Want to listen to this post instead of read? Here you go!
If you are just joining us for this series, welcome! It’s never too late to begin. February 1 could be your January 1 if you like, so feel free to dig in anytime!
Welcome to Part 4!
Maybe you have ideas about what your goals might be this year (or maybe not yet and that’s okay too!)–and you are already overwhelmed and anxious about HOW to make them happen. You want all of your goals to have been tackled yesterday. Because here we are at the start of the year, and you have to do it all right away, right? False. I know the feeling though. Lean into that restlessness and let it unlock one of the greatest freedoms you’ll ever discover: the power of little by little.
My favorite flower to grow in my garden: zinnias!
We’re about to plant some good seeds as we uncover goals that have meaning. And then we’re going to take action on them. Making good things come to life requires physical action. And another action. And another. Over time, goals that were once leaps of faith you took on a blog post here, turn into new lives! The process of cultivating—breaking the soil, planting, tending, and waiting for the harvest—is where life happens. It’s where change and growth happen. The journey to making it happen is where the good stuff lives.
I know you overachievers want to have done everything yesterday (me too), but I have also been reading every single comment on this series. Taking this step by step is helping many of you make remarkable discoveries! I’m so pumped by all the lightbulbs I see going off! You are starting to see clearly, and it’s happening little by little. Your goals may change half-way through the year, or you may make them happen faster than you think if you take it day by day by day. Little by little these beautiful zinnias in my garden grew this year from the tiniest seeds. Little by little babies grow. Can you imagine if you got pregnant and then the next day gave birth?? Oh my stars! You wouldn’t be ready. No time to prepare. No time to buy diapers, or mull over a name. or assemble the crib, or celebrate. You would have missed the time of preparation and ripening that happens over nine-ish months.
It is the same with our goals. Friend, trust that your goals matter enough to make them happen well. They matter enough to take little steps forward every single day, and some big leaps long the way too. Your goals matter enough to tend to them like a garden.
Like I told you from the start of this process, traditional goal setting does not work for me. Swiftly-made resolutions get forgotten and then they linger and make you feel guilty for forgetting them. Anyone else ever experience this? Well, hopefully at this point you feel more equipped than when you started this process to write some down good goals. Goals that mean something.
Let’s get messy and start to pick out some good seeds to plant this year! You ready for this? It’s going to feel possibly-scary the moment before you do it, but SO GOOD when you take a leap of faith and write what’s on your heart. You can do it!
Welcome to the final four–Four Goal Uncovering Tips: (I just got bonus points from my husband for making a basketball reference-ha!)
1. First, review everything again! Do not skip this step. Remember, this is goal uncovering. Uncover one more layer and get to the good stuff! Read through everything you’ve done so far. Read every word. Re-write or add to things once more if you need to. I added to my lists and re-wrote things after going through this process because I got more clarity. Cross stuff out, revise things, add to your lists of what did and didn’t work (I added a ton to mine!). Add more to your YES and NO lists. Refine your 2017 Pinterest board. Take pins out that don’t fit well. Use extra paper if you need to. Uncovering good goals is like a treasure hunt. Get messy and dig a little deeper before moving to the final exciting step…
2. Write out some goal ideas. Now, make a list of the first “goal ideas” that come to mind for this year. This is just a list of ideas! If you want to, take a big deep breath and put on a favorite inspirational song as you start writing these ideas. I’m also going to stop and pray before I write mine, and ask Ari to pray for me too. Your goal ideas don’t have to be perfectly written — just write what what’s on your mind. Feel free to share some of your goal ideas in the comments, too!
3. Check your goal ideas to make sure they are rooted in what matters. Now, let’s sift through the goal ideas and see if we can find any weeds. It’s easy to make goals that sound good, or goals that other people have that you think you should have, too, just to keep up. Don’t do that. The idea here is to SIMPLIFY your life, not to give yourself a new to-do list of random things that sound good. Be intentional about what you decide to spend your time on this year, with your own unique gifts and talents. How you spend your time is how you spend your life. Check each of your goal ideas to see if ti’s worth spending your time on.
Photo by Olivia of Nancy Ray Photography
Do a GOAL CHECK and ask these essential questions:
– Will this goal help me to cultivate what matters?
– Will this goal help me get to where I want to be when I’m eighty years old?
– Does this goal also help other people?
– WHY do I want to make this goal happen? Am I desiring this goal for the right reasons, or am I striving for “perfect”—or whatever I’ve been chasing?
If the answer is NO to any of these questions, then it’s possible it’s not the best use of your precious time. Don’t run in circles with goals that don’t directly connect to what matters most. Focus on what really matters to you in the big picture. Cross goals out that don’t 100% fit. Be bold and take leaps of faith as you write.
If you are a believer like me, here are some additional questions I’m asking myself:
– Does this goal help draw me and others closer to God?
– Is this goal rooted in God’s truth? (Find scriptures to match!)
– Does this goal rely on my strength or God’s?
– Does this goal help me steward what I’ve been given well?
4. Write down your WHY with every goal. When I was a personal trainer in New York for many years, clients often would come to me with a number and say, “I want to lose 10 pounds.” I would ask them, “Why 10 pounds?” Usually, when we got down to it, it was just an arbitrary number, or a weight they were in college. There was no real heart connection to the goal of losing 10 pounds. But, when we dug deeper into why they became out of shape in the first place and what they wanted most in life, a picture of true fitness started to emerge. Instead of, “I want to lose 10 pounds because that’s what I weighed in college” (not very motivating and more self-defeating), we worked on goals like, “I want to be healthy and strong so that I can live long enough to walk my daughter down the aisle. I want to live a long, happy life so I can be a better husband and show my kids how to be joyful and healthy, too.” True story. That goal worked. That was motivating. Get real with why you want these things to happen and connect them to something that really matters to you. It will help you act on your goals instead of toss them aside.
You never know how long you have left here on this earth to love others and use what you’ve been given to grow good things. Life is to short and too meaningful to coast through. The good you do today has the potential to change generations. That’s why uncovering good goals and having a clear focus is so important. Otherwise, you may spend your time lost in distractions. Lost in Instagram. Lost in the chase for perfect, or significance, or approval, or whatever it is that has been holding you back from really living. You may find yourself restless, knowing deep down that there’s more to this life. If that’s you right now, you are in the right place! I know that feeling well, and I don’t know about you, but I do not want to live my days by accident. I want to live on purpose, and use all the gifts I’ve been given to help others do the same! Join me.
Take a big breath in (really do it) and a big breath out. Think of where you want to be when you’re 80. What will be important to you then? Whatever it is, act like it today. Take some leaps of faith and write out goals that are potentially outside of your comfort zone. Good goals are worth the hard work it takes to plant them. Soak them in sunshine, water them little by little, and get ready for a flourishing garden full of blooms–and a harvest to share!
I’m going to share my 2017 goals in the next post.
When you are ready, write your goal IDEAS here in the comments. If you aren’t sure of your goals yet, I want to hear from you right where you are. As you reviewed all you’ve written so far, what stands out to you? What themes are you seeing? Tell me in the comments and let’s encourage each other as our goals begin to take shape. SO much goodness to come when we actually write out our goals tomorrow (using a special method I’ll tell you about then!).
Comment with your answers from each step as we go through this series to be entered to win one of these inspiring prizes below. 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!
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 5? Here you go!