Is it okay to set goals as a Christian? What does the Bible say about goals? How do you know if a goal is from God or from yourself?

Whew! How’s a girl supposed to figure these things out? We’ve got you! I sat down with my friends Jess Connolly and Chrystal Evans Hurst—and an open Bible—to get answers for you. (And they might surprise you!). Ready to hear some truth? LISTEN NOW.

In this episode:

— You’ll meet my friend Jess Connolly (who most recently launched Go and Tell Gals!). We talk about how God wants to give us insight into “where to go” in our lives—and about worshipping on the way.
— Jess shares why she loves the first 20 pages of PowerSheets, and three check points to know if you’re choosing the “right” goals (truth: quit believing that the aim of your life is to be right!).
— We talk about the importance of walking with God through our goals instead of making a “set it and forget it” list — that the “how” can shift as long as the “why” is strong.
— We talk about two keys to knowing if something is a God-led goal (spoiler alert: it doesn’t always have to include a mission trip).
— Jess tells us about a time she failed on a goal, and about four things she does in the aftermath of “failing” to learn from the experience and move forward. You will love this part!
— Then, you’ll meet my friend Chrystal, a speaker, writer, and fellow homeschool mama! She starts by connecting goal setting to our royal lineage and reminds us to keep God in goal setting by “keeping the main thing the main thing” but also listening to the desires of our heart.
— Chrystal reminds us God gets joy out of seeing us exercise our creativity and dominion, and that the Holy Spirit is waiting to help us discern the goals God has for us (ask: where is their unrest and unease in my life?).
— We talk about creating moments we love in the lives we’re living, moments that remind us of the people we were made to be – one of my favorite parts of the interview!
— We get a powerful reminder to live as if there’s hope (because we know there is!): “where you are right now is not where you will be forever.”
— Finally, we talk about what to do when you “lose your song.”

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

— You can connect with Jess Connolly on her website as well as on Instagram, and with Chrystal at and on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I love following both of these ladies!
— Looking for more on how to set goals as a Christian? Download our YouVersion reading plan, God + Goals. This 5-day reading plan is the perfect next step after listening to this episode.
— Love what you heard here? Ready for a “life reset button”? Join Chrystal and me at the 56th Making Things Happen Conference in Chapel Hill, NC this March!
— Jess was so kind to talk about how she uses her PowerSheets. We’re sold out of 2019 One-Year planners but have six-month sets in stock now!
— Chrystal emphasized breaking your goals down into bite-size pieces, exactly what we talked about in Break It Down Week. Start with this post on the Cultivate blog for more!
— Looking to plant the seeds of faith in the hearts of your little ones? Write the Word for Kids is the perfect activity for them to enjoy alongside you in your own study and quiet time!
— We mention a few pieces of scripture throughout the episode: Jeremiah 29:11, Genesis 1, Ephesians 2:10, and Matthew 7.
— Chrystal talked about how writing notes to people fires her up – if that’s you, you’ll love our Joyful Greeting Card set!

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.

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I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! Come say hi on Instagram! I love sharing my life with you! 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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We don’t like imperfect starts, do we?
We want perfect right out of the gate.
But all plants grow through the dirt, and so do we.
Making a mess doesn’t mean you become one. – Cultivate

Feeling guilty about not making progress on your goals or not starting them at all?

February 1 can be your January 1! (And if so, you’ll love this podcast episode!)

80% of people give up on their goals by mid-February. Are you feeling that creep up? Learn how to break your goals down and choose the right goals for your season in these top posts from January:

How to Make Your Goals Happen
How to Choose the Right Goals for 2019
The Key to Progress: Mini Goals
How to Fail on Your Goals
How to Take the First Step on Your Goals

To help us all buck that giving-up-by-mid-February statistic, get ready for the 3rd-Annual Cultivate What Matters Day (Feb 13th)! Download a reminder for your calendar —> Cultivate_What_Matters_Day. Mark your planners for a day of taking ONE next best step on your goals—maybe the one you’ve been afraid to take. We’re going to take that one step together—no perfection required!

You can make imperfect progress on a goal and still achieve your goal.

You can have weeds and still grow flowers in your garden.

You can do less and make it mean more.

January was a month of digging into those truths and taking first steps into new habits to kick off the year. And it was a month of intentionally starting SLOWLY so I don’t burn myself out. More in the podcast episode “There’s Nothing Magical About January 1st.

Here’s a recap of my January goals and what I learned:

That was so fun! In the video I share how I made progress on my goals and lots of practical tips, including how to color-code your goals to help you follow-through. This is a game-changer for me! Links I mention in the video:

Goal Setting Sticker book with color coding system
Free Prints
— Write the Word
How to Plan Your Year
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

On to February!

February Monthly Goals:
— Continue the Contentment Challenge
— Train leaders – help grow our leadership team at work
— Do a seed exchange!!! Eeee!!! More to come on this. Given my No Spend Year goal, I’m particularly excited about this!
— On that note, start some of our seeds indoors (the kids love this!)
— Work with Ari on what we’re calling our “Finish Line Plan” (not a retirement finish line, but, the impact we make with how we use the resources God has entrusted to us that lasts far beyond us). We’ll be digging through the first steps in February from God + Money about giving and the big picture.
— Send the 2020 PowerSheets to print
— Prayerfully record the podcast

February Weekly goals:
— Study what the Word says about God’s heart (and mine!)
— Continue reading God + Money with Ari
— Disciple and be discipled
— Weekly family Sabbath

February Daily Goals:
— Old Testament Bible Reading. (P.S. Need a great 5-day Bible reading plan?)
— Through the Fresh Faith Challenge, I discovered a new habit of writing the Word at night before bed (instead of looking at my phone) and it has been so fruitful! I’m keeping it going in February.
— Sing
— Work. It. Out. I am seeing how much pushing myself to work out harder helps my stress levels each day. This is so tricky in the winter to get this done with all three kids with me (normally we go outside to walk together), but I’m determined! Listen to my new workout playlist here.
— Neck exercises – my neck injury has progressively gotten worse, so I’m focusing more on my at-home physical therapy exercises. I have an alarm set to do them 6 – 8 times a day. I’m doubling this as prayer time, too!

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

P.S. Just getting started on your PowerSheets and want me to coach you through how to fill in your Tending List? You got it!

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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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