Welcome to the final post in my fifth-annual Goal Setting Series! Each year, I am left in awe of the leaps of faith you take as we go through this process together, and this year tops them all! I am reading every single comment and am so excited for your year ahead. You are making meaningful powerful progress! You are on fire! If you are just joining, it’s never too late to begin and you aren’t “behind” one bit. Now is the best time to get started. Dig in!
2016 Goal Setting, Part 1: What Worked and Where to Start!
2016 Goal Setting, Part 2: What Didn’t Work + What I Learned
2016 Goal Setting, Part 3: Say Yes, Say No, Choose a Word
2016 Goal Setting, Part 4: Set Good Goals
Okay, let’s do some dreaming together! Imagine it: the end of 2016. The weather gets colder, December 2016 rolls around, and you start looking back at the year you’ve just lived. What would it take for you to look back and know that you lived on purpose instead of by accident?
What will you wish you had started today? Fill in these blanks below (get your free printable here!):
Knowing where you want to be at the end of 2016, what do you need to cultivate today? Literally today. However many hours or minutes are left as you read this (even if you are reading this in bed), how can you make one small decision in the right direction?
My friend Lysa says that every decision we make has an arrow attached to it, pointing us in one direction or another. Your decisions have the power to fly through all the distractions and fear and aim for a clear target, OR they can float around and miss the goal.
I want my decision arrows aimed right at Jesus. So, today, I made some decisions and finished my 2016 PowerSheets Goal Setting process. The goals I’m about to share with you may seem simple, but they are boldest scariest goals I’ve ever written. They are coming from a place of restlessness, knowing I’m not using all of my potential yet, but also knowing that the impossible is possible. I have great hope in these goals. My goals are “simple” and that’s leaving lots of room for God to change everything on my path. And you know what? His plans have always been better than mine. I’m up for it.
I’m leaning into the mess and the unknown. I’m willing to let go and not be perfect. I’m willing to sit in the restlessness and un-rushed pace of the little by little to get to the end of this year knowing I lived on purpose. Making hard and powerful decisions with focused arrows attached to them will be worth it. The tending and watering and waiting and getting messy and growing pains will be worth it to get to the flourishing harvest at the end!
I’m all in.
Maybe you are feeling the same hesitation-scary-I’mALLin feeling with me right this second! Let’s choose a new way through the fear together. I’m choosing faith over my fear and I invite you to take the leap with me. Let’s cultivate the faith part, little by little, and the fear part will dry up. We’re not going to fertilize the fear this year, friend! Are you with me?
Like I said in my first post, you can’t do it all and do it well. Here’s what’s on my mind right now: Two sick babes (one sleeping here on my lap!), 70,000 words to finish in 7 weeks, a family group to encourage, a team of women to lead, a new baby coming in 7 weeks on February 26th (!!!) and so much unknown in adoption and all that is ahead, a home study to renew (since we’ve been in the wait for over a year, it expired), a house to prepare for a new baby, maternity leave to prep for, a business that’s about to go through a major transition period with new employees to train (one flying here on Monday!) and two going on maternity leave (Emily and me), and well… a lot of emotions about all of this. I know I cannot do all the things in front of me well. I have to decide what to focus on and let go of the rest. I have to surrender and trust.
Can you see my white flag waving from where you are? Because it’s flying high. I surrender, and I’m making decisions today to flourish in this year ahead. At the end of 2016, I won’t regret these arrows I’m sending direct to the target!
I’m saying YES to the mess and (here goes!) no to the internet for two months. I’ll check in every so often (likely just on Periscope once a week to update you on adoption and writing, so follow me there and turn on your notifications!), but I won’t be on social media or email or text messages (sorry in advance friends) much for these eight weeks while I focus on what’s needed inside the four walls of our home: drinking in the Word, praying out my soul and all these emotions, and pouring all He gives me into Ari, my children, preparing for our littlest girl, and these book pages. I’ll still be talking to you every day, you’ll just have to wait a few months to read my words to you : )
I said YES today to trusting that my team is equipped and ready for this season of Emily and I being out. They are incredible, capable, inspiring, magic-filled women. I am so grateful.
I’ve said YES to unrushing my life and stopping each day to look my children in the eyes to tell them how special they are to God and to me. YES to cultivating a flourishing faith in them too : )
I’m saying YES to building Ari up this year in his faith and loving him well. I’m saying yes to the year of monthly date nights that I gifted the ladies in my office, and committed to enjoying with Ari too!
There’s more, and this post is so “undone” but, our adoption case manager just called and it was another reminder to choosing purpose over perfect right now. My decision arrows are cutting through all the things to get to THE thing I need to do right now: write the words He has given me.
A sneak peek. The book is called, Cultivate: A Grace-filled Guide to an Intentional Life. It’s a guide to embracing imperfect progress and making what matters happen, little by little. It’s a book about flourishing in life and goal gardening. I’ve never been so excited to write. I’m so ready!
I just paused in writing this to go downstairs and hug Gracie. I found a package in the kitchen with this inside from my friend Erin: a 2016 calendar full of blooms and seed packets. Oh my soul! Y’all. I’m crying typing this. Erin, I love you friend! YES to filling the pages of this calendar with flourishing faith, family, and imperfect progress this year. Yes to planting meaningful seeds today that will grow and bloom with time and tending!
A little of Erin’s story: Years ago she left the hustle and bustle of city life to pursue a slower, simpler and more intentional lifestyle. She and her family dreamed of eating fresh vegetables from their garden, tending a flock of chickens and planting a small orchard. Shortly after they moved in, a generous neighbor brought his tractor over and tilled up a new plot of ground so that she could plant a garden. “Tucked among the many vegetables in that early garden was a double row of flowering sweet peas planted in honor of my great grandmother. Grammy had introduced me to gardening and flowers at a very young age. As a child, I was her “little flower girl” and she tasked me with making bouquets for her bedside table. While my creations were far from beautiful, she always cooed over them as if they were the most precious things on earth. Flowers were a source of great joy and connection between us. So, when the first flush of sweet peas bloomed in our new garden, it felt as if she were there with me. I shared much of the gardens bounty with friends, family and anyone who crossed my path. During that abundant season, word got out and someone ordered a jar of flowers for a friend. I’ll never forget that day as I nervously knocked on her door and awkwardly thrust the bouquet into her hands. Surprised, she buried her face in the flowers and tears immediately welled up in her eyes. She was instantly transported back to her own childhood summers, to a time of great happiness and to her own grandmother’s garden… right then and there I knew I had found my calling.” Isn’t her story encouraging!? Erin inspires me to dig in, take the leap, and live on purpose!
With that, here are my 2016 Goals for this year of cultivating what matters and flourishing in faith:
I came up with only two goals for 2016. If I can do these two things, I know that the rest of life will indeed flourish. (Can you guess that I changed my word for the year ahead? Yep! Flourish kept popping up as I wrote my goals and went through the end of this process!)
Goal 1: Study the Word.
Why? To know the true God. This is the way to everything good—in marriage, business, health, friendships, motherhood, all of life. THIS is the way to lead and love well and to get to where I want to be when I’m 80.
The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: I will transform.
How I will feel at the end of this year having made progress on this goal: ALIVE! I will not regret the time I took to do this!
- Pray about and decide on a study plan. I’m thinking I will study the Old Testament this year and the NT in 2017, but it may take longer to study through the OT.
- Use a spiral bound notebook and open it on my desk with an open Bible and a pen ready.
- Use Jen Wilkin’s method of studying scripture, as well as Jane’s.
- Use my Write the Word journals daily.
- Use a journaling Bible to get creative in the Word and be inspired by the Illustrated Faith community.
- Have a bag ready with a pen and Bible inside to be able to take my studying on the go.
- Set up my desk to be a place of studying the Word as my main focus – open Bible and materials.
- Invite Gracie to join me and set up supplies (colorful paper, Bible, pens) for her too!- DONE! I made her a drawer in my desk with paper, pens, and a little Bible.
- Write this sign to post on my desk: A year of sprouting under the soil, breaking free and letting go of my outer shell, and soaking up nutrients in order to bloom! – DONE!
How I will know I accomplished this goal: By the fruit of my life (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – Gal 5:22-23) having chosen to study the Word more than I study the world.
Encouraging words: But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:2-3 ESV
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. – Psalm 119:10-12
How I will celebrate at the end of 2016: Anyone have ideas here? I am not sure!
Goal 2: Pray — in my “war room.” (Read this book or watch this movie!)
Why? To meet and be transformed and INFORMED by God.
The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: I will live a peace-filled un-rushed life, and be able to make wise decisions.
How I will feel at the end of this year having made progress on this goal: Connected. Peaceful. Joyful. Taken care of. Whole!
- Take everything off my office walls down. – DONE!
- Ask God what to do next and what prayers to put on the walls. – DONE!
- Write the prayers on colorful paper to put on the walls, and write prayers in my VMP Prayer Journal. – DONE!
- Get on my knees here in my “war room” and talk to God! – DONE!
- Write family prayers on the kitchen bulletin board.
- Pray with Grace at night before bed. – DONE last night!
- Continue to pray with Ari every morning before work and at meals and whenever we feel God tell us to! – DONE this morning!
- What helps you to pray? I’d love to know! Ideas are welcome!
Side note: Grace is now sitting here with me and she wanted me to write these exact words to you: “Prayer is a good thing. It helps you to know God. God is in the clouds with Jesus. Mommy, I want to write God is so good. (singing now —>) God is so good. He’s so good to me! God answers prayers. Hallelujah! God is so good!”
Amen, sweet girl!
How I will know I accomplished this goal: By the fruit of my life (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – Gal 5:22-23) having chosen to pray and talk to God more than I seek approval or comfort from the world.
Encouraging words: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thess 5:16-18
How I will celebrate at the end of 2016: I will paint my answered prayers on Christmas Day on a big canvas for our living room with Grace. I already have the canvas. I’m teary-eyed thinking about this!
I just let out a sign of relief. How these goals will play out over the next 12 months will be more specific as I do my monthly PowerSheets pages, but I am so grateful for this process and clarity! I know where I’m going.
Also, here are my business goals from doing our company PowerSheets together:
- Lead team WELL and cultivate a culture of WELL.
- Write Cultivate in January and February and release well in December.
- Start a movement of making a mess and embracing imperfect progress. Goal setting with open hands.
- Prepare for and enjoy a joyful adoption maternity leave.
- Hand off company finances and back-end business this year so I can transition to a part-time role, focusing on writing and big-picture creativity.
- Lead teaching on new PowerSheets site to help people make meaningful life goals happen and embrace imperfect progress.
- Create meaningful small collection of shop products.
- Write and release Couples PowerSheets.
- Create meaningful new 2017 PowerSheets.
- Create meaningful Write The Word content throughout the year.
- Meaningful speaking and teaching through MTH and online conferences.
- Lead big picture team vision and mission-centered decisions.
- End the year knowing we lived and created from filled wells, and experienced beautiful team unity doing the good work we were given to do.
Whether you came up with two goals or twenty, I hope you feel more focused on what matters most having done each step alongside me! I am excited to check in with you here on the blog throughout the year to see how you are doing and encourage you. Tell me in the comments: what are your 2016 goals?
Lastly, thank you! Thank you for joining me on this journey. I am still going to be reading every blog comment here and cheering you on. Taking this little by little has been worth it and I am praying you find the same is true for you. Choose to focus on progress—little by little progress—not perfection. Your seemingly small steps forward today will add up, and a year from now, you will be so grateful you started today! Get messy and make it happen, friend!
Thank you, Lord, for this new year of life. Thank you for my little redheads and for loving us with blooms and bees and all the marvelous things you grew in 2015. My heart feels a little unkempt going into this new year. Help me to let go of control, fear, worry, comparison, and anything that will hold me back from the unique assignment you have for me. I ask you to multiply my trust and relationship with you like never before. Let this be the year that my faith flourishes, and the dry parched areas become blooming fields. Lord, maybe there is someone reading this that wants that too. Help my friend. Help us to let go of what’s behind, experiencing grace and healing in anything left unresolved. Help the soil of our hearts to become rich with You. Life-giving healing You. Help me to begin this new year with an open, repentant, ready heart. But most of all, help me to let go of the belief that I can do anything on my own in the year ahead. I flounder around without you. I lose my way. But, with you I am found. I am content. I trust. I do not fear. You made this little boy sleeping next to me, and he is a miracle. Our rainbow baby. You made her too. Our littlest girl. I’m so excited to meet her in 7ish weeks. Lord, you are so good to us. Life is going to radically change this year and I want to choose you. Over worry. Over anxiety. Over pride. Over unbelief. Over the world and all the things. Help me remember the story you’ve already written in my life – that the impossible is possible. You can change broken imperfect people like me. You are the author of life change. May I use my days and minutes ahead well for you. Passionately. Quietly. Joyfully. – 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 for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14
Comment with your answers from each step as we go through this series and enter to win these goodies via the Rafflecopter box at the bottom. One person who comments with answers to every step in this series will win a bonus prize: A (spiral bound) One-Year PowerSheets Workbook. I’m determined to motive you to dig in with me on these powerful steps!
1. A set of 2016 PowerSheets with a Make It Happen binder and colorful tab stickers
2. Five prints of your choice from the Lara Casey Shop
3. The Finishing School by Valerie Metrejean
4. The Make it Happen audio book, recorded by yours truly!
5. A Journaling Bible (NIV)
6. Five Make it Happen journals
7. Artist’s Loft Fundamentals Watercolor Set
8. Two tubs of Vega Protein and Greens + a Vega shaker cup. Bonus: sign up for a free Vega account to get $15, and I’ll get $15 too!
9. Ashley Brooke Too Legit water bottle
10. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?! 10 2016 Simplified Planners (pineapple daily edition). Yes, TEN of them! Lots of chances to win!
11. What good shall I do this day? sign from Best Made Co
12. Five Make it Happen books
13. Jonathan Adler Grapefruit Candle
– (Not pictured, but so fun!) $25 Amazon gift card for books. Some suggestions: Anything, RestlessEdit, The Best YesEdit, A Confident Heart, The Fringe Hours, or anything on Nancy Ray’s Book Club list.
14. The Write the Word journal collection – volume 1, 2, and 3!
15. Val Marie Paper Prayer Journal
16. Naptime Diaries print of your choice
17. In the Wait study by Holly Holt
18. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
19. How to Study Scripture E-Book by Jane Johnson
20. Make it Count 2016 Bible journaling kit from Illustrated Faith
Updated! Winners below!
1. A set of 2016 PowerSheets
with a Make It Happen binder
and Colorful Tab Stickers
: Jenna Gilbreath
2. Five prints of your choice
from the Lara Casey Shop: Ronda (comment from Jan 6), Angela of Eat Spin Run Repeat, Amanda Paige, Tanika (comment from Jan 5), Lynn Aronson
3. The Finishing School
by Valerie Metrejean: Katie Wilkin
4. The Make it Happen audio book
: Lisa Gilbert
5. A Journaling Bible
(NIV): Monica T Smith
6. Five Make it Happen Journals
: Siena (comment from jan 7), Kathleen Sullivan, Megan Lewellyn, Charmaine (comment from Jan 8), Michelle Bills
7. Artist’s Loft Fundamentals
: Deborah Hailey
8. Two tubs of Vega Protein and Greens + a Vega shaker cup
: Hannah Crain, Em Enockson
9. Ashley Brooke Too Legit water bottle
10. 10 2016 Simplified Planners
(pineapple daily edition). Sarah (comment from Jan 2), Katie of A Place to Dwell, Amanda C., Anna Campbell, Faythe (comment from Jan 1), Stephanie F (comment from Jan 1), Kristi (comment from Jan 1), Lauren D’Orazio, Myra of The Marvelous Mess, Michelle Bills
11. What good shall I do this day
? sign from Best Made Co: Beverly V
12. Five Make it Happen books
: Joanna Hyatt, Courtney Kirkland, Lauren D., Becky Brunner, Cortney Jones
13. Jonathan Adler Grapefruit Candle
: Janet K
21. Amazon Gift Card: Jessica P.
PowerSheets Workbook: Terri Cook!
Please email Stephanie – email@example.com with your mailing address and she will get your goodies to you! : ) Congrats, everyone!
P.S. The e-book of Make It Happen is on sale for 3.99 this week only! Get it here!
P.P.S. After starting this series, need more direction? Three places to start:
1. Grab a copy of my book, Make it Happen.
2. Pre-order your PowerSheets.
3. Join me in person for the Making Things Happen Conference in March. See you there!