Feeling overwhelmed already on this 15th day of the year? Which one of the following best describes you:

— I want to do it all right now. I’m anxious for life to change and I want to make all my goals happen ASAP.
— I don’t know how to accomplish my goals.
— I have so many goals I want to complete this year—I’m overwhelmed!
— I don’t even know where to start. I haven’t set goals and I’m afraid I’m behind!
— My goals feel the same as last year, am I doing something wrong?
— I haven’t made perfect progress—I already feel like a failure.
— Doing new things feels hard. Is it supposed to be hard?
— I’m afraid to commit to goals! What if they’re the wrong ones or what if I don’t do them?
— Feeling great! Feeling clear. Ready. Let’s do this.

My Word of the Year (heart) will, Lord willing, come to life through small decisions made over the course of the year—not all at once.

I’ll be guiding you to break through ALL of these to help you move forward on the things that matter—without burning out before February—starting with Break it Down Week next week! You’ll break through the barriers you’re feeling, and learn how to break down your goals into do-able action steps you can’t wait to get started on. You’ll feel equipped and ready to get started on what matters, and to live a year of follow-through! Sign up for the live webinar here and get texts from me throughout the week with encouragement and tips by texting CULTIVATE to 55222 (fun, right!?).

How do you get started?

Small steps.

How do you make a goal happen?

Small steps taken over time.

How do you avoid overwhelm?

You guessed it. Break your goals down into small steps! 🙂

A peek at my Yearly Overview in my PowerSheets – a great tool to break down your goals over the course of the year so you don’t burn out!

I make these small steps happen using my PowerSheets® each month. If you’ve just started a new set of PowerSheets, welcome to my first monthly update for 2019! Each month, I’ll give you an update on my progress from the previous month – what went well and what I learned from – and I’ll share my goals for the month ahead. I love writing these posts for accountability, but mostly, I love hearing your goals! New this year: I’ll be making you a short video with my progress each month rather that writing it all out. This way I get to show you how I’m doing some things and make it more fun in the process—like having virtual coffee together!

I have four goals for 2019 that are each focused on growing something that matters to me in the big picture. Each month, we’ll break our yearly goals down into “mini goals” that help us achieve them little by little. The Tending List in the PowerSheets makes this easy to take action: it’s a list of monthly, weekly and daily action items. This helps me know what to focus on and where to spend my time well, no perfection required!

And it’s called a Tending List for a reason. I never end a month with everything perfectly marked off, and guess what? I don’t need to! All progress is imperfect progress and perfection isn’t the goal. Goals come to life when you focus on progress not perfection.

Have you ever jumped ship on a goal the moment you didn’t make perfect progress? The way we do goals helps you not do that. Let’s dig in!

I filled out my January Tending list this past weekend, and it was right on time! There’s no rule that says you have to start exactly on the 1st of each month. You aren’t one bit behind if you have yet to make your January Tending List!

January Monthly Goals:

— Begin the Contentment Challenge
— Begin HeartSchool (homeschool with heart!)
— Do the Fresh Faith Challenge
— Cultivate our 2019 calendar (learn how here)
— Prayerfully record the Cultivate Your Life podcast
— Prayerfully set new company pace + goals

January Weekly Goals:

— Study Psalm 90:12 – ‘Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’
— Weekly family Sabbath

January Daily Goals:

— Old Testament Bible Reading – I’m doing this with a small group of friends this year and loving it!
Write the Word
— Sing
— Strength – I’m lifting free weights (or free-running kids!) at home two days a week with the kiddos!

Your turn! What are your goals for January? For 2019 as a whole? I love hearing what you’re cultivating! I’ll pick one of you to send a special surprise box of goodies from the Cultivate What Matters Shop. I love sending real mail, and I love hearing your thoughts!

P.S. Don’t have 2019 goals yet? Now is the time to order your PowerSheets! The Multi cover is sold out and Teal will be the next to go. Use code BREAKITDOWN for 25% off your one-year goal planner and set yourself up for a year spent on the right things!

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Here we are—the first day of 2019.  A new year full of possibility is stretching out in front of us!

You may be telling yourself you’re behind or you need to accomplish it all now. Let me tell you, there is nothing magical about January 1st! But do you know what IS magical? Choosing to live what matters, little by little, over time. No perfect starts or perfect progress required. If you’re looking for clarity and a starting point, dig into Part 1 of the 2019 Goals Setting Series.

You’ll often hear us say around these parts “the past has a lot to teach us,” and in that spirit I’ve gathered up a few final lessons from 2018 for you—in the form of our top ten blog posts from the past year!

Here are your favorite posts this year from the blog:

  1. You have blown me away as you dig into your best goals in the 2019 Goals Setting Series! Get started with Part 1
  2. Gardening 101: The Story of an Unlikely Gardener 
  3. We saw that endings can be new beginnings when we let go of Southern Weddings
  4. 10 Tips for Starting Your 2018 Goals
  5. January Progress + February Goals from my PowerSheets
  6. Tips for Happy House Plants (I happen to have 28!)
  7. How to Get Unstuck with Your Goals 
  8. The Cultivate Your Life Podcast launched
  9. Behind the 2019 PowerSheets launch when Instagram shut us down and Oh Happy Day boxes were delivered in 65 countries
  10. And last, but certainly not least: The 2019 PowerSheets Goal Planner

Here are the top posts from the Cultivate Blog, too!

  1. Part 1 of PowerSheets Prep Week
  2. Your favorite PowerSheets Hacks
  3. How to Crush Comparison in Six Steps
  4. How to Make a Vision Board you’ll love
  5. 46 Things to do instead of scrolling social media
  6. The real cost of PowerSheets
  7. Why we love mini goals
  8. How to Celebrate New Year’s with Intention
  9. Using PowerSheets and your day planner together
  10. How to Make a Tending List

And now, a look back at 2018 from all of us at Cultivate What Matters. We are so grateful for this year with you!

WHOA that’s a lot of stickers! 🙂 And THAT is the number of emails we sent to subscribers this year! I also can’t believe this team launched 20 new products. In the midst of this, I led our 54th and 55th Making Things Happen Conference (join us this spring!), developed a free homeschool planner, and launched a new podcast (still pinching myself that we ranked in the top #15 podcasts last week!). These things seemed impossibly big on January 1st, but little by little, good things grow!

2018 has been a good year. Now, don’t let that statement fool you. “Good” didn’t mean easy. It was good because God is good because He was strong when we were not. It was good because He led us in challenges.

This was the year we lived out our word for 2018—“rise.” This was also the year we let go of Southern Weddings. It was the year we experienced pruning and refining in so many ways.

And from this vantage point, we know for sure that every challenge was a gift. Pruning is what makes a tree more fruitful, after all. My wish is the same for you—fruitful change that creates a ripple effect in the way you spend your time, your money, and your life.

Happy New Year, friends! If you haven’t already, buy your 2019 PowerSheets® Intentional Goal Planner NOW. We’re seeing lives changed as women all over the world use the right tool to make things happen. Join us!

The best is yet to come,

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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.

Note: We are so grateful that ALL of our 2019 One-year PowerSheets are SOLD OUT. But, good news! You can get started at any time with Six-Month Undated PowerSheets (available NOW), which include the same Prep Work as the One-Year Goal Planners! New to the party? Head to the Cultivate Shop or say hello – we’re so glad you’re here!

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!)

A big thank you to everyone who entered! What a joy it was to hear your responses and get to chat with you in the comments! Congratulations to our winners below! If you’re a winner, fill out this form to collect your prize within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected!

— 10 sets of 2019 PowerSheets to help 10 of you cultivate your BEST year yet! —Mary Conti, Emily Yost, Amy Wing, Jen Martinez, Brittany Garrett, Chelsea Pirtle, Mariah Meade, Kimberly Boyd, Tonya Kappes, Amber Corey
— A Goal Guide Bundle to help you dig deeper on your specific goals. — Jaimie Tollers
— Five signed copies of Cultivate. —Lisa McMahon, Patrice Pierce Thornton, Steph Conklin, Bonnie Johnson, Kristin Vlasak,
— Five signed copies of Make It Happen. —Michele Lanning, Mariela Capellan, Amy Bain, Stephanie Canete, Amanda Applegate
— One Write the Word All Seasons Collection to help you cultivate fresh faith all year long. —Becki Sue
— A gift card (YES!) for a massage to kick off your year refreshed! —Ashley Bossong
— A Balanced Life membership – get moving and motivated with a year of at-home pilates! —Heather Renee
— A Floret Flowers puzzle (it’s double-sided and so much fun!) —Leah Meadows
—A Revelation Wellness membership with a ‘Wellness Kickoff Package” to cultivate your health in the New Year. —Elizabeth Hiney
— One Artifact Uprising album to document the people and experiences that matters most to you. —Natalie Gessell
— An Emily Ley Simplified Planner to keep your schedule organized in the new year. —Amanda Burley
— Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course—a life-changing experience to help you pursue financial freedom. —Cindy Booth Carlson
— One Val Marie Paper Yearly Prayer Journal. I’ll be using one this year, too! —Michelle McQueen
— A Hello Fresh boxto keep you fueled with good food. —Kate Mariani
— One Art Bar canvas (up to $150 value) to brighten your walls. —Gina Abatiello
— A Fitbit to help you celebrate your literal steps forward. —Evangelina Cantu
— An Amazon Alexa to keep you dancing. —Rachel Whorley

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! —Katie Ledvina

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 February 1st 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! 🙂 

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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.

Note: We are so grateful that ALL of our 2019 One-year PowerSheets are SOLD OUT. But, good news! You can get started at any time with Six-Month Undated PowerSheets (available NOW), which include the same Prep Work as the One-Year Goal Planners! New to the party? Head to the Cultivate Shop or say hello – we’re so glad you’re here!

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! 

A big thank you to everyone who entered! What a joy it was to hear your responses and get to chat with you in the comments! Congratulations to our winners below! If you’re a winner, fill out this form to collect your prize within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected!

— 10 sets of 2019 PowerSheets to help 10 of you cultivate your BEST year yet! —Mary Conti, Emily Yost, Amy Wing, Jen Martinez, Brittany Garrett, Chelsea Pirtle, Mariah Meade, Kimberly Boyd, Tonya Kappes, Amber Corey
— A Goal Guide Bundle to help you dig deeper on your specific goals. — Jaimie Tollers
— Five signed copies of Cultivate. —Lisa McMahon, Patrice Pierce Thornton, Steph Conklin, Bonnie Johnson, Kristin Vlasak,
— Five signed copies of Make It Happen. —Michele Lanning, Mariela Capellan, Amy Bain, Stephanie Canete, Amanda Applegate
— One Write the Word All Seasons Collection to help you cultivate fresh faith all year long. —Becki Sue
— A gift card (YES!) for a massage to kick off your year refreshed! —Ashley Bossong
— A Balanced Life membership – get moving and motivated with a year of at-home pilates! —Heather Renee
— A Floret Flowers puzzle (it’s double-sided and so much fun!) —Leah Meadows
—A Revelation Wellness membership with a ‘Wellness Kickoff Package” to cultivate your health in the New Year. —Elizabeth Hiney
— One Artifact Uprising album to document the people and experiences that matters most to you. —Natalie Gessell
— An Emily Ley Simplified Planner to keep your schedule organized in the new year. —Amanda Burley
— Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course—a life-changing experience to help you pursue financial freedom. —Cindy Booth Carlson
— One Val Marie Paper Yearly Prayer Journal. I’ll be using one this year, too! —Michelle McQueen
— A Hello Fresh boxto keep you fueled with good food. —Kate Mariani
— One Art Bar canvas (up to $150 value) to brighten your walls. —Gina Abatiello
— A Fitbit to help you celebrate your literal steps forward. —Evangelina Cantu
— An Amazon Alexa to keep you dancing. —Rachel Whorley

 

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! —Katie Ledvina

 

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 February 1st 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! 

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TODAY IS THE DAY!!!! Ahhhh!!!

I have butterflies swirling around in my tummy about releasing this podcast. But I’m DOING THIS because, when God says go, you go. Even if nothing is perfect (my voice was rough when I recorded the first episode from being sick) and you feel imperfect (well, I am) and the leaf blowers from satan kept trying to thwart your efforts!

After months of praying and fear and excitement, the Cultivate Your Life Podcast is HERE! Listen in to the trailer now:

 

Today is my 39th birthday, and I can’t think of a better way to begin the last year of my 30’s than helping you flourish!

Why did I decide to make this podcast for you?

There’s something in you that wants a change.

Your fear wants to be changed to faith.
Your worries want to know what it means to feel peace.
Your doubts can’t even imagine what it’s like to be confident, but they want it!
And your craving for instant gratification longs for the things that last.

There’s somewhere you want to be in life and the space between here and there feels big.

You aren’t sure if it’s even possible.

In each episode of the Cultivate Your Life podcast, I’ll guide you to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be—thinking big picture and taking small steps (and loving the in-between)!

Whether you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or in need of some refreshing truth, each week I’ll bring you practical tips, starting steps, and good news about how to grow what matters in your life—right where you are. I love talking with you so I’m more than a little excited about a new way to sit down with you each week for some meaningful and fun conversation.

Today there are THREE new episodes for your listening pleasure!

Episode 001: She Believed She Couldn’t. (SHOW NOTES)

In this special first episode, get ready for an adventure! You’ll leave believing that transformation in your life is possible. I share my story—all the hard parts that led to the good parts—and I have a few surprise guests!

Episode 002: 6 Ways to Not Waste Your Life. (SHOW NOTES)

Feeling like your to-do list is running you into the ground? Never feel like you have time for the good stuff of life? Listen in as I tell you about the time I almost ran into a wall. Everything on my to-do list felt urgent and the only thing that felt done was me. Can you relate? This episode will give you peace and a new way to do your life!

Episode 003: How to Follow Through on Your Goals. (SHOW NOTES)

Pressure-filled goal setting? Adding more to my already-full plate? No, thank you! This is goal setting for people who hate goal setting. Step by step, you’ll uncover goals that last—goals you want to follow through on. No perfection required!

I can’t wait to hear which episode is your favorite! Subscribe to the Cultivate Your Life podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode! And sign up below for inbox updates ahead!

 
 
 

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If you love the podcast, I’d be so grateful if you left a 5-star review today on iTunes—each review helps other people find this free encouragement! Click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. I’ll be featuring a few of your reviews on the show soon!

Want graphics to share this podcast with friends? Here you go (thank you so much for sharing)! I hope this podcast encourages you—I’m excited for you to listen in!

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