Maybe your thoughts have been similar to mine as December has begun: What does the year ahead hold? Have you caught yourself feeling doubtful, afraid, or unsure about 2018 already? Maybe you’ve felt a little overwhelmed about it, like you’ve failed before even starting.

My friend Lindsay said something last week about doing things for the good of her January self.

I really like that.

That’s what cultivating is all about: a little intentional forethought goes a long way!

Let’s do a little imagining together to kick the 2018 overwhelm to the curb, shall we?

Envision your January 2018 self.
How do you want to feel?
Where do you want your head and heart to be?

Dear All of Our January Selves,

We’re comin’ for ya!
We’re making intentional decisions for you now!
We’re thinking big picture to uncover some really good goals for you. Goals that make your heart sing. Goals that are about growing what matters. They might be challenging and hard work at times, but they will be WORTH IT!
Little by little, we’re taking steps forward for you.

January selves, you are gonna be great!

The year ahead may not be perfect, but it sure will be meaningful.

We’ve got you.
We love you.
We’re on it!

Love,

Our December 2017 Selves 😘

Starting Monday, I’m digging in for the good of my 2018 self (and everyone else!) as we kick off our annual PowerSheets Prep Week. I hope you will join me! We have a full week of goal inspiring tips, motivating prompts, and a free class on Thursday all about getting started with your PowerSheets (register here for free). I can’t wait to start my 2018 PowerSheets with you on Monday! If you haven’t ordered yet, you can still join us for the fun next week. We’re doing all the teaching early so you can do your PowerSheets prep anytime that’s best for you in December!

Here’s a look back at the progress I made on my November Goals and how I’m preparing for 2018:

We bought this 60-year-old piano on CraigsList a couple weeks ago, and the kids love it so much. It needs a tuning and some TLC, but it reminds me that things in life don’t need to be perfect to be meaningful!

November Monthly Goals:

– Prioritize with diligence. If everything is a priority, nothing is. I want to surrender the things that might be good, but might not be His priorities for me in this season–or at all. Read more about this in my November Goals post. // Yes! I learned a lot about prioritizing and seeking Him first in November. I am so grateful. It was hard and it was good. And part of this learning came in the form of an answered prayer today! Emily and I spent the morning creating a prayerful vision for the next 10 years in our company and I gained clarity on where I plan to let go of the vine. Prioritizing doesn’t mean doing more; it means doing the right things and surrendering the rest.
Cultivate my calendar.– I feel the urgency to do this task now! Grace’s 6th birthday and Thanksgiving are ahead. // Yes, I did this in the clutch! Yesterday I went to do my December PowerSheets and realized that, even though it was the last day of the month, there was still time to make some progress on my November goals! I spent 25 minutes doing the steps we outlined in our class (watch the class for free here) and it was SO HELPFUL. I now have preparation days on the calendar for every month in 2018 and I know what holidays and celebrations to prioritize. A little intentional forethought goes a long way!

Our annual church family group Thanksgiving was made extra special with my mom in town!

– #GetAfterGrateful project. – My project? Writing 30 Ebenezers–30 specific remembrances of God’s faithfulness in our family (see Chapter 10 of Cultivate). // Yes, I also did this in the clutch and I’m so glad I did! I used the notes app on my phone and voice dictation to capture 30 things that God has done in our lives and it helped me prioritize. With each one I added, I saw more and more clearly His goodness and ways I can let go and trust Him! So so so helpful!
– Write my (7th annual!) 2018 Goal Setting Series with fresh eyes. – This is the most popular series here on the blog each year, and my hope is that this month prepares me to write it with fresh eyes and rooted faith. Mark your planners for December 20th, the first day of the series! // We walked through each post as a team but I am waiting till next week–PowerSheets Prep Week–to start my own 2018 goals! This goal will continue in December.
– Be a light-filled mom from resting in you, Lord. – My PostIt Prayers will help with this one. // Yes, November brought a new calm and gentleness as I practiced this–and everyone was happier as a result! I resolved to stay calm in the face of chaos, to pray more in the middle of the mess, and to not get one more thing done in favor of just being with the kids.
– Less house, more home. – We had several major home repairs made in October: replaced a cracked and moldy shower (black mold all through the insulation in our bathroom), kitchen repairs and updates, walls that were cracked from our foundation settling, leaky sinks, broken doors (our front door wouldn’t close!)–so many things needed fixing and updating. Let me tell you though, once you start fixing things, your eyes start noticing more things to fix. I want my eyes fixed elsewhere, knowing I can’t take this house to Heaven with me! While there are still many things to put back together after our repairs, my focus is on cultivating our life-giving home. Less working on the house; more nurturing the souls in it. // Piggy-backing on the goal above, this was also good. I let go of the house organizing in favor of time with the people who live here. I did, however, buy some new pillows on Cyber Monday for our bedroom in colors that Ari loves.

We celebrated 10 years of Southern Weddings this month–what a joy to reflect on all the Lord has done in this decade!

November Weekly Goals:

– Homeschool with diligence–careful and persistent work and effort. // I don’t think I succeeded in diligence, but rather gentleness. Rather than having a perfect plan and checking things off a list, I focused on cultivating her heart this month and it has been so good. We still learned a lot and did our handwriting and math, etc., but we also read a lot of books together and let our imaginations grow!
– Continue reading and implementing Traction. // YES! We completed 80% of the Traction Vision Traction Organizer today and will finish it with the team next week. This book is the best! See that little girl helping my mom bake? She turned 6 in November! I have a SIX-YEAR-OLD!!!

November Daily Goals:

– Raw prayer. // Yes, there was lots of this. Several challenging experiences in November allowed me to pour my heart out to Him in prayer, and for that I’m grateful.
– Continue reading my chronological Bible reading plan for my Number 1 goal.// Yes, and I’m SO EXCITED that it’s December! I can’t believe I’m going to finish the Bible again soon! The little by little has added up and I’m excited to celebrate at the end!
– #RunLiftPraise // I haven’t been super consistent in doing weights, so I’m making myself a sticker chart : ) I’m going to let the kids give me a sticker each time I do it in December! What for? I don’t need a prize. I just think I need to be reminded and this will help–they will love giving me stickers!
– Eat green + clean. // Yes, I am grateful for consistency here (with some chips and salsa + cookies mixed in!). I have made a lot of chicken soup, hard boiled eggs, salad, and my mom cooked for us for a week which was amazing!

And now onto December!

December Monthly Goals:

– Give LIGHT in the (7th annual!) 2018 Goal Setting Series. I hope to give truth and light to many through this year’s series! Mark your planners for December 20th, the first day of the series here on the blog.

– Pray through Advent with my friends and sisters, Kristy and Ruth, using the All Good Things Co devotional. We’re texting every day about what we learn and I’m so excited about it!
— Pray out our VTO. (So grateful to have already made progress today!)
— Serve with clarity at our End-of-Year Team Summit next week. I can’t wait for all of us to be together to celebrate this year and do our PowerSheets for 2018!
— Celebrate the holidays in the true meaning of the season.
— Give on my birthday. I have this dream of spending myself on my birthday for the good of others in gratitude for His grace these last 38 years!
— Celebrate Ari in his 40th birthday. I hope to encourage his faith on this special birthday. I have some surprises up my sleeve : )
— Give sacrificially. Ari and I want to give like the selfless widow.

Emily and I spent this first morning of December here dreaming and praying about the future!

December Weekly Goals:
– Cultivate Grace’s heart in homeschool. This is such a great example of how goals grow and change! Last month, I started with a focus on diligence and it grew into something different as I listened and learned. Cultivating her heart means doing a lot of praying and listening.
– Continue reading and implementing Traction.

December Daily Goals:
– Pray it out.
– Continue reading my chronological Bible reading plan for my Number 1 goal.
– #RunLiftPraise with my new sticker chart from the kids!
– Eat green. I’m comin’ for ya, January Self! 😊

Your turn! Do you have goals for December? What are you cultivating in this new month? I’ll pick one of you to send a special surprise box of goodies to from the Cultivate What Matters shop. I love sending real mail, and I love hearing your thoughts!

Congrats to November’s winner, Samantha Stith!

56 Show Comments
  1. Kayleen Winslow

    My goals for December haven’t gotten written down fully yet in my Powersheets (yay teething baby and no down time!) but as I’ve been praying about what God wants me to focus on the word “less” has been popping into my head again and again. So, my main December monthly goal is to de clutter and simplify our home BEFORE the craziness of Christmas so that my January self doesn’t turn into a stressed out mess. My other goals are to intentionally celebrate and focus on Advent with our girls and to stay under budget and pay off my student loan!! Weekly goals are to bring more intention and grace into our homeschooling and weekly family dance parties. My daily goals are Bible every day, movin’ And groovin’ ( our loving term for excercising). Leaving my goals simple but meaningful in this busy month.

  2. Laura

    I want to get a jump start on my New Years goals. Eat better, just one meal a day to start. Exercise twice a week. Monthly date night with my husband, even if it gets busy with holiday stuff.

  3. Rose

    Most of my goals this month are centered around celebration and savoring time with family and friends! I graduate with my M.Ed in Clinical Counseling in two weeks, a goal that I’ve been working toward for 3 years. It’s a sweet season of fulfillment, celebration, and freed-up time to spend with my loved ones!

  4. Mary Beth Wortham

    Oh my goodness – starting off your post with “Dear January self” made me just nod my head in agreement as I read along. What a great concept! A priority of mine since July is to get my health in check and I’ve made progress but the holidays make it easy to get off track. I am going to write “for your January self” on a few sticky notes and place them in prominent places for me to see. My mom always told me “time is going to pass no matter what – it’s up to you on what you do with it.”

    • Lara

      I’m so glad this helped you as much as it has helped me! And YES to putting it on sticky notes!!! Love that! (I may do that too!)

  5. Lauren Thrasher

    So encouraging!

  6. Colleen

    I’m returning to graduate school after 17 years to earn my doctorate. I love what you said about being intentional about priorities. I want to keep my focus on Him and my family during this time of transition.

  7. Megan

    Cant wait to start my first Powersheets prep week with your team! My December goal quite honestly is to have my second baby. Seems like it is not something I can “work towards” but I am wanting to prep those last minute things and soak in the last days with our family of 3 before she comes!

  8. Tiffany Smith

    Thanks for sharing! Love this!

  9. Corinne

    So excited to dig into my first Powersheets Prep. I’ve read through my new book and my goal for this month is to be mindful, thoughtful and prayerful about my 2018 goals. I’m a new empty nester and I need this as a start a new and unfamiliar season of my life.

    • Lara

      I hope you’ll keep me updated on your journey! Good things are ahead.

  10. Alicia Batts

    Hi Laura
    Im a new love at home mom, who just recently stepped out on a huge scary ledge of Faith to leave my job and stay at home full time. I invested in your one year powersheets and I am so excited to use this tool to help me discover my 2018 self and all that God truly wants me to be in this life. Thank you for providing such a beautiful tool. I hope that I will be able to budget for a few of the other cute accessories and tools later down road.

    • Lara

      I’m so excited for you, Alicia! I know this leap feels scary, but that’s the thing about leaps of faith—-we let go and trust in something bigger than us. Praying for you as you jump!

  11. Kirstin

    December goals:
    1. Savor the time when the girls are home on break.
    2. Declutter basement & create a suitable “bedroom” for oldest daughter.
    3. Powersheet prep week-do this!!!!

  12. Emily DeArdo

    My goals for December:
    Daily Advent devotional
    Grow my emergency fund
    Stick to my December budget!
    Make a Holy Hour
    Meal plan every week
    “Zero out” at the end of the day–clean the sink, load/run dishwasher, put things away.
    Exercise daily
    Blog at least once a week
    Work on my knitting business–finish commissioned items
    have a retreat day
    Do my PowerSheets 2018 Prep! 🙂

  13. Stephanie A.

    One of my goals for December is to implement a No Distraction December, where I set aside at least a two-hour block of time to put away my phone, computer and any screen time. Committing more to prayer, reading, journaling, being present with my loved ones.

  14. Nicole C

    What a beautiful take on preparing for January 2018! Thank you for this! In December I’m working on savoring the season- relationships, advent etc!

  15. Stephanie

    Do my 2018 power sheets prep work to evaluate 2017 and dream and prepare for 2018*Read Christmas books and do Christmas crafts with my daughter*Complete two books I’m reading for a mentor certification class*date night with my husband to discuss 2017 and plan 2018

  16. Diane Stern

    My goal for December is to slow down and be totally present in every thing – my family, special get-togethers, traditions, Advent, etc…

  17. Susan

    Cultivating the goal of 2018 prepwork and powersheets!! Intentionally planning and prioritizing what is important for 2018!!

  18. Ashley

    I want to enjoy the season and our traditions without stressing about my home and praising in the disaster. Haha. I’m learning the ropes of life with three (7yo, 2 1/2 yo and a 3 month old), and some days I just want to crawl and bed and not hear mommy. But I want to be present and praise Jesus for these gifts and the mess they bring 🙂

  19. Rhonda

    I ordered your 2018 Powersheets for myself for Christmas. Since I have not used these before, my goal for December is to set aside time to learn what I can from your Powersheet prep week, so I can effectively use this investment for 2018. Also, for December to continue our daily reading with the kids for Advent season (Jotham’s Journey book).

  20. Taylor Schumann

    My most important goals for December surround the Christmas season. I often let myself get completely overwhelmed by sadness. Even since I was a kid. All I can think about sometimes are the people having a hard time: parents awake in the night worrying about getting their children a present, children who won’t get a present, people without anywhere to go on Christmas, all the suffering. I sometimes just get so defeated by it. So I’m doing things to combat that (Advent study daily, daily prayer walks, and giving more!). And I’m trying to focus on giving out of JOY and abundance! Rather than feeling as if I am giving out of lack (of resources, money, etc.) God has equipped me to GIVE and it has nothing to do with money.

  21. ELizabeth Jimenez

    My goal for December is to take some time to relax and listen to what God has planned for me next. I just quit my job that I was miserable so now I have to figure out what to do next. Concretely my goals for December are to search for different jobs I might be interested in and apply to them. I also want to explore options I hadn’t previously thought were an option. Thus my goal is to sign up for community college classes in graphic design. Last, my goal is to get my blog up and running and post on it consistently. I know, a little ambitious for my December…

  22. Katie Stanley

    I am working on:
    Choosing healthier work/life balance
    Eating “on plan” – already finished one month sugar/gluten/caffeine free, which is something I never believed I could do!
    Being intentional to take time with my husband!

  23. Katie F

    Just got out of a four year relationship. Really thankful for the power sheets that help guide me to new goals and keep me moving forward. Nervous but excited about the new year!

  24. Mac

    -Plan a festive Christmas at home!
    -Find ways to CONTRIBUTE wherever I am
    -Stay on budget!
    -Start meetings for 2018 PowerSheets club with my two besties!

  25. Sharon Meekins

    My goals are to (1) put Jesus first at the start of my day. It makes the day go so much better. (2) tick to my budget ~ paying off debt. (3) My health. IMm turning 50 in June 2018 and I want to feel my best. There is a lot of changes at this age. Thank you Laura for all you do!

  26. Amanda Alexander

    I just finished reading Refresh by Shona Murray (its amazing!) and I’m going to begin to plan how the lessons in that book will tie into my 2018 goals, as every chapter in that book pretty much lays out all I want to work on for the next year.

  27. Carol

    I am focused on savoring time, with loved ones and in this Advent season, but especially with my sweet husband. We are (finally!) taking our honeymoon this month. Our trip is not what we had originally envisioned and there is a lot to do before we leave, but I am learning to let go of perfection and rigidity (very hard for me) in favor of savoring the good stuff. We are so blessed and I want to remember that, both by being present and joyful, as well as by sharing my blessings with others through my time and money.

  28. Sarah Lewis

    I run a music and arts school for refugee kids and we always host a big teachers appreciation luncheon during December. I asked to be in charge of it this year so I could really bless and thank our teachers and I’m so excited for it.

  29. Mhay

    One of my goals for this month is to take care of myself. I expanded myself a bit too much in November and I reaped many great blessings but it left me feeling exhausted physically and mentally. So rest is important and being humble about my limits. As you always say, “You can’t do it all and do it well.” Words of wisdom. Thank you~

  30. Katie Jackson

    Dear Lara,
    Thank you so much for all of the incredible content and inspiration you and your team provide!
    Despite my crazy schedule as a large animal veterinarian and mother to a one year old, I look forward to checking in with you guys almost daily – it really gives my mood such a boost and keeps me going through challenging days – you all are already such LIGHTS in this world!
    As a first time powersheets user for 2018, I am apprehensive yet excited to share some written goals I plan to accomplish or cultivate this month:
    Get intimate with my 2018 powersheets!
    Try not to resist change. Embrace the major transition that may come in this next season for our family.
    Stop worrying and stop the comparison.
    Be as present as possible when I’m spending time with my daughter – soak up every giggle and smile. Book reservations and babysitter for our January date night and first weekend away without baby
    🤗 Be intentional (and creative) about planning time for my husband and I.
    Prepare our home (at least guest room) for visiting family (from home in Chapel Hill, NC ❤️) over the holidays. Pick out and decorate Christmas tree 🎄
    Try to make my health (both mental and physical) a top priority by literally scheduling it! Keep up my Headspace nightly habit 👍🏻 Love my family and friends as well as I can during this time and give them the support they need too.
    That doesn’t even cover all of it but it’s a good start – easy peasy right?!?
    Thanks again,
    Katie

  31. Kristin Schroeder

    I really enjoyed reading your updates and hearing your heart in everything. I’ve also had Traction checked out for weeks but hadn’t read it yet, that changes now!

  32. Rachel Purviance

    I haven’t done my powersheets for December yet (weekend goal) but I know that I’m going to prioritize protecting my time this month. I’m goinfg to be spending every day and most nights working (very busy season right now) so I don’t want to try to do too many things so I can focus on Brackets For Good and be intentional about my energy. Protecting my time on the weekends and not over committing myself or not trying to do too many extra things is going to be my main priority for December.

  33. Candace

    I’m actually expecting our third baby this weekend, so my December goals have a lot of little things that I can do to both rest and still be intentional during the special month. I’ve never set maternity leave goals before, nor used Powersheets in the wake of having a baby but I’ve been working on them with my fabulous life coach, Diana, and it’s been so uplifting to cultivate intention in this special season!!

  34. Amy W

    I love taking intentional care for my January 2018 self 💕.

    My encouraging words are: Luke 1:17 “… to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” And to let every heart prepare Him room. So I pray I meditate that Immanuel, God is with us, in all things this season.

    Monthly goals: put some finishing touches on my 2016 iMpvie of all our family video clips + select still photos to watch as a family on Christmas. Continue to prune out at least 1,000 more photos from our hard drive and get closer to just keeping my favorites. I’m using Nancy Rays photography PDF class for this. Decide on a 2018 Bible reading plan. And go to the library at least once with the kids.

    Weekly: use what we have before buying new. Social media free weekends (my 5th month and I’m loving it!). Delight my family through their tastebuds. Continue to simplify., simplify, simplify. (Using Emily Ley’s A simplified life). Talk to my Mom on the phone at least once a week.

    Daily: Pray and give thanks in all things. Advent reading. Advent reading with kids. Eat my veggies. Exercise with grace (it’s getting colder out, homeschooling mom of 4 kids 6 and under, and middle of the night nursing)… so I just want to do what I can but keep motivated.

    I’m so excited for Powersheets prep week. They have been such a blessing in my life and I’m excited to see 2018 intentionally ✨💕✨💕

  35. A WordPress Site | December 2017 Goals

    […] more about good goal setting from one of my favorite women Lara Casey and the Cultivate What Matters […]

  36. Michelle

    My primary goal is to Cultivate my calender and goals for 2018. I’m sitting with the Lord, re-reading “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson, and using Powersheets for the first time. I’m really excited to cultivate in December for my 2018 self.

  37. Courtney

    just simply to enjoy the season with my children and teach them to give!

  38. Sara Baker

    Our preacher did his sermon yesterday on Romans 15:13! It was absolutely amazing and really made my husband and I look at what we place our hope in. For December, my main goal is to expand on that and really do a spiritual inventory of what I place my hope in and how I can turn that to God. I’m also trying to simplify the holiday season and not overdo it for the sake of more quality time with family. My weekly goals are to lift my church Secret Sister up each week, meal plan and grocery shop by the list (limit impulse buys!), read a new Christmas book to my baby each week and do little-by-little tasks to give him a great 1st Birthday party on the 30th! 🙂

    I’m also looking forward to diving into PowerSheets prep week and have a goal to read Cultivate before the end of the year so, I can implement a fresh perspective to my 2018 goals.

    Happy December to you and your family!

  39. Laura

    I have quite a few goals for December, but my biggest one is to have fun, relax, and absorb all of the goodness this busy season has to offer! I have a little bit of a crazy schedule, so I’m okay with some of my other goals taking a back seat for the month if it means slowing down a little to enjoy myself.

  40. Colleen D

    I have lots of Christmas related goals, as this is my favorite holiday! But also preparing to set goals for 2018 during PowerSheets prep week! And I am using the All Good Things Co advent calendar and devo daily, and I’m really enjoying it so far– short and sweet and very thought provoking!

  41. Angie

    My main goal for December is to be present. I want to truly enter into the season of Advent with anticipation and hope. I also plan on making strides and grow my email list for my new genealogy biz.
    Here’s to a great December! Thanks!

  42. Bobbie

    I am cultivating calm and pause in my life. It is much needed!

  43. Dani Troyer

    Monthly: Celebrate the waiting in Advent.
    Choose to close out the year nurturing hearts, not things.
    Focus on intentional parenting

    Weekly Goals:
    Stay in a consistent routine to keep our home less cluttered so I have mental space to focus on my family.
    Leave work at work.
    Show up in expectancy for Advent Sunday gatherings with our small group.

    Daily:
    Start my day in the Word.
    Drink a water bottle before morning coffee to start off hydrated!
    Eat plant based food!

  44. Jordan Holderfield

    My goal is to refocus. I have been letting the busy life of work take priority in my life. I really want to slow down refocus on God and my family. I want to really dig deeper in “Make it Happen” and start living more in what Gods purpose is for me, and just like in your book I want to be able to say yes to taking a walk, spending time with my husband, my family and friends even if it means the kitchen doesn’t get cleaned or I miss out on some overtime pay for work. I want to work more on living on purpose!

  45. Susan Bricker

    I’m cultivating new perspectives, healthy living, and more time with Jesus. I have began carving out more quality time where distractions are absent. I’ve created a healthier life plan where I’m incorporating more exercise and healthier food choices, and most importantly I’m spending more quality time with the One Who Matters the Most. I need to just sit in His Presence without doing anything. Just being with Him. These are my areas of cultivating, ones that I’m digging deeply into and nurturing.