What’s that sound? That’s this bear cub coming out of hibernation after a long winter. I can’t say, “where did the time go?” because I know where it went. It went into the 74,000 words I poured my whole self into these last months.
My book manuscript is finally turned in. It’s in second draft format, currently in the hands of an editor, and I am waiting for my next round of suggested edits to come in. This whole book process has been a new adventure for me — new in every sense. I’m going to share a behind-the-scenes look at the process of writing this book and what I learned in my next newsletter. Sign up using the little box at the end of this post.
In my mind, May is the new January. I’m starting fresh this month. Starting new. Starting with a new heart after all I learned in writing. Spend 100+ days writing about what matters most and you’ll find yourself changed. But, I am taking my time in acting on that change. Well… some of it anyway.
May is my month to dig into new soil around here, literally and figuratively. I’m planting my vegetable garden and starting fresh with my PowerSheets. Purposeful goals take time and I hope to have a NEW, very purposeful, prayer-over, list in my PowerSheets by the end of this month. If you don’t have a set of PowerSheets, get one. We only have about 600 sets left and they have been going fast lately. Looks like y’all are feeling the need for a fresh start lately too! If you are reading this post, use the code STARTFRESHMAY for 25% off your entire order.
If anyone wants to join me in starting fresh (in any way — not just in goal setting), use the hashtag #StartFreshMay.
And, I’m trying something new…
Join me in a couple weeks, on May 14th, from 12 to 1pm EST, for a #StartFreshMay Google Hangout. This will be really casual — a time of encouragement and getting to know each other. I hope new friendships are formed from this and I can’t wait to hear how you are starting fresh! Join here (I think you have to add me to a circle or something).
Let’s get intentional about how we are using our time in this busy season. Even if it feels impossible to put the brakes on, if you are reading this post, you have enough time in your day to make what matters happen. Starting fresh — in whatever needs a new start for you — will be worth it. I’m going to take time to pray (by myself and with friends on the phone — another new thing I’m trying to do more), read the Bible, and work through each of the PowerSheets steps one by one with fresh eyes. This is my month to look at how I’m doing just about everything and ask how I could do it more intentionally. I am excited and, more than that, just plain grateful.
Whatever that thing is that is calling your heart to start new, take the leap. Whether it’s a relationship that needs your all or a creative pursuit or loving someone well or writing your soul or gutting your closet or planting your garden — do it. Dig deep into fresh soil with me, friend. I can’t wait to be inspired by your #StartFreshMay journey too.
– Start fresh in whatever area of life needs it most. Start today. You can do this. – Hang out with me in a couple weeks. – Sign up for the newsletter (below) for a behind-the-scenes on my book soon. – I’d love to hear from you here or on social media about what you are starting fresh with. Let’s encourage others too who might be feeling the need for this.
May is the new January. Let’s do this!
P.S. I’m going to release my book cover very soon, as well as some exciting pre-order news. God is good. I am so grateful. More to come. Sign up for my newsletter below to be the first to know.
Hi. I’m still alive. Very alive, in fact. More than when I last wrote you here. For the last two months, all day every day, I have been writing a book. That doesn’t mean I’ve been just typing words, though. It has been soul-changing. I’ve been battling with my fear — so much fear — and my past failures and, stroke by stroke on this keyboard, I have been battling to say no to the lies that tell me I can’t do this and YES to what God wants me to write.
I presented my book yesterday in Nashville, but there is so much more to write — many chapters and edits to go. But, I am stopping in quickly to say:
Thank you. I am so grateful for many prayers and encouraging words that have kept me going as I write.
Keep going. If you are feeling afraid or stuck or lost, keep focusing on what matters. Keep going.
Lastly, I’m so behind on many things, but all for a good reason. One of those things is announcing the winners of the Goal Setting Series Giveaways from January! Winners are below and were chosen by random. Congrats to everyone who entered and high fives to everyone who participated. The real prize is making what matters happen with your goals!
Ladies, please email [email protected] and she will get your prizes to you! If they aren’t claimed within 30 days, we will give them to another entrant.
OK, off to write more. And until I finish this book, I’m having a “Finish Your Book Already” sale. Click here to see all of our new products. EVERYTHING in the shop is 25% OFF with code MAKEITHAPPEN : )
First of all, if you are just joining us, welcome! While we might be ten days into the new year, it’s never ever too late to begin something new, let something go, or get focused on what matters. #2014GoalSetting can happen anytime. We’re not setting fleeting resolutions for the year, we’re setting good life goals here. Good goals give you freedom and focus.
The 2014 Goal Setting steps so far so you can get started:
In my reading this morning, my 2014 goals — or goal — hit me. Here is what I read:
Peter speaking to a large crowd: “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. … Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
And this is what lights my heart on fire…
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:32-47 NIV)
If you’ve been reading my blog the last couple years, you know that this section of scripture has always been like fire in my heart. That life of giving and in community and living with just what they needed (and many times less than that) was their response to knowing Him. They heard. They believed. Without hesitation, they acted. Their lifestyle drastically changed because of knowing Him.
You see, we (me included) like to change external things in order to change the internal things. External changes can definitely ignite the internal at times. A new hair cut or clean house can make us feel fresh and new. Moving furniture around and getting new office supplies can give us a boost. But, there are deeper layers. He can peel back all of your layers and make them new. Belief changes our hearts and causes us to ACT on what matters. It causes a bigger shift than new office supplies can ever ignite.
For me, I feel that God has put it on my heart to make this the “Year of Clear.” To see God’s heart clearly and my heart clearly — no matter how messy sometimes — and to keep aligning my heart with His. My 2014 Vision is to love my neighbor as myself by sharing the clear truth that has changed and continues to change me. My 2014 Vision is to couple boldness with tenderness, knowing I am weak and that I can’t do anything good without Him, and to speak the truth in love to others. I want to use all of the gifts He has given me and give them all away. To borrow a powerful phrase from my friends Jessi and Hayley, my 2014 Vision is to be “wild and free” for Him in spreading the Gospel and living in His joy. My 2014 Vision is to see through His lenses and do something — everything — about it. I am praying for heart change and the fruit of that heart change to multiply love and point directly to Him.
I am so grateful that I intentionally set goals last year. My 2014 goals are not new, per se, but they are further refined and CLEAR. This process has been so powerful for me! Before you dive into setting your own goals, be sure to go through all of the previous posts and steps. Make sure your goals are centered on what matters and that you has a strong WHY with each goal. For the sake of space, I didn’t wrote my WHY for you in every box below, but I wrote them for myself. My 2014 Goals:
This is just a start for me and I will refine these as I pray on them. Remember that this is a process and you should be changing and updating your goals along the way. Just to keep you (and me!) accountable, do this… put these dates as reminders on your calendars as check-in points: April 10, July 10, and October 10. I put them on my calendar too and I will check back in here to let you know how my goals are progressing and I will want to hear about yours. All of your comments in this series have been so inspiring! There is SO much greatness waiting for you in this new year! Be sure to comment here with your 2014 Goals, too! Share them and you will be more accountable and likely inspire someone else. Don’t be a lurker anymore, friends. Jump in : )
If you need an extra kick in the pants to make this happen, I’m going to be giving away a $20 gift code to my shop and goodies from other shops I love on EVERY POST in this series to one lucky commenter per post. You can win multiple times and you can increase your chances of winning by:
– Pinning this post or any in the series – Instagramming – Facebooking – Tweeting – Blogging or in any way sharing this post/series – For all entires, link back here to www.LaraCasey.com/blog and use the #2014GoalSettinghashtag. You are welcome to use graphics from my posts! – Lastly, leave a comment saying you did any of the above. You can enter as many times as you like on all posts! I’m going to choose some extra winners along the way, too, for some special surprises : )
A peek at some of the prizes in this series….
– Winners for all posts will be selected on January 31, so you have plenty of time to spread the word and make it happen! I want you — yes YOU — to make what matters happen in your life. So, help me spread the word and let’s get all our friends in on this for accountability! Making things happen is always better when shared : ) YAHOO!!!
So, tell me! What are your 2014 Goals?
P.S. So, you have your goals and you are asking, NOW WHAT? How do you tackle them? Where do you start? That post is up next, but you are far more capable than you think. My next post in a nutshell: begin anywhere. Tiny bold steps forward build momentum to make things happen! Get to it!
I don’t write about and study goal setting because I’m naturally good at it. I need accountability and some serious pants-kicking to make things happen. I remember so clearly standing on a beach in Maui with Natalie Norton years ago, telling her I just “don’t set goals.” She challenged me, waves crashing at our feet, to set some goals that mattered. “Just try it,” she urged. “God wants us to set goals that help Him shine!” Ever since, that has been on my heart. I lived for so long thinking that we should just sit back and let God make our lives happen. While there is truth to that, God calls us clearly in His word to take action for Him and for the gospel. The Bible is an action book, not a casual read. Jesus had goals. He had a single goal and a core purpose and all of his actions centered on fulfilling that purpose. While we are not Him, we are made in His image and called to walk with Him. So, that’s what I want to try to do. I want to model after the man who laid His life down for others and gave it all and didn’t care about material things and loved people so passionately. I will never come close to having a heart like His here on this earth, but I thing the pursuit of that will be worth all of my failures and shortcomings. Setting goals is good. We need direction and a path to what matters. It’s when we start setting goals that don’t include Him that things get a little (here comes my favorite Southern word!) cattywampus.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
So, last year, I decided things were going to be different. I started my first Goal Setting series to lay out a process that was more thoughtful than what I had done in the past. From there, I developed the PowerSheets and this whole process changed my life. With my PowerSheets, I started to be more mindful of taking action on my core purpose. I realized that I had to give myself a structure or I’d fall into my old habits and forget my goals. So, I pasted my PowerSheets Tending List to the front of my binder each month and kept it out on my desk so I saw it every single day. I prayed on my goals. I even posted my 2013 goals on my new about page for accountability. As I expected, my goals changed through the year. They got clearer. This is why the PowerSheets were only created for a 6 month timeframe. There’s no magic to 356 days. We should always be re-evaluating our goals, not just at the start of a new calendar year. I posted my progress every three months (or when I could!) here: April, August, October. I am so exceedingly grateful that I wrote things down throughout the year. This was new for me and completely changed things. It gave me so much more to celebrate because I didn’t forget good things or let negative things overshadow them. This helped me to have the energy and confidence to keep going when things got hard. It helped me see so much more of God’s goodness that was there all along. 2013, by the grace of God, was a really incredible year. And not because everything went well. It was a great year because I learned more about God’s heart through challenges and mistakes and triumphs and failures. I learned more about where He wants my attention and energy. Here are what my 2013 Goals were:
My update for these 2013 goals is simple: God made it happen. I made significant strides on all of these goals because of His guidance and grace. I still have a long way to go in many of these areas, but I am in awe of how He worked in my life this year. While I didn’t finish reading the Bible completely by December 31, reading it daily this year is honestly where I found the most clear direction to make these things happen. What I learned from all of this: His plans never fail. Ever. They just don’t. Times I pursued things for my ego or lost sight of His purpose for my life, I failed. When I did things for the bigger picture — to build others up in love for Him — He blessed those things. Now, when I say “blessed them” I mean He gave me clear guidance and sometimes that guidance was hard. Sometimes it meant I had to fail at something in order to move forward on His path. But, it was all for a great reason. I also learned that tending to goals little by little is where real lasting and continual progress comes from. I think “little by little” was my key phrase for 2013 and it still is. My Tending List in the PowerSheets was instrumental in keeping me on track. Little by little seeds turn into trees. Little by little babies grow. Little by little — and sometimes in an instant — He makes all things new.
OK, I have 20-something days to finish my book manuscript, so I would definitely appreciate your prayers. My 2014 Goals are up next, but I need a few more days to think on them and get into this manuscript. Till then, post your own 2014 Goals on my last post or feel free to wait till I post mine later this week! I am praying that you all have a remarkable start to 2014 and that you keep your eye on the goal! We can do this, friends!
So, how many of you have ideas about your goals and you are already overwhelmed or anxious about HOW to make them happen? You want all of your goals to have been tackled yesterday. This series is an exercise in patience and doing things little by little to produce real lasting results. If you are feeling overwhelmed, we’re about to dive into some clear waters as we set goals that have meaning. Goals that are rooted in what matters. Goals you WANT to conquer, even if it takes time. Because, you know what? The journey to making those things happen is where the good stuff lives. Your goals may change half-way through the year or you may make them happen faster than you think if you take it day by day by day. This is about progress, not perfection. As my friend Emily says, “The joy is in the journey.” I know you overachievers want to have done everything yesterday, but I have also been reading every single comment on this series. Those of you who are taking this step by step are making remarkable discoveries! I’m so pumped by all the lightbulbs I see going off! Little by little, babies grow. Can you imagine if we got pregnant and the next day have birth to toddlers?? We wouldn’t be ready and we would have missed so much sweetness. It is the same with our goals. They matter enough to make them happen well.
If you are just stumbling on this blog, welcome! It’s never too late to begin! Previous posts:
My LEGACY: The idea of legacy, setting Grace up on a solid path, and using all the gifts God has given me to be a light for Him to others has been on my heart for many months. I wrote this post about creating a “Life List” and encourage you to make one for yourself. You can download a free Life List printable here.
I am breaking my legacy seeds up into two categories:
For Grace (and our future children, Lord willing):
– Inspired by my friend Jeremy Cowart, I started an email account for Grace when she was born that I send happy mail to every so often. When she is older, I will give her the password so she can read years of love letters and good things : ) – I have been working hard on our family photo albums and finally ordered her first year album from Artifact Uprising. Investing in having photographs taken of our family and having them printed is priceless to me. I’m so grateful for the gift of photographs! – I created the Life Handbook and can’t wait to fill this out for Grace with Ari. I also plan to give one to my parents to fill out for Grace, too : ) – I want what I write on this blog to be a legacy for Grace, knowing that some day she may read all of this. Hi beautiful girl : ) – The things in our home. I want her to know we had a love for life and people, not things. I have been working on this constantly, but this is the year of CLEAR so I’ll be getting rid of much more stuff in our home when I get back from traveling. A story that hasn’t left my heart is this story of Meredith’s mom giving away the chairs in her living room. I want to live knowing my things aren’t mine. We are blessed to be a blessing to others. – My book. – The way I interact with strangers, the way I love Ari, how we use our money (working with Will Ray has been a life-changer this year!), cultivating joy away from screens – gardening, playing, reading; how we pray together daily as a family, singing to her, teaching her — all of these things are seeds I am planting daily to show her His love. “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.” – Andy Stanley
What I write, say, do; my book; the way I interact with others in person and one-on-one; the products I create for people to have in their homes; how I share my story and faith; Southern Weddings; the way we deal with conflict; leading my staff well with integrity; serving; giving; teaching students and our interns; teaching through my blog and webinars and speaking; and sending encouragement to others. I can’t wait to hear all of your ideas, too!
My RADICAL: writing my book is the only thing on my mind right now. I have a long way to go in a very short time. But, God is able. Truly. My radical is making this book happen without fear of what others think or how I might be criticized.
My 2014 song: Oceans by Hillsong United. These lyrics!
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Savior
Alright! Welcome to the final steps in this series!
STEP 13: Review. This is important. Get the big picture of everything you’ve written so far in your mind and heart before you write your goals. Read through everything you’ve done so far. Read every word. Look at your 2014 vision statement again and re-write it if you need to. I added to my lists and re-wrote things after going through this process because I got more clarity. Cross stuff out, revise things or add to them. 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 2014 Pinterest board. Take pins out that don’t fit with your Vision. You know you can take photos yourself and put them in your boards, right? Take pics of things that mean something to you and put them in your board. Refine everything and get CLEAR before moving to the final exciting step…
STEP 14: Yeah, yeah, yeah! You’ve made it! Like I told you from the start of this process, traditional goal setting does not work for me. Goals get forgotten and then they linger and make you feel guilty for forgetting them. Anyone else ever experience this? Well, hopefully at this point you are chomping at the bit to write some real goals down! Goals that mean something. Goals that you can’t wait to conquer. Goals that are very clear and will help you live a better life. So, let’s do it!
There are four rules to this:
1. Review! Read through all of your progress again so you have all of it fresh in your mind. Don’t set goals before you do that step above!
2. Make a list of the first goals that come to your mind for this year when right after you review everything you’ve written. I suggest taking a big deep breath, putting on your 2014 song and seeing that 2014 Vision as clearly as you can before writing.
3. Then, check your goals to make sure they are really good goals. It’s so easy to make goals that sound good or goals that other people have that you think you should have, too, just to keep up. Don’t do that. The idea here is for you to SIMPLIFY your life, not to give yourself a new to-do list of random things that sound good. Be very specific and careful about what you decide to spend your time on this year.
Do a GOAL CHECK and ask these questions:
– Will this goal help my 2014 Vision?
– Does this goal also help other people?
– WHY would I spend my time on this goal?
If the answer is NO to that first question, 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. Get specific. Focus on what really matters to you in the big picture. See your 2014 vision and write down goals that strategically help you build that vision. Cross goals out that don’t 100% fit. Revise goals that are not clear. Be BOLD.
4. This is the most important key to goal setting. Write down your WHY with every goal. When I was a personal trainer in New York for many years, most clients would come to me with a number and say, “I want to lose 10 pounds.” I would ask them, “WHY 10 pounds?” Usually, when we got down to it, it was just an arbitrary number, or a weight they were in college. There was no real heart connection to the goal of losing 10 pounds. But, when we dug deeper into WHY they became out of shape in the first place and what they wanted most in life, a picture of true fitness started to emerge. Instead of, “I want to lose 10 pounds because that’s what I weighed in college” (not very motivating and more self-defeating), we worked on goals like, “I want to be healthy and strong so that I can live long enough to walk my daughter down the aisle. I want to live a long, happy life so I can be a better husband and show my kids how to be joyful and healthy, too.” That works. That is motivating. SO, get real with WHY you want these things to happen and connect them to something that really matters to you. It will help you ACT on your goals instead of toss them aside.
I’m going to share my final 2013 goal update Monday and my 2014 goals on Tuesday, so take the weekend, if needed, to really get clear and dig deep about your own 2014 goals. When you are ready, leave them here in the comments on this post or the final post on Tuesday!
Dream big, friends! Your playing small does not serve the world.
Let your light shine, friends. Don’t wait. You never know how long you have left here on this earth to love others and change them for the better in that love. It’s a powerful domino effect. The good you do today changes generations. That’s why setting good goals and having a clear focus is so important. Life is to short and too powerful to coast through. Take your time writing down your goals. Pray on them, talk them out with people you trust. I cannot wait to hear yours! HOORAY!!! Happy weekend, friends!