Hi, friend! I’m so glad you’ve landed here at the 8th annual Intentional Goal Setting Series! Here’s Part 1, Part 2Part 3, and Part 4 to get you started.

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

Welcome to the final post in the eighth-annual Intentional Goal Setting Series! Each year, I am left in awe of the leaps of faith you take as we go through this goal uncovering process together, and this year tops them all.

You are doing the hard work, making a mess, and setting yourself up for your best year yet! What a joy to do this work alongside you, friends. If you are just joining, it’s not too late—you aren’t “behind” one bit. Now is the best time to get started!

Part 1: How to Get Started on Your BEST 2018 Goals
Part 2: The 1 Question You Need to Ask Yourself
Part 3: How to Choose a Word of the Year
Part 4: The Intentional Goal Setting Checklist

This final post is the most impactful. Ready to dig in?

Let’s do some dreaming together! 

Imagine the end of 2019. December 2019 rolls around, and you start reflecting on the year you just lived. What would it take for you to look back and know you cultivated what mattered? What will you wish you had started today

(Sometimes it helps to think about the opposite too—where do you NOT want to be at the end of 2019?)

Have some ideas? 

Knowing where you want to be or how you want to feel, do something about it today. Yes, today.

This is a success tip that might change everything for you as it has for me: when you have an idea of where you want to go, don’t waste time—take that first small step ASAP. No need to write it down or have a perfect plan, just get to it! (Really—get up from reading this right now and take whatever the next best step is to get you to where you want to be at the end of 2019! Just one tiny step. I’ll wait. I’ll still be here when you get back. :))

Get the momentum going while it’s fresh on your mind and you’ll be more likely to take the next step, then the next, and the next… and before you know it, you’re there!

Every decision we make has an arrow attached to it, pointing us in one direction or another. However many hours or minutes are left in the day 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.

Need an idea for a starting step? I have a fun surprise for you! We’ve been developing this for a few weeks now, and it’s ready JUST in time for you! The Best Year Declaration is here! This is a mad-lib style 2019 manifesto generator—fun, right? Just fill in your words, choose the color you want, and it makes a 2019 declaration for you to print or share! Mine is below, and you can make yours right here for free (share this with friends, too!). I can’t wait to see yours!

As I finished my 2019 PowerSheets® and this goal-uncovering process today, I made some decisions on where I’m going and where I’m not going.

Now, it’s your turn to do the same!

Feeling some fear about starting the new year? Let’s step forward together, believing in what we can’t yet see. 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, friends! 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.

We are always “in progress.” Your goals may be the same! 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. I find so much freedom in knowing that my goals don’t have to be forever!

Ahhhh!!! I’m so ready!

Write out your goals using these helpful prompts. I call this the Cultivate What Matters Method:

Goal: Write the goal in whatever words you have—it doesn’t have to be perfect! Be brave and get the words out!
My why: Write out WHY this goal matters to you in the big picture.
The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: Think of the biggest possibilities here—the positive impact this goal could have. Even if your goal feels “small,” write out the big possibilities!
Break it down into mini goals: Every big-picture goal is made up of a bunch of mini goals. Over the course of the next year, what mini goals could you work on that will help you achieve or make progress on your big goal?
– Starting steps + when you’ll do them: Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, right? Write out a few very small starting steps, steps that are so small you can’t help but do them. Also, add a date to each to keep you accountable. You’ll see my examples below!
– 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 2019: Give yourself something to look forward to! And if you’re stumped, our new Celebrations Binder may help you! Also, check out the PowerSheets Facebook group—you all have the best ideas.

Okay, let’s write out some 2019 goals! Are you ready?

Here are my 2019 Goals for this year of HEART (I can’t wait to hear yours, too!). 

Goal 1: The Year of Heart: Grow a heart connection with the Lord—letting Him cultivate my heart. 

Why? Everything flows from my heart and I want to be connected to the Lord—to know His heart so I can know His ways and paths—so I can show our children His heart, too.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: This changes everything. I would be more light-filled, clear, calm, energized, and ready to share His Word and live it out with Ari and our kids.

Mini goals:

  • Read the Old Testament in 2019 (and the New Testament in 2020!). I’ve read through the whole Bible twice over the last two years and I’m feeling His leading to slow down and let it soak in more. Want to do this with me? I’ll be starting this plan on January 1.
  • Take care of my physical heart—focusing this year on what I call Workout + Worship. When I take care of my temple of the Holy Spirit from the right heart (honoring Him), I feel alive and ready to do whatever the Lord needs. I workout at home in the mornings with the kiddos (we take walks in the morning in warmer seasons and I either run the stairs in our house or chase them around in colder seasons!). I’m adding more weights to the mix this year and hoping to do some hiking in the mountains with the family. This is greatly motivated by my neck injury—I want to have a body that can run around with my kiddos as long as the Lord lets me!
  • Kick off the year with something really simple and impactful: 31 days of writing the Word. Join me for the Fresh Faith Challenge!
  • Study what the Word says about the Lord’s heart and about mine.
  • Use my voice to grow closer to His heart—I’m calling this The Year of Singing! I’m praying about joining the church choir maybe later this year. For now, singing in the kitchen, in the shower, wherever I can, to Him!

3 starting steps + when I’ll do them: 1. Sign up for the OT reading plan (1/1/19), put Write the Word Prayer by my bed (done!), hang a small bulletin board by my bed for scriptures—the first thing I’ll see in the morning (1/2/19). 

Encouraging words: Psalm 119:10, Deut 30:14, Proverbs 4:23

How I will celebrate at the end of 2019: Take a run and praise Him for a year of connecting with His heart!

 

Goal 2: No Spend Year: Grow a faithful life over a comfortable life.

Why? I don’t want the things of this world to distract me from the Lord and His purpose for me and my family + our hearts.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: This could completely change our direction—our legacy. This will, Lord willing, help us know and live for Him more.

Mini goals:

  • Read God + Money with Ari
  • Research zero-based budgeting as it relates to what we spend our time on—everything has to prove its value before we decide to spend the currency of our time on it
  • Decide what “no spend” looks like for us, starting with my dear friend Nancy’s Contentment Challenge for three months.
  • Create a financial plan for 2019. A clear picture of what our goals are for saving and giving will help us work towards them.

3 starting steps + when I’ll do them: 1. Start reading God + Money with Ari (12/31/18), 2. Google zero-based budgeting for a basic overview (12/30/18), 3. Text Nancy to tell her I’m joining her for the Contentment Challenge! (12/31/18 – today is her birthday by the way! :))

Encouraging words: Luke 12:34 – ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’

How I will celebrate at the end of 2019: Praise the Lord. It’s as simple as that. I will praise Him for a total heart change. I know He can do it and I’m ready to let Him work on us!

 

Goal 3: The Year of Slow: Cultivate the hearts of our children.

Why? Because they have souls. Their souls have been entrusted to us to train up in righteousness, showing them His majesty and wonder and the way they should go. 

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: They would know more of His heart and how to, as my friend Lysa says, live loved.

Mini goals:

  • This was a big realization for me (practicing what I preach—listen to episode 002 of the Cultivate Your Life Podcast!): First, I need to make room. This is why I’m calling 2019 The Year of Slow. We are planning to streamline our work in 2019 after several years of crazy fast growth. It’s time to intentionally put the brakes on and rest a little. So, my first step to cultivating the hearts of our children more is having my brain and heart on work less. 
  • Have a prepared, planned, and delightful homeschool (I’m calling it heartschool this year—going ALL OUT with my word of the year!).
  • Cultivate my calendar with the Celebrations Binder so we have meaningful experiences, family trips, and time to be together planned far in advance.
  • Nurture our kids’ friendships.
  • Grow a low-maintenance garden this year that gives the kids lots of room to make a mess and experience His wonder.
  • Free our lives from diapers! 🙂 Get the two little ones potty trained—I know they will feel so good doing this, too!
  • Prepare more Sunday night family meals to foster conversation around the table.

3 starting steps + when I’ll do them: 1. Set a time block to map out what paring back my workload will be (1/5/19). 2. Set a 2019 homeschool planning day on the calendar (1/1/19). 3. Talk through the Celebrations Binder with Ari on our road trip to plan our year (12/30/18).

Encouraging words: ‘I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow’ (1 Corinthians 3:6).

How I will celebrate at the end of 2019: I’ll make a wonderful family meal with the kids (we’re working on cooking skills this year!) at the end of 2019 to celebrate His faithfulness. 

 

Goal 4: The Year of Sabbath. This is something I want to do for the rest of my life, not just this year. 2019 is our year to make this part of who we are—letting a new rhythm take root.

Why? The Lord needs me to take a real Sabbath day so I can be fueled and refreshed to do His good work. I don’t do regular work on weekends, but this is more about my heart. I try to cram in projects and cleaning and try to get too much done. I want to honor the Lord and surrender, planning my week around Saturday Shabbat with Ari.

The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: Peace. Joy. Time outside with the kids. I will, Lord willing, enter into a deeper rest than any vacation or experience could provide. I would feel clear and ready for the week and months ahead. I would learn more about His heart for rest and work and be able to share that with our children.

Mini goals:

  • Take each Saturday as a day that’s set aside to rest in the Lord as a family. 
  • Study what the Word says about Sabbath rest.

3 starting steps + when I’ll do them: 1. Mark Sabbath days on the calendar (done!). 2. Talk to Ari about this and get his thoughts about what he desires for us (done – he is so excited about this!). 3. Choose one resource or plan for studying what the Lord desires for Sabbath rest (1/5/19).

Encouraging words: All of Hebrews 4

How I will celebrate at the end of 2019: We’ll pray out loud with the kids and thank God for this Year of Sabbath!

There you have it! 2019 is my Year of Slow, Sabbath, Singing, and No Spend—all aimed at His Heart! I can’t wait to break these 4 goals down in my PowerSheets over the next year and watch them come to life!

Whether you came up with two goals or twenty, answering these simple prompts will help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. 

Tell me: what are your 2019 goals? I can’t wait to hear! (And remember, there’s no rush, and there’s nothing magical about January 1! Take your time doing each step in this series. Your goals will come as you keep digging in.)

Dear All of Our 2019 Selves,

We’re comin’ for you!
We’re making intentional decisions for you now to set you up for success—success that lasts longer than you.
We’re thinking big picture to uncover some really good goals. Goals that make our hearts 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.

2019 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 2018 Selves 😘

My Top 9 from Instagram this year. Every one of these posts was written as a reminder of His faithfulness in hard things. Apparently, these resonated with you, too.

You’re ready for an intentional 2019, my friend! Focus on progress—little by little progress—not perfection. Your small steps forward today will add up, and a year from now, you will be so grateful you started today! (If you need help along the way, just ask!)

⭐️ Want more? Team Cultivate and I will be here cheering you on with tips and encouragement, Lord willing, every day, week, and month of 2019! A few favorite resources to get you started on the right foot:

1. Read my books—both were written for this season of setting goals and starting fresh! My first book, Make it Happen, and my new book, Cultivate: A Grace-filled Guide to Growing and Intentional Life, are available wherever books are sold. I was so grateful to record the audiobooks for you, too!

2. Order your PowerSheets to follow-through on your goals year-round. The way you’ll achieve the goals you’ve set is by tending them little by little—and that’s exactly what PowerSheets help you do. Get 15% off with the code BESTYEAR2019.

3. Get on my email list below for weekly inspiration and encouragement— and to be the first to know when our new products release.

4. Join me in person for the Making Things Happen Conference in March. We’ll spend two days together, uncovering what matters to you and making an action plan you can’t wait to get started on! I can’t wait to see you there! The early-bird rate ends January 31st, and there are only a few seats left.

5. Listen to the NEW Cultivate Your Life Podcast. You might love the episode on How to Follow Through on Your Goals!

6. Know that you are loved and seen by a very real God who wants to guide you every step of the way this year!

Happy 2019, friends! Let’s do this!

Need some extra motivation? The Ultimate New Year’s Giveaway is on! I hope this gives you a little extra encouragement to share your answers as we go through this series. There are 35 prizes, so that means 35 of you are going to win one of these prizes—it could be YOU. (Including international friends!)

— 10 sets of 2019 PowerSheets to help 10 of you cultivate your BEST year yet!
— A Goal Guide Bundle to help you dig deeper on your specific goals.
— Five signed copies of Cultivate.
— Five signed copies of Make It Happen.
— One Write the Word All Seasons Collection to help you cultivate fresh faith all year long.
— A gift card (YES!) for a massage to kick off your year refreshed!
— A Balanced Life membership – get moving and motivated with a year of at-home pilates!
— A Floret Flowers puzzle (it’s double-sided and so much fun!)
—A Revelation Wellness membership with a ‘Wellness Kickoff Package” to cultivate your health in the New Year.
— One Artifact Uprising album to document the people and experiences that matter to you.
— An Emily Ley Simplified Planner to keep your schedule organized in the new year.
— Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course—a life-changing experience to help you pursue financial freedom.
— One Val Marie Paper Yearly Prayer Journal. I’ll be using one this year, too!
— A Hello Fresh box to keep you fueled with good food.
— One Art Bar canvas (up to $150 value) to brighten your walls.
— A Fitbit to help you celebrate your literal steps forward.
— An Amazon Alexa to keep you dancing.

The bonus prize for one of you who comments on all 5 posts in this series: a ONE OF EVERYTHING Bundle from the Cultivate Shop!

SHARE THIS SERIES. Don’t keep all this goodness to yourself—spread the word about this free series. Email this post to your friends, tweet it, ‘gram it (here are lots of sharable graphics for you to make it easy!), text it—sing it to the rooftops! Let’s get all our friends in on this so they can feel as refreshed and clear about 2019 as we will. Here’s to our best year yet togetherstarting now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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! 🙂 This post contains affiliate links.

P.S. You are wonderful. I am so grateful for you. It’s going to be a great year together! I love you from my head tomatoes! 🙂 

81 WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()

Welcome to the 8th annual Intentional Goal Setting Series—you’re in the right place! Here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 5 to get you started on living your BEST year yet.

Want to listen to this post instead of read it? Listen in below for a special bonus intro by my 3-year old son, Joshua!

Friends! First, thank you for all the excitement and love for the Cultivate Your Life Podcast. I am so grateful, and I hope it encourages many of you!

Okay, let’s dig in! Remember how you felt when you started this series just a few posts ago? You felt nervous, unsure, or even a little scared.

But, now look where you are!

You’ve blown me away in this series so far and you’re getting ready to choose your best goals for 2019—goals you can’t wait to get started on. I’m so excited for you!

Think about this: like planting flower seeds in a garden, making our goals come to life requires physical action. I have to first get my hands dirty, plant seeds in faith—believing in what I can’t yet see—and tend to them little by little over time. It takes action. And another action. And another. Over time, goals that were once words you wrote on a blog post here will come to life!

But, do you know what’s more exciting to me than the blooms at the end?

The in-between.

The happy dancing we do when the seeds first sprout.

Watching tiny green leaves unfurl.

The kids squealing with delight when the first flower begins to open.

Hearing the low hum of the bees blanketing new blooms.

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.

You may think you want growth to happen overnight (I feel that, too, sometimes!), but I have also been reading every single comment on this series. Taking this step-by-step is helping you make remarkable discoveries. 

You are starting to see clearly, and it’s happening little by little.

Your little by little progress is adding up. 

You’re cultivating what matters, friends.

And you know the truth now, the secret to following through on goals that last: 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 have time to prepare. No time to buy diapers, think over a name, assemble the crib, or celebrate. You would have missed the time of preparation and growth that happens over nine-ish months.

It’s 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.

There have been a few watermelons and tomatoes in my garden that seemed to appear overnight. (And the mint! SO MUCH MINT.) Your goals will happen faster than you think if you take it day by day by day instead of jumping ship when you mess up.

Just because you make a mess doesn’t mean you become one.

Let’s pick out some good seeds to plant this year! Are 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!

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 in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Read every word. Rewrite 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 2019 Pinterest board and remove pins that don’t fit anymore. 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 2019 PowerSheets and WOW! Here’s what I found…

— The biggest thing that kept popping up—my clearest thread—was growing a faithful life over a comfortable life. 

— I circled and highlighted many things that have to do with doing less and making it mean more—slowing down, growing the hearts of our children, and growing close to God’s heart. (See my word of the year popping up??)

Now, write out some goal ideas. Make a list of the first “goal ideas” that come to mind for this year based on everything you’ve just reviewed. Now would be a good time to take a big deep breath 🙂 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!

Check your goal ideas to make sure they’re worth spending your time on! Now, let’s sort through the goal ideas and see if we can find any weeds. It’s easy to make goals that sound good or goals that look like other people’s. Let’s not do that 🙂

The idea here is to do your life well, not to give yourself a new to-do list of random things that sound good or things we think we “should” have on our lists because everyone else does. Maybe those things aren’t right for you in this season—or ever. Be intentional about how you decide to spend your time, with your own unique gifts and talents and resources. 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?

Download a free printable checklist (direct download) below!

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 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 (there’s so much more for you in my God + Goals 5-day reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app!) :

— Does this goal help draw me and others closer to God?
— Is this goal rooted in God’s truth? (Find scriptures to support it!)
— Does this goal rely on my strength or God’s?
— Does this goal help me steward what I’ve been given well?

Yep! I have a printable for these questions if you want them, too! Download it below (direct download)…

Write down WHY you want to accomplish each 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 20 pounds.” I would ask them, “Why 20 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 20 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 20 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 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. This is the key to achieving your goals instead of tossing them aside.

There is so much goodness to come when we actually write out our 2019 goals on Monday (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! Today’s Goal Uncovering Steps:

11. Review everything you’ve written again and mark, circle, highlight, or sticker the threads (or themes) you’re seeing.

12. Write your goal ideas.

13. Check your goals with The Intentional Goal Setting Checklist.

14. Write down your WHY with every goal idea.

Need some extra motivation? The Ultimate New Year’s Giveaway is on! 

Enter to win:

— 10 sets of 2019 PowerSheets to help 10 of you cultivate your BEST year yet!
— A Goal Guide Bundle to help you dig deeper on your specific goals.
— Five signed copies of Cultivate.
— Five signed copies of Make It Happen.
— One Write the Word All Seasons Collection to help you cultivate fresh faith all year long.
— A gift card (YES!) for a massage to kick off your year refreshed!
— A Balanced Life membership – get moving and motivated with a year of at-home pilates!
— A Floret Flowers puzzle (it’s double-sided and so much fun!)
—A Revelation Wellness membership with a ‘Wellness Kickoff Package” to cultivate your health in the New Year.
— One Artifact Uprising album to document the people and experiences that matter most to you.
— An Emily Ley Simplified Planner to keep your schedule organized in the new year.
— Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course—a life-changing experience to help you pursue financial freedom.
— One Val Marie Paper Yearly Prayer Journal. I’ll be using one this year, too!
— A Hello Fresh box to keep you fueled with good food.
— One Art Bar canvas (up to $150 value) to brighten your walls.
— A Fitbit to help you celebrate your literal steps forward.
— An Amazon Alexa to keep you dancing.

The bonus prize for one of you who comments on all 5 posts in this series: a ONE OF EVERYTHING Bundle from the Cultivate Shop!

SHARE THIS SERIES WITH YOUR PEOPLE. Don’t keep all this goodness to yourself! I’d be so grateful if you spread the word about this free series. Email this kick-off post to your friends, tweet it, ‘gram it (here are lots of sharable graphics for you to make it easy!), text it—sing it to the rooftops! Let’s get all our friends in on this so they can feel as refreshed and clear about 2019 as we will. Here’s to our best year yet togetherstarting now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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! 🙂 This post contains affiliate links.

P.S. You want to live your best life in 2019. The PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner makes it possible! Get 15% off with the code BESTYEAR2019.

 

87 WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()

Welcome to 2019 Goal Setting, Part 3 (go visit Part 1 and Part 2 before you dig in here or move on to Part 4 and Part 5)! Oooooh, this is getting good! We have some fun things to do together today. Ready?

 

As we talked about in Part 1, we’re doing this goal-setting thing differently. We’re not choosing goals out of thin air, or because of comparison. We’re not doing fleeting resolutions or quick fixes that don’t fix anything at all.

Right, friends?! I’m so glad you’re with me on this!

You see, what most of the world misses is that our goals are already there.

Deep below the surface, where the fiery good stuff lives.

It’s just a matter of peeling back the layers of fear and all the things to get to them.

I’m so excited for you today!

At our shoot for the 2019 collection! Treasured Cultivate friends and REAL LIFE PowerSheets® users.

If you are just joining us, you aren’t late for this party! Here’s Part 1 and Part 2, for your reading (or listening!) pleasure.

STEP 7: What are you going to need to say YES to more often in order to cultivate what matters in 2019, 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 2019 and what you are saying NO to. There are no wrong answers here, friends. Look back through everything you’ve written through this series so far, and making your lists will be easy!

Here’s a peek at what I’m saying yes and no to from my PowerSheets

These lists are so important! When we say yes and no, we are making decisions. Download my free Intentional Year List printable below (instant download)!

You may find some of your 2019 goals coming to the surface in these lists—they serve to summarize where you’re going and where you DON’T want to go in the year ahead.

STEP 8: Here’s where the magic starts to happen! Read over all you’ve written so far and circle, mark, or sticker things that stand out to you. Look for common threads or themes in what you’ve written. Add to what you’ve written, if needed. Get out a highlighter or a big bold pen and get messy here! Dig through what you’ve written so far, and notice the threads.

(Side note: lots of you have asked what pens and highlighters we love. I use these, these, and these. I also use our Goal Setting Stickerbook—my favorite!)

This step took me a good 25 minutes, FYI. I went back and read every word I wrote in my PowerSheets prep and highlighted, circled, and stickered things that stood out—things that really mattered to me and things that kept coming up.

The threads point to places that are craving cultivation—patches of your life that are waiting to be transformed.

The threads are little golden strings that tie your goals together.

The threads are your goals in the making.

Let’s do some treasure hunting and find them!

What themes are you seeing in what you’ve written so far? Maybe you’re looking at the threads and wondering if you’re missing something. Maybe the themes you are seeing don’t feel “groundbreaking.”

If that’s you, I hope what I’m about to say sinks in deep: goals don’t have to be shiny and “big” to be powerful. What they need to be, though, is real. Connected to the big picture. Authentic to you and your unique path, right where you are.

Maybe you keep thinking about wanting a better system for the paperwork that piles up in your house.

Maybe thoughts of sitting down together at the dinner table as a family a few nights a week keep coming to mind.

Maybe you want to get to know your neighbors.

Or maybe you want to spend more time outside.

Is reading more on your list of things you are saying yes to in 2019?

How about being present and turning the phone off at 9 pm?

These things are important—just as important as starting a new business or running a marathon. Why? Let’s look a level deeper and start to uncover some big picture, cultivated goals that are right below the surface…

Our 7-year peach saga was the sweetest reminder of His faithfulness! I have learned many lessons in the garden, but the greatest is trust. Keep going. Keep tending. Keep trusting.

Taking care of paperwork frees your brain up to focus on more important things, and clutter-free surfaces leave you ready for dinner prep or craft projects.

Dinner together strengthens your family’s bond and gives you a conversation opportunity with your kiddos.

Knowing your neighbors could be a great local support system (and of course, they’re good for the odd cup of sugar, too!).

Getting outside for fresh air and a quick walk may help give you space and perspective to tackle challenges and make meaningful decisions.

Reading more may open your understanding of people’s stories, helping you to grow in compassion.

And being present and turning the phone off at 9 pm will most likely give you a greater connection with your loved ones and better sleep, which makes everything better!

Now is the time to get your 2019 PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner! You’ll get 15% off with the code BESTYEAR2019!

Cultivated goals are about growing what you’ve been given well—what you already have.

Those themes that keep popping up? The things on your yes/no list that you can’t get out of your mind?

These little threads are illuminating your path forward. Notice them. Mark them. And take a shovel and dig into them.

This is cultivating.

Tilling your growing ground, digging in deep, and preparing for new growth.

STEP 9: Pick a word for 2019. 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, summarizing what you want to focus on?

Here are 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.

My list for 2019 included:

  • Slow
  • Discern – a suggestion from Ari – ask close friends and loved ones, if that helps you!
  • Selective
  • Cultivate – big surprise, no? 😉
  • and Heart

My 2019 Word of the Year?

Heart.

I didn’t think I would ever choose this as a Word of the Year, but that’s the beauty of this process! Taking time to go through the PowerSheets process and write to you here, search scripture, and pray about where the Lord wants me to go in 2019, helped me see it clearly. Taking time to cultivate my goals slowly and intentionally, I peeled back the layers and found the unexpected.

You’re about to, too!

How did I confidently decide on Heart? I looked through all I had written in my PowerSheets, I marked the threads – or themes, and then I got out the dictionary! Make your list of possibilities and then look at the definition of each word, its origin, and any synonyms and antonyms. I love using BlueLetterBible.org to look up the Greek, Hebrew, and related verses, too. You may be amazed at what you discover!

Heart kept coming up for me, resonating with me, and summarizing all I need to focus on in 2019.

Have some ideas about your word, but worried you’ll choose the wrong one?? Take the pressure off! 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! (In the PowerSheets, you’ll do a goal refresh every three months because, as we grow and change, our goals do too—no pressure needed!)

Repeat after me: it doesn’t have to be perfect. DONE is better than perfect!

Once you have your word, I’d love for you to share 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!

Now, do something with your word.

Write your 2019 word in prominent places in your life. On days you feel overwhelmed or need some direction, your word will help remind you of where you are going. This will help keep you from getting distracted and off track. Put your word on a sticky note in your car. Put it on a note literally inside of your fridge (I’ve done that!). Make it your computer desktop or phone lock screen. Write it anywhere and everywhere to remind yourself of where you are going!

You can even download one of our hand-lettered iPhone wallpapers! (Casey, our Art Director, is so talented, isn’t she!?)

How fun, right?! (Share this with your friends so they can be reminded of their words, too!)

A fun bonus step that has consistently helped me stay focused on my word of the year and my goals: make a 2019 playlist or choose a 2019 song to kick off the year! Listen in to my 2019 playlist here. I’d love to hear what your 2019 song is, if you have one!

Your turn! Today’s Goal Uncovering Steps:

7. What are you saying yes and no to in 2019?

8. What threads are you seeing? What themes are you discovering under the surface?

9. What is your word for 2019? I can’t wait to hear!

And your optional bonus step: choose a song for 2019!

Whew, this was fun! I love doing this work with you, and I’ll be back on Friday for Part 4. Till then, I’m launching a podcast tomorrow on my 39th birthday. Ahhhhh!!!!

Need some extra motivation? The Ultimate New Year’s Giveaway is on! I hope this gives you a little extra encouragement to share your answers as we go through this series. One person who comments with answers to every step in this series will win a bonus prize: one of everything from the Cultivate What Matters® Shop! Yes!!! This includes 2019 PowerSheets, the new Celebrations Binder, a Goal-Setting Sticker Book, your choice of Make it Happen zipper pouch, my books, and so much more! There are 35 prizes, so that means 35 of you are going to win one of these prizes—it could be YOU. (Including international friends!)

— 10 sets of 2019 PowerSheets to help 10 of you cultivate your BEST year yet!
— A Goal Guide Bundle to help you dig deeper on your specific goals.
— Five signed copies of Cultivate.
— Five signed copies of Make It Happen.
— One Write the Word All Seasons Collection to help you cultivate fresh faith all year long.
— A gift card (YES!) for a massage to kick off your year refreshed!
— A Balanced Life membership – get moving and motivated with a year of at-home pilates!
— A Floret Flowers puzzle (it’s double-sided and so much fun!)
—A Revelation Wellness membership with a ‘Wellness Kickoff Package” to cultivate your health in the New Year.
— One Artifact Uprising album to document the people and experiences that matter most to you.
— An Emily Ley Simplified Planner to keep your schedule organized in the new year.
— Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course—a life-changing experience to help you pursue financial freedom.
— One Val Marie Paper Yearly Prayer Journal. I’ll be using one this year, too!
— A Hello Fresh box to keep you fueled with good food.
— One Art Bar canvas (up to $150 value) to brighten your walls.
— A Fitbit to help you celebrate your literal steps forward.
— An Amazon Alexa to keep you dancing.

And the bonus prize for one of you who comments on all 5 posts in this series: a ONE OF EVERYTHING Bundle from the Cultivate Shop!

SHARE THIS SERIES WITH YOUR PEOPLE. Don’t keep all this goodness to yourself! I’d be so grateful if you spread the word about this free series. Email this kick-off post to your friends, tweet it, ‘gram it (here are lots of shareable graphics for you to make it easy!), text it—sing it to the rooftops! Let’s get all our friends in on this so they can feel as refreshed and clear about 2019 as we will. Here’s to our best year yet togetherstarting now!

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! 🙂 This post contains affiliate links.

P.S. There is nothing magical about January 1st, so pick up your PowerSheets and get started now! You’ll get 15% off with the code BESTYEAR2019. P.P.S. If you’re not sure which cover fits your personality most, take the goal-setting personality quiz!

115 WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()

Hi, friends! Welcome back to Part 2 of the 2019 Goal Setting Series! If you’re new, I’m so glad you landed here. Hop over to read Part 1 before digging in here or into Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 !

Want to listen to this post? I’ll happily read it to you!

You know the feeling you get when your to-do list starts running your life into the ground?

There’s so much to get done and it sometimes feels like there’s never enough time for the rest of life—the joy-filled living part. You can’t slow down, though—not possible. Something might fall through the cracks if you do. So you keep going. Striving to get one more thing done and feeling like the only thing that’s done is you.

Maybe that’s you today.

And you’re here reading this post, searching for something that will make life easier, because you feel like you’re MISSING IT. You think, “When will I start really living?”

Let me go ahead and tell you that conquering your to-do list once and for all won’t actually solve the root of the problem.

It starts with what goes on that list in the first place. Maybe, just maybe, you could start doing less and making it mean a whole lot more. It all starts with answering the one question that will change your life forever.

But, before we get to that question, let me help you with something you may be experiencing. Have you caught yourself feeling like your answers to Part 1 weren’t enough? Maybe you’re wondering if you did it “right?” Yes, my friend, you aren’t just doing this “right”—you’re rocking it! I’ve never been so blown away by such clarity and heart. You are here for a reason and your answers to Part 1 were exactly what they were supposed to be. I’m so proud of you! 🙂 So, have you done this right? Yes! You’re on your way to your best year yet!

Get your 2019 PowerSheets before we sell out for the year! Just for you: use code BESTYEAR2019 for 15% off your purchase.

Today’s action steps are simple and powerful. Are you ready?

Let’s do it!

If you’ve been feeling restless lately, wanting things to change, but believing that change is impossible, I know this for sure: change is possible. There is a way to move forward. I’m going to guide you there, step by intentional step. 

I wrote the handwriting piece above (which has since been shared online tens of millions of times—so crazy) not about skydiving, traveling to a foreign country, or anything you might typically see on a bucket list. I wrote it late one night in my kitchen, after putting baby Grace to sleep, about wanting to finally read the Bible from start to finish. It felt like a daunting task, but I wanted to grow my faith. I was determined—this really mattered to me in the big picture!

And when something really matters to you in the big picture, how you do it doesn’t matter so much as why you do it. 

My why drove me forward, especially during the many times I fell behind or wanted to jump ship. (Have you ever felt that way?) Little by little, over the course of a year and a half, I did end up reading the Bible—and it changed everything. The little-by-little added up!

Maybe you want to cultivate stronger friendships, grow your business, or learn to cook dinner for your family. Maybe you want to pay down debt, run a 10k, or finally do that thing that’s been on your list forever. Whatever it is, let’s talk about it!

Let’s plant the first seed right here, together!

STEP 4: Ready for the one question you need to ask yourself to uncover your best goals? Here it is.

Where you want to be when you’re 80—or 90 or 100? What will be important to you then, and what won’t?

The answer to this question is the secret to setting goals that matter—goals you can’t wait to get started on.

Have you heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals?

SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals.

But, time and time again, despite their reputation of being foolproof, SMART goals fail.

SMART goals are missing one key component (the secret sauce of our community’s success!): HEART.

When the goal you want to achieve matters to you in the big picture, you will follow through. No matter how many times you mess up along the way, you’ll get back up—because your heart is in it! How perfectly you get there doesn’t matter as much as why. The heart behind your goals is what keeps you from jumping ship at the first sign of imperfection. (Read more about heart-fueled goals here.)

Uncovering heart-fueled goals is what you’re doing right now as you answer this question— and I’m so excited for you!

So, what will matter to you in the big picture and what won’t?

I’ve asked this question of thousands of women and the answers to where we want to be when we’re 80 tend to be about relationships and growing what lasts longer than us.

What won’t matter to you then? How many likes you had on an Instagram post, how much other people approved of you, or having a perfectly clean house or organized pantry, perhaps? (There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, by the way—if having an organized pantry helps you love your people in the big picture, organize your heart out! And social media can be a wonderful tool to help others when used well. It tends to be more of a distraction for most of us, though.)

Your answers here matter.

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 as you answer this question.

To get uncomfortable.  

To think bigger than you.

To press into the fear and give it the boot!

Write out your thoughts—and remember, make a mess. No perfect answers or handwriting needed. Write what’s true for you.

Knowing where you want to be in the big picture helps you simplify your life—and your to-do list—today. If there are things on your list that aren’t getting you to where you want to be when you’re 80, maybe they don’t need to be there! (Take that, to-do list!)

STEP FIVE: With the big picture in mind, what’s one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead? No perfect or polished answers needed here either! There may be many things you want to change and do, but just focus on one for now. What’s one thing you want to grow or change or simplify in your life—the first thing that comes to mind? Write it down, and I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments for accountability and to encourage others, too. I’m going to leave my answer in the comments alongside you!

STEP SIX: We talked about the good things from the year in Part 1. Now, let’s name a few of the challenges from 2018. What didn’t help you cultivate what matters this year?

This may be the most valuable step you take—this will help you know where you’re NOT going in 2019! Write the facts and know that each thing you write down is an area of your life that could be made completely new.

A few of my 2018 challenges:

— Any time I worried, feared, or gave in to stress, it was because I forgot that God is God and He has done countless miraculous things in my life.

— I’ve had a literal pain in my neck. I’m grateful for physical therapy and doctors but injuring my neck (gardening, of all things—granted it was heavy work… uprooting hedges) has been a challenge for me. I have an angry disk that I pray will return to its home one day soon. On the same note with my health, I’m turning 40 next year and the hot flashes and sleeplessness have crept up on me. I’m feeling it!

— Imbalance in my work schedule. I’ve worked past my work hours about a dozen times this year, which may not seem like much, but to me it’s significant. This year brought a lot of work transitions and, for me, a deeper focus on homeschool. So, I had to juggle my time in heavy seasons. I don’t want working nights to continue, though. That time is important to our marriage staying strong and to my health—sleep makes everything better!

— Letting go of Southern Weddings was bittersweet. We completed the work we were given to do, and we made room for new things. But, it was a challenge for us financially. We let go of a growing business and it was a sacrifice we had to make for the big picture, but it made for a lot of stress on my end as unexpected financial burdens hit us this year. As always though, good things come out of hard things (even when I didn’t think they would!). This is why I wrote “I learned to trust Him more than ever this year” on my Good Things list. My faith has grown and my longing for Heaven is stronger. That is a gift!

There were many more challenges—far greater than these—but I’ll say that in all of them, I grew. Pruning is a gift. And for that, I’m grateful.

If you are a believer, ask God to help you let go of the hard things, learn from them, and move forward in His timing. Some encouragement to get your mind refreshed:

‘I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:13-14)

‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’ (Isaiah 43:19 NIV).

Where do you go from here with the challenges? Do you know how cow manure is one of the best fertilizers for flowers and gardens? It’s the same with our challenges! 🙂 Let’s grow some good things and get some fruitful lessons out of what felt like a big mess!

Use the 15% off code BESTYEAR2019 to do this all year long with the PowerSheets Goal Planner.

Once you have your list of challenges from 2018, name some of the lessons you learned from them. In all the hard stuff, there are gifts—valuable lessons that will help you grow what matters ahead. Let’s do some digging and find the golden nuggets of wisdom hiding in the dirt!

Here are a few of mine:

A note of encouragement if you’re in the thick of a challenge right now and have no idea yet what it’s supposed to teach you: That’s okay! Wherever you are, you’re right where you’re supposed to be. Write what’s true for you (“I’m not sure what I’m supposed to learn here,” is a perfectly good answer!) and move forward.

STEP SEVEN: Who helped you live intentionally and grow good things in 2018? Looking back at your list of good things from Part 1, and all that you’ve written so far in this series, who helped you to live on purpose this year? Who encouraged you or helped you? Download a free printable worksheet here and write the names of those you are grateful for and why. And then… do something about it! Thank them for the specific things they helped you with or inspired in you.

You may think they don’t need encouragement, or it won’t matter, but words have power.

Gift your people with those words!

You never know what good it might spark.

You can keep this simple and still make a huge impact: a text or an email can go a long way to change someone’s day—and change their life. I spent the morning sending emails to friends and colleagues who have meant a lot to me this year, and I’ve felt the glow of sending those happy messages all day!

I am grateful for many. A few highlights from my PowerSheets:

Who are you grateful for this year?

Leave your answers in the comments, but most of all, send some love to the people on your list!

OPTIONAL BONUS STEP: Get visual! Make a Pinterest board of images that will inspire your purposeful year. What do you want to grow? Leave a link to your board in the comments—I’d love to see! If Pinterest distracts you, skip this step! Do whatever will keep you focused on your best year yet.

Pick images that point you to what matters. To help you do this, we’re having a Pinterest contest with an amazing prize: a seat to the Making Things Happen Conference! Get started here.

(Here are my boards from past years—it’s fun to look back! 2013, 2014201520162017, and 2018.)

Your turn! Today’s 4 Goal Uncovering Steps:

4. Where do you want to be when you’re 80? What will matter to you then and what won’t?

5. What’s one thing you most want to cultivate in 2019?

6. What challenges did you experience in 2018, and what lessons did you learn from them?

7. Who helped you in 2018? Who are you grateful for? (Go tell them!)

Optional bonus step: get visual and make your 2019 vision board!

I’ll be back next Wednesday, December 26th, for Part 3! Till then, Merry Christmas, my friends! My parents just got here and we’re going to bake, listen to Alabama Christmas, and snuggle up right here together! 🙂 I hope your weekend is filled joy!

Need some extra motivation? The Ultimate New Year’s Giveaway is on! (Amazing! Can I win??) I hope this gives you a little extra encouragement to share your answers as we go through this series. I can’t wait to read your thoughts and hear your aha! moments. One person who comments with answers to every step in this series will win a bonus prize: one of everything from the Cultivate What Matters® Shop! Yes!!! This includes 2019 PowerSheets, the new Celebrations Binder, a Goal-Setting Sticker Book, your choice of Make it Happen zipper pouch, my books, and so much more! There are 35 prizes, so that means 35 of you are going to win one of these prizes—it could be YOU. (Including international friends!)

— 10 sets of 2019 PowerSheets to help 10 of you cultivate your BEST year yet!
— A Goal Guide Bundle to help you dig deeper on your specific goals.
— Five signed copies of Cultivate.
— Five signed copies of Make It Happen.
— One Write the Word All Seasons Collection to help you cultivate fresh faith all year long.
— A gift card (YES!) for a massage to kick off your year refreshed!
— A Balanced Life membership – get moving and motivated with a year of at-home pilates!
— A Floret Flowers puzzle (it’s double-sided and so much fun!)
—A Revelation Wellness membership with a ‘Wellness Kickoff Package” to cultivate your health in the New Year.
— One Artifact Uprising album to document the people and experiences that matters most to you.
— An Emily Ley Simplified Planner to keep your schedule organized in the new year.
— Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course—a life-changing experience to help you pursue financial freedom.
— One Val Marie Paper Yearly Prayer Journal. I’ll be using one this year, too!
— A Hello Fresh boxto keep you fueled with good food.
— One Art Bar canvas (up to $150 value) to brighten your walls.
— A Fitbit to help you celebrate your literal steps forward.
— An Amazon Alexa to keep you dancing.

And the bonus prize for one of you who comments on all 5 posts in this series: a ONE OF EVERYTHING Bundle from the Cultivate Shop!

SHARE THIS SERIES WITH YOUR PEOPLE. Don’t keep all this goodness to yourself! I’d be so grateful if you spread the word about this free series. Email this kick-off post to your friends, tweet it, ‘gram it (here are lots of sharable graphics for you to make it easy!), text it—sing it to the rooftops! Let’s get all our friends in on this so they can feel as refreshed and clear about 2019 as we will. Here’s to our best year yet togetherstarting now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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! 🙂 This post contains affiliate links.

P.S. Need a last-minute gift? Buy her a gift card for PowerSheets! It comes with a printable card and the cutest downloadable gift wrap, too. Best gift ever!

161 WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()

Hi, friends! Welcome to Part 1 of the 2019 Goal Setting Series! If you’re new, I’m so glad you landed here. Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 are also live!

Want to listen to this post? I’ll happily read it to you! Enjoy!

You came here for a reason. What is it that brought you here?

Maybe you’re feeling frustrated as you look back at 2018.

You didn’t make as much progress as you hoped on some of your goals—or you forgot about them completely.

Perhaps goal setting has failed you before and you feel defeated already thinking about the new year. You’re considering going “goal-less!”

Perhaps you stumbled on this post and it intrigued you because you want change in your life and it feels really far away. You need a way to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

Or maybe this year has been great—you made progress on the right goals and you want to keep it going for 2019!

No matter what led you here, you are in the right place.

Your imperfection, your past failures, your heartache, and your triumphs are all welcome here. In fact, they might be the very things that propel you forward on a fresh new path.

How?

Welcome to the Eighth-Annual Intentional Goal Setting Series. We’re eight years strong, friends! Many of you have been doing this process alongside me since year 1 (your goal updates each year blow me away) and I’m so pumped for this year!

If you’ve tried goal setting before and burned yourself out—or didn’t follow through—you’re right where you’re supposed to be.

If you aren’t convinced yet that setting goals could be life-giving for you this year—no perfection required—you’re in the right place, too.

Whatever it is for you, I just want to reassure you that you are here for a reason and you’re about to make it happen. If you are new to this series, a big welcome from all of us—you’re in for a treat this year!

Whether you’re a mom, a student, a business owner, an empty nester, in a season of transition, or a season of starting fresh—in any place where you are in life, we’re going to let go of guilt-filled, fleeting resolutions, and embrace a whole new way of doing this goal setting thing.

Let me back up a bit and introduce myself, because we’re going to have some fun together over the next few days as we go through this 5-part series!

I’m Lara. I’m a mom to three, a grateful wife, CEO of a growing company, and I love getting my hands dirty in my garden here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I’ve written two books about goal setting and intentional living, I’ve led a conference called Making Things Happen for 9 years, and I was once a personal trainer, a wedding planner, and the Editor-in-Chief of a wedding magazine.

I am the creator of the best-selling PowerSheets® Goal Planner and I don’t love goal setting. No, that’s not a typo. I do not like traditional goal setting. The words “goal setting” give me the heebie-jeebies!

Like you, I have a lot of things to take care of in my life, and I don’t have room to add a lot more (I’m guessing that’s like you, too). I get tense even thinking about the pressure to accomplish something beyond my current capacity. (Areyouwithme?)

Goal setting. No thank you.

If you are feeling this right this second, we are going to be fast friends. You’ve found your people! 🙂

I set out to uncover a process that works for the rest of us. I flipped the usual process on its head and guess what: I started seeing real results with zero pressure. I discovered that I didn’t need to make perfect progress to see results, and it’s SO FREEING. I’m going to guide you through my exact process in this series.

This is goal setting for people who hate goal setting.

We don’t do traditional, pressure-filled, do-it-all goal setting around here. We uncover intentional, less-is-more goals. I call these “cultivated goals.”

Cultivated goals are about growing what you’ve been given—what you already have: your relationships, your money, your possessions, your work, your children, your home, your health, and your time. A little intentional forethought goes a long way!

Consider the script officially flipped!

From here on out, when I mention “goals” or “goal setting,” know that I’m talking about cultivated goals:

Over the last eight years that I’ve been writing this series, as my life has dramatically changed, so has this goal-uncovering process. I’ve studied what makes us feel unmotivated, what causes us to follow-through, and I have listened to you. I’ve followed your stories and challenges and incredible successes over these years as we’ve done this together. Through it all, I’ve discovered some pretty amazing “secrets” to doing this life with intention.

What causes people to change starts with one pivotal moment. It’s the moment when you decide that the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. It’s the moment you decide you are tired of doing the same things you’ve always done and getting the same results you’ve always gotten.

This might just be that moment for you.

Now, you could just stop here and quit before even trying. You could do that and I won’t judge you! 🙂 I’ve given up on a whole lot of things in my life right at the starting line. But, here’s where that might leave you (like it did for me): going through the motions, not feeling confident that you’re on the right path, getting distracted, lacking motivation, not taking care of what you’ve been given, and generally wasting your time.

Or you could end 2019 knowing you lived your best year—no perfection required. Cultivated goals—the kind we are going to uncover together—give you direction and motivation. And it all starts with one small step. (I’ll tell you that one step shortly!)

My 2019 Goal Ideas page from my PowerSheets Goal Planner.

Here’s what you can expect in this five-part series: Each day, I’ll walk you through a mix of goal-uncovering steps from my first book, Make it Happen (which you can sample here); insight from my second book, Cultivate; key questions from a decade of leading the Making Things Happen Conference, prompts from the 2019 PowerSheets®; and a few surprises!

The PowerSheets and my books have many more goal-uncovering insights and guided worksheets than I’ll include in this series. They make it easy to take action on your goals throughout the year instead of just setting them once (and then forgetting about them!). NOW is the perfect time to get your 2019 PowerSheets if you haven’t already—the order deadline for domestic New Year’s delivery is TODAY. Use the code BESTYEAR2019 for 15% off your entire order! (Yes, it even works on our already-discounted Make It Happen Bundle!) Our fulfillment team ships quickly, and you should have yours in time to work through this series with us—hooray!

3 WAYS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS SERIES:

1. Instead of just thinking your answers, write them down. This is so simple and impactful! As we go through each goal uncovering step together, use the comments section to leave your answers, or write them in your PowerSheets, a journal, or on scrap paper. Don’t just think your answers. Thinking them doesn’t count. Write them out and, if you want accountability, leave them boldly here in the comments. I want to cheer you on, and I’m going to leave my answers in the comments, too!

2. Cheer her on! You know how it feels when someone encourages you? Yes—amazing! Let’s do that for each other throughout this series. You never know how your words might change someone’s life forever.

3. No matter what you use to set your goals, USE IT. If you tend to buy journals or planners and they sit on a shelf for all of time (been there!), let’s turn that habit around starting now. Practice what I call “making a mess.” You aren’t gonna let the need for perfect handwriting or perfect answers or perfect timing keep you from uncovering your best goals, are you? Didn’t think so. (I love you!!!) Use whatever you have to write with, and on. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just dig in. If you need an extra kick in the pants to make it happen, I have a giveaway at the end that might encourage you to get to it!

Ready to dig in?

(Yesssss!!! I’m so pumped for you!)

Step 1, here we go!

Do you know the reason you burned out and gave up on some of your goals (or all of them) somewhere around mid-January or February? Let me guess. You added things to your already-full plate without subtracting a few things first. That’s like planting new seeds in a garden that’s already packed full.

To grow new things, you first have to take a look at what’s already there. Then, you can either keep growing those things, or clear them out and make room for new ones. Let’s do that together right now, taking a look at how we are doing today so we can avoid burnout—and finally follow-through on the things that matter to us. This will feel so good!

Old you: growing allthethings at once. The result: nothing grows well. You do a lot of things mediocrely.

Cultivated you: growing the right things, one step at a time. Doing a few things well and loving it!

STEP ONE: (Remember the one step I told you about earlier? This is it and it might surprise you!) How are you? Really. How are you? Look at the 7 categories below and write a few thoughts about how you are doing in each one:

— Health
— Friends
— Family (including your significant other, if applicable)
— Finances
— Spiritual + Personal Growth
— Work
— Recreation

Feel free to write in your own categories, too! Give each area of your life a rating between 1 and 10, along with a few thoughts on why you chose that number. 1 means you are not satisfied in the area and want to see radical change. 10 means you are happy as a bee on honeysuckle!

This is step one for a reason. “How are you?” seems like a simple question, but when answered from your heart of hearts, it can help set you on an entirely new path.

Knowing where you are now, mess and all, helps you to leap to where you’re going.

The soil you’re standing on right now is your growing ground.

How are you? What’s growing well—or not so well—in your life? Reply in the comments, or on paper. I’ll leave my answers in the comments, too!

Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Oh, Lara, every category is terrible for me!’ Guess what? You might think I’ve lost my marbles, but I think that’s GREAT! It means you have more opportunity for great change ahead than others. That’s exciting! So, call each category what it is—I’m cheering you on as you get honest write it out—and let’s count those challenges as the crazy amazing opportunities they are.

Especially if you gave low ratings to some areas, include thoughts about what is good in each area, too. For instance, as for my feelings about finances: I’ve been challenged by contentment and emotional spending at times. I have felt especially frustrated this year by working hard to keep our finances in order and out-of-the-blue things have happened that knocked us off course. But! The positive it that over the last year, despite it being imperfect, I’ve become more skilled at managing money. (A couple years ago I wouldn’t have been able to type that!)

Allow yourself to write the things that may feel undone, imperfect, or hard, and write in some positive thoughts too—even if the positive feels tiny!

Now, a bonus challenge: let the dirt be dirt. Once you’ve written everything out, be still with your feelings for a moment—whatever they may be—without trying to change them or push them away immediately. Let the challenges and places you’d like to grow sink in a little.

If you’re like me, I often want to fix my circumstances right away instead of letting myself feel anything at all. My instinct is to reach for a distraction when faced with something that feels hard. (Anyone tempted to go scroll Instagram right now?) But, that never brings me peace or clarity. So, let’s not do that. Maybe the soil of your life needs some fresh nutrients, or maybe there are some big rocks in the way of you planting new things. The only way you’ll know though, is to see what’s there first.

Besides…

All those rocks and weeds?

They are pockets of purpose waiting to be transformed!

STEP TWO: Watch this video (or at least the first 30-ish seconds) that some of my closest friends and I made for you…

What have you been chasing recently, or in the last year? Do you feel like you are “chasing perfect” in some ways—attempting to measure up to an impossible standard? Write or type here what you have been chasing, and how that has been making you feel. Maybe you’ve been chasing success, significance, or approval. Maybe you’ve been trying to keep up, survive, or just get through. Whatever you’ve been chasing, name it boldly and know that you are not alone. To name your chase is to destroy it.

STEP THREE: In traditional goal setting, you focus on the future, and on achieving your goals as fast as humanly possible. That is a recipe for b.u.r.n.o.u.t. I’ve done it many times before, and it’s a dead end. But! Uncovering really good goals means learning from the past in order to cultivate what’s next. The past has a lot to teach us! Let’s take a look back at the last year.

What good things happened in 2018? What grew well? What are you grateful for from the last twelve months?

I know this can be a challenging step. We often don’t like counting our blessings, because it may feel self-indulgent or like it won’t get us anywhere fast—or perhaps you are thinking that there were no good things that happened in 2018! It’s easy to look back at an entire year and see only the hard parts, like when something happens to you at the end of the day and you automatically call it a bad day, regardless of what happened the other twenty-three hours.

Let’s do a little digging! A few tips to unearth the good stuff:

 Talk to your significant other or a close friend about your year and ask him or her to reflect some of the highlights back to you. He or she may remember some that you have forgotten! This is also a great way to celebrate the good things of the past year with others. Make it your dinner conversation tonight. (A tip: try going quarter by quarter – it might help to jog some memories!)

— Take a look back at your calendar, blog posts, social media updates, or photos. Those might give you a clue into some of the good things you’ve forgotten.

— If you are a PowerSheets user, read through your 2018 PowerSheets!

—  Review your finances from the year. This is like reading a journal of places you went, and what some of your priorities were.

My Good Things: My word for 2018 was LIGHTSPACE (I made it up—it just fit!). What that looked like this year: making room for the things that mattered, even when it was hard. And a lot of it was hard. But out of hard things come good things, and pruning is what makes our lives more fruitful!

This was the year…

– We let go of Southern Weddings after a decade of making a magazine that changed the world.
– Grace learned how to read, climb trees and we did some knife skills training in the kitchen—she’s a pro!
– We grew a giant pumpkin.
– Josh learned to use the potty—praise the Lord, we’re so close to being out of diapers.
– Sarah grew leaps and bounds. Through therapy and God’s goodness this year, her sensory challenges have turned into beautiful opportunities.
– Our peach tree grew 100 peaches!
– We fell in love with the mountains and I discovered a new passion for hiking.
– We celebrated 12 years of marriage—a significant anniversary for us. We’ve now been married more years together than apart. Read Make it Happen or listen to episode 1 of my upcoming podcast and this fact will come to life for you!
– Speaking of the above, I felt the fear and started a podcast anyway. (Launching December 27th!)
– We marveled at the 55th Making Things Happen Conference experience. It was so good—this coming year will be our 10th year!
– I learned to trust God more than ever.
– I am on track to finish the Bible by December 31—my number 1 goal for this year!
– We got into a homeschool rhythm using the cultivated homeschool planner.
– I invested in 20 things that paid off.
– And most notably, my husband Ari started rapping.

I set six goals for the year and made more progress in each than I ever thought possible. A year ago, I knew I’d be so grateful I started these goals, and little by little, they happened! Did I mess up along the way? Yes! Did I have some challenges? Definitely. But, imperfect progress is still progress, and when you embrace that fact, you are far less likely to completely jump ship! My imperfect progress added up big time, and yours will too!

A peek at the little by little progress I made each month: February / March
April / May / June / July / AugustSeptemberOctober / November  (and December isn’t over yet!)

Now, name three lessons you learned from the good things. For example, in my life there were many times last year that good things happened when I let go of control—whether getting on my knees (literally) in prayer or in looking at how I could change instead of hoping others would change. The lesson for me was a big one: let go. Surrender. Humble yourself. That’s where change begins.

Your turn! Here are today’s 3 goal-uncovering steps for you:

1. How are you? How are you doing in each area of your life and which areas do you most want to improve?

2. What have you been chasing lately? How is that making you feel?

3. Write your list of good things and lessons you learned.

Then, share your answers here in the comments to encourage others. I can’t wait to personally cheer you on. And remember this: we’re tossing comparison out the window and doing the most radical thing we can do: walking our own unique paths (and cheering other women on as they do the same)!

A page from my 2016 PowerSheets:

lara casey goal setting comparisson

Okay, that’s it for today and that’s plenty to work on. I’ll be back Friday with more goal-uncovering goodness!

Take your time with this and remember, cultivating what matters is about progress, not perfection. This is not about writing the perfect list of perfect goals with a perfect pen. It’s about digging into the dirt, right where you are, to grow, tend, and harvest what you’ve been given. 

This process will have a big payoff, but you have to commit to working through it. Let your 2019 goals bake, like a pan of homemade hot cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven. They wouldn’t be flaky and yummy zapped quickly in the microwave, would they? They’d end up as a big pile of mushy dough. I’m not going to hand you your 2019 goals; we’re going to do this right and bake them well together, little-by-little, with some bold leaps of faith along the way. Sound good? Awesome!

Need some extra motivation? The Ultimate New Year’s Giveaway is on! (Amazing! Can I win??) I hope this gives you a little extra encouragement to share your answers as we go through this series. I can’t wait to read your thoughts and hear your aha! moments. One person who comments with answers to every step in this series will win a bonus prize: one of everything from the Cultivate What Matters® Shop! Yes!!! This includes 2019 PowerSheets, the new Celebrations Binder, a Goal-Setting Sticker Book, your choice of Make it Happen zipper pouch, my books, and so much more! There are 35 prizes, so that means 35 of you are going to win one of these prizes—it could be YOU. (Including international friends!)

— 10 sets of 2019 PowerSheets to help 10 of you cultivate your BEST year yet!
— A Goal Guide Bundle to help you dig deeper on your specific goals.
— Five signed copies of Cultivate.
— Five signed copies of Make It Happen.
— One Write the Word All Seasons Collection to help you cultivate fresh faith all year long.
— A gift card (YES!) for a massage to kick off your year refreshed!
— A Balanced Life membership – get moving and motivated with a year of at-home pilates!
— A Floret Flowers puzzle (it’s double-sided and so much fun!)
—A Revelation Wellness membership with a ‘Wellness Kickoff Package” to cultivate your health in the New Year.
— One Artifact Uprising album to document the people and experiences that matters most to you.
— An Emily Ley Simplified Planner to keep your schedule organized in the new year.
— Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course—a life-changing experience to help you pursue financial freedom.
— One Val Marie Paper Yearly Prayer Journal. I’ll be using one this year, too!
— A Hello Fresh boxto keep you fueled with good food.
— One Art Bar canvas (up to $150 value) to brighten your walls.
— A Fitbit to help you celebrate your literal steps forward.
— An Amazon Alexa to keep you dancing.

And the bonus prize for one of you who comments on all 5 posts in this series: ONE OF EVERYTHING Bundle from the Cultivate Shop!

Why am I doing this? I want you—yes YOU—to know what I know now on the other side of burned out and overwhelmed: there’s a different way to do this—a way that works. Step by step, you are going to feel ready, renewed, and clear about your year ahead. I’m so excited for you!

SHARE THIS SERIES WITH YOUR PEOPLE. Don’t keep all this goodness to yourself! I’d be so grateful if you spread the word about this free series. Email this kick-off post to your friends, tweet it, ‘gram it (here are lots of sharable graphics for you to make it easy!), text it—sing it to the rooftops! Let’s get all our friends in on this so they can feel as refreshed and clear about 2019 as we will. Here’s to our best year yet togetherstarting now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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! 🙂 This post contains affiliate links.

P.S. A year from now, you’ll be so grateful you started today! Buy your PowerSheets now and get 15% off with code BESTYEAR2019.

259 WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()