Want to listen to this post instead of read? Here you go!
First, 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, preparing well for the year ahead.
I wanted to give something to YOU today to thank you for this amazing year, and my publishers made it happen. I’m giving away 50 copies of Cultivate to the first 50 people who fill out this form! 🎉 Today is a good day!
Planting out winter garden—pansies!
Welcome to Part 4! We’re getting ready to plant some good goals. Are you ready?! YAY! Me too!
Before we dig in, I want to remind you of this truth: just like planting seeds in my garden, making cultivated goals 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 light bulbs I see going off!
You are starting to see clearly, and it’s happening little by little.
Little by little progress adds up. This realization has changed my life!
It’s okay to grow slow. In fact, it’s really GOOD to grow slow.
Little by little these 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 along the way too. Your goals matter enough to tend to them like a garden.
And, yes, there have been a few watermelons and tomatoes in my garden that seemed to appear overnight. (And the mint! SO MUCH MINT.) You may make your goals happen faster than you think if you take it day by day by day instead of jumping ship when you mess up (which we are all bound to do!).
But just because you make a mess doesn’t mean you become one.
Let’s pick out some good seeds to plant this year! You ready for this? It might feel scary the moment before you pick them, but it will feel SO GOOD when you take that leap of faith and finally do the things you’ve always wanted to do!
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 written again. Read every word. Re-write or add to things once more if you need to. 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 2018 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.
I did and I can’t believe what I almost missed had I not done this step! I went back through my 2017 PowerSheets and WOW! I uncovered a huge list of good things that happened. If you are a PowerSheets user, I can’t recommend this enough! Here’s what I found…
This was like harvesting sweet potatoes. If you’ve never done it, you must try it one day! You start digging and you find the first potato which is so fun. But, then you find 20 more… and another dozen… and more and more! Sweet potatoes multiply under the surface. Apparently good things do too. It’s so easy to forget them! Once I started digging, I kept finding more and it left me with such gratitude for the Lord’s faithfulness!
With my little gardener after our sweet potato treasure hunt a couple years ago. So fun!
2. Write out some goal ideas. Next, 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 comes to mind first when you think about the big picture. 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. Let’s notice when we are tempted to do that and dig in deeper to our own unique soil. 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 they are leading you in the right direction.
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 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 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 idea. 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.”
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 tossing 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 too 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.
We can’t do it all and do it well, but we can choose to cultivate what matters.
The alternative is spending 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 this is your chance to choose change.
To get uncomfortable.
To think bigger than you.
To press into the fear and give it the boot!
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? Plant those seeds with your 2018 goals. Take some leaps of faith and write out goal ideas that are potentially outside of your comfort zone. Good goals are worth the hard work it takes to plant them. Soak them in the sunshine, water them little by little, and get ready for a flourishing garden full of blooms–and a harvest to share!
There is so much goodness to come when we actually write out our 2018 goals tomorrow (using a special method I’ll tell you about then!). For now, keep making a mess and digging into that rich growing ground of yours!
Your turn! Todays Goal Uncovering Steps:
1. Dig under the surface and peel back more layers. Review everything you’ve written again, add to it, and look for the threads.
2. Write out your goal ideas.
3. Check your goals.
4. Write down your WHY with every goal idea.
Need some extra motivation? You’ve got it! 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 2018 PowerSheets, the Cultivate What Matters sticker book, books, journals, art prints and so much more!
A big thank you to everyone who entered! What a joy it was to hear your responses and get to chat with you in the comments! Congratulations to our winners below! If you’re a winner, fill out this form to collect your prize!
1. 10 sets of 2018 PowerSheets! — Gail boos, Sara Baker, Carrie Condra, Beth Kuligowski, Melissa Kelly, Cierra LaShay, Kara Wallitsch Tydlacka, Charis K, Staci Good Bedenbaugh, and Cara Gordon
2. A Fitbit Flex — Lexie Hart
3. A gift card for a massage — Chris Koiro
4. The 2018 Floret wall calendar — Jen Harris
5. A 2018 Yearly prayer journal from Val Marie Paper — Heather Chollar
6. Keepsake Kitchen Diary from Lily and Val — Zulema Uscanga
7. Farmgirl Flowers bouquet — Bianca Norman
8. Our popular PowerSheets Companion Bundle — Jennifer Harper
9. 1-year membership to Thrive Market — Vanessa Wright
10. 2018 Simplified Planner — Sarah Gonzales
11. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?! A free house cleaning! — Kara Earhart
12. 5 signed copies of Cultivate — Madelyn Smith, Emily Soroka, Julie Davis, Cortney P, and Shannon Hunsley
13. A seat at Financial Peace University — Kady Curtis
14. 5 signed copies Make It Happen — Keatyn Bergsten, Emily Montgomery, Jenna King, Ann Kuhns, and Kaitlyn Payne
15. Write the Word All Seasons Collection — Hannah Tate
16. A Meyer lemon tree – a family favorite around here! — Lindsey Abrego
17. A 6-month membership to Skillshare — Jessica Gilson
18. A LegacyBox! (Amazing!) — Kerry Batty
19. One of everything from the Cultivate Shop! — Sarah Kemer
Giveaway ends January 30th. Winners will be announced on January 31st here on the blog. Hard goods are for US entrants only. 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 and all proceeds are donated!
Read Part Five of my 2018 Goal-Setting Series!
P.S. We’re HIRING for three new positions in 2018!