Want to listen to this post instead of read? Here you go!
Welcome to the final post in my sixth-annual Goal Setting Series! Each year, I am left in awe of the leaps of faith you take as we go through this process together, and this year tops them all. I am reading every comment and am so excited for your year ahead. You are doing the hard work, making a mess, and making meaningful progress! You are on fire! For me personally, this has been (I can’t believe I’m saying this about goal setting) delightful! I’m so grateful for how this process has been refined over the last six years. What a joy to do this work alongside you! If you are just joining, it’s never too late to begin and you aren’t “behind” one bit. Now is the best time to get started.
2017 Goal Setting, Part 1: What Worked and Where to Start!
2017 Goal Setting, Part 2: What Didn’t Work + What I Learned
2017 Goal Setting, Part 3: Say Yes, Say No, Choose a Word
2017 Goal Setting, Part 4: Uncover Intentional Goals
Okay, now let’s do some dreaming together! Imagine it: the end of 2017. The weather gets colder, December 2017 rolls around, and you start looking back at the year you’ve just lived. What would it take for you to look back and know that you cultivated what mattered? What will you wish you had started today? Fill in the blanks below (get your free printable here!):
Knowing where you want to be at the end of 2017, what do you need to cultivate today? Literally today. My friend Lysa says that every decision we make has an arrow attached to it, pointing us in one direction or another. Your decision arrows have the power to fly through all the distractions and fear and hit the target, OR they can float around and miss it completely. However many hours or minutes are left as you read this (even if you are reading this in bed), how can you shoot one of your decision arrows in the right direction?
I want my decision arrows aimed right at the target. That’s what being intentional is all about.
I made some decisions, aiming my arrows at the target, as I finished my 2017 PowerSheets and this goal uncovering process. The goals I’m about to share with you may seem simple, but they are boldest scariest goals I’ve ever written. I have great hope in these goals, knowing that God can change everything on my path. And you know what? His plans have always been better than mine. I’m up for it.
I’m willing to sit in the restlessness and tend to these goals little by little to get to the end of this year knowing I stewarded what I’ve been given well—not perfectly, but well. Making decisions with focused arrows attached to them will be worth it. The tending and watering, waiting, getting messy, and awkward growing stages in between will be worth it!
I’m all in.
Maybe you are feeling the same hesitation-scary-I’mALLin feeling with me right this second! Maybe it makes you feel a little uneasy, like you’re stepping into the unknown. Let’s step forward together, believing in what we can’t yet see. I’m choosing faith over my fear and I invite you to take the leap with me. Let’s take some steps forward and, little by little, the fear part will dry up. We’re not going to fertilize the fear this year, friend! Are you with me?
Let’s decide to take action on goals that cut through all the things to get to the things that matter.
If you feel hesitant to set goals, remember this my dear, passionate, capable, inspiring friends: you were created to grow and change. We are always “in progress.” Your goals may do the same! As you grow, your goals may shift. As you go through different seasons, your priorities may change. As you learn new lessons, and take on new life responsibilities, your capacity to do different things may change. So, as you write out your goals, remember that you don’t have to set them for the calendar year. Set them for just this season ahead, and refresh your goals every few months. This is why I put a Goal Refresh in the PowerSheets for every season. We were created for seasons. This gives me so much freedom in knowing that these don’t have to be forever, and I hope it encourages you too!
Ahhhh!!! I’m so ready!
Write out your goals using these helpful prompts. I call this the Cultivate What Matters Method. Here are some tips for each prompt help you:
- Goal: Your words don’t have to be perfect. Just write the goal in whatever words you have! We’re just WRITING here, not doing anything about it yet. So, be brave and get the words out!
– Why? Remember by training clients who came to me with arbitrary goals? We aren’t doing that. Write out why you want to cultivate your goal, and connect it to something that really means something to you.
– The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: How will this goal change you and others? Think of the biggest possibilities here—the most profound positive impact this goal could have. Even if your goal feels “small,” write out the big possibilities! This can be a huge motivating factor when you define the possibilities.
– How I will feel at the end of this year having made progress on this goal: Imagine it. You made progress, finished your goal, or made it to a milestone. How will that feel? Remember: focus on progress, not perfection!
– Starting steps: I used to write out “action steps,” but after listening to thousands of women tell me how stuck they felt in starting things that mattered to them, I realized that the most important steps were the first ones. So, write out some very small starting steps. You’ll see my examples below!
– How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: Most of my goals don’t have an “end” date, but it’s important to be able to measure your progress somehow. How will you know you made progress on this goal? Write out some ideas.
– Encouraging words: Give yourself a strong pep talk, encouraging words, or a Bible verse to go with each goal.
– How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: Writing this out helped me so much this year! One of my 2016 goals was to pray. A lot. Without ceasing. And the way I envisioned celebrating at the end of 2016 was to, “paint my answered prayers on Christmas Day on a big canvas for our living room with Grace. I already have the canvas. I’m teary-eyed thinking about this!” Well, at Grace’s request, we started early in the fall. And we didn’t use paints, we used pressed flowers. Here’s what we created!
Photo by my dear friend Gina Zeidler
We pressed flowers from our garden and special milestones all year—in cookbooks, Bibles, and anything that had pages! Then, we used some Mod Podge and sealed these onto the canvas. It is so special! Better than we could have imagined. This reminds us of God’s faithfulness and so many answered prayers through each season of this year. I love it so much.
Okay, let’s write out some 2017 goals! Are you ready?
Here are my 2017 Goals for this year of LIGHT (and I can’t wait to hear yours too!):
You’ll see here that some of my prompts are still undone and in-progress. If you don’t have an answer yet, that’s okay! But, don’t get stuck because of fear of your plans or answers not being perfect. For me, some of these things I genuinely don’t know yet, and I’ll wait on God to tell me!
Goal 1: Read the whole Bible again. Like I told you in Part 3, I did this once before, over the course of a year and a half. I didn’t use a fancy reading plan, I just looked at the number of pages in each book of the Bible, and divided them over the course of a year. I put the names of each book I was supposed to read during each particular week on my iCal calendar, and that’s how I stayed on track. It took me longer than I thought, but it was worth it! Every bit of my reading was worth it.
Why? I want to grow my faith by going straight to the source—getting to know more about God Himself. I want to know more of the big picture of His story. I want my mind to be filled with light and truth, so I can live it.
The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: When I am filled with truth, I am also filled with PEACE. I don’t worry as much or feel fear about my circumstances. This helps everyone around me (my family, team, friends) to feel steadfast calm too. I’ll know more of God’s wisdom to be able to walk in the light. As my faith grows, I’ll be able to share the fruit of my faith with my children and others. There are endless positive effects this goal could have!
How I will feel at the end of this year having made progress on this goal: Lord willing, peaceful, more assured, and more mature in my faith.
Starting steps: 1. Open the Bible and look at the lengths of each book again. 2. Open my iCal and plot out what I could realistically read each week. 3. Pray about having the diligence to complete my reading each week, not for the sake of completing it, but to grow closer to God.
How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: I will, Lord willing, see the fruit of this goal in my life, and in turn in the lives of others.
Encouraging words: Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105 ESV
How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: I may not finish this by the end of this calendar year, but I will celebrate my progress by… I’m not sure! Anyone have ideas?
Goal 2: Run, and finally get back into weight training. The former personal trainer in me was a little ashamed of this at first, but as I was writing this I got excited—because I know how quickly strength can be gained! I haven’t had a gym membership since Grace was born, and I haven’t done real weight training in just as long. I used to love being in the gym, and feeling strong. But, the logistics with kids and the gym just haven’t worked out. More on how I’m going to make this work in a minute. This is a goal I didn’t want to write on the blog, because it means y’all are going to keep me accountable, and this one is tricky. But my why is worth taking this leap…
Why? So many reasons! I will live longer, healthier, and more at peace. When I am strong, I’m able to be active with my kids. When my body is healthy and strong, my mind feels the same. Also, I am nearing 40 and feeling my body changing. It’s time to steward well what the Lord has given me.
The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: I may have more energy, better focus, and more endurance to love on the people around me well. That’s exciting!
How I will feel at the end of this year having made progress on this goal: SO grateful I leaned into the tension I felt in finally starting this goal, and excited for another year ahead of little-by-little progress.
Starting steps: Since getting to a gym isn’t in the cards with all these kiddos in the mornings, I’m committing to doing this at home with some free weights. My first action step is to ask you for suggestions on other at-home training gear (preferably that doesn’t take up much space!). My second action step is to open my iCal, and write in a gentle plan to ease into weight training again, focusing on large muscle groups and core strength. I’m going to write out a new plan each six weeks based on where I am.
How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: I will break this goal down in my monthly PowerSheets pages so that I have measurable milestones to hit, enabling me to track my progress here. Overall though, I will know I made progress by my physical strength and endurance growing over time, and the fruit of my hard work coming out in my interactions with my family.
Encouraging words: (A pep talk to myself!) You did this many times before, Lara! Your body can easily adapt. With His strength, you can gain strength!
How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: The first thing that comes to mind is going on a celebratory family run with the kids in the jogging stroller. I would love ideas here too!
Goal 3: Live a year of radical gratitude and praise. I will keep this plain and simple: I have been doing a lot of complaining lately. Something I realized when writing my upcoming book, Cultivate, is that complaints are clues. They reveal to us places in our hearts where we don’t trust in God’s goodness, or His power. This hit me hard, and it has made me want to do something rather big about it.
Why? To grow my faith like never before! And because when I complain, I’m teaching Grace and our children that God isn’t good or faithful. Ugh. Words have power. I want to use my words well, to grow good things!
The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: Lord willing, my heart will change as I choose words that are life-giving. I’ll teach my children so much in this. And in the times I mess up, I’ll get to show them what grace looks like.
How I will feel at the end of this year having made progress on this goal: So good. I know I’ve said the same thing for all of my goals so far, but this will be incredibly satisfying to see God’s word at work in my heart!
Starting steps: One of my monthly goals for January is to memorize scripture about speaking life-giving words, where good words come from, and about gratitude and contentment. Breaking this down, here are my starting steps: 1. Open up BibleGateway.com and look up scriptures. 2. Copy and paste them into a Word doc. 3. Print two copies – one for my desk, and one for the refrigerator where I will see it often. 4. Put a date on my calendar to have a scripture recital party : ) I’ll give the paper to Ari and Grace, and they can tell me if I memorized them correctly. I’ll leave it up to them on how we’ll celebrate if I do!
How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: I hope and pray I’ll see a wave of gratitude and contentment sweep through our whole house! I hope to see the fruit of this goal in the words we all use with each other. The possibilities are so exciting to me!
Encouraging words: Well, these are more convicting words, but they do encourage me to take action on this goal. This scripture (“do everything without grumbling'”), this one (“out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks”), and this one too (bridle your tongue)!
How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: This is where I want to do something big—something radical to make this year different from any other. I want to celebrate God’s faithfulness each month, and also at the end of the year. I’m still praying on this and will come back and update you when my plan is formed!
*This goal is a great example of how this goal uncovering process simplifies life! As I looked through all my goal ideas, I realized many of my smaller goals were a part of a bigger picture. Too often, we focus narrowly on tasks, projects, or reaching milestones and forget why we are doing them in the first place. We lose motivation this way! So, here’s an example of how to group several things together under one big picture that motivates you! I’ll be breaking this goal down into monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily goals throughout the year in my PowerSheets.
Goal 4: Cultivate our life-giving home. This includes homeschooling Grace in the fall, living with less, living in a life-giving space, implementing a plan for the office to semi-transition out of our house, growing our marriage, and planting a family legacy within the seemingly-mundane everyday routines of life, and the bigger celebrations of life (holidays, traditions, milestones) too. P.S. My friend Sally wrote a beautiful book about cultivating a life-giving home that I highly recommend! Also, you can catch our live broadcast together here.
Why? Our home is the center of where our children’s hearts are shaped. I want this to be a home that allows them to see God at work—in the small and in the big things.
The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: Cultivating our life-giving home will hopefully be a blessing not just to our family, but to many others!
How I will feel at the end of this year having made progress on this goal: We will feel more family unity, and will have cultivated a strong family narrative of faithfulness, love, and joy. This will feel Tony-the-Tiger grrrrrrrreat!
Starting steps: 1. I brought my Life Handbook with me on this trip and I can’t wait to write out our family traditions in it! So, step number one is to open my Life Handbook after the kids go to sleep tonight, and write in just one page. Start small with these starting steps friends! 2. Open my iCal and put a homeschool start date on the calendar! Ahh!! 3. Pray about our office space. (Prayer is an action step!) 4. Put “preparation days” on my iCal for holidays and celebrations. There’s much more here, but I’ll be working it out in my PowerSheets, one step at a time!
How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal: This is multi-faceted. I will have a plan in place for homeschooling Grace by the spring and a space to do it in. We’ll have gone on more date nights together (we went on two this year with all of our family transitions, so anything more will be a huge win!). I will do more intentional preparation for holidays and celebrations, allowing us to have meaningful remembrances of God’s faithfulness.
Encouraging words: “All people need a place where their roots can grow deep and they always feel like they belong and have a loving refuge. And all people need a place that gives wings to their dreams, nurturing possibilities of who they might become.” – Sally Clarkson
How I will celebrate at the end of 2017: We’ll have a special, simple meal at the end of 2017, and talk about all we are grateful for from the year—all that God grew in our lives and in our home.
There you have it! My four goals as I begin this new year. I just let out a sign of relief. How these goals will play out over the next weeks will be more specific as I do my monthly PowerSheets pages, but I am so grateful for this process and clarity! I know where I’m going.
Love this series? Please share it with friends!
Whether you came up with two goals or twenty, I hope you feel more focused on what matters most having done each step alongside me! I am excited to check in with you here on the blog throughout the year to see how you are doing and encourage you. Tell me in the comments: what are your 2017 goals?
Lastly, thank you! Thank you for joining me on this journey. I am going to be reading every blog comment here and cheering you on. Taking this little by little has been worth it and I am praying you find the same is true for you. Choose to focus on progress—little by little progress—not perfection. Your seemingly small steps forward today will add up, and a year from now, you will be so grateful you started today! Get messy and make it happen, friend!
Happy New Year from us today!
Need an extra kick in the pants? How about this for motivation? Welcome to the Ultimate New Year’s Giveaway! There are lots of prizes and fun ways to enter. Most of all, though, I hope you comment with your answers from each step in this series—I can’t wait to hear your answers! 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!
Enter below and be sure to leave your answers to each step as you go through the series with me!
P.S. After starting this series, need more direction? Five great places to start:
1. Grab a copy of my book, Make it Happen.
2. Order your PowerSheets for much more goal uncovering goodness! *UPDATED: We are now SOLD OUT, and blown away by the response this year! We hope to have another shipment in the spring for the second half of the year. More here.
3. Get on my email list (sign up using the form in the sidebar) for continued encouragement, and to know when our new products release.
4. Join me live each Wednesday at noon EST on my Facebook page for free goal coaching and inspiration! Turn on notifications for the page and you’ll get an alert each time I go live.
5. Join me in person for the Making Things Happen Conference in March. The early-bird rate ends January 31st. See you there!