Jan 18, 2018

How to Get Unstuck with Your Goals

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Need a fresh start in these first few weeks of the year? This post is just for you!

I’ve been breaking a lot of the traditional “rules” this week with my goals, and this is my invitation to you to do the same.

Let’s get you unstuck, shall we?! 🙂

I’ve chosen to grow slowly and take January to test the waters with how I’m acting on my goals. Who made up the rule that we have to make perfect progress on our goals right from January 1st? Who says you can’t try different ways to cultivate your goals—or quit things that aren’t working? Who told us we have to follow a plan that fits in a box? Here’s the truth: there are a million ways to grow a garden, and everyone’s soil is completely unique! In the same way, how you cultivate your goals will be unique too.

But, if something isn’t working, or you aren’t feeling motivated with your goals, try one of these five things:

1. Push through and give it a fighting chance. I’m gonna pull some North Carolina history out on you: the Wright Brothers. They changed history through their persistence in failure. It takes time to move from the stage where doing something new feels hard (which most things feel like when you are just starting them!), to feeling like you’re in a groove.

2. Consider that your goal might not really matter to you. If you are feeling unmotivated, get back to your WHY. Does the pursuit of your goal fire you up so much that you are totally okay with failure along the way to the finish line? I can confidently say this about all of my 2018 goals. No matter how many times you fall along the way, you are not gonna give up because this matters to you. Your goal matters now, it matters in the in-between, and it matters in the big picture. If not, this might be the reason you aren’t motivated! If a goal doesn’t matter to you, do not pass go, do not collect your $200. Cross it out and move forward to use your energy on goals that DO matter to you. (And don’t let yourself fall into the goal guilt trap here—learn from this and move forward!) It’s easy to fall into the New Year’s trap of setting goals that sound good or setting goals out of comparison. Come mid-January we wonder why our motivation has fizzled. Wonder no more! Go back to these questions to help you set goals that fire you up for the long-haul.

3. Break out of telling the same story. A little nugget from our sermon on Sunday: People often get stuck because they are stuck telling a story about why they are stuck. I’ve experienced this countless times! For example, when I wanted to quit my business, after months of uncertainty and feeling stuck, I came to the conclusion that the only way I was going to move forward was to let go of all of my plans, my thinking, my fears, my hopes, my complaining in the wait (waiting is hard, isn’t it!?) and what I thought to be possible, in favor of listening. Maybe there was a better plan. Maybe there would be good things that would come out of my hard season. Maybe I had no idea how much I would grow and how good the changes that followed would be (I didn’t!). I was stuck telling myself the story about how I was stuck and it was blinding me from new possibilities. I finally surrendered (which is hard for those of us who like to be in control and know outcomes!) and could finally hear what God wanted me to do. I know this is easier said than done, but consider the story you are telling yourself about why you “can’t” do something or why you are stuck. Press into that a little more than is comfortable. I wouldn’t be writing you this post had I not pressed in, let go, and prayed on my living room floor that day.

4. Tell someone about your goal. Goals without accountability rarely work. Here’s what we’ve found to be true in studying thousands of women and how they make goals happen intentionally:

Community creates Accountability
Accountability creates Follow-Through/Action
and Action creates Results

If something is really important to you, remember: make sure you don’t tell a single person about it or you might DO something about it! 😉

Case in point: my goal to make 2018 The Year of Kissing. Ari peeked over my shoulder and saw this secret goal on my PowerSheets, so I had to spill the beans. I’m not too mad about it, though. He’s totally on board and helping me make it happen. He has even reminded me a couple times this week, “Wait, your PowerSheets say you need to kiss me!” I’ve been much more consistent with this goal since telling him all about it!

5. Redirect! If an action step, routine, system, or something you are doing to cultivate your goal truly isn’t working—and you know for sure that your goal matters to you—it might be an indication that you need to redirect! Redirecting is one of my favorite tactics in goal-getting. Simply try something different. A cultivated life is not about following a perfect plan; it’s about your heart. How you grow an intentional life doesn’t matter as much as WHY you do it. When you have that fact on straight, you will be willing to change and bend how you make it happen in order to cultivate your goal.

For example, my number one goal this year is to grow my faith by reading and praying through the chronological Bible again. In testing out my plan for this year, I realized I bit off more than I could chew in trying to read the Bible and memorize Psalm 119 this year. So, I changed it up! I’m still reading the Bible, but instead of memorizing Psalm 119, I’m writing each section out (just like we do in our Write the Word journals) after church on Sunday while Grace does her Bible class homework. This is a good, slow, yet intentional rhythm that I am confident I can keep this year. Because it’s do-able and also challenges me, it motivates me to dig in!

It’s okay to jump ship on things that simply aren’t working. You have permission to change things up!

Your turn! Which of these tips stood out to you the most and why? I’d love to hear!

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  1. Alli on January 18, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Whoa #3. This has nothing to do with my goals, but something that is written in big sad letters on page 22 of the prep. I can’t hear God speak into this while I’m complaining so loudly. Wow.

    • Lara on January 18, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      Oh this is so true, and so hard! While I was writing Cultivate, God taught me so much about my complaints and that they are actually clues. They reveal places in my life that could be transformed if I would just let go. So hard, but so freeing to see complaints as good doors to open in order to deepen our faith and trust. 🙂

  2. Nicole on January 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Wow, I LOVE the tip about breaking free from telling ourselves the same story. I was literally just reading about how the stories we tell our own self can lead us to make wrong assumptions, take it out on others, or make decisions based on false information (from a book called Crucial Accountability). So I’ve been working on this actually, but I’m just so glad to see that you talked it in your post. THAT IS HUGE FOR US LADIES!! Thank you!! You are truly anointed to help us set and achieve goals and cultivate what matters in our lives!

    • Lara on January 18, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      Yes!!! When I think back on every single turning point in my life, they follow this exact pattern. I’m telling one story, and God is telling a different one! When I finally stop to listen, life changes.

  3. Jaqueline on January 18, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Lara love the point of breaking out of telling yourself the same story. Especially because its what I need I have struggled for so
    long and been stuck and I understand the concept of letting go of your expectation, your fears so you could kove forward but do you have any tips on how to actively do that I feel like that is more of a mindshift change rather then an actual action and I struggle with things that aren’t an actual physical action… any advice? Thank you for always being so willing to help and for sharing so much of yourself with all of us.

    • Lara on January 18, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      Some things that help me are:
      – Praying. My most effective action step is to say, “God, I’m stuck! I need your help.”
      – Stepping away. Whether that means getting outside for some fresh air, shaking up my normal routines, or changing my environment, it can greatly help to create space for a mental shift.
      – Talking to other people whom I trust.
      – Writing out my fears, worries, stresses, or things that are pressing on me. Getting thought on paper gives them a place that’s not taking up space in my heart and head, and writing them down helps my brain to start solving problems.
      – This helps me a ton: doing something to encourage someone else who is stuck! Taking my thoughts off of ME helps me to serve others and break free of my thought-cycle.
      – Recreation (or re-creation!). Singing, painting, worshiping, playing with the kiddos. Gives me glimmers of hope and shifts my perspective away from problems so I can come back and better solve them.
      – Reading the Bible. Gives me instant perspective and reminds me how momentary my troubles are in the big picture.
      I hope this helps a little!

  4. Rebecca on January 18, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Mine is number one, “Push through and give it a fighting chance.” I have these beautiful goals for this year, but to get them done I need to have a routine in place, especially in the morning. Maybe that should be one of my goals for this year implementing and consistently following a morning schedule.

    • Lara on January 18, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      That is so wise, Rebecca. It takes time to solidify new routines and habits, and this hard work will be worth it!

  5. Trisha on January 18, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Oh, wow! I am rocking along on most of mine, but I stole one of yours–to make this the year of kissing, and I haven’t told my husband. And, quite honestly, this one is not as easy as it should be! We barely see each other in passing a lot of days (which is why I chose the goal). I know telling him will help a lot, and I’m asking myself why I haven’t told him yet! You’ve got me convicted. Thank you!

    • Lara on January 18, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      Yes!!! I’m so excited for you BOTH!

  6. Steph on January 18, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    I have found that building up to my main goals are helping me. For example, I would like to attend church every Sunday. Unfortunately, it is hard with commitments (I teach at a private school and care for my father). I have found that if I spend a month researching and attending a church once this month, and building that goal until it becomes consistent (I find a routine that works for me) then I can fulfill my goal. Progress not perfection! I just need to build up to my main goals!

  7. Katie @ A Place to Dwell on January 18, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    I LOVE the tip about telling yourself a new story. One of my goals this year is to focus on strength – mentally, physically, and spiritually, and I think SO MUCH of mental and spiritual strength has to do with the thoughts we are allowing into our hearts and minds… I especially love this: “I came to the conclusion that the only way I was going to move forward was to let go of all of my plans, my thinking, my fears, my hopes, my complaining in the wait (waiting is hard, isn’t it!?) and what I thought to be possible, in favor of listening.” In my very long season of waiting and praying for marriage, I’ve been realizing that I may need to tell myself a new story and realize that God might have a way of working all that out in my life that is beyond anything I could conjure up on my own. Love the reminder to listen more. So much surrender happening currently, but also learning to be more expectant. 🙂

  8. heidi on January 18, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    love this and the faith component! I also wondered where this goal sheet and planner and stick book came from? please forgive me but I just recently was introduced to your site. are these yours?

  9. Catherine on January 18, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    I may be the only person reading this who has yet to finish my PowerSheets and finalize my goals for this year. Lara, thanks for this post. It encourages me to finally get my ducks in order. One of my goals will be to read through the Bible this year. I stole your idea of listening to Scripture instead of reading it. So much less daunting…and I’m actually doing it!

    • Lara on January 19, 2018 at 6:04 am

      I’m so glad you are listening to the Bible! It’s the best! And you are certainly not alone. February 1 can be your January 1!

  10. Mhay on January 18, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    I absolutely adore this post! The end of December and beginning of January were rough for me because I was sick for most of it. So I haven’t even started some of my monthly goals, but I did make progress on one. I love the grace you have over your goals and life. I have to give some grace on myself for getting sick and not making progress on most of my goals and focus on the little progress I was able to make. Anyways, one of my goals was to be positive so I’m making progress there. 😊

  11. Cheri on January 19, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Redirect!!! or in my case, look at my goal again, see what the original three baby-steps were, and then realize it’s no wonder nothing’s happening… I haven’t taken any of the first three steps!! Time to pick up, dust off, and try again. LOL!!! Thank you for that, Lara!

  12. Nicki on January 19, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    #4 My husband knew I was working on something he just didn’t know what. This week as I conceded to how badly I had been the prior week at staying on track… I decided to share with him what I had been working on. He is really my best friend and I tell him everything I was just scared to share with him because this is totally outside of my comfort zone, this goal tackling business.

    I feel so much better knowing that he can help me and be the person in my corner to help me dominate 2018.

  13. Emily on January 19, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Wow! #5 is super helpful for me because it really drives at the idea of progress instead of perfection. If something isn’t working in January, my all-or-nothing thinking says THROW IT OUT! IT’S TOO LATE NOW! But the example of switching your plan with Psalm 119 is enormously helpful with that!

  14. phyllis Landrum on January 19, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    I love to read all of your explanations

  15. Melissa Davis on January 21, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    I’m wanting to go back to school. I am scared to death of failing and trying to do it as a single mom and still working full time! So for me I guess I need to admit it out loud and go for it!!

  16. Renee on January 21, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you, Lara! This is my first year with Power Sheets , and I read this post just as I was feeling that I needed to rework some of my goals. But I wasn’t sure if that was ‘okay’. It was so freeing to read that I could step out of the box and tweak my goals even though I have my Goal and Action Plan pages filled out. My pages are messy now, but I feel better that I have goals that really matter to me and my family.

  17. Amanda scheid on January 22, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    Thank you. Man. I have been feeling defeated and these words and your Instagram story spoke to my heart. Thank you.

  18. Mallory on January 23, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    “Community creates Accountability
    Accountability creates Follow-Through/Action
    and Action creates Results”

    This quote is beautiful to me! Not just through my power sheets this year, but also a monthly tending list accountability meeting with one of my friends has made my goals come to fruition more than they ever have before! Speaking them out loud and sharing our ideas have helped me redirect and refocus. We also text weekly to check in and encourage on another 🙂 God called us into Biblical community, so encouraging community in our life is powerful!

  19. Blair on January 29, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Loved connecting with a friend today and talking powersheets. Have thought about using them, but hadn’t committed. After she walked me through her notebook I’m totally sold. Thanks for creating such a thoughtful and meaningful tool . I

  20. Ali Lopez on January 29, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    The goals that matter to you. And changing them if you keep avoiding working on them! I learned last year that if I keep writing it down but don’t do anything about it then I don’t want it bad enough to do anything about it! It was actually very helpful to uncover the truth of my hearts desires.

  21. shryja on February 6, 2018 at 4:32 am

    Hi I want to buy one but it shows sold out. Please let me know.

    • Lara on February 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Hi, Shryja! Yes, we are now sold out and will have more in May!

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