    Step 6:
    Who helped me cultivate?
    My husband, my kids and the amazing women in my bible study.

  165. Chenell

    Step 4: I want to cultivate adventure, instant obedience when God nudges me to do or say something, and coming alive in my faith, my family, my passions, my life.
    Step 5: Challenges from 2016 *my health/extreme fatigue and how that effected my family and my ability to perform day-to-day tasks. *realizing how badly my husband and I have neglected our marriage. *trying to maintain control even though it made everything worse. * feeling isolated, alone, invisible, unworthy. I learned it’s not my job to be in control. That’s God’s responsibility, and does a much better job than I do. It’s crucial, not selfish, for me to take care of myself. My kids need me to make my marriage a priority. My relationship with God comes first. Husband is second. Kids third.
    Step 6: My cultivators *my husband and children *dear friends from our hometown *a mentor from years ago whose words still influence me *my church family *the people I serve with at church *authors and people I’ll likely never meet but whose messages inspire me to come alive (Craig Groschel, Steven Furtick, Jennie Allen, Christine Cain)

  166. katyrenee

    Step 4: I want to cultivate myself, find my voice.
    Step 5: unexpected injury and not sure how to bounce back. Things may not be the same, but there are things I can do and haven’t. A big move that I’m struggling to embrace. So much hustle and being completely unaware of it, not creating, not adventuring, computer/phone suck.
    Step 6: helpers were friends near and far that checked in and sat with me during coffee (C), gilmore girls (T), playdates (S,K, V) and phone dates (K,C).

  167. Robyn Schlichter

    Step 4: I want to cultivate intentional habits that help me to focus on what really matters. I want to cultivate contentment, relationships, rest, joy, and “simplify”.

    Step 5
    What were the challenges you experienced in 2016?
    This past year was filled with so many things and which forced me to let go of expectations, it was still so busy. I am thankful for the things we learned and did.

    Step 6
    Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2016?
    My husband is great at helping me keep perspective, for encouraging me and doing life together. I also have 3 friends that get together monthly and that has been a constant way for me to connect with other woman and to encourage each other.

  168. Rose

    Praise Him! I made my vision board!

  169. Tami Rhymes

    My husband has always been the most encouraging person in my life, but this past year, he went above and beyond. Amid lots of turmoil with our adult children, he and I mangaged to not only stay on the same page, but actually grew closer.

  170. Elizabeth Logan

    Step 4: I want to cultivate a happy home for our family, have joy in what I do each day, increase our savings, spend more family time together, and spend more time in daily prayer.
    Step 5: challenges from 2016 include not having many “date nights” with my husband which we really, really need-we are on some shaky ground; making healthy choices about food/exercise/sleep; too much screen time for ALL of us; and lots of complaining (mostly at my husband). Lessons include feeling more peaceful/content during the days I took time to be in prayer; we took our first “real” family vacation this year and it was great-we need to make time away as a family a priority; I have been unmotivated in general since graduating nursing school-time for some goals for 2017!
    Step 6: people who helped me in 2016 include my mother, my co-workers, and Shanna Noel from Illustrated Faith-she opened up a whole new medium for spending time with God that is so fulfilling and so appealing to my creative/paper crafting hobby

  171. 30 ways to find joy in February (+ Free Joy Plan download!) - Sara R Ward

    […] Make time for a favorite activity or hobby.  As Lara Casey said,  “You know all those things you always wanted to do? You should go do […]

  172. Elizabeth

    I was also a victim, having uterine fibroid for many years. The size of my fibroid was very large as a grapefruit in my womb, trying to conceive was so hard. My difficulty was not only getting pregnant, but keeping the pregnancy. I occasionally had reoccurring bouts with dysfunctional uterine bleeding due to fibroid tumors. I even came close to having a hysterectomy, but due to future/possible complications, I refused. I learned about some herbs mixture prepared by Priest Iyare and that was my breakthrough to a long standing problem. I already gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, very healthy, happy, and bright. I forgot to mention that my non-existent sex drive returned within just a few weeks of starting the herbs, this was a pleasant surprise. If interested and ready to give a try contact him http://iyareyarespellstemple.webs.com/