Author: Lara

You know the acronym: 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.

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

HEART goals are connected to your big picture. 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. (And imperfection is bound to happen—all progress is imperfect!)

Listen, the SMART folks get a few things right: it IS important to make your action steps specific and achievable (little by little!). And it IS helpful to set a timeline for making progress (hello, Tending List!). But PowerSheets goals combine the best parts of SMART + HEART in a clear 3-step process—and the result? Goals that stick. Goals you can’t wait to get started on!

Let’s look at a few examples:

SMART goal: Run a 5k next month to get fit.

HEART goal: Run a 5k next month to kickstart a healthy lifestyle that will allow me to keep up with my kiddos!

SMART goal: Organize my pantry next Tuesday.

HEART goal: Organize my pantry so that the ingredients I need to make healthy meals are at my fingertips, because I want to start every day with more energy!

SMART goal: Read two books a month.

HEART goal: Read two books a month to jumpstart my curiosity and prime my creative juices so I’m prepared to make innovative business decisions!

Don’t those HEART goals make you want to get up and go?! Every time you remind yourself of a goal with heart, you’ll be spurred on to take action.

Get your PowerSheets today. I can’t wait to hear about the HEART goals you set!

P.S. Once your PowerSheets arrive at your door, you get to take advantage of the bonus materials (included with your order!): live goal coaching, live workshops to help you feel clear and ready for the new year, a 5-part goal coaching video series, and access to the private Facebook group (PowerSheets Group!) of 11,000+ like-minded women who want to make what matters happen like you. ORDER NOW before they’re gone for the year!

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You’re looking back at this year and feeling a little blah. You wish you’d been more consistent in your faith—maybe in Bible reading, or prayer, or perhaps, like me, in trusting God over your worries.

You want a fresh start with your faith in 2019.

I haven’t finalized my goals for the new year yet (slow cooking over here and having a blast!), but I know one of them will be reading the best life-motherhood-goal-setting-business-relationships book: the Bible. 🙂 Reading and praying through the Bible is my number one goal this year, and little by little, I’ve made progress. It hasn’t all been perfect, but it didn’t need to be. I’ve learned a thing or two along the way—especially in the times I’ve been tempted to jump ship or skip a day. Lord willing, I’ll finish the Bible again this year on December 31st.

Let me stop right here.

If I would’ve read “read the Bible again this year” on someone else’s blog a few years ago, I would have felt so far away from that. I had trouble staying focused on even a single verse of the Bible each day, much less reading the entire thing—what!? Does the idea of reading the Bible, even in little bits at a time, intimidate you? You’ve tried before and lost interest. You’re not sure where to start. You’re worried you won’t get anything out of the time you put in because it’s such a big complicated book, right? Afraid you’ll quit after just a few days?

Let me introduce you to something created just for us (the people who want it, but are afraid we’ll fall off the wagon!). Starting January 1, with one single verse, we’re going to kick-off this year in the Bible together. 

We’ll do it little by little, with zero fluff. 

No devotionals.

No study guide workbook homework.

We’re going to get right into the Word.

How? The easiest and most impactful way: writing it. When you write the Word of God in your own messy handwriting, something happens to your brain. You start making decisions about what you’re writing (as opposed to typing it digitally or just reading it and forgetting it five seconds later). When you write scripture, it gets in your heart, no distractions—it’s just you, the Word, and your pen and paper.

The Fresh Faith Challenge: 31 Days of Writing the Word kicks off January 1 and I CANNOT WAIT TO DO THIS WITH YOU!

The challenge will run January 1-31, 2019, to help you start your year right—putting the Word above everything else. No stress, no fuss, just fruitful time with the Lord! It’s going to be so good! We’ll have more details for you soon, and even graphics to invite friends to join you, but for now, just sign up below (it’s FREE!).

(Looking at you, my friend….) Please tell me you’re in! I’m excited to start this year with you in the life-giving Word, in prayer together, making new friendships!

How to sign up in 3 easy steps (invite your friends to join too!):

1. Enter your email below to get on the list and we’ll send you a Fresh Faith Challenge kick-off note as we get closer to the starting line!

2. Choose how you’ll write the Word. You get two options! DIY or the convenient way. You can use your own scrap paper or a journal to write the Word each day, or do it the simple way and get the Write the Word Bible journal of your choice. (Each volume has selected scriptures for you to make it easy.) I’m going to use the Write the Word Prayer journal, if you want to join me! (You’ll get a 20% discount code when you sign up for the Challenge—YES!) The last day to order for guaranteed domestic delivery by January 1st is December 19th, so don’t delay. Order now.

*A tip for doing this as a family: Get your kids to join, too!

3. Join the Cultivate Your Faith Facebook group, if you like, and get ready to start a brand new year with an amazing group of women who are right there with you!

I can’t think of a better way to start the year, and I’m excited to be doing it alongside you, friends! Join us!

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Go ahead, picture it: it’s January 1, 2019.

Maybe you’ve just returned from traveling, celebrating the holidays with family. Maybe you’ve been on the go nonstop, entertaining and hosting visiting relatives or your own kiddos, who are home on school break. Maybe you’ve got the sniffles (my household always seems to come down with something this week!).

You’re likely feeling tired, and a little letdown from the build-up to and then excitement of Christmas. But still, there’s a definite flicker of hope inside you — after all, a whole year is ahead of you, and this is the very first day! The possibilities are endless!

And so you sit down and scratch out a few resolutions, because you’re fired up and know you need to make some changes and these ones sound really good right about now:

— Cut out the sugar (because you ate a few too many cookies in December).
— Be nicer to your Mom (because you may have been a little impatient after her third question about when you’re going to get married, have kids, or do something else on her agenda).
— Save more money (because you went a little overboard on the gifts this year).

And so it goes. Here’s the thing: these goals might be exactly where your focus needs to be. Maybe you DO need to eat more leafy greens, grow in patience, or follow a budget.

Or maybe not.

The thing is, it’s really hard to set goals that matter to you when you rush to throw them together in a day, ESPECIALLY when that day is January 1 and you’re feeling all the pressure the world can throw at you to make some – ANY – New Year’s resolutions. Over here, we call that microwaving your goals, and it just can’t compare to homemade, freshly-prepared goals made with love 🙂

And so, instead of setting goals on January 1, we start setting our goals NOW. In December, far away from the pressure of the new year. From here, we can look back at the past year and ahead to the future with clear eyes. We have time to take stock of where we were and where we want to go, what has and hasn’t been working, and what areas of our life have the most opportunity for change. We can set our goals with ease, at our own pace, without comparison or pressure.

And then, by the time January 1 rolls around, we’ll have finished 2018 prepared for what’s next. We’ll have set a few carefully chosen goals we’re passionate about, that we CANNOT WAIT to dig into little by little over the twelve months to come.

Can you picture it? It’s January 1, 2019 and you’re ready.

Instead of doing the same things you’ve always done and forgetting your goals come February (hello goal guilt), you’ve decided to do 2019 the way that works. You didn’t just set S.M.A.R.T. goals, you added the secret sauce: HEART. How? With a simple 3-step guided system that helps you follow through with ease: The PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner.

It all kicked off in early December 2018 (:)) with a step that was so small and simple, you didn’t believe it would do anything! But, to your surprise, it did. Big time. That first step marked your fresh start. It feels so good and you’re never going back to where you used to be on January 1, feeling depleted and defeated as a New Year dawned.

There’s nothing magical about setting goals on January 1. You know a better way, and it starts now.  Order your PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner now and get ready for the one small step that changes everything!

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So, it’s December.

How are you feeling?

Maybe the last 11 months have been good or maybe they’ve been hard. Maybe it’s been crazy, challenging, or all of these mixed together.

Maybe you’re feeling hesitant about setting goals for the year ahead.

What if 2019 is hard like this year?
What if you don’t follow-through on your goals again?
It feels overwhelming to think about 2019—you’re still trying to deal with 2018!

Whatever you’re feeling, you’re right where you need to be.

Have you heard of the Chinese bamboo tree? Give this a watch…

There’s somewhere you want to be. And maybe you’re not there yet.

The space between here and there feels, well, big. And the thought of having to wait or work to get there feels uncomfortable. You aren’t sure if it’s even possible. I mean, you can’t see or feel anything growing above the surface… is anything happening in that soil??

Our friend the Chinese bamboo is trying to tell us something! What if all the things you experienced this year—good and challenging—have been preparing you for good things ahead?

They are and I’m excited for you!

This month, you’re going to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be—thinking big picture and taking small steps.

PowerSheets Prep Week kicks off today to get you started! You’re going to feel prepared and ready for the new year—and you’re going to LOVE taking those small steps. I’m excited to help you plant the right seeds for the season you’re in, and watch you grow like crazy when the time is right!

Before we dig into December, here’s a look back at my November PowerSheets progress. Looking back helps our brains move forward well—learning from the past and gaining clarity for a new month ahead!

November Monthly Goals:

— God + goals – study it, live it, give it. / Yes, progress here. More to come in the podcast that launches soon!
— Retreat to pray. In order to do anything well this month, I know it will take time in prayer to listen. He turns worries into worship! / This came in small spurts. (I’m not alone hardly at all during the week between work and kids!) I had a couple solo car rides that I turned into prayer drives 🙂
— Prayer-led podcast recording. I lost my voice for a good part of October, but I’m feeling better now and ready to record. The podcast will launch in December! / God always knows the best timing. I feel more ready now than I did before. Embracing progress, not perfection, with this podcast!

My gratitude page from my PowerSheets this month!

Weekly Goals:

— Make decisions from my identity. For example, I want to be a woman who has a life-giving home and a flourishing homeschool. So, what kind of decisions would I make as a person who wants those things? It’s a simple mind shift that has changed several of my decisions this week. / Yes! Progress!
— Gentleness and wonder with the kids. This includes a flourishing homeschool and intentionally planning simple experiences (like crunching in the fall leaves!) and holiday celebrations that leave them in awe of Him. I don’t have to manufacture or plan anything elaborate. I simply lead them to where they might experience wonder and let go! / We enjoyed hot chocolate with marshmallows on the front steps together, decorating our crepe myrtle and weeping cherry tree outside with solar lights, and listening to many wonderful classic holiday songs. It has been fun!

Daily Goals:

— Chronological Bible. I’m continuing my number one goal with this daily Bible reading using the Blue Letter Bible Chronological reading plan on YouVersion. / I’m one month away from finishing this! Hooray! Praising Him! Now I’m starting to pray about what reading plan to do for 2019…
— Workout + worship. Now that the weather is turning colder, we have not been able to walk as much outside in the mornings. It’s tricky sometimes to workout at home with three kiddos, but when I turn it into a praise party, we all get into it! / I updated my workout playlist and have loved dancing to worship music in the mornings.

I did my December PowerSheets while Ari and Gracie did the new Floret puzzle that I love so much!

Now to December!

December Monthly Goals:

— Finish the Bible. – One more month of my Blue Letter Bible Chronological reading plan! This was my number 1 goal for 2018. Want to hear something inspiring? I’ve been doing this reading plan with a few friends this year and one of them told us she got over 70 days behind at one point. She didn’t let that stop her, though, and she didn’t jump ship when she got behind. Little by little, she did an extra day of reading here and there. She caught up a few days ago, and I’m so inspired by her progress! That’s embracing the power of little by little right there!
— Remember and mark God’s faithfulness this year. – In starting my 2019 PowerSheets with you this week, I’m really excited to look back and name the things He brought us through. The hard things made life more fruitful, and naming them builds confidence that He can keep giving us His strength where we are weak!
— Pray-pare for 2019 and set goals. – As I’m thinking about the year ahead, here’s what I’m asking: Lord, please give me Your wisdom. Help me to be diligently in Your Word so I can know Your ways over my own. Help me go where you’re going. God, please make your goals for me crystal clear and help me to be obedient when you lay them before me. I’m willing, Lord, and I’m so grateful for your grace and strength! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Launch the Podcast. – I’ve had some fear about this, but when I think of how it could potentially help even one woman, I get all sorts of motivated to make a mess and get to recording!
— Complete the 2019 Goal Setting Series. – I haven’t counted what year we’re on, but I think this will be the eighth time we’ve been doing this annual goal setting party together. It is SO energizing each year and I can’t wait to hear your answers as we go through each part. Mark your calendars for the series kick-off on December 18th!
— Prepare for our 31 Days of Writing the Word Challenge. – Want to start your year with clear faith and peace that you’re on the right path? Writing scripture—getting directly into the Word of God with no fluff—will do it! January 1 through 31, I’m going to be walking you through how to get into the Bible, day by day. This will be so simple and impactful – just 5 minutes a day could change your life. More details to come, but grab any volume of Write the Word journal or even scrap paper and a pencil to join us. We’re going to have some fun!
— Go on a birthday / end-of-year date with Ari. – Both of our birthdays are in December, and since we didn’t have a Southern Weddings launch party this year, we decided we need one fancy date. I’m not sure where yet, but even if we get dressed up and go through the Chick-fil-a drive-through, I’d be happy as a clam! I just want a night to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness with Ari and remember all the good that came from challenges this year.

Cookie decorating at our Team Summit last week!

December Weekly Goals:

— Deep Sabbath. – I keep thinking about the key figures in the Bible and how they worked hard. They didn’t mess around! But, they did take a deep Sabbath rest each week. I generally haven’t worked on weekends more than once or twice a year at most, but for me, this is more of a mental shift. Even if I’m not doing my weekday work, I can easily fill a day with errands and projects. But, the last two Saturdays we have gone nowhere and it has been so good for all of us. We’ve enjoyed what we have, right where we are, and I think I need more of that to be fueled well for what I’ll be doing during the weeks ahead. It’s a day of complete surrender and that’s a gift.
— 6 days of effective hard work. – As mentioned above, December is my hardest work month by choice. This is my month to sacrifice more than normal for the good of others, and I count that a joy. Lord, please use me and refresh me in Your Spirit, day by day, as only You can.
— Launch my weekly newsletter list. – Something that became clear at our Team Summit last week is that we need to be pen pals—by email! Sign up here for my new weekly (or whenever there’s a new blog post here, a new podcast episode, or something fun just for you) email buddies list! These emails will be like cake: several different ingredients mixed together into one sweet treat in your inbox at just the right time.


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December Daily Goals:

— Let the Light in. – I’m finishing the Blue Letter Bible Chronological reading plan on YouVersion this month!
— Do neck exercises. – After six months of pain, I got an MRI. Not the best results, so I’m in physical therapy and doing all I can to get a certain ornery disk back in place!
— Pray over our children. – I say these words from my friend Sally’s recent book to them every night: You are loved. You are good. You are God’s. I pray for them. But, I want to make this a lengthier time with each kiddo to help their individual heart and needs.

Gracie turned 7 in November! And helped decorate her birthday cake with my mom : )

Verses I’m loving for December:

I want to be effective. This entire chapter is swirling in my heart and head:

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV).

We made ornaments from our peach tree! Read the story and see how we did it here!

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

P.S. Haven’t ordered your PowerSheets yet? Now is the time! (The Multi cover is going fast!)

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Could you use a good belly laugh right about now? Research proves that laughter reduces muscle tension, opens our brains to solve problems, and helps us feel renewed hope in challenges.

I could use some of that in my life! You too? Here you go!

We gave two men (my husband and Ashlea’s fiance!) a box of PowerSheets and here’s what happened…

These guys. I have no words! 🙂

Our BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR is happening now through November 26th and it’s a Bundle Bonanza. Everything (even PowerSheets when you buy them in a bundle!) is on sale. Bonus: you get to shop a new product!


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