From my days as a personal trainer to where I am now, I have seen it all with goal setting! I’ve seen people’s lives transform in profound ways and I’ve also seen people chasing their tails–not making progress, lacking motivation, and eventually giving up.

Photos by Gina with my good friends Brooke and Bailey… and a first peek at the 2018 PowerSheets! 🙂

Over the last 15 years, I have led the Making Things Happen Conference 52 times, witnessed thousands of PowerSheets journeys, and studied how people make their goals happen. Traditional goal setting does not work for me, and it turns out, it doesn’t work for a whole lot of other people too.

Here are 9 solid truths about what doesn’t work in goal setting (surefire ways to chase your tail!)–and what does work.

1. How to chase your tail: Look at other people’s goals and progress to define your own.
How to make progress: Uncover your own unique goals and path.

2. How to chase your tail: Believe in quick fixes.
How to make progress: Embrace little by little progress.

3. How to chase your tail: Wait for perfection before you dig in.
How to make progress: Get your hands dirty and take action.

4. How to chase your tail: Ignore what’s not working.
How to make progress: Examine where you are in order to leap to what’s next.

5. How to chase your tail: Go through the motions, doing the same things you’ve always done.
How to make progress: Create a long-term vision and get after it.

6. How to chase your tail: Wander aimlessly, not setting goals at all.
How to make progress: Set out on a purposeful path by uncovering cultivated goals.

7. How to chase your tail: Place all of your value in the finish line.
How to make progress: Find joy in the journey.

8. How to chase your tail: When you don’t make perfect progress, abandon ship.
How to make progress: Embrace and celebrate imperfect progress.

9. How to chase your tail: Do it alone.
How to make progress: Be in community, sharing your goals and encouraging others along the way.

Have you ever chased your tail in any of these ways? (I have!)

There is good news.

The makes-me-want-to-do-a-praise-dance good news is that it’s not too late for some major change. I have seen this countless times. You can start fresh, falling down seven times and getting up eight. Your next step can be in the right direction, and your little-by-little steps forward will add up. I’m excited for you!

More good news: I have so much in store here on the blog in the days and weeks ahead to help all of us uncover and make progress on cultivated goals. We’re releasing the 2018 PowerSheets on October 25th and I have my best tips and grace-fueled goal setting advice coming your way along with them.

Your turn! Which of the things that don’t work  (and the things that do work) stood out to you the most? I’d love to hear!

P.S. We are hiring an Art Director, and I would be so grateful for your help spreading the word. We can’t wait to share an office with our new team member, Lord willing, very soon!

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UPDATED: The 2017 PowerSheets are SOLD OUT! I’m so excited for all of you who will be getting your first set. We’ll be devoting the month of July to helping you dig into them, so stay tuned to the Cultivate Instagram feed for lots of tips and resources coming up.

Want to know one of my top life tips?

Ask questions and be open to unexpected answers.

Think about it. How did you learn about the things you love most? You asked questions. You sought answers. When we stop asking questions, we stop growing. I love the questions you all have been asking me lately.

The top three questions I get asked:

1. How do you begin to figure out what your goals/passions are?
2. How do you overcome the fear of failing in your goals?
3. How do you stay motivated?

I created the PowerSheets goal planner because I kept asking those questions too. They are my safe space to get messy and dream and pray get outside of my comfort zone. They are the place I uncover goals that motivate me, how I prioritize, and how I take action.

Lara Casey June PowerSheets mid year goal settingMy goals and progress for June so far.

And that fear of failing? It doesn’t magically go away. Even better: your good goals become more important than your fear.

Lara Casey PowerSheets goals midyearAfter I did my mid-year goal refresh in my PowerSheets, I put my refreshed quarterly goals up on my bulletin board so I always see my priorities.

This might be crazy, but in an attempt to help a whole lot of people finally do the things they have always wanted to do–whether in motherhood, business, marriage, a career, or in cultivating what you have right where you are–I have a surprise for you:

The six-month undated PowerSheets are on SALE for $25! (regularly $40)

As of me typing this, we are already sold out of Teal, but we have a few Pink and White left. Once these are gone, this is it until the 2018 release! I shared my goal progress from the last six months on Facebook live today and answered some great questions. Listen in…

It’s time.
Time to do the things that have been burning on your heart.
Time to dig in, right where you are with what you have
July 1 could be your January 1, my friend.

Get yours now.

PowerSheets Goal Planner 6 month sets

I’m excited for you!

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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.

Dig in:
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

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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!):

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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.

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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.

Grow Fruitful Friendships

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!

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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!

unspecifiedPhoto 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!

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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?

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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!

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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!

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*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.

2017goalsettingLove 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!

img_7806Happy 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!

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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!

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P.S. After starting this series, need more direction? Five great places to start:

1. Grab a copy of my bookMake it Happen.

2. Order your PowerSheets for much more goal uncovering goodness!

3. Get on my email list here for more inspiration and 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!

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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!

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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

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.

Lara Casey garden 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

lara-casey-2017-goal-setting-giveaway

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!

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Want to listen to this post instead of read? Here you go!

Welcome back for 2017 Goal Setting! Anyone else get the heebee-jeebees hearing the words “goal setting?” Then, you are in the right place, my friend. As we talked about in Part 1, we’re doing this differently. We’re sifting through all the noise and distractions, and we’re doing goal uncovering. We’re taking our time. We’re taking big leaps. We’re making what matters happen, little by little. If you are just joining us, you aren’t late to the party — there is nothing magical about January 1! Here are Part 1 and Part 2, for your reading pleasure. Enjoy and have fun working through each step!

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Welcome to part 3. We have lots of fun things to do today!

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STEP 7: This step is so important! Here’s where the magic starts to happen. Read over all you’ve written so far. Circle, mark, or sticker things that stand out to you. Look for common threads, or themes. Add to what you’ve written, if needed. Refine and get messy here! Dig through what you’ve written so far, and see if you can find any themes. I’d love to hear one of the things that stands out to you in what you’ve written so far. Let me know in the comments. There are no wrong answers here!

2017 goal setting circle

An interesting thread I found as I sifted back through what I wrote: running. I do not run. I mean, I run after kids. But, I don’t run for exercise. Walking is more my speed. But, the times I race Grace down the driveway, or leap over a crack in the sidewalk with her on the way somewhere, or swoop the babies up in both arms and run to see our cow-farmer mailman, Walter, at the mailbox, something lights up in me. I don’t know what that’s about exactly yet, but it kept coming to mind.

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STEP 8: With everything you have written down thus far in mind, what are you going to need to say YES to more often in order to cultivate what matters in 2017, and what are you saying NO to? Saying no to one thing means you are saying yes to something better! Write your list of what you are saying YES to in 2017 and what you are saying NO to. There are no wrong answers here, friends. My answers are pictured below, and my lists are a huge mix of big-picture things (saying no to “non-essentials”) and specific everyday things (saying yes to “loving on each of our children in the individual ways they feel most loved”). Post yours here in the comments to inspire others, and keep yourself accountable!

2017 goal setting yes no list powersheets

This was a very helpful step for me. You can see on my “no” list above that I came up with a little check-in to help me evaluate whether or not purchases, projects, or potential commitments on my calendar are worth saying yes to:

1. Have I prayed about it?
2. Does it honor or help other people draw closer to God?
3. Is it life-giving?

I’ve already used this check-in several times since writing this list, and it has been so helpful!! Feel free to snag this idea and make your own check-in too!

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STEP 9: Pick a word for 2017. When you look at all you’ve written so far, what word keeps popping up in your mind? What one word most resonates with you for the year ahead, pulling together all that you want to make happen? If you don’t know, here are a some tips to help you uncover your word. First, I like to make a list of a few possible words that resonate with me, even if I think they aren’t exactly right. Then, I get old school and get out the dictionary (well, Dictionary.com). Look at the definition of each word, it’s origin, and also look at synonyms and antonyms. You may be amazed at what you discover! And a note of freedom here: think about this as a word for the season ahead, not for all of time. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you have permission to change your mind later on! Rather than thinking of the whole year, I find so much freedom thinking of just the season ahead.

Once you have your word, write it here in the comments. (Give a virtual high five to those who might have the same word as you — we are bound to have some shared words!) Write that word in prominent places in your life, too. This will help you simplify your direction and focus. Put your word on a Post-It in your car. Put it on a note literally inside of your fridge (I have a Post-It in my fridge!). Make it your computer desktop. Write it anywhere and everywhere to remind yourself of where you are going!

2017-wordFeel free to use this graphic above to share your word—you never know how you might inspire others!

My word for 2017 is LIGHT. I didn’t expect this to be my word when I started my PowerSheets, but that’s the beauty of the process. As I uncovered more and more of what mattered (and what didn’t) with every page, the word light kept popping up. Light is what makes things grow well, illuminates the darkness, and leads us on the pathway home. I love this word, and there are so many beautiful scriptures about God’s light.

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Whew, this was fun! I love doing this work with you, and I’ll be back tomorrow for Part 4!

Comment with your answers from each step as we go through this series to enter to win one of the amazing 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!

lara-casey-2017-goal-setting-giveaway

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 4? Here you go!

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