Ever get the feeling life is passing you by?

You think, Where has the time gone? And the next thought that comes to your mind: Am I using this gift of a life well?

How we spend our time is how we spend our lives.

We all want our lives to add up to something.

But, it’s easy to get stuck, isn’t it? Stuck in the mundane daily routine of sameness or busy—and you just don’t know how to break the cycle. 

I reached that point in 2009. I felt like I wasn’t living my purpose, and I was frustrated. I didn’t think it was possible for anything to change, though I wanted my life to change and I wanted to make things happen.

I just didn’t know how to do it.

In the midst of feeling stuck—and learning from that season how to break free—I posted a blog entry answering a question I’d recently been emailed: “How do you make things happen?”

That blog post (“How to Make Things Happen“) started making waves. Those waves grew quickly into a movement of women just like you. Women who wanted to finally do the things they’d always wanted to do.

A friend suggested I take the ideas I had shared in that post on the road and teach them. Before I knew it, Emily LeyGina Zeidler and I were traveling all across the country doing the Making Things Happen Workshop!

MTH Spring 2017! Photo by Amy Nicole.

But, here’s where the story takes a turn.

I did all the things I wanted to do, too. I had a growing business. I was traveling and speaking and doing creative work. But, it came at a cost. I didn’t know how to balance it all and learned firsthand that doing too much of (even) a good thing is too much. My marriage was falling apart. I was working 24/7 at the expense of everything else. My work became my worth. You can read the whole story in my book Make It Happen.

I couldn’t succeed on mere passion and gusto. Sound familiar? Do you feel like you’re running on empty? I had to learn to make the right things happen. I began learning these truths:

Making things happen means knowing that you don’t have to do it all, be it all, or have it all.

Making things happen is about focusing on what MATTERS–on growing what lasts longer than you.


Making things happen means learning to say NO to what is holding you back, and YES to your unique purpose.

Making things happen means making decisions that will get you to where you want to be when you’re 80, 90, or 100 years old, TODAY.

Making things happen means taking risks, taking action, and embracing good change.

Making things happen—the right things—changes everything.

As I began learning these truths and living them, the Making Things Happen movement did a 180-degree turn, too. We got off the road and turned the intensive into a two-day conference here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. But, the biggest change of all was teaching attendees that last truth above–how to make the right things happen.

While everyone else keeps saying what they’ve always said—“Do more! Be more!”—here we are, nine years later (9 years!), teaching something entirely different: do less. Do what matters.

Need some of that in your life?

You CAN take action on those truths, too, starting from right where you are.

It’s time to invest in yourself and join me in March! This will be our only conference of 2019, and we’re excited to make it our best yet!

Meet the Spring 2019 Encouragement Crew!

Who is MTH for? It’s for YOU! You won’t just be listening to a panel of speakers tell you how to do things; we do the work together! You’ll be led through a powerful process where YOU uncover good goals and make an action plan that fits your specific life and dreams. MTH is for everyone: love-at-home moms, corporate CEOs, students, retirees, creatives, non-creatives, and everyone in between. Whether you know what you want to make happen and need an action plan, or you need help uncovering good goals, MTH is for you. And all ages join us, from college freshmen to women in their 60’s who are ready for a new chapter in life!

If you want to live intentionally and make the most of your time and talents, MTH is for you.

MTH is unlike any other conference. It’s like doing PowerSheets in person and meeting a group of women who think like you and will cheer you on in every step forward. Together, we uncover what matters to you and do something about it. Every time I lead this conference, I do the work right along with the attendees. And every time I’m changed. There’s no magic to it, but we have learned a lot over these nine years to help us all simplify and take action.

You might be a mother or wife who is struggling to balance family responsibilities. You might be a working professional trying to run with a big idea. Or you might be a small business owner burning the candle at both ends. (Or all of the above!) It’s time to give yourself the best gift you can in 2019—the gift of uninterrupted time. Time to dream and make a plan you can’t wait to get started on. If you’re ready to use your potential on purpose, MTH is for you.

I love getting to know you at MTH! Photo by Carrie Joy Osborne

I want you to join me in Chapel Hill on March 25th and 26th for our 55th experience! Many of you have told me you’d love to come. Take the leap. I’ve been doing this conference for nine years, and I believe in the work we are doing. Your gifts have a purpose and they were meant to be used!

You can continue on doing the same things you’ve always done and getting the same results you’ve always gotten, OR, you can do things differently. You can get unstuck and live on purpose.

BUT YOU’LL NEED TO HURRY! The early-bird rate ($1000 off) ends January 31!Want to take a peek inside the conference? Take a look here. I can’t wait to see you there!

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? Now is your time to do the right things. We can’t wait for you to dig in!

Don’t miss this: GET YOUR SEAT NOW!

How it feels when you finish day 2 of MTH (Meeta came all the way from India!)…

Photos by Rachel Coffey 

See you there!

P.S. We’re giving away one scholarship seat in memory of my long-time friend, Yvette Price, who embodied all that we teach at MTH. She was courageous in her battle with cancer and made what matters happen despite great challenges. In her honor, we’re grateful to give away one seat to either an alum or new attendee. This scholarship is for the full ticket price not including travel or accommodations. Enter below to win the Yvette Price Scholarship! Note: If you are our lucky winner and have already purchased your ticket, we will issue you a full refund. Don’t miss your chance to purchase a ticket before we sell out!

This giveaway is now closed and our winner is: Amanda Johnson! We can’t wait to see you at MTH!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’d love to hear from you: what do you want to make happen?

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Did you wake up on January 1 this year and think one of the following?

—I’m behind!
—I don’t know what my goals are yet—I feel like it’s too late.
—I haven’t followed through before, so why try?!
—I already messed up and I feel like a failure.
—I have to make perfect progress or I won’t accomplish my goals (spoiler alert: not true!).

Maybe you’re feeling these things right this minute. This episode of the Cultivate Your Life Podcast will be the biggest dose of relief because I have a lot of practical advice for you! Let’s talk — LISTEN NOW!

In this episode:

— You’ll feel so relieved when you learn how to get started on your goals—especially if you’ve had an imperfect start this year.
— You’ll find out the “third option” that allowed me to do less and make it mean more last year. Sometimes there are more than two choices.
— You’ll let go of feeling overwhelmed this year. It will feel so good!
— You’ll learn that it’s okay to grow slow—and 3 reasons why slow growth is better than fast by far.
— You’ll hear about a few of the easy ways I keep myself accountable to my goals. They’re practical and simple—you can do them right now!
— You’ll complete the one action step you need to do to make this your best year yet… no matter how it started!
— You’ll hear from some surprise guests. Just wait! 🙂

Interested in some of the things I mentioned throughout this episode? Here you go!

— Never heard of PowerSheets®? This is the tool I use to bridge the gap between where I want to be when I’m 80 and what I’m doing about it today. This is a system that works—you take action on the things that matter to you throughout the year instead of just setting goals once a year and forgetting about them by February 1st. Use code BREAKITDOWN for 25% off your yearly set!
Tim Herra’s New York Times article: Micro Progress and the Magic of Just Getting Started.
USA Today article by Joseph Luciani: Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail.
— Get all the details on my friend Nancy Ray’s Contentment Challenge and read how I’ve modified it for my life in the past.
— The Cultivate Sticky Note Set is just one of the ways I surround myself with reminders of where I’m going. These happy, cheerful notes will keep you motivated and organized!
— It’s not too late to join our Fresh Faith Challenge, where we’re writing out scripture each day in January together – the perfect way to start the new year! I’m using my Write the Word journal, but you can get started with whatever you have on hand.
Here are my four 2019 Goals for this year of HEART (I can’t wait to hear yours, too!). 
—One of my mini goals this year is to read God and Money with Ari.

LOVE IT? SHARE IT! Text, email, carrier pigeon—share this episode with friends however you like! Feel free to snag one of these graphics to share.

WANT AN EMAIL WHEN A NEW EPISODE GOES LIVE? Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you a note when a new episode goes live!

I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! Come say hi on Instagram!And if you loved the outro, don’t miss the “Ari Raps” highlight on my Instagram!

SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Cultivate Your Life podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, please leave a quick review on iTunes—it helps other women find this free encouragement! Just 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 some of your reviews in a future episode!

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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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