Dec 27, 2012



Are y’all ready for this? The last three days at home in Florida with my family have been life-changing. Life is short, friends. You can coast along (how many people feel like they are just coasting and going through the motions most days??) or you can dive in and LIVE. I am feeling very motivated to make things happen in 2013. Good things for other people. 2012 was a very good year, filled with more change than I can list in a blog post. The change wasn’t just having in a baby; it was so much more than that. God changed everything.

I will be writing this series on “goal setting” very quickly and in a very straight-forward manner… AND I’m going to go through this process right along with you. There are no rules here except you have to DO stuff. These are not posts to just read, OK? You have to DO things and interact with me here in the comments. Why? Because that makes you accountable and we all need that, don’t we? I know I do. If you are one to just read and be a “lurker”, lurk no more! : ) Life is too short. You have one chance to make every hour count and I’m so pumped to take this journey with you! Encourage others to join us too (surrounding myself with friends who are in the same boat as me has been so vital!) and use the hashtag #MTH2013. Making Things Happen in 2013, here we come!

First of all, get something to write on. I have been waiting to put together my Simplified Planner till the start of 2013, so I’ll be using that and an amazing journal that a sweet friend (thank you Mackenzie!) just gave me for my birthday. (Thanks for all the birthday love, by the way! I love this birthday so much and my shirt is wet from grateful tears in reading the amazing gift my husband and Emily and Gina and so many friends created for me. I am soooo grateful! I LOVE Y’ALL!)

OK, so you have something to write on, right? Please don’t read any further if you aren’t going to DO this with me. We’re in this together, y’all!

STEP ONE: Let’s take a look back at what worked in 2012. What did you make happen? What are you grateful for this year? I know I’m starting with the hardest step. Most people don’t like taking the time to do this because it doesn’t seem like it will get you anywhere fast. Trust me here. It will. Why is this the most vital first step? It’s really easy to look back at an entire year and just see the yucky parts. Like when something happens to you at the end of a day and you automatically call it a “bad day”, regardless of what happened the other 23 hours. Anyone do that? [Raising my hand high!] Are there goals from 2012 that you didn’t accomplish? Focus on what went well first. Make your list right now. These positive things are there to guide you and you shoudl CELEBRATE THEM! “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” I’m expecting at least 30 things – if not a lot more – on those lists. Feel free to list them here in the comments so you can inspire someone else. Gratitude changes everything and will show you just how far you’ve come… and it just might give you the energy and hope to press into 2013 full force! Make your list of things you made happen in 2012 and things you are grateful for.

STEP TWO: What didn’t work? Honesty time! And before you do this step, remember not to beat yourself up here. You are brilliant and I know you want to make 2013 your best year yet. The past is behind you. The old has gone, the new has come! Just list some facts here. In business and life, what didn’t work well to help you live your best life this year and what needs improvement?

STEP THREE: What fires you up? As a creative visual person, imagery really lights my heart on fire more than anything. Great photographs and colors can make my heart sing and help me clarify my vision. If you are like me, you will really love Step 3. Write out everything that fires you up in life – at least 50 things – and then get on Pinterest and get visual! Make a Pinterest board of images that inspire for a brilliant 2013. Title your board Making Things Happen in 2013 and share a link to your boards here. I think I’ll be very inspired by your boards, too! I’ll be sharing mine with you tomorrow.

OK, that’s it for today and that’s plenty to work on! Take your time with this and I’ll be back tomorrow with your next steps. Remember: PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. This is not about writing the perfect list with a perfect pen or making the most beautiful Pinterest board… it’s just about honesty. To make things happen, you have to start with where you are. This is a process that will have a big payoff, but you have to commit to going through the process. Be still and let your 2013 vision slowly cook. Like a pan of homemade hot baked cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven. They wouldn’t be so flakey and yummy cooked in the microwave, would they? Just a big pile of mushy dough. I’m not going to hand you your 2013 goals. We’re going to do this right and get there together. Sound good? Awesome! Get to it! I’m working on mine too and will share my progress tomorrow…

WIN! To further encourage you to get things rolling for the new year, I’m giving away a seat to our Powerful Branding Webinar Series that starts on January 16th AND one of these gold foil Make It Happen letterpress desk prints above that will be available in my new shop coming soon. I will pick a random winner once we are done with all 10 Steps, so make it happen!


  1. (@laracasey) (@laracasey) on December 27, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Thank you all for the amazing birthday love! I am excited about 2013! Goal Setting and making things happen in 2013:

    • Kelly D on December 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Step One:
      I successfully planned my own wedding and got married — hooray!
      I moved into an apartment with Drew and worked out a system for self-sufficiency, taking care of bills and big things, was responsible for two kitties.
      I did the bulk of preparation and executed my first full-scale planning wedding. Learned a lot. Nothing went noticeably wrong!
      My Sept. 15 wedding went off without a hitch.
      I decided to take the leap to get out of the situation I was in and start my own business.
      I went to MTH ATL in October. AMAZING. Catalyst for above change. ^
      Strengthened my bond with childhood friends. 18 years of friendship. Best friends for life.
      Leaps and bounds of faith.
      Joined the church choir!
      Decided to go to yoga alliance teacher training next year!
      Booked larger packages and more weddings than ever before.
      Got experience working for a florist/event stylist.
      Built my first company website.
      Traveled — west, south, explored nearby Southern cities.
      Spent 11 days in Mexico with my new husband! So romantic.
      Hosted parties and dinners for family and friends.
      Became active in a church new marrieds class.
      Completed my first two styled shoots.
      Fell in love with my husband again, every single day.
      Started new family traditions with Drew.
      Quit my old jobs.
      Confronted relationships that needed help.

      Step Two:

      My time management skills need some work. I haven’t dedicated my work to any semblance of office hours, which means I’m either spending valuable work time at Target or I’m answering work-related emails and phone calls at 11PM. My productivity isn’t maximized because I flounder around making endless lists and rarely just dive into them headfirst.

      One of my biggest issues this year was the massive spread of work I was trying to do — working for a florist, event planner, wedding concierge service, videographer, wedding magazine, independent projects, venue, etc. I’m streamlining it this year by focusing on my independent business first and foremost and taking on a LIMITED number of extracurricular engagements.

      I was TERRIBLE about billing the businesses I work for in a timely manner. YIKES AND A HALF!

      I took on not very pleasant clients a couple of times this year SOLELY for the sake of making extra money.

      I didn’t budget hardly any time in my days to work out. Yoga was literally the only thing I would prioritize every single day (THINGS THAT FIRE ME UP!), and that was for the limited time I was able to afford classes.

      I haven’t eaten extremely healthy this year. Refined sugar has been a pretty huge part of my diet — especially with December’s Christmas cookies — and I’ve put cooking on the backburner (HA!) somewhat.

      Step Three:
      {I’ll post my pictures later this weekend!}

    • Jessica Clinch on December 31, 2012 at 10:25 am

      This was just the inspiration I needed heading into 2013! Here’s my list for the first step:

      1. Created my own lifestyle and design blog that I adore writing in weekly
      2. Learned how to use Adobe Illustrator, and used the application to design and create my own logo and banner at the top of my blog
      3. Successfully lived in my first apartment, learning how to deal with various mishaps, like broken appliances, in the process
      4. Finally felt like I developed my core, lasting group of friends
      5. Strived to apply myself academically, and was therefore placed on the President’s list for both semesters in 2012 and accepted into 3 honors and leadership societies
      6. Pursued my love of the events field by researching various wedding planners and designers, and applying for internships with those who I felt I would be a great fit for my individuality
      7. Accepted an internship with a wedding planner and designer, and strived to learn as much as possible and absorb all I could from the internship while assisting her in planning all of the summer weddings
      8. Learned the importance of networking with as many vendors as possible, and creating long lasting, meaningful relationships with those individuals
      9. Discovered that my true passion lies in event design, and more importantly learned to accept and love that it is a part of who I am
      10. Accepted the position of VP of Philanthropic Services for Sigma Kappa at Elon, and successfully planned and implemented six major fundraising events (all styled, of course)
      11. Became a mentor for a younger girl in a middle school close to my university, through the Girls to Empowered Teens program
      12. Voted for the first time in a Presidential Election
      13. Finished all of the classes required for both my Psychology and Business Administration minors
      14. Decided to dedicate more time to painting, and created 14 new pieces
      15. Created and ordered my first set of business/calling cards
      16. Became MUCH more adventurous with food (I like sushi and bacon now!)
      17. Threw a fantastic Christmas dinner party
      18. Applied for and attained an exciting internship for the Spring of 2013
      19. Grateful for: my fantastic university and the education I am receiving
      20. Grateful for: the loving Lord who cares for me, even when I make mistakes
      21. Grateful for: my amazing family, who are my best friends and support system
      22. Grateful for: the sisterhood of Sigma Kappa and all the love, friendship, and leadership opportunities it has brought me
      23. Grateful for: late night chats with my best friend
      24. Grateful for: Front Porch Red Velvet ice cream and Say Yes to the Dress nights
      25. Grateful for: my adorable puppy and the love I get from her when I come home from school
      26. Grateful for: my personal health, and the health of my loved ones
      27. Grateful for: the design inspiration I get to see every day on various wedding blogs that keep my creative wheel turning
      28. Grateful for: the mistakes I’ve had that have made me pause and re-evaluate, and determine ways to improve in those areas
      29. Grateful for: all of the grateful, inspired couples I had the opportunity to work with in my internship, who in turn inspired me to work hard to make their day as special as possible
      30. Grateful for: the opportunities I had to travel to various cities

    • Charyl Williams on January 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      I decided to post my answers to these questions on my blog. This is a huge step for me because I am putting myself out there. Thanks for giving us this guidance!!

    • Mary on January 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      What WORKED in 2012:
      -Completed my 365 Photo Project goal to post a new picture every day
      -Organized a trip to Europe with my family + Mike
      -Volunteered every Monday at BARK, rain or shine! (except when forbidden by my eye doctor)
      -Took the time to work with the more “difficult” dogs at BARK, learned how to calm them down, and took them out no matter what so they could run and let off some energy (SO rewarding!)
      -Self-taught myself a TON about photography and running a photography businesses
      -Gathered tons of information and resources and made plans to open my photography business in 2013 (woo!!)
      -Learned some great new recipes, including learning how to cook fish in parchment paper and make a restaurant-worthy Greek salad!
      -Redesigned my budget to accommodate LASIK surgery and eliminate any credit card debt
      -Braved LASIK surgery and many, many eye drops
      -Finished at least 2 books on my reading list (hmm.. need to do better about this in 2013!)
      -Ran a 10K!
      -Focused even more on nutrition and bought and used a vegetable/fruit juicer
      -Took on new responsibilities at work, successfully doing two jobs at once
      -Organized my old paper files into Evernote
      -Started listening to NPR on a daily basis

      What didn’t work in 2012:
      -Passively waiting for my photography to improve on days when I didn’t practice
      -Comparing myself and my photography too much to other photographers (and beating myself up)
      -Being scared to take the next step with my photography and putting myself out there
      -Impulsively buying things I want on my credit card instead of saving up first
      -Not incorporating and sticking to being physically active each day or a few times a week
      -Eating for comfort or because I’m bored, rather than for my body’s nutrition and long term health

      My inspiration for 2013: Check out my Pinterest Board!

    • Erin on January 2, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      Here’s my board. Thank you for this and I look forward to making things happen for myself, my family, and my business in 2013!!

    • Priscila Benson on January 4, 2013 at 12:35 am

      Step 1:
      1. Became more aggressive about Eliora’s therapy and level of care.
      2. Reorganized our entire apartment and storage closets earlier in the year.
      3. Made strides toward eating and feeding my family real food.
      4. Became more active as a family.
      5. Began taking Asher to more enriching activities (and doing them at home as well).
      6. Made new friends (mommy friends, even).
      7. Reconnected with old friends.
      8. Started school after a 6 month break.
      9. Successfully exclusively breastfed Eliora since birth (and still going strong).
      10. Listened to my heart about Asher’s speech and got him enrolled in therapy.
      11. Exceeded my expectations with my Spina Bifida Awareness blog series.
      12. Made strides toward becoming a babywearer educator within COBB Moms.
      13. Became more actively involved in the SB community.
      14. Became a more active member of our support group.
      15. Established a following for my AWTTM blog.
      16. Took a first step toward being a WAHM – developing, making, and improving my product.
      17. Started giving more.
      19. Increased random acts of kindness.
      20. Improved my ability to control my spending.
      21. Helped write a Kindergarten book for ABC.
      22. Spent less time on computer/phone.
      23. Began documenting my family more through pictures.
      24. Advocated for cloth diapers at Asher’s school.
      25. Grateful for healthy/happy children.
      26. Grateful for BJ’s job.
      27. Grateful for gov’t assistance programs that help Asher and Eliora (especially Eliora).
      28. Grateful for Dafne and Devin’s generosity.
      29. Grateful for the amount of support shown by family/friends.
      30. Grateful for the maturity that happened in me this year.

      Step 2:
      1. Erratic sleep hours.
      2. Sporadic meaningless spending.
      3. Not taking care of my physical and mental healthy.
      4. Turning to social media during random “down times” (that really could have been more productive or relaxing).
      5. Insecurity in my ability to meet and exceed my own expectations in anything.
      6. Impulsive business decisions.
      7. Staying up too late (like I’m doing now…).
      8. Putting others before myself and family in specific situations.
      9. Lack of time management.
      10. Succumbing to procrastination.
      11. Comparing our life and material things to others.
      12. Second guessing myself.
      13. Putting my marriage last.
      14. Not following a more organized blogging schedule.

      Step 3:
      -Clutter-free living
      -Singing hymns
      -Dancing and singing with Asher
      -Learning new wrap carries
      -Branding and design
      -Doing projects with BJ
      -Nursing Eliora
      -Healthy eating
      -Walks with friends
      -Documenting Asher and Eliora through Instagram
      -Helping other SB families
      -Personal and family blogging
      -Watching Indie films
      -Indie/Alternative music
      -Donating to worthy causes
      -Spreading the word about said causes/organizations
      -Volunteering/community service
      -Playing the flute with my sister
      -Hands-on activities with Asher
      -Natural and attachment parenting practices
      -Doing therapy activities with Eliora
      -Helping my niece’s and nephews’ with homework
      -Daily phone calls with my parents
      -Going to the movies with my brother
      -Helping those in need
      -Cloth diapering

      WHEW!! On to the next post…

    • Nieka Nicole on January 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      STEP 1: 2012 Grateful list and what I made happen
      I started school again and completed a semester with great grades
      I was able to take a weeklong vacation from work after not missing one day for more than a year
      I started tithing…the right way
      I kept my hair done and it has grown about two or three inches
      I’ve lost some weight. About 60-50 pounds and I don’t know how it happened. GOD IS GOOD!
      I made a best friend
      I finally got a new phone
      I have been with my job for a year
      I went to my little sister’s concert
      I went to my little sister’s basketball game
      I bought a car
      I went out of the state for the first time. To North Carolina and to New York
      I went to my uncle’s house for thanksgiving after not speaking to my dad’s side of the family for years
      I am grateful that I am financially blessed
      I am grateful for my relationship with God
      I am grateful for my relationships with my family
      I cooked more and learned new recipes

      My time spent with God faltered a bit around May/June
      Spending habits were horrible
      I started to drink again
      I started cursing again
      I should have spent more time studying my school work
      I needed to exercise more
      I needed more time management
      I needed to keep a journal

  2. Jessica Flannigan on December 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Last night while taking a hot shower after our little wild man was fast asleep, I thought about how badly I needed to take some time in the next few weeks to look back, evaluate, re-evaluate, plan, goal-set and also celebrate a few of my successes. I was going to ask our MTH community for advice on webinars, groups etc… to get involved with to help keep me accountable and motivated. This is it! This is my answer. Thank you for taking the time to share. Hugs to you and your beautiful family. And happy happy birthday sweet lady! Cheers to 2013!

  3. Jessica Stanley Reardon on December 27, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I pinned this and facebook-ed it! Crossing my fingers that I win a spot and one for a fabulous friend! 2013 – time to get serious about my business!

  4. Eliza St.Clair on December 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Hi there! I recently found your blog through Instagram and I love it 🙂 (By the way, Your little girl is adorable!) i’m really excited about this post + already have my pen in hand. Thanks for sharing these steps + know that I’ll be looking forward to the next post! xoxo, eliza

  5. Sarah on December 27, 2012 at 11:45 am

    My Step 1
    What did I make happen? What am I grateful for this year?

    1. developed a good compromise in our household division of labor/organization strategy which honors our individual personalities
    2. navigated challenging first qtr of business
    3. discovered marketing approaches that do/don’t work (must do fairs!)
    4. implemented payment/process changes for clients that help with evening out cash flow and are more professional
    5. got recognized for innovation in Graphic Design
    6. made it through BY FAR the busiest summer of kids’ activities and still had fun!
    7. did my share of implementing a solid family budget
    8. learned to say NO to business/marketing offers that don’t work
    9. learned to be brave enough to negotiate marketing deals
    10. expanded DAYTIME work hours so I don’t have to work late after the kids are in bed
    11. worked 2 non-negotiable work outs into the schedule with Mom
    12. learned to say no to extra commitments that would be too difficult to schedule
    13. redecorated the kitchen after years of wanting to
    14. got realistic about day care/help for the kids during the summer when they’re home from school
    15. hired an assistant
    16. grateful for: kids who are thriving in school, applying themselves and demonstrating kindness and respect
    17. grateful for: a strong, baggage-free marriage
    18. grateful for: time with my great extended family
    19. grateful for: coaches, teachers, pastors who show so much love and patience with the kids
    20. grateful for: amazing friends and time to enjoy them
    21. grateful for: challenges in business that force me to look at things in a new way
    22. grateful for: wise people to consult with on business matters
    23. grateful for: a close relationship with my Mom
    24. grateful for: inspiring, inspired clients
    25. grateful for: good working relationship with other wedding vendors
    26. grateful for: the huge amount of inspiration on the web
    27. grateful for: technology that helps me feel more connected to people
    28. grateful for: the health and strength to live a very full life
    29. grateful for: a strong spiritual life for me
    30. grateful for: the spirituality the kids demonstrate and have interwoven into their lives
    31. grateful for: the calm, rational approach my husband demonstrates – what a great counterbalance for me

  6. Kristin on December 27, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Steps 1 and 2 are done…now going to think about what fires me up! Love this girl!

  7. Monica T Smith on December 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I am so looking forward to seeing what God does for you in 2013. Thank you for putting this goal setting and life reflection exercise together for others. This is really helpful as I usually try to not look back. When I did, I discovered that I had accomplished quite a bit. For 2012 the following was achieved: graduated from seminary (a HUGE YEAH goes here!); registered my business as an LLC; taught my first Bible study written by myself; faced some health issues and began doing the work of controlling or eliminating them; cared for a disabled nephew for 5 weeks while his mother worked in another country (wrecked me of me for good!); trained to be a Stephen Minister; offered a mentoring program to middle school girls; admitted some fears out loud to friends (whew!!); started some new friendships and worked to grow some others; connected with other life coaches, image consultants and writers for guidance; and took the last 10 weeks of the year off from many distractions to draw closer to the Lord.
    I am truly grateful for God and His patience with me; the opportunity to connect with others; the ability and freedom to learn and grow; family and friends (new and seasoned); the possibilities for 2013 and beyond.
    I just did my first Pinterest board (yes, I am behind but blame it on going to school full-time). Hopefully the board will be interesting. (
    I pray your time of discovery and planning will bring a blessed 2013.
    Love and appreciate you,

  8. @weddingrep on December 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    GOAL SETTING + MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: PART 1: Are y’all ready for this? The last three days at home in Fl…

  9. Shay on December 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Lara. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU. Thank you for doing this. You are so busy and pouring out SO much of yourself already and you could very easily have NOT done this and just linked us to the dozens of amazing goal setting and new years posts that you have already painstakingly written on your blogs! haha. I could just cry I am so appreciative and ready. READY. Pen in hand. Excited for this year!

  10. Rachel Moger on December 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Oh girl, this is just what I was looking for today. I am working on goal setting and writing down my intentions for the next year. I love doing this. It’s amazing to think about what God has done in our lives with only one year. Think of how much we can make happen in a lifetime. Incredible.

    To a new year,


  11. Sara on December 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Lara, as soon as I read that you blogged this, I dropped everything to come by and read it! I just did the exercise and I felt INSTANTLY energized by everything I accomplished in 2012! You were right! Here I was thinking I didn’t accomplish ANYTHING this past year! However, looking back and writing it all out, I did A LOT! A LOT of de-cluttering, which takes me back to my first time doing the challenge! It’s STILL helping me! I painted my apartment and got rid of so. much. clutter. I also gave my blog a facelift and January 1st, I start my BIG dream blog!! I had to comment because it never fails: you are such a POWERFUL, MOTIVATING, POSITIVE force. I feel SO blessed to follow your journey and have the support of all the Making Things Happen alumni! I am SO excited to make a vision board for 2013!!!! Thank you for yet another inspiring blog post!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. @evannclingan on December 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    You should go read this. And swoon over the visuals. – RT @laracasey – Goal Setting and making things happen in 2013 []

  13. @createmepapered on December 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I am so encouraged by our conversation at engage12. I guess the Lord had already synched our spirits because I’ve already been working on my board. So thankful to the Lord for your willingness to serve His people through the gifts He’s blessed you with! Here’s to MAKING GREAT THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013!

    • Lara on December 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Same here, friend! Your encouragement lit my heart on fire to keep pushing forward for what matters in our work. THANK YOU for that!

  14. laura on December 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Thank you for your energy, your passion for making things happen. I have followed you for years. I have used your magazine and blogs for tips and ideas to plan my wedding. I have started various goal setting list and yet never seem to take things much further. You have help me realize what is important, you have helped me have a closer relationship to God. You are God sent to so many. I enjoyed making my lists and have so many visuals on pintrest to organize into a board. This is MY year…2013…Let’s do this thing!

  15. Jacqueline Butler on December 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Hi Lara…admittedly I was going to lurk until you called me out. Thank you for doing so! I have my fabulous homework now and will be sitting in my favorite spot with a cup of tea this afternoon to start taking action for 2013. THANK YOU! x

    • Lara on December 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Yay for the end of lurking! : ) Glad to have you here Jacqueline!

  16. Shay on December 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Can I please wallpaper my wall with my inspiration board!? haha :)

  17. Valerie on December 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Great post!! Working on my answers now and my board. More to come!

  18. @SReevesEvents on December 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    RT @laracasey: Goal Setting and How to Make Things Happen in 2013, Part 1!

  19. Sarah on December 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm
    • Liz on December 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      My dad wasn’t supposed to be able to travel internationally this year – he did it, and he’s doing so many other things that his doctor said probably wouldn’t be possible. And thriving. Grateful!

  20. @jena_lauren1116 on December 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    RT @laracasey: Goal Setting and How to Make Things Happen in 2013, Part 1!

  21. Jaqueline Faria on December 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Lara Thank you, thank you so much for this post you have no idea how much I needed it. I’m ashamed to say that when I first read the beginning I thought there was no way writing this down will make me feel good. Even having done the challange a year or so ago and recently putting myself through it again and knowing how I felt right upon completing each step. I let that negative thought bubble in my mind. But thank goodness I decided to do it anyway because I feel so much lighter so relieved and so awakened. You are so right about writing what worked first that was the hardest part for me. I must have sat at my desk for ten minutes thinking nothing worked out and how ungreatful I am for not having anything to write that I’m actually greatful for. But once I managed to push those demeaning thought away There were so much for me to be greatful for… my marriage. (it’s our first year) my lovely husband who deserves husband of the year award for all his patience and reasurance during all the meltdowns this year. My grandpa who doctors said might not live long enough to see me get married… he not only lived, he danced with me at my wedding and is still here with us 8 months later. So much worked out this year, (getting married, seeking my mothers help and knowledge, asking and allowing my husband to help when I’m overwhelemed, stressed, tired. Letting go being glued to facebook, twitter. letting go of my need for perfection.) I was blind to all these things beauce I was focusing on what didn’t work (which are plenty ) But after listing all the things that did work, I feel so happy, “fired up” inspired, by the things I did make happen in 2012. I’m despirate to make 2013 even better, and make even more things happen, to take the leap, that I’ve been avoiding, (the leap that so many bridges have been built to and yet I’ve still been to scared/fearful to cross) because what didn’t work in 2012 was me crying everyday about all the things that weren’t working. What didn’t work was me letting fear keep me from taking actions and taking risks. So thank you again, Thank you so much… Can’t wait till tomorrow… working on my board now…

    • Lara on December 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      This makes my heart so grateful. Wow. Praise God for all of these amazing blessings!!!

  22. valerie on December 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    here is my board!!! Looking forward to others as well!

  23. valerie on December 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm
  24. valerie on December 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm
  25. Mackenzie on December 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Completed all three steps and LOVED it! Cannot wait to complete all ten. 2013 is going to be my best year yet because I am going to practice step one a whole lot more. It should not be as difficult as it was for me to write down thirty things I did right in 365 days!

    • Lara on December 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      Thank you for my amazing journal! I love it so much!

  26. Amanda on December 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    still working on the other two, but started my board for 2013!! ABSOLUTELY LOVING THIS!! i can feel it in my core Lara, 2013 will be my best yet!! HE is on the verge of something BIG with me, and i can’t wait to know what HE has planned!!

  27. Briana Gardell on December 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I was happily surprised to find I wrote down far more successes than “failures” for this past year. It’s been a life changing one to say the least. I’m so fired up for 2013!

  28. Natalie on December 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Grateful for this. Here’s my board so far:

  29. Jenna on December 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Happy to have found this. Here we go!!!

  30. Haley Smith on December 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I am normally a lurker/blog stalker as well, but let;s make things happen!

    Here’s my Pinterest board:

    Really excited for the rest of the series! Thanks for all you do Lara 🙂

  31. Kristin Schmucker on December 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm
  32. Marsha Alexander on December 27, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Thank You!
    I am so thankful for you and your words of encouragement. This series is going to help me make some long overdue changes so that I can start living the life I deserve.

  33. Mollie on December 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Lara, I just love this. I spent a good hour and a half working on all of it and now I can’t wait for tomorrow’s steps! Here’s my Pinterest board:

    I also want to share my Step One, because Sarah’s up there really helped me and hopefully I can help others, too!

    1. Finished grad school
    2. Landed my first full time job
    3. Started going to Pure Barre
    4. Had great mentors
    5. Gave presentations to groups of 150+ parents at my school’s freshman orientation
    6. Learned to say “no” if it didn’t feel right
    7. Completed multiple devotionals without quitting
    8. Lived alone for the first time
    9. Decorated my apartment beautifully
    10. Threw a great Oscars party
    Grateful for:
    11. my relationship with my mom
    12. my loving family
    13. my growing relationship with my boyfriend
    14. strong, successful women in my life to look up to
    15. my health
    16. my growing family – one new baby cousin and two more on the way
    17. making it work financially
    18. good connections
    19. making new friends
    20. courage — taking BIG leaps of faith
    21. positivity in all aspects of my life
    22. a chance for independence at work
    23. my alma mater and the new school I’ll work for
    24. finding a form of exercise that I enjoy
    25. flexibility in my schedule
    26. God’s guidance
    27. She Reads Truth
    28. breakfast/lunch dates with good friends
    29. positive/inspiring social media
    30. the opportunity to move to a new state (moving from MO to AL in two weeks)

  34. Kate/MagnoliaRouge on December 28, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Ok I can barely keep my eyes open but I wanted to do this before the first day was done (in New Zealand time of course!!). Lara… I’m quite sure you know I’ve always ‘lurked’ but 2013 is the year for action…. I’ve already since Cmas cleaned and sorted every.single drawer and cupboard in my house, so it’s been a great start!! Here’s my pinterest board…, looking forward to the rest of the journey!! And happy birthday lovely lady xo

  35. @bkreations on December 28, 2012 at 6:00 am

    RT @LaraCaseyReps: Goal Setting and How to Make Things Happen in 2013, Part 1!

  36. @lauradye on December 28, 2012 at 7:31 am

    “To make things happen, you have to start with where you are.” – @laracasey YES. #MTH2013

  37. laura on December 28, 2012 at 8:14 am

    List completed!! Reflection mode on

  38. Terri/Sweet Goosie Girl on December 28, 2012 at 8:41 am

    You are such an INSPIRATION Lara…thank you for this! I just did step 1, 2 & 3 and wrote it all down in my MTH notebook. Here are a few things that I wrote for each step…
    Step 1: retired from teaching, Sweet Goosie Girl full time, income to pay bills, came to realization that less is more Step 2: doing rather than thinking/planning, prepare for busy times in slow times, keeping laundry up, checkbook/record keeping Step 3: my family, MTH, owning my own business, monograms, organization, inspiration/pretties from the internet, quality not quantity. Hopefully tonight I can start Pinterest board.

  39. Alexandra {Heart Love Weddings} on December 28, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I’d started lists like these (what worked/what didn’t work) yesterday before even reading your post. Now, I’m fired up to add to them. My “what didn’t work” list was definitely far longer than my “what did work” list. And I think, and this is from a huge epiphany I had with my early, early (like 2 o’clock in the morning early) this morning. I might actually email you about it because you’re a part of it. I know that I always, sometimes tend to look at the negative and try to find something to change and control. That I try to find a way to be better and perfect. And while I know there’s nothing wrong with striving, and progress, and grace, or even excellence. Not being still, not being present, not just being, is a problem I have. I don’t always take the time to look at the good (and there’s a lot of it, everyday). And that’s one thing I KNOW I need to work on this year. So I’m going back and adding to my lists, especially the “what did work” because I know there was a lot more good this year than what I originally thought. Gah!! I heart you, for always making me grow. For always making me stop and think. For always inspiring me to dream big, and do bigger. XOXOXO

  40. @alysefrench on December 28, 2012 at 9:57 am

    So who wants to be my accountability pals for #MTH2013? Hey @hannahelissa711 and @marthaswann? 🙂

  41. Kate on December 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Hi Lara, Yes I too was a “lurker”. Thanks for calling me out. 2012 was amazing because of what I made happen and I believe that 2013 will be even better. Thank you for helping me to stay on that path.

  42. Lauren on December 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Great exercise Lara! I especially like starting off looking at the positive! It put me in the right frame of mind. Here’s my board:

    It, like me, is a work in progress. Thank you!!

  43. Charissa on December 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

    This post is amazing and just what I needed! Your blog inspires me so much – and I love that its such a Godly perspective! I have such a crazy year coming up so to listen to this webinar would be just what I need so icanbalance it all!

    Love you ladies!

  44. Staci Mandikas on December 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    OK, so I am one of those “lurkers” that you mentioned. I wasn’t planning to do this “all out in the open,” but rather read and think about things on my own, like I always do with your posts. No big steps…just thoughts and maybe a few notes. What was stopping me? You guessed it…fear. Fear of exposing myself, fear of “putting it out there,” fear of not doing it right. Then, I simmered on your quote of Progress Not Perfection. At that point, I opened up Word and started typing. I really had no idea that I was typing for you or anyone else. I was just letting everything in my mind pour into the keys. I started typing at 11:30pm last night, and crawled into bed at 3:15am, but my little angel decided that she wanted me to be with her before I went to bed, so my eyes finally closed at 4:15am!

    So, I still don’t think that I did it right (I read something about a Pinterest board), but I have put aside that fear and opted to be transparent and let grace surround me.

    Feel free to read it. I look forward to what the next step is.

    Thank you.

  45. Sandy Shannon on December 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Here is a link to my “Making Things Happen 2013” board:

    As always, your post has motivated me while also reminding me to take then time to reflect and hone in on what I truly want. Thank you!

  46. Rena on December 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm


    This is right on time. Thank you so much for doing this. You are truly an inspiration. I’m so excited and look forward to sharing my journey with others. This is my pinterest board:

    Some of my Step 1:
    1. Got out of credit card debt
    2. Learned about God’s grace
    3. Established wholesale accounts for SoRen Tea
    4. Started the SoRen Life campaign
    5. Learned how to be a loving wife
    6. Developed patience
    7. Stepped into my passion
    8. Learned so much about myself
    9. Developed a more intimate relationship with God and my husband
    10. Started doing SoRen Tea full time

  47. Ziza on December 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Lara, thank you again for another reminder of why we need to take time for intentional inspiration! Loving the series and can’t wait to read the next…

  48. Charity on December 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Looking forward to following along! Thanks for the posts!

  49. Blakely on December 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I loved this! I’m so motivated and excited for 2013!!! Thank you Lara! Here is my board

  50. Latrice on December 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Lara!!!!! Thanks so much for always giving so much of yourself to so many. I created my 2013 vision board back in November but writing my goals are always a challenge because I want to accomplish it all RIGHT NOW! Still working on my patience….

    I must admit I’ve been a lurker on your blog during previous challenges but I am ready to MTH in 2013. I will complete this for ME!

    I am spending this rainy Friday night on a date with my goal journal, Pandora radio & Pinterest!

  51. Genevieve on December 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Aloha All…. I’m over joyed to have picked a path for the new year #MTH2013 is how I plan to get my focus on. Ive been following Lara since 2010 when I modeled for a photo shoot workshop that she was here for at the Four Seasons in Maui. Ive had my eye on this woman for a little bit now and like all of you believe there is just something about this woman. I did pretty darn well for myself in 2012, yet there is a burning in me that i can not ignore I was meant to do BIG things, and I’m far from there. When i noticed the webinar was starting on my actual b day I said to myself THIS is my year and come hell or high waters I will do it in 2013. I believe that it is through your sharing and teaching Lara that you will be the one to help me help myself get there. I don’t yet know how it will all work out but that’s OK because i know though take the leap this is what i was meant to do and the timing couldn’t be more on time. Here is my Pintrest board

  52. Nancy on December 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    So excited to get started! I really have needed something like this.
    My biggest issue is procrastination and the effects of it. Looking forward to a peaceful 2013 and this is a great way to start. Thanks Lara!!!

  53. Rachel May on December 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Thank you so much for this post Lara!! I’ve really enjoyed jotting things down in my notebook and I look forward to seeing how all of these thoughts & ideas unfold!! 🙂

    Here’s my pinterest board…

  54. Bianca Andrea on December 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    In 2012 I focused on “perfection” at a yearly work retreat (not that I didn’t know this) it revealed that I was a “perfectionist”
    I opened a small business but yet I focused on getting everything “perfect”. Towards the end of the year I met a friend who reminded me “Grace not Perfection” who has been to making things happen.
    I had already been following Lara & Emily but didn’t really think about this to much before.

    #2013 I will #MTH. I have started my notebook on Goal Setting but I don’t yet have 30 or 50 on my list but I will continue to work on it.

    Thank you Lara for your encouragement, I need it.

  55. ChristinH on December 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Thank you so much, Lara, for this inspiration. Some of the things that worked for me this year were: getting back into the Word daily, making new Christian friends who are excellent support, spending more quality time with loved ones, taking time to breathe, supported close friends through some tough times, submitted academic papers to conferences, and made it through my first year of marriage! In 2012 I’m grateful for: my husband and his never-ending love and support, renewed spirit of relaxation rather than anxiety, time with family, passing my comprehensive exams, and close Christian girlfriends.Things I want to change in 2012: get back to more structured scheduling as a motivator, put more focused/quality energy into my academic research, invest more in old friends, take better care of my physical body, put on a new spirit of joy and compassion, focus quality time and energy on my marriage above all others (including myself).

    There are so many things that fire me up! Here is just a bit that I’ve started:

  56. Brittany Brown on December 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Awesome exercise. Feels great to reflect on the positive things that have happened over the past year. Thanks for inspiring us to take this journey together.

  57. Amy on December 28, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Thank you for this Lara! I worked through each step tonight and plan to reflect on everything these next few days! Planning for a fresh start for 2013!

  58. Sarah Gonzalez on December 29, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Love this! Just what I needed it. Posted my answers to my blog

  59. shannon on December 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I am such a lurker, but I wouldn’t have stopped lurking if you hadn’t called me out. I’ve been a follower of yours and Southern Weddings for over a year – maybe longer? I don’t think I’ve ever commented.

    What’s funny, is that I’ve been married for eight years, so I’m not a bride, and I’m also not in the wedding industry, nor do I plan to be. I’m a teacher, but was drawn to Southern Weddings because of the beautiful photography {I am a photographer, but not weddings} and the southern charm.

    I’m posting my assignment, but I also feel like I’m getting naked for all of you! 🙂

    What worked in 2012
    1. Changed teaching positions after thinking about it for years
    2. Fell in love with my husband again
    3. Became a more supportive wife
    4. Traveled to China
    5. Took first step in repairing a relationship
    6. Gave my blog a mini makeover
    7. Improved my photography
    8. Maintained an exercise routine
    9. Presented to faculty at new school
    10. Enjoyed being alone for the first time in my life
    11. Strengthened friendships
    12. Ditched some toxic people from my life
    13. Started pampering myself with monthly facials, pedicures, and buying myself nice clothing
    14. Discovered my fun city and new friends
    15. Read some really powerful books

    Grateful for:
    16. the best husband ever
    17. being able to redefine relationships
    18. my family
    19. my health
    20. my dogs
    21. my teaching position
    22. my cute condo
    23. time
    24. new technology in my life
    25. setting boundaries and limits
    26. an announced change at work, which takes place in 2013
    27. the opportunities I took advantage of
    28. realizing what’s most important to me
    29. discovering new places and people
    30. my education

    What didn’t work in 2012:
    1. I did not speak up for myself enough
    2. I was fearful, hesitant, and questioned myself way too much
    3. I did not eat as healthy as I would have liked
    4. I did not stick to a budget and did not save as much money as I would have liked to
    5. I didn’t find a work/home balance until later in the year

  60. shannon on December 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I was trying to add your blog to Google Reader, and it’s saying you don’t have an RSS feed. Did you know this?

  61. Charyl Williams on December 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Lara!!

    I am really excited that you are sharing so much of yourself with all of us. I am a small business owner myself working on starting a family and you truly are an inspiration. I hope to learn a lot from you!! Off to do my homework!!

  62. Kim A. on December 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    This is such a great idea! I am really excited about 2013. Here’s my board. Still a work in progress. Thank you for the advice and inspiration, Lara!

  63. Steph B. on December 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Well, Lara. Here is another lurker who has feared being “out there” due to a fear of failing! I have followed you, Making Brands Happen, Southern Weddings and everyone that contributes to those endeavors for over a year now. I’ve followed in mere silence. I fear failing and have decided it’s time to break that stick. That said, I am amazed at how many people have responded and are in the same boat as I. To all of you, thank you for the push I needed to just get going.

    Step 1. The easy part.
    1. I married my best friend.
    2. I planned said wedding mostly by myself. I executed my vision and was so proud when it was all said and done. I made decisions, committed to plans and was so impressed with myself.
    3. My husband and I combined homes, finances and brought our puppies under one roof.
    4. I trusted that the change that would come with getting married and moving in together would challenge me to be a better person.
    5. I began to Pray more consistently; I began to THANK the LORD for everything…for his guidance, his love and his listening.
    6. I let the Lord move me to tears.
    7. I saved someone’s life.
    8. I began making a list of all of my patients that have helped me become a better nurse.
    9. I gave away 2 heart rocks(from my collection) to patients who were waiting for Heart Transplants. .
    10. I had the guts to apply to Nurse Practitioner school. I didn’t think I would get in, but I did….and I rocked my first semester.
    11. I worked full time and went to school full time.
    12. I started to budget smarter.
    13. I told someone that they disappointed me.
    14. I rid my life of someone toxic.
    15. I started the steps to pay off my debt.
    16. I planted flowers. They died, but I planted them!

    17. I am gratful for reaching out to friends and having them love me.
    18.I am grateful for my husbands support and motivation. He reminds me we are on the same team on a regular basis.
    19.I am gratiful for my brother who is on the path to doing great things. I hope he reads this and makes goals of his own.
    20. I am gratiful for my sister who is so intelligent and has started to take risks with the next steps in life.
    21. I am grateful for my dad who works HARD and always supports my decisions.
    22. I am grateful for my mom who always listens to me and gives me a hug over the phone, even if she is busy.
    23. I am grateful for the chance to teach, learn and grow in the Cardiothoracic Surgery world. I am surrounded by brilliance and am so inspired every day I go to work.
    24. I am grateful for reaching my goal to become more patient and kind.
    25. I am grateful for Social Media, and finding people like Lara Casey who have no idea how much they influence and inspire women.
    26. I am grateful for my faith.
    27. I am grateful to have been so lucky to find my husband and to have our family as our rock.
    28. I am grateful for my Church. It is a beautiful representation of His love.
    29. I am grateful to have family all over America. I have travelled to see them this year and love the time I spend in New England.
    30. I am grateful for my Alma Mater.

    Step 2. The hard part.
    1. I have been so exhausted when I wasn’t at work or school that when I had free time I just wanted to sleep.
    2. I let my house let a little too messy a little too much.
    3. I read blogs as a “Lurker” and let fear stop me from blogging, making a photography website and becoming more creative with my photography hobby.
    4. I purchased too many things as impulse buys. Did I really need that?
    5. I started many books but didn’t finish them.
    6. Despite all of my successes, I stil fear failure.
    7. I had a friend who I knew was struggling and I didn’t reach out to her. She died this year and I wonder whether I could have helped prevent it.
    8. I sometimes feel like I’m not giving 100%.
    9. I’m a little late a little too often.
    10. I didn’t read my bible enough.
    11. I feel like I could give back more often than I do.
    12. I’ve started some bad habits that I stopped a few years ago.
    13. I stopped working out.
    14. I lost a lot of weight this year due to stress.

    My Pinterest Board:

  64. Courtney Basik on December 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Here’s my MTH 2013 Pinterest Board:

  65. Kim on December 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    This is such a great idea! I am really excited about 2013. Here’s my board. Still a work in progress. Thank you for the advice and inspiration, Lara!

  66. Amanda Ellison on December 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Lara! I have never commented but love your blog and more importantly the inspiration and give me. Thank you for this exercise in reflection and making goals for 2013. The Lord has really been teaching me to live my life with intention and not waste it. I am hopeful this will help me focus in 2013 on what is important and weed out what isn’t. I have started on my list and here is my pinterest board, which I know will continue to fill up:

  67. Jessica on December 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Oh my goodness this felt great! I was able to capture professional, personal, mama and fitness in all of this and am already seeing more clearly the things that bring me and my family the most joy. A few 2012 successes: monetizing my blog, several paid freelance writing assignments, becoming a contributor on a bigger more nationally recognized blog, three paid event planning jobs, 40 paid photography sessions, Ran my first 5K since our son was born, started focusing on living in the moment much much more. More to come… One goal is to run 13 5K races in 2013 and I start on Tuesday morning, so I am confident this can happen. I feel like a million bucks after a good run. Hooray! Thank you thank you!

  68. Jessica on December 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Oops. Forgot my pinterest board. Just started this afternoon so it doesn’t have much yet, but here it is. 😉

  69. Tanya C on December 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you Lara for this great exercise and great way to inspire us and ourselves for the amazing year ahead to come that we are calling 2013.

    I have just completed step 1 & 2 and now working on step 3.

    As someone who has had a rough 2012 – 1/2 of my year was in a very dark place, in major Depression due to the unexpected passing of my father – who drowned on vacation. I have started to see a light, a light that is shining bright. I know that my father, now my guardian angel will hold my hand during my 2013 because though life isnt the same without him, he is always by my side.

    I would like to thank you for this activity for making me reason that I have improved and done a lot of good and positive things since the passing in Nov 2011. It is very encouraging to see my own personal progress.

    much love.


  70. Kim Ameral on December 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Looking forward to a great 2013! Here’s my board:

    Thank you for the great advice and inspiration, Lara!

  71. Carrie Joy on December 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Lara – You are so inspiring! This is just what I needed! I’ve been working on all my lists & have filled 10 pages of my new journal for 2013. So stoked! My what went well in 2012 ended up being pretty long-winded, so I’ll spare everyone the details & jump in with a link to my Pinterest board! It’s so cool seeing it come together! I’m so excited to check everyone else’s boards out too. 🙂

  72. stephanie rita on December 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Hi Lara, I follow the MTH tumblr blog, so I’ve never commented here, but I really am looking forward to reading what you have to say about meeting our goals this year! Here is my inspiration board for 2013!

  73. Emily Hansel on December 31, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I started with Jiohn as one accomplishment. Then I realized I have worked so hard this year as a Mama, there is no way he can just be one. From his birth to feeding to sleep and then all the wonderful things he’s learned to do. And that I rebuilt my website while he played at my feet!
    I have far to go in a lot of aspects of my new life, but have ideas and plans to get that going. I’m looking for a weekly babysitter, working on organizing meal planning, and doing a massive clutter clearing. Nothing like a toddler mess to show you what you really need and what you don’t!
    And here’s my Pinterest board

  74. @MTH_2012 on December 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

    RT @laracasey: So inspired by everyone’s progress so far! Start your 2013 Goal Setting, Part 1: Part 2 coming shortly…

  75. saundra, event engineer on December 31, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Damn you Lara and your blog posts that are sweet as tea, I’m going to do this!!!! xo

  76. Brandie on December 31, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Hi Lara:) I’m not sure how I stumbled upon your blog but I am so happy that I did. I have been in full on planning mode since the beginning of November for my 2013. There are so many things that I want to do in 2013 and I’m loving incorporating your steps into what I was already doing. I am a huge Pinterest lover so creating a board for 2013 was on my list already but I am so glad to be able to share mine here and look at everyone elses. So inspiring to share what we want from our lives! I can’t wait to see your’s:)

  77. Ashley on December 31, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Hi Lara – Thanks so much for sharing this post! I have completed steps 1-3 and have been working on my Pinterest board this weekend – so inspired! Looking forward to the next steps!

  78. Jennifer Buenviaje on December 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Lara! Even though I’ve followed you for the past few years and have loved SW Magazine I never took the plunge on one of your challenges or Goal Setting adventures…UNTIL TODAY! I have yearned to go to MTH for sooooo long but something always seemed to get in the way {full time job, $$, bad planning, prior commitments, and even having my bundle of joy in 2012}. I’m determined to get there, though! I have heard so many wonderful stories from attendees and look forward to having my own {hopefully in 2013 if all planning and “goal setting” goes well}!

    I’ve already spent a couple hours jotting down lists for 1. 2. and 3. above. Such a humbling and cathartic experience already. I’m finding that I need more paper! 🙂 And it’s great to start on “What DID NOT work well” and find that I have to go back to “What DID” and add more there. It’s a great back and forth and I couldn’t help but jot down more notes on what I want to come back to when we actually put goals down and how I can elaborate. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Hope you had a wonderful birthday and can’t wait to work on my list(s) more and see what’s in store for tomorrow. Now…back to Pinterest for what FIRES ME UP! Be on the lookout for sassy inspiration here: 🙂 Good luck y’all!

  79. @deniselopatka on December 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    RT @laracasey: So inspired by everyone’s progress so far! Start your 2013 Goal Setting, Part 1: Part 2 coming shortly…

  80. @lisa_janel on December 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Working through @laracasey’s “Goal Setting and Making Things Happen in 2013”–feeling motivated already! #MTH2013

  81. Breanna Elizabeth on December 31, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Lara, you already know how much I love you, but thank you SO much for taking the time to put this together. I can tell by these comments, it is already making a huge impact! You are such a sweetheart (and a great momma!) and I am honored to have spent a day with you in Chicago this year. I’ve finished steps 1 and 2, and getting started on 3. I’m hoping to organize my scribbles into a blog post soon.
    Thankful for: a full year of beautiful marriage, starting my blog, second shooting with a great friend, meeting new friends in Chicago, and officially starting my fb business page (just happened)!

  82. Leika on December 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    What Worked/Made Me Grateful in 2012:
    1. God. His awesome strength got us through the past 16 months. Absolutely COULD NOT have walked any of this journey without Him.
    2. Terrell. What an amazing husband God blessed me with.
    3. Growing in our marriage. I used to think that marriages grew in spite of the “for worse,” but now I think it’s just the opposite.
    4. A wonderful family. Feeling surrounded by love is a good way to live.
    5. Our church family. Ditto for sure.
    6. Developing a new relationship with my MIL.
    7. Getting to be with her through her final journey and hold her hand as she went Home.
    8. Embracing the funny moments that happen every single day.
    9. Making new friends who are also angel mamas, and learning to be more open about living with loss.
    10. Learning, also, not to let loss define every day.
    11. Finally conquering my stage fright enough to grant my MIL her last wish and sing (in front of real, live people!).
    12. Allowing Terrell’s surgery and brush with death to bring us SO much closer.
    13. Opening our home to friends and sharing happy evenings and great memories.
    14. Finally beginning to embrace the power of saying “no” sometimes.
    15. Getting photos taken that make me feel amazing and powerful.
    16. Making myself change #15 from the self-denigrating 1st version that didn’t speak truth!
    17. Beginning to see prioritizing as making a choice about what to succeed at, rather that as a failure at doing everything.
    18. Giving myself permission to be imperfect.
    19. Giving myself permission to be a rockstar, too (without feeling like a fraud or a showoff)!
    20. Music and worship. There really are no words for how much I love to sing praise to God, and how much worship is balm for my soul.
    21. Finding a better balance in our household division of labour.
    22. Terrell’s job!! SO grateful that he has finally found one that will excite and fulfill him!
    23. My job. God has really blessed us with a job for me that allowed Terrell to quit his soul-sucking job and return to school to pursue his passion.
    24. Our nieces and nephews, who give me a positive outlet for baby energy!
    25. My brothers and sisters — the two God gave me as a child, and the six more He gave me through marriage!
    26. The soul-searching and growing I have done through our fertility journey.
    27. Each new day that I am given to make new paths.
    28. The amazing group of MTH cheerleaders and inspirations!
    29. Lara, Natalie, Gina, and Emily, for asking the hard questions and showing me how it’s done!!
    30. Realizing that touching people’s lives and inspiring them is my biggest passion!!

    What Didn’t Work:
    – When I let myself get overwhelmed by the hard times.
    – When I let myself nitpick and magnify each of my flaws and mistakes.
    – Not meeting my business goals during 2012.
    – Not saying “thank you” nearly enough.
    – When I didn’t celebrate my successes.
    – When I spent too much time comparing myself to others.
    – When I forgot that I could say no, and didn’t leave enough energy for the important things.
    – When I was too proud to ask for help.
    – Not getting enough sleep or doing enough things that fired me up.
    – Letting being busy with “God things” sidetrack me from just taking time to soak in His glory.
    – Not believing in myself enough.
    – Being ashamed to own my dreams and my successes.
    – Spending too much time analyzing and not enough doing.

  83. Megan Ayers on December 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Love this! I am committed to setting goals this coming year and I love seeing others do it as well, what a great support!

  84. Jessica Chavez on December 31, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Woot woot!! Here’s to Progress not Perfection! and a beautiful blessed 2013!!

    STEP 1
    What did I make happen in 2012?
    I went to WPPI for a whole week.
    I spent time with my P31 friends.
    I assisted in 2 photoshoots in Vegas.
    I started the P31 for One group in FB
    Photographed 2 of my cousins!
    I participated in my first charity event by donating a photograph.
    I went to MTH LA!!
    Met amazing ladies Lara, Emily, Gina!
    Celebrated my brother’s graduation from Med school
    Opened a new business with my brothers
    Spent time with my younger cousins

    What am I grateful for this year?
    United family
    Healthy year
    No passings close to the family
    I realized that I can change my life and actually stepped into change
    God’s blessings everyday
    Little details that matter
    New dreams
    Growing up

    STEP 2
    What didn’t work well to help me live my best life this year and what needs improvement?
    Comparing myself to other photographers, other women, to others’ dreams
    Feeling defeated just by sitting in the sidelines and watch life pass before my eyes
    Striving for perfection and not making things happen because things were not ‘perfect’ (perfect timing, perfect design, perfect situation, perfect mood, so on)
    Focusing on what I’m lacking instead of being grateful for what I have
    All these areas need improvement, and how am I going to improve them?
    I’ve stopped compared myself to other’s and stopped wishing to have a different life
    STOP believing I’m defeated! I am living on who God says I am and who He has transformed me to be so victory is His and His alone! I gotta believe that and live like I mean it
    Since I heard this saying by you Lara it freed me, Progress not perfection! So I believe God’s timing is perfect for every situation, however I am not perfect and will not strive for that anymore because it’s impossible. God’s the only perfect one and I will rest in His grace. And just like Emily says “Grace NOT perfection” These two are definitely my quotes for the year!!
    I’m changing my mind set into an attitude of gratefulness instead of focusing on what I lack. I realized that my heart has been in the wrong places to be so focused on material things, so this 2013 I want to remain focus on what matters GOD and the gifts and blessings He has given me. In His presence there is fullness of joy and pleasures forever more!

    STEP 3
    What fires me?
    This question has been in my heart and mind since October 13, and I’ve been working hard to find what fires me.
    The first time I was asked this by Lara, my eyes filled with tears because I acknowledged that I didn’t know. I had been so focused on my pain and the losses I’ve had that I forgot.
    After praying and rediscovering what fires me up here’s a list!
    Stopping and admiring God’s creation
    Reading before bed
    Fresh smelling candles
    Watching people smile
    Photographing happy people
    Photographing couples in love
    Spending time with God reading scripture
    Pretty prints
    Driving alone and singing my heart out
    Spending time with my friends
    Clean designs
    Color yellow and hot pink
    Feminine dresses
    Good music (Josh Groban or Michael Bubble make my day happy)
    Cooking / Baking

    PS. Pinterest board link coming soon!!

  85. katyrenee on December 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I’m not going to lie. It is hard to believe this will be helpful–but somewhere deep inside is a lot of hope. Here’s to a more joyful 2013.

  86. Suzanne on December 31, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Rang in the new year working through steps 1-3!

  87. Natalie Sink on January 1, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Ah, this came in perfect timing. I’m so thankful for this! These aren’t my entire lists…but a few things that worked and didn’t worked.

    What worked in 2012:
    1. TRAVELING. Spending my last semester of college working in London was the best decision I made during my undergraduate career. I came back a changed woman with more confidence, a clearer vision of what I wanted to do and who I am, a new understanding of the world and where I fit within it, a passion for travel and culture and history, new friends, and so much more.
    2. Exploration! I came back from the UK with the travel bug. Little trips to new places like Boston, DC, the beach, and day trips out and about this year refreshed my soul and gave me the perfect break I needed. To me, exploring a new city is my perfect day.
    3. The big picture approach: I read something in the Harvard Business Review about how successful people de-stress and one was to “Remember the Big Picture” – e.g. “I’m getting healthier” before going on a run versus “ugh, 5 miles, really?” Same with work – this extra hour is “helping my career” versus “ugh, answering emails for another 60 minutes…”
    4. I graduated college!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOPEEEEEEE! Oh my goodness. Long. Time. coming. Was ready to be out after sophomore year.
    5. Open communication and willingness to admit that I am wrong and I don’t know it all, whether it’s with family, friends or at work
    6. Knowing when to say no to opportunities to wait for the best opportunity for me and when to say yes to what is in front of me
    7. Change and trying new things! Moving home, moving out, moving home again. Blonde hair to brown hair. Trying new things like hot yoga (LOVE.), attempting to brand my website and twitter and blog on my own. Networking via twitter.
    8. Grateful for: My church, small group and God’s word.
    9. Grateful for: how my family is changing in so many good ways
    10. Grateful for: parents who are still in love and together and love me unconditionally
    11. Grateful for: a healthy body and mind. The drive to be nutritionally healthy and to exercise.
    12. Grateful for: inspiration. For Making Things Happen, the Internet who has brought me women who inspire me across various industries, from you, Lara, to the girls at, to women like Chelsea Blush, Lindsay Livingston, and so so many more.

    What didn’t work so hot in 12’:
    1. Comparisons to other people, businesswomen, success stories, graduates, bodies, whatever. Did. Not. Work. Stop comparing. Stop.
    2. Sacrificing daily morning devotionals. It’s okay if my longer time with the Lord and in the word is later. But I need SOMETHING in the mornings, for sure.
    3. Christian community needs to be consistent. Let others in. Don’t just be a visitor…on the outer circle. Engage and open up and participate! Make this a priority in 2013.
    4. In the moment anxiety/stress management
    5. Trying to be pefect. Ha that does not happen.
    6. Letting a stubborn, I know it all attitude creep in. Pride cometh before the fall! Seen this so many times in 2012.
    7. Snapping at others in my anxiety or anger because I’m too lazy to get to the root issue of what’s actually happening in my heart during that situation or within the relationship. Creates rifts between friends and family members, frustrated hearts that fall asleep with unresolved conflicts, and relationship habits that are not honoring to the Lord
    8. Focusing on the barriers to the goal or the things I have to get through to reach it rather than the end goal (again, big picture mentality is king)

  88. Alyse French on January 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Oh Lara… You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do this! To take these steps.. But I didn’t know how to realistically begin! After a good four days mulling over steps 1-3, here’s what I’ve come up with. (I’m so looking forward to sharing this and more on my blog. AND, I’ve encouraged a couple of friends to Make Things Happen in 2013 right along with me! YAY ACCOUNTABILITY!!)

    What worked in 2012:

    1. I found a new CPA who understands small business in a way the three others I’ve worked with in the past do not. I also developed an efficient way of prepping my tax information for said CPA.
    2. I purchased, fully-customized and implemented ShootQ. I now have a functioning studio-management system that works FOR me.
    3. I had new promo shots taken that I LOVE and have used to update my blog and website.
    4. I learned to say “no” to traveling jobs I don’t want (or jobs that simply don’t seem like a good fit for me). I admit I’m not cool enough to jump at the chance to go here or there. I’m much more content being a homebody.
    5. I completed my dream lens collection. I now have all the lenses I’ve ever hoped to have.
    6. I gave my blog a major face-lift and couldn’t be happier with the results.
    7. I photographed three styled shoots, two of which (so far) have been published on big name wedding blogs.
    8. I held my first NY mini-sessions and determined to do it yearly.
    9. I completed one month of Insanity. AKA, about 27 days of hardcore working out in 31 days. I didn’t have the motivation to finish the second month (which is MUCH more difficult) but I’m very proud of the time I DID put in.
    10. I made a decent dent in our new home decor. We purchased a big and comfy sectional couch that enables us to spend more time cuddling (I’m telling you, it’s important!). And I worked hard to make my office shelves pretty-ful.
    11. I had a wildly successful second quarter. (Second quarter is usually my worst. So I was pleasantly surprised to beat first quarter!)
    12. I worked less and made more – the ultimate goal. I shot 27 weddings this year as opposed to a typical 30-35, but still earned considerably more income.
    13. I read two whole books. Lame, I know… But I’m not a reader. Hoping to read more in 2013!
    14. I set up automatic invoicing via ShootQ as well as a merchant account that enables clients to pay directly via credit card – saving me trips to the bank!
    15. I recognized some unnecessary expenditures in my budget and eliminated them. (No more UPS! YES to USPS.)
    16. I prioritized my time by scheduling no more than one portrait session and two client meetings per week.
    17. I finally got my TX license (Dylan took care of the plates and registration – we were a WEE bit behind, but no longer!)
    18. I finally got my DBA – which I didn’t technically need since my name is still Alyse French and I’m still “doing business as” Alyse French Photography. But it was a precaution for our mortgage loan to go through, and it makes me feel good. 🙂
    19: I worked through some tough situations with a family member – making our relationship stronger than ever.
    20. I rewrote my contracts to include a ton more protection and easier-to-understand terms.

    What I’m grateful for in 2012:

    1. An iPhone that allows me to stay connected without needing to pull out my laptop (which would otherwise tempt me to get unnecessary work done and distract me from what really matters)
    2. A sweet baby dog (who’s not really a baby any more) who keeps me company while I work from home full-time
    3. Our first house, with ample space to separate work-life from home-life (a 2013 goal).
    4. A husband who takes his health seriously and encourages me to do the same (even though I hate it most of the time).
    5. My sister getting engaged and married to a man we all love and KNOW is the best for her.
    6. A track record of good financial decisions. We’ll be debt free (apart from our mortgage) within a month or two!
    7. Family and friends that make it a priority to visit us down in TX.
    8. My incredible assistant Kaley, who has shot more weddings by my side than I can count. Watching her work get better and better makes me smile.
    9. The few close friends that I do have in TX (quality over quantity, y’all!) and our amazing Kaleo church family.
    10. God’s constant pursuit of my heart.

    What didn’t work in 2012:

    1. I thought (multiple times) that 2012 would be the year I’d change my name. I seriously lack the motivation to take all the necessary steps. But I know it will make my husband (and me) happy. So 2013 is the year!
    2. I made a cleaning schedule. But I certainly didn’t stick to it.
    3. Along the same lines as above, I planned to do my laundry regularly. I have yet to do so. (When I need a shirt, I wash the shirt. I don’t often plan ahead or wash more than a couple things at a time.)
    4. I planned on finishing (outsourcing) our wedding images this past year. Never happened.
    5. I tried reading through the Bible in a full year, but lost steam all the way back in Exodus. I shamefully admit that I’ve never read the whole Bible. And I KNOW it’s too important to keep putting off. If I can find an efficient way – an efficient and intriguing reading plan, then I’m all in!
    6. I wanted to keep Sundays as a day of rest. I probably made it a priority twice in 2012. It’s a commandment. I need to start living like it.
    7. I wanted to read more. (Or should I say, I wanted to WANT to read more…) I buy books and never read them. I am never more happy than when I’m learning. So reading should be a priority.
    8. I only made about 10 meals for Dylan this past year. TEN. Now, I’m quite blessed to have a husband who cooks most of the time. But his love language is also “acts of service.” If I don’t make this sort of a thing a priority, I am failing at life itself.
    9. I wanted to lose weight, but lost motivation. Instead, I focused on being healthy – which is great, but hard to measure. I’d LOVE to get to my ultimate goal weight this coming year, while still prioritizing health above all.
    10. As soon as we moved into our house, I thought I’d initiate strict 9-5 office hours right away. That never happened. But I think making this change would have a tremendous impact on my daily life and life in general. More time for what matters? That’s what I want.
    11. I wanted to get dressed each morning. Do my hair. My makeup. Act like a real person. But this proves to be one of my hardest tasks on a daily basis.
    12. I planned on designing and ordering new sample albums, but never made the time.
    13. I planned on updating my website on a regular basis. This doesn’t happen. Instead, all of my changes pile up and are put off until the stress is too much to bear.
    14. I didn’t blog my heart. I’d committed to make 2012 a year for sharing, but didn’t share. I’m not sure if I’m just becoming more of an introvert or if I’m just lazy. But I know how sharing could benefit my life and my business. I just need to DO IT.
    15. Work out of my office. As if this wasn’t implied by the other things that didn’t go right this past year… I didn’t do this.

    And my Pinterest board!

  89. Faith Dwight on January 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Lara! Thank you so much for leading us in this. I’m so passionate about creatives and entrepreneurs being generous with their knowledge and skill.

    2 Corinthians 9:6 says that whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will reap generously. I really believe that the more we share our time, our money, our knowledge – whatever gifts God has given us – the more He entrusts us with.

    I won’t list ALL of my list of what went right in 2012, but here are some highlights. I knew it was a fun year, but I didn’t realize quite how big it was until I started writing it all down!

    1. Shot my first two weddings – one a destination wedding! – and had two happy brides.
    3. Redesigned my blog.
    5. Was a “Freshly Pressed” blog and had 20,000 hits in one day.
    7. Developed (okay, developING) a thicker skin.
    11. Successfully completed several copywriting projects and contributed to our family finances.
    12. Started a “Do Your Dream” series on my blog, where I interview women who are pursuing their dreams.
    14. My sweet boy turned two!
    15. I got pregnant again!
    21. Started leading a small group with my husband.
    23. Learned more about real food and started eating more healthily.
    25. Started a friendship with a woman I look up to.
    27. Committed to my blog and wrote regularly.
    33. Celebrated five years of marriage.

  90. Anna Rosendall on January 1, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you so much, Lara, for doing this! I have to say that even though sometimes I think 2012 was hard, I accomplished a lot and should be proud of what I did. I am looking forward to 2013 and doing this with you and hoping to MAKE BIG THINGS HAPPEN!

  91. Sarah on January 1, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Lara- Thank you so much for this post. I really enjoyed this post- it was very inspiring and helpful for me as I set 2013 goals.
    Step One:

    Husband and I moved to the US. With God’s grace, he was able to adjust (and I was able to re-adjust) to life here.

    After much prayer and seeking, husband found a ministry position here. (more to come on that soon)

    And I found a full-time job which I enjoy.

    Co-workers became good friends.

    I started to volunteer as a Spanish interpreter at a local obesity clinic.

    Husband has become a self-taught photographer, and we started a photography business.

    Family got 2 lab puppies, Lily and Sadie.

    Starting in Fall, had a weekly craft night with friends.

    Celebrated 3 years of marriage on Dec 27th.

    Found an apartment and started moving into our own new little home.

    goals found here:

    And pinterest board found here:

    Happy New Year!!

  92. Shelby Laine Thomas on January 1, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I was totally going to be the lurker, but I’m lurking no more!
    Step 1: 1. My 21st birthday
    2. Getting my Aggie Ring
    3. Graduating from TEXAS A&M University
    4. Making wonderful friendships my last two semesters at A&M
    5. Seeing God’s faithfulness in every aspect of my life: graduating, getting into grad school, travel, roommates, finances
    6. Traveling with my family this summer
    7. Getting into East Texas Baptist University
    8. Seeing my aunt and uncle who live far, far away
    9. A deeper desire and passion for the world’s orphan crisis
    10. Weekends spent with my favorite cousin and her recent engagement
    11. No major car issues
    12. Texas A&M being in the SEC
    13. Texas Ranger games
    14. Encouraging social media
    15. Fabulous roommates
    16. A healthy family
    17. Graduating Magna Cum Laude
    18. New worship music
    19. My photography class I got to take at school
    20. My good friend Morgan’s wedding and being a bridesmaid
    21. Snow on Christmas Day…in Texas!!!
    22. God’s continued conviction followed by continuous forgiveness
    23. Grace Bible Church in College Station, TX
    24. A mini blog makeover
    25. Dealing with broken appliances and dealing with them by myself (no parents help!)
    Step 2: 1. Any and every time I worried. When I didn’t stop and go and pray and seek the Lord, but rather sat there and worried and analyzed the situation over and over again.
    2. When I let my pride consume me and take over a humble servant heart.
    3. Being too lethargic in certain areas of my life.
    4. When I became obsessed and started obsessing about what my body looks like in the mirror. When I forgot that I’m a Daughter of the Risen King and He created me!
    5. When I became discouraged and turned to things other then Jesus.
    6. When I didn’t stop and trust and wait on God.
    7. When I was quick to judge others.
    8. When I try to take things into my own hands.
    9. When I became upset or sad about not being in a relationship.
    10. I didn’t really try anything new. (and I love adventures!
    Step 3: My pinterest board!

  93. Jennifer Taylor on January 1, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I never realized what I have accomplished each year so this is great, thank you for this.

    What did you make happen 2012
    1. Coordinated 10 wonderful events
    2. Booked 7 events for 2013 – most that I have booked going into a year
    3. Became more confident in my business
    4. Started destination weddings and now have a wedding on Maui
    5. Did helped in my first stylized shoot with a photographer
    6. Website was updated
    7. Re-joined my favorite gym
    8. Took 2 weeks off during the wedding season
    9. Took 7 of my friends/colleagues out for wine tasting
    10. 2012 Weddings in Woodinville was a success and voted in the top 3 shows in the area
    11. Was named top 5 planner in Washington and top 100 in the US
    12. Named a 2013 Wedding Expert
    13. Tried to be more consistent in my marketing
    14. Found a place to hold my first How to be a Wedding Planner class
    15. Helped 2 of my SIL with their daughter’s wedding, letting them relax on the day of the event
    16. Got my Mom on a schedule that works for me and when I can be her driver
    17. Took my first trip to Mexico
    18. Went to Inspire Smart Success and Love Mexico
    19. Tried to take the last 2 weeks of the year to work on my business and not on clients
    20. Created calendars for blogging, days to work on what
    21. Hired social media interns
    22. Gave a proposal to a venue to help them with the event management
    23. Took time for my physical health
    24. Took more responsibility of my personal finances
    25. Grateful for the live that I have, great husband, a vacation house and be able to help family when we are asked
    26. Hired someone to maintain our yard
    27. Grateful for mentors and being a mentor
    28. Grateful for my extended family and that no matter how dysfunctional we are we are always there for each other
    29. Grateful for my nephews and seeing the world through their eyes
    30. Grateful for my husband who supports me in all of my endeavors
    What did not work for 2012
    1. Need to say no to outside projects
    2. Need to work on my business finances
    3. Finish what I start instead of just making lists
    4. Took on too many other “jobs”
    5. Blogging

  94. Kelli Murray on January 2, 2013 at 12:56 am

    You are incredibly inspiring Lara! Thanks for these steps. I am great at making goals….and terrible at following through. I think hashing some of these points out on paper will help me a lot. Thanks for the kick in the butt. xo

  95. Wendi Solari on January 2, 2013 at 1:08 am

    What worked for me:
    1. Getting enough sleep {8 hours +}
    2. Staying free and creative with no pressure on myself
    3. Discovering painting
    4. Discovering hand-lettering
    5. Running daily | staying active
    6. Eating well | adding beans
    7. Making money for my family
    8. Improving our house
    9. Actively working on our marriage
    10. Meal planning | cooking
    11. Being business-minded
    12. Shooting for fun
    13. Travel | outdoors
    14. Family good times
    15. MTH
    16. New friends
    17. Meeting up with friends for coffee
    18. Photography meetings with Lis
    19. Finding time to pray and lean on God
    20. Church + Mo. Judy’s sermons
    21. Working HARD on my relationship with Piper (one day at a time)
    22. Grateful for ability to work from home
    23. Grateful to be able to volunteer at SJCA
    24. Grateful for health insurance
    25. Grateful for Joe + girls
    26. Grateful for Joe’s job
    27. Love talks with Joe
    28. Love collaborating with Joe

  96. Sara on January 2, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Step 1
    1. Beating cancer worked! Almost 2 years cancer free and counting!
    2. Getting full nights sleep worked
    3. Freezer meal planning/crockpot cooking worked. Saved us a TON of money. Before we would spend about $1200 on groceries now we are down to $400 and I am WAY less stressed before dinner and that makes a much more enjoyable experience for everyone!
    4. Inviting people to church and bible study worked. Really fun to see God at work here.
    5. Forgiving my mother in law was long overdue and very therapeutic… minus the huge therapy bill ☺
    6. Hiding notes for mu husband worked. Made me feel less like a stranger and more of a couple… we don’t get date nights very often if at all so this is a nice way to show our love.
    7. Buying Aisle-candy worked. I love blogging…. Scares me to death but I love it!
    8. Investing in wise counsel worked. Lara was the best thing for me. I am paralyzed with fear and with her help have made some huge decisions and put one foot in front of the other. Yah!
    9. Speaking softer worked. I have to watch my tone with my husband and kids and try hard everyday to be soft with my words. This works wonders.
    10. Moving worked. We sold our house in 14 hours and it was so scary because we had one week to move out and had not found a place yet. But we stepped aside and trusted God and He provided the PERFECT place for us! We love our new house. Reese said “I love our new house, its way more fun to be all cozy in a small house then our big old one” proof that 4 year olds understand less is more!
    11. Clearing out the junk worked. I sold and gave a TON of stuff away and it was awesome!
    12. I ran a marathon and it was a life changer for sure. Also training for one is no joke.
    13. Reading the Bible in the AM worked, helps set the ton for the day.
    14. Working out worked…. Must start that again 😉
    15. Taping into my creative side worked. Its amazing what you can do with little or no craft tools!
    16. Budgeting worked. A few minutes makes all the difference and Dave Ramseys budget tool is great
    17. My redesign worked. It took a long time but it was worth the effort and hopefully will me live soon!
    18. Less Facebook worked. It’s a time suck for me
    19. Sending cards to family and friends worked. I sent lots of birthday cards to extended family and they loved that we thought of them.
    20. Washing my face 2 times a day worked…. I realize this is weird but I have acne and its not fun. So I changed to Murad products and wash 2 times a day and wear little if any makeup and it seams to help
    21. Working with KT worked. We are so creative together I love it and I loved our lavender shoot. I am so proud of it. Very excited for what we have up our sleeves.
    22. Eating raw worked. Also juicing in the AM worked and I love all the recipes in the Raw food book we got. Now we are vegan/raw till 5PM then we have meat and cook stuff.
    23. Getting a cat worked. I miss my horses terribly and in a small way this made me feel better.
    24. Reconnecting with friends worked. I think some of the most amazing women in my life reappeared right when I needed them.
    25. Trying to not beet myself up worked. Still a work in progress but I am getting better at stopping the destructive thoughts from dragging me down.
    26. Painting my nails worked. Because when they are polished it makes me feel put together in yoga pants rockin a Mom pony tail.
    27. Getting ready for the day the night before worked. Getting school bags and downloading every night was amazing!
    28. Calling and visiting my Grandma worked. I missed her so I decided to do something about that, and it has been awesome.
    29. Creating boundaries for some family members worked.
    30. Purchased! It took some doing but I got it!
    31. Being happy worked. Just choosing to be happy made me feel better.

    Step 2
    1. worry. It gives me crows feet and ultimately ended in sleepless nights and anxiety.
    2. Sweets. I struggle here, I get down and all I want is Ben and Jerry. But that’s ultimately not good for anyone.
    3. No date nights. We don’t have much help watching the girls and we only got 2 date nights all year. That’s hard to stay connected that way.
    4. Not sticking to the envelope system. The system works and when we went off it we felt it.
    5. Fear. I am scared to death of failing with my blog. So much so that I do nothing at times. This does not work!
    6. Not making/asking for time to myself away from the house. Everyone needs a break once in a while and if I don’t give myself permission to have one I burn out, then I feel guilty for burning out…. Vicious cycle.
    7. Not trusting God didn’t work. The end.
    8. Not ridding horses didn’t work.
    9. Not taking vacations didn’t work.
    10. Putting my energy into relationships that are not healthy didn’t work.
    11. Putting myself down didn’t work.
    12. Wallowing didn’t work.
    13. Lazy didn’t work.
    14. Angry didn’t work
    15. Quick, cheep fixes are usually just that. Quick and cheep.

    Step 3

  97. Julie G on January 2, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Step 1:
    1. Traveled to Italy, France, and Puerto Rico
    2. Started a new job in psychiatry
    3. Acceptance to begin masters program
    4. LISTENED to other people talk
    5. Paid off my car!
    6. Began to email my aunt lynne weekly
    7. Increased the frequency of saying “I love you,” to friends.
    8. Cooking healthy food choices, (discovered protein shakes!)
    9. Booked a ski vacation
    10. Washed/ironed scrubs ahead of time.
    11. Pilot in PR /Ski instructor VT
    12. Made an effort to only spend ‘free time’ with people I love.
    13. Put my work schedule on iphone
    14. Scheduled gym workouts ahead of time.
    15. Grateful for spending time with my sister
    16. Grateful for my health
    17. Grateful for my family’s health
    18. Grateful to run outside
    19. Grateful for watching sunsets in SIC
    20. Grateful for playing tennis with my dad
    21. Grateful for ‘Shine FM’
    22. Grateful for LCBC church
    23. Grateful for a relationship with God.
    24. Grateful for the values my mother and father instilled. (hard work, education)
    25. Grateful for seeing my sister take a chance and succeed.
    26. Grateful for a close friend ending a hurtful relationship
    27. Grateful for seeing my parents enjoy ’empty nesting.’
    28. Grateful for my ‘second mothers’ (lynne and leanna)
    29. Grateful for the peace candles create
    30. Grateful for the time I’m able to spend with my family gathered together at home.

    What did not work for 2012
    1. Need to take more time for myself
    2. Obsessing about my financial future/security
    3. Discussing faults of co-workers
    4. Narrow mindedness r/t co-worker performance
    5. Work/Life balance
    6. Spending time with negative/complaining people
    7. Need to focus on one project at a time
    8. Need to prioritize items on a ‘To-do’list.
    9. Taking the ‘metro’ to work to save money
    10. Negative self-criticism

  98. Julie G on January 2, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Step 1:
    1. Traveled to Italy, France, and Puerto Rico
    2. Started a new job in psychiatry
    3. Acceptance to begin masters program
    4. LISTENED to other people talk
    5. Paid off my car!
    6. Began to email my Aunt Lynne weekly
    7. Increased the frequency of saying “I love you,” to friends.
    8. Cooking healthy food choices, (discovered protein shakes!)
    9. Booked a ski vacation
    10. Washed/ironed scrubs ahead of time.
    11. Pilot in PR /Ski instructor VT
    12. Made an effort to only spend ‘free time’ with people I love.
    13. Put my work schedule on iphone
    14. Scheduled gym workouts ahead of time.
    15. Grateful for spending time with my sister
    16. Grateful for my health
    17. Grateful for my family’s health
    18. Grateful to run outside when it snows
    19. Grateful for watching sunsets in SIC
    20. Grateful for playing tennis with my dad
    21. Grateful for ‘Shine FM’
    22. Grateful for LCBC church
    23. Grateful for a relationship with God.
    24. Grateful for the values my mother and father instilled. (hard work, education)
    25. Grateful for seeing my sister take a chance and succeed.
    26. Grateful for a close friend ending a hurtful relationship
    27. Grateful to see my parents enjoy ’empty nesting.’
    28. Grateful for my ‘second mothers’ (Lynne and Leanna)
    29. Grateful for the peace candles bring me
    30. Grateful for the time I’m able to spend with my family gathered together at home.

    What did not work for 2012
    1. Need to take more time for myself
    2. Obsessing about my financial future/security
    3. Discussing faults of co-workers
    4. Narrow mindedness r/t co-worker performance
    5. Work/Life balance
    6. Spending time with negative/complaining people
    7. Need to focus on one project at a time
    8. Need to prioritize items on a ‘To-do’ list.
    9. Taking the ‘metro’ to work to save money
    10. Negative self-criticism

  99. @sparklingsteps on January 2, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Starting my day off with this: @laracasey

  100. Lynzy Carey on January 2, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I absolutely LOVE this project. What an amazing way to start the year. I have creating my pin board here 🙂

  101. Stacy on January 2, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Thanks for doing this Lara! It takes me back to thinking about MTH LA and makes me rethink what I am doing and why.

  102. Elizabeth Glessner on January 2, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Lara! I just love your heart and your willingness to help others live life to the fullest. I’ve been anxiously awaiting having the time post-holidays to sit down and read/work through this blog post. Here goes…

    Step One:
    1. Made LOTS of new friends who are positive, supportive, and have my and their own best interests at heart
    2. Raised my prices and still booked weddings
    3. Shot 15 weddings of my own (double the number from 2011)
    4. Booked my first ever destination wedding! (Jamaica in April 2013)
    5. Made a sincere effort to focus on what matters and making my business work for me (thanks much in part to attending MTH 2012 in Chapel Hill… still a struggle and a work-in-progress, but it’s the effort that counts, right?)
    6. Took Thanksgiving to New Year’s off from client photography and significantly decreased my work hours during that time (and the world didn’t fall apart because I did so!)
    7. BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!
    8. For the first time, turned down clients who were not a good fit for me and my business
    9. Launched a new website that I love!
    10. Visited a great friend in Chicago
    11. Streamlined/organized my client interaction
    12. Made an extra effort to support and thank my fellow wedding vendors I worked with this year
    13. Helped 3 friends launch and/or make improvements to their businesses and websites
    14. Made an effort to be more open about my real story – including the failures and the fears
    15. Photographed a sailboat engagement session (another check off my photography bucket list)
    16. Had my work published/featured 10+ times in 2012 on blogs and in print (including the regional pub. of The Knot and on Style Me Pretty)
    17. Celebrated 3 years of marriage with a wonderful trip to the quaint Beaufort, NC
    18. Was selected for The Knot’s Best of Weddings based on positive client reviews – received LOTS of really awesome reviews from my 2012 clients
    19. Payed off one of my student loans
    I’m grateful for:
    20. A husband who loves and supports me through good and bad
    21. Renewed faith that is stronger than ever
    22. God’s grace and so many blessings in my life
    23. Loving parents who make me a priority
    24. The opportunity to travel
    25. AMAZING friends who are more like family
    26. An increased self-awareness that has helped my improve my relationships with others and have more confidence in myself
    27. Our sweet Scottish-terrier Monty – there’s nothing like the unconditional love of a dog
    28. Financial provision and the opportunity to comfortably buy a house – even when I thought it was impossible
    29. The ability to make my own schedule
    30. Being mentally, physically, and emotionally healthier than ever before
    31. The gifts and talents I’ve been given and the opportunity and good sense to use them on a daily basis

    What Didn’t Work:
    1. Taking on clients I knew weren’t a great fit because I was scared to turn down the $$$
    2. Lack of daily sleep/prayer/me-time – this made me short with others and treat people ways I’m not proud of
    3. Not staying organized (my desk, computer, taxes, blog scheduling, etc.) – this stressed me out and made me less productive than I could have been
    4. Spreading myself too thin – I need to choose the causes and efforts that I’m passionate about and learn to say no to anything else
    5. FACEBOOK – this is still a source of negativity (gossip, time-wasting, etc.) – make additional efforts to improve the social media experience by weeding out the people I follow and limiting time on there
    6. Reading others websites and blogs and comparing my life to others – if it’s not inspiring, encouraging or helpful, I don’t need to read it.

    Whew! I’ll be creating and posting my Fires Me Up board sometime this week 🙂

  103. @CAFashionGirl on January 2, 2013 at 10:34 am

    THIS! RT “@laracasey: So inspired by everyone’s progress so far! Start your 2013 Goal Setting, Part 1: Part 2 coming

  104. @oed4smallbiz on January 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

    from Amber Housley favorite finds for starting 2013 off right.

  105. Kari on January 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm


  106. Beth on January 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    This is just what I needed to get me going for a brand new year! I always seem to be able to set all kinds of goals for myself but then fail on following through with the action steps to achieve those goals! Thank you SO much for starting this! I can’t wait to dig in tonight after I get home from work! I’m looking forward to reading through all the comments as well! 🙂

    • Tiffany on January 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Oh my journal pages are overflowing! I am always one who reads and bookmarks great posts, but never actually sits down and does them and writes this stuff out! It feels so good! So many things that I made happen in 2012 that I am so grateful for! Including a mentoring session I paid for with two of my favorite photographers that gave me the kick in the pants to spend the year rebranding my portrait photography business. It was scary and cost money I didn’t think I could come up with- but I now have a brand that I am in love with and is an extention of my very heart and soul. I also got involved in a new church in 2012 that has radically changed my life. I cannot imagine my life before this community! I was so nervous to switch churches for fear of disappointing or hurting others. But God poured so much grace all over the transition! A lot of things didn’t work- I haven’t taken good care of the relationships in my life as I would like, and my finances need to be in a more stable place, as my health. Good Relationships Fire me up! The kind you find yourself laughing over lattes with and dreaming bigger dreams with. Being an artist and a better photographer fires me up! My Pinterest board is a work in progress and can be found here:

  107. Jessica Chavez on January 3, 2013 at 12:17 am
  108. Amanda on January 3, 2013 at 6:09 am

    I’ve been a lurker for the past few years, but no more!
    Step 1:
    Completed my degree program
    Graduated with honors
    Crafted an amazing Gingerbread House
    Made more things homemade
    Learned to make bread
    Started blogging
    Attended a blogging event
    Started photography program
    Cooked thanksgiving dinner
    Grew a garden
    Grew a pumpkin!!
    Spent more time outside on the deck
    Decorated the house
    Worked out
    Tried & loved sushi
    Got closer to friends
    Honed in my personal style
    Maintained my weight!
    Put myself out there and tried for jobs
    indulged in mani’s and pedis
    Treated myself to a few massages
    Volunteered with animals
    Photographed my first event for a client
    Read A TON
    Loved my family
    Took time to reflect and plan
    Overcame PTSD
    So grateful for the Mr., my best friends and my family
    Grateful for the blogging community
    Improved my food photography
    Bought a new camera
    Started shooting manual vs automatic.

    Step 2: 2012 certainly had some trying points and I think that I need to adjust my expectations a little in 2013 and not take everything so personally. In 2012 I put myself out there a lot for jobs in my company, I didn’t necessarily want these positions, but I wanted something new so I tried, got excited and then crashed every time I was told no. By the time 2012 came to an end I was so crushed because I took each one of these “no’s” as a rejection of me personally.

    As the above was happening I started letting my house get messy, I gradually became disorganized, went a little lax on the weight watcher reigns. I wasn’t planning, preparing and succeeding as I had in the past. I spent more time watching tv than moving, found myself dwelling in the past instead of living in the now. I also became rather grumpy and I’m assuming miserable to live with (not that the mr. would ever say this).

    In 2013 I’m only going to try and figure out where I want to be career wise and only focus my attention on positions that will get me there. I’m going to strive for balance and happiness in 2013.

    Step 3:
    1. Good food
    2. Trying hard recipes
    3. Challenging myself in the kitchen
    4. Blogging fun
    5. Making a big deal out of holidays
    6. READING
    7. Exploring
    8. Seeking adventure
    9. Photography
    10. Learning
    11. Bright Colors
    12. New things
    13. Walking around cute towns
    14. Great movies
    15. Great TV
    16. New cookbooks
    17. Book store browsing
    18. Time with friends
    19. Lazy weekends
    20. An organized home
    21. Relationship with God
    22. Planning sessions
    23. Menu planning
    24. Weight Watchers (and continued success)
    25. Pink
    26. Reading motivational blogs
    27. Striving to write a motivational blog
    28. Trying new crafts
    29. Yoga
    30. Spinning
    31. Free weight workouts that make my arms look awesome.
    32. Fancy coffee sipping
    33. adorable ballet flats
    34. cozy sweaters
    35. yoga pants
    36. new friendships
    37. embracing free time
    38. journaling
    39. Setting goals monthly / weekly
    40. looking at pretty images on pinterest

    Here is the link to my pinterest board which is still a work in progress:

  109. Emily on January 3, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I did it! I started a blog and am following my dreams. Thank you Lara, for constantly inspiring.

  110. Heather on January 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    HI Lara! I’m a LURKER! And I’m so excited that this will be my first interaction! You are SUCH an inspiration, with business, life and the Lord. Simply amazing. I have been following you since right before you had Grace, our daughters are about 2 weeks apart 🙂 Here goes nothing!

    Making Things Happen 2013
    Part 1: What worked in 2012:

    1. Troy and I celebrated 3 years of marriage
    2. We celebrated our daughters first birthday, what an AMAZING year of mommy hood
    3. Survived the baby blues after Caroline; it was a rough few weeks. I can’t even fathom PPD.
    4. Went back to work PART-TIME after maternity leave, leaving me more time with Caroline and to work on expanding my business
    5. Family vacation with my parents and brother/sister-in-law. It has been longer than I can remember that we did that.
    6. Kept up with my weekly photo project for Caroline and actually finished it!
    7. Moved into a position that I love with my part time corporate job.
    8. My business was recognized as The Best of Weddings for 2012 and 2013
    9. Taking more steps to organize and move my stationery business forward
    10. I opened an OFFICE! No more meeting clients in Starbucks or Paneras!
    11. I launched a whole new brand for my business, including website and blog!
    12. Troy took the leap and left his comfort job of 10 years to go to a job where he would be happier.
    13. Started an Etsy shop that seems to be doing great!
    14. I am grateful for: My sweet little girl and my loving husband
    15. I am grateful for: that we have a roof that we own over our heads
    16. I am grateful for: my clients who put their trust in me to create their beautiful stationery for their weddings and events
    17. I am grateful for: Even when life feels like it’s failing, God never lets us fail.
    18. I am grateful for: The first 3 days of 2013 already look so positive for my business and it starting to grow.
    19. I am grateful for: The ladies out there that I haven’t even met, that I follow daily and am beyond inspired by. Lara Casey + Emily Ley
    20. I am grateful for: Our amazing group of friends that will drop anything for us.
    21. I am grateful for: Our families living so close to us and getting to see them more than just the holidays.
    22. I am grateful for: My husband’s decision to switch jobs and actually seeing him happy when he comes home.
    23. I am grateful for: Our two pups ☺
    24. I am grateful for: The wonderful wedding professionals that I have come in contact with and that have made great friendships with.
    25. I am grateful for: The Christian pre-school right around the corner that we found to put her in, and her wonderful teachers that love her dearly.
    26. I am grateful for: a spiritual family that can help with guidance
    27. I am grateful for: NO MORE LURKING! I always am so inspired by you Lara, but figured I would just be another person and didn’t bother interacting.

    Part 2: What didn’t work in 2012.

    1. Trying to do too many things
    2. Not budgeting as well as we should have
    3. Let me rephrase #2, not STICKING to the budget we made
    4. Letting myself get down about my business. Trying to make everything happen over night
    5. Losing weight… making excuses
    6. Not making enough time for Troy sometimes
    7. Keeping up with business finances weekly… not quarterly

  111. @HeatherO_Design on January 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Working on what matters most. #MTH2013

  112. Janet McK on January 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Starting this a few days late, but thank you so much for laying out the steps for us. Totally struggling with each one, but I’m not going to give up. A peek at my fired up list: Sunshine, all kinds of weather, family (particularly my nieces & nephew), good art, fruit, vegetables, cooking, the slow food movement, simplicity, color, black & white, authentic portraiture, Psalms, design, children, being out of doors, travel, teamwork, books, ideas, pie, skipping, & encouraging others.

    I’m giving myself space and time to add to all of these steps today. Thanks again!

  113. Christina Moodie on January 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    What a great way to start the new year Lara! Thanks for this series!

    moving back home (WI), Barry and I both getting great new jobs, moving into a great new home, starting a woman’s life group, going to MTH, paying off debt, making new friends, increasing better communication with barry, joining our couples group, eating better so my body and mind function better, counting my blessings, hosting Thanksgiving at my house, daily quiet time with God, writing for our bible study, keeping in touch with old fiends, having periodic days of rest with Barry, living closer to my brother, working on our home with Barry, knowing the direction God wants me to go in and working hard to moving forward with that, finally letting go of my business! Finally said that one out loud. Scary but so exciting and definitely so the right direction to go!

    Step 2:
    being in business, being glued to my phone, over scheduling and being too busy, being unforgiving and lacking grace, being anxious and worrying about the future, judging people instead of trying to understand their side first, finding my identity in anything other than Christ, wishing I was in different circumstance instead of embracing where God has placed me and doing what he has for me today.

    Still working on my pin board! love you!

  114. Madi on January 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm
    Lara, thank you for calling ME out on lurking, and inspiring me to participate! It’s just what I needed to start off 2013 on the right foot.

  115. Jordan on January 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Admitted lurker here. I blogged some of my answers (TERRIFYING)!

  116. Nicole on January 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I wanted to give this my all. I’m a few days into the New Year, but have been working on this all day. Here’s a link to my Pinterest Board: Thankful for this post, and you Lara for inspiring so many.

  117. Chiantia on January 3, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Oh how I love this so much Lara! You are such an inspiration in my life. Thank you dearly for simply being you. I love your honestly, your passion and your heart! I’m praying you and your family and this amazing year ahead of y’all!
    I have completed steps 1-3 (I did it afraid) and boy was it an eye opener and oh so refreshing at the same time. It was so hard for me to accept the fact that I honestly didn’t make a lot of big things happen in 2012, but I learned sooo much and my list of small things that I did make happen grew tremendously! One of the biggest things was me just being honest with myself.. and I’m so grateful for that.
    I am grateful for my marriage. My relationship with God. My husband & his faith. My health and having a sound mind (thank you Jesus). New mercies. Great relationships that were created in 2012. The ability to be able to pray freely. The little things in life that I typically take for granted (home, clothes, food). I am grateful for hope, courage, faith and most importantly God’s Grace! And there is soooooo much. Thanks Lara! Hugs to you 🙂

  118. Stef Miles on January 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Love all of this – as usual, L!

    WIth JOY,

  119. @courtneyfonseca on January 3, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    One of the best #Goal setting guides I have come across via@LaraCasey

  120. Melissa on January 4, 2013 at 12:21 am
  121. @imbecca on January 4, 2013 at 3:54 am

    RT @laracasey: Goal Setting and How to Make Things Happen in 2013, Part 1!

  122. Jaclyn on January 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Starting this process & not lurking! Steps 1-3 done and moving onward (I started a few days late so powering through for a bit tonight)

  123. Danya on January 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Lara, Love this! I’m so excited to plan for the year ahead. Thanks for all of your support, encouragement and honesty – you inspire me!
    MTH2013 Part 1 – What worked!
    1 – We fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine – a huge move to California!
    2 – Redesigned my blog
    3 – Had a piece of mine published in a book
    4 – Set up a new home
    5 – Worked on and grew my marriage
    6 – Moved forward in a new business venture
    7 – Started doing a new workout routine and lost 15 lbs!
    8 – Became lifegroup leaders in our church small groups
    9 – Made lots of new friends
    10 – Threw an awesome bridal shower for a dear friend
    11 – Self taught myself to use an DSLR camera
    12 – Had lots of success in the kitchen with converting recipes to be gluten free
    13 – visited San Francisco, Pismo Beach, LA, Huntington Beach, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Murrietta Hot Springs, & Costa Mesa {getting to know the west coast}
    14 – So grateful for : my sweet husband
    15 – So grateful for : the opportunity to start fresh in Cali and new beginnings
    16 – So grateful for : Our precious church and the family we’ve made there
    17 – So grateful for : Our little apartment and a working car
    18 – So grateful for : Time away from work and the ability to pursue dreams outside of a 9-5 work schedule
    19 – So grateful for : Good Health
    20 – So grateful for :The friendships I’ve made this past year
    21 – So grateful for : A family that I love and cherish

    Part 2
    What didn’t work?
    1 – Finances -took on credit card debt and did not stick to our budget due to the move and starting over
    2 – Blogging – needs more consistency and purpose and originality
    3 – My organizational skills – they need help
    4 – Became overwhelmed and consumed by anxiety and fear and poor health – too “me centered”
    5 – I’ve been supporting my husband and his work so much, that I’ve totally put aside me and my dreams – I need a purpose outside of him.
    6 – Said yes to too many things that were not purposeful

  124. Elizabeth on January 5, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I’ve just had time to do these exercises. So pumped as I want to make 2013 the best yet!!!
    Step 1
    I got married
    We found out two months later we were pregnant again. yay!
    I attended the MTH Intensive in NC
    I found someone to do my branding for the new year
    I made some new friends
    I got a family vehicle
    My family stayed in great health
    I have a great job that puts family first
    I have supportive friends
    I had my daughter her first halloween party
    Tried some new recipes
    I completed a Mud Run!
    We found a church that just started and is 5 minutes from our home
    I took a weekend trip with my mom, grandmother and daughter -4 generations!

    Step 2:
    I mindlessly spend at times and don’t have a budget! Horrible!
    I stay up too late (like now) and wonder why I’m exhausted the next day
    Lack of time management (I get distracted easily)
    Too much iphone time
    Not blogging or promoting myself b/c it’s not “perfect”
    Not staying on top of my business taxes and being more organized with business expenses
    I needed to exercise more
    i need to get to work on time
    I need to read more books – knowledge is power!
    Stop comparing myself to others
    Stop holding grudges

    Step 3: My Pinterest board is a work in progress
    White spaces
    Beautiful photography
    My daughter’s laugh
    Pretty fabric
    Making my house a home
    Yellow labs
    Ice cream
    Anything monogrammed
    Pink peonies
    Seeing a project come together – house or businees
    Pretty fonts

  125. Kinsey S. on January 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    First of all, I have to tell you that I discovered you and your voice just a few weeks ago when I picked up my very first copy of Southern Weddings (V5!!) and fell in love with it. I’m planning my own wedding and I can say as a Texas girl, I’m so inspired by you and your amazing team of girls at SW! Okay..not to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!!
    Step 1: Things that worked for me in 2012 and what I’m grateful for..
    -I moved back home from a semester away from my family, life, and love.
    Grateful for- my family’s support, and God’s almighty hand in bringing me here
    -Spent a week being a pen pal to all of my grandmother’s friends through email
    Grateful for- Learning so much about her at the end of her life
    -Falling in love with my best friend
    Grateful for- God. God gave him to me!!
    -Going to work for a clinic that taught me how to love children with disabilities
    Grateful for- Finding out that I wanted to work with kids for the rest of my life no matter what.
    -Spending copious amounts of time at my future in-laws house
    Grateful for- Their love for Jesus Christ, and for teaching me about His amazing Grace!
    -Learning to cook through Pinterest!
    Grateful for- This awesome resource that will ultimately help me keep my husband’s belly happy for years.
    -Working my hiney off for six weeks this summer to complete a college course I was terrified of… and got a B! (Totally stoked about it.)
    Grateful for- my amazing fiance (AGAIN) for pushing me to work my hardest, for studying with me for hours, and locking me in his parent’s spare bed room so I couldn’t procrastinate!
    -Leaving the clinic to go into an after school program, which led me to bring a Preschool teacher.
    Grateful for- God’s hand in bringing me to my own classroom, my own set of (AMAZING) three year olds, and an awesome women of God as my co-teacher. Not to mention, my future mother in-law right next door!
    Grateful for- Getting engaged!!
    Grateful for- Discovering what God’s purpose for marriage is… to serve each other endlessly.
    Grateful for- Figuring out how to talk to my parents about my life, and enjoying it!
    Grateful for- Falling in love with a true entrepreneur, who made me want to start a business some day.
    and Most of all- God. God. God. and his beloved Son. Grace, Mercy, and Patience!
    Step 2: Pretty much one big thing… procrastination. Finding diligence and motivation in my God when I have none left.
    Step 3:

  126. Tina on January 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Such a lurker, but inspired by my BFF to put what matters most, first! Gonna do this!
    Step 1: Admitted that I couldn’t do this on my own, got help for Depression, and now I am FREE to SEE all that God has in store.
    Exercising more (need to get back on track with this though.
    Grateful for my wonderful husband, 2 kids, & family
    Rededicating my life to Christ (this was really 2011, but 2012 was my year to GROW
    Grateful for awesome friends, a job that lets me have time off with my kids, and realization that it’s all about GRACE not perfection.
    Step 2: Too much work at home, and not enough family time.
    Too much worry and not enough just do it.
    Too much social media and not enough sleep
    Need to be better at budgeting and simplifying!
    Step 3: So excited to create a Pinterest board
    I love my family
    Hearing my kids laugh
    Morning snuggles on the couch
    Taking a good photograph and doing something with it
    Organization and getting rid of excess
    QT with family and friends
    Being creative on the computer
    Cool handwriting
    Lazy weekends
    Watching my kids play sports
    Quiet time with a good devotional
    Growing in my relationship with Christ

  127. Meredith Teasley on January 7, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Finally got my board up over the weekend! Thanks so much, Lara, for all the inspiration and helpful steps! 🙂

  128. Alicia Swedenborg on January 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    hope it’s not to late to join you guys!! i’m so excited to do this. 🙂
    here’s my pinterest board:

    • Lara on January 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Definitely not too late! : ) Yay!

  129. Chiantia Crews on January 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Oh how I love this so much Lara! You are such an inspiration in my life. Thank you dearly for simply being you. I love your honestly, your passion and your heart! I’m praying you and your family and this amazing year ahead of y’all!
    I have completed steps 1-3 (I did it afraid) and boy was it an eye opener and oh so refreshing at the same time. It was so hard for me to accept the fact that I honestly didn’t make a lot of big things happen in 2012, but I learned sooo much and my list of small things that I did make happen grew tremendously! One of the biggest things was me just being honest with myself.. and I’m so grateful for that.
    I am grateful for my marriage. My relationship with God. My husband & his faith. My health and having a sound mind (thank you Jesus). New mercies. Great relationships that were created in 2012. The ability to be able to pray freely. The little things in life that I typically take for granted (home, clothes, food). I am grateful for hope, courage, faith and most importantly God’s Grace! And there is soooooo much. Thanks Lara! Hugs to you 🙂

  130. Diane Phillips on January 7, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I read this post and I thought, I can do this, but then a big project got in the way. Like most things I thought I would not hold myself accountable but I’m committed to Making Things Happen 2013. Compiling my lists of what did and didn’t work and what fires me up. 2012 was our most challenging year by far but your constant words of wisdom helped us get through some tough times. I’m definitely doing this MTH2013! Thank you Lara! Lurking no longer, going to be a doer! 🙂

  131. Ashley Wright on January 8, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I need to set aside intentional time to do this. I’ve read it and thought I can’t wait to do this! Then life got in the way, as it usually does, and I got distracted. I get too distracted to focus in and set aside intentional time aside for me and my dreams and goals. That’s why they don’t happen! AND I’m turning 30 Sunday, which *seriously* freaks me OUT. I want to OWN this year and EMBRACE it and set up myself for success! Thank you for inspiring me to do so!

  132. Karen Stott on January 8, 2013 at 10:34 am

    So I know I’m late to the game but I heard a pretty redhead once say that it was never too late to start, so here I am. 2012 was actually a really difficult year. I know you encouraged us to think of all of the things that worked and I did my absolute best. The other lists were very helpful like you said… hearing gratitude helped my gratitude and for that, I am so thankful.

    What worked in 2012
    Our family got to serve together at a Young Life Camp with our kids… it was incredible
    We went on our first ever family vacation back in Seaside Fl where Isaac proposed.
    Our women’s ministry doubled in size and we were able to hold our first national women’s conference for artists
    I conquered my fear of speaking
    Isaiah learned how to ride his big boy bike
    We hired regional directors for Pursuit 31 to help with my work load
    We were able to travel to the south twice for weddings.. so stoked!
    I took Ava on our 3rd overnight Mommy/daughter date before school started and we drove 5 hours to the American Girl store in Seattle. Best day ever.
    I realized what was truly important and made headway to pay attention to those
    I set a no phones at the dinner table rule and stuck to it… love that!
    We do a high and low of each day at dinner… it really helps open up communication with our kids and gives us something to talk about. It also gives us insight into their world and things they normally wouldn’t think to bring up on their own. It’s been amazing.
    I patched things up with my dad who I haven’t talked to in 6 years.
    I said I’m sorry.. a lot.
    I repaired a lot of friendships.

    What didn’t work in 2012
    In the midst of a busy schedule I lost who I was and I lost my fire….
    I wasn’t the friend I wanted to be
    I spent way too much time trying to fix other peoples problems and didn’t pay attention to what was right in front of me
    I became depressed and lost hope and joy… WAY not normal for me
    I let ministry overtake my life
    Our business started to suffer because I was sowing all of my time into ministry.
    In the beginning of 2012, Isaac and I started to drift and he was withdrawing… the rest of 2012 was dedicated to some way honest moments.. lots of tears and mending what was broken
    We were faced with the cold hard truth that our church wasn’t there for us like we thought and realized the amount of control and manipulation that they had put on us for 6 years. They had forced us to cut my dad off, change our kids school and stopped us from trying to have another baby. All things that seemed normal until we stepped away from the fog and realized that was not Jesus. We have spent the last year searching for a home church and coming up empty handed since Oregon is the 2nd least churched state in the country. So not being in a local church is not working… probably the most painful part of 2012.

    Reading this series has been like a breath of fresh air Lara. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for your honesty and your support. I worked on my pinterest board yesterday and when I was done I went to look at yours. I gasped at out of the millions of things on Pinterest we both were drawn to the same little boy… arm raised in worship. I cried as I read the caption below about adoption as I had pinned him for the same reason. Isaac and I will definitely be praying for you and Ari as you embark on that journey. We are so excited to see where the Lord leads you… and where He leads us as well.

    Love you my dear… and truly.. thank you for this…
    Here’s my board…

  133. Carrie Moe on January 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    2012 was such a beautiful and hard year in so many ways! Can’t express my gratefulness to God for the doors he opened and shut this year. Here is a shot at it..Here is what I am thankful in 2012.

    1. For obeying God in His call to move across the united states from VA to CA even though it was one of the most difficult things to do.
    2) A start of a new business for my husband.
    3) For him succeeding in his new business and getting finalized contract.
    4) For the trips and bonuses he was given in his success and hard work in his new business (The Ritz in Tahoe, The Hyatt in Carmel and Bahamas)
    5) For the blessings God poured out on our obedience to move
    6) The biggest one being…..WE GOT PREGNANT!
    7) The miracle of getting pregnant. Major long story here but we had been trying to get pregnant for 4 years and couldn’t. Getting pregnant and staying pregnant was a complete miracle. What a God we serve! He blesses those who fear HIM!
    8) A safe pregnancy and healthy delivery at home
    9) For my beautiful baby boy that I love with all of my soul
    10) Being in the same state now as my mother and seeing her more often. Being able to walk through a difficult time in her life with her.
    11) Getting to see my second eldest sister fall in love with a godly man and get married
    12) For planning her wedding even though I was massively pregnant and for everything going smoothly
    13) For being able to fly back to VA 4 times and finish up weddings I was contracted for before we moved
    14) GRADUATING from college after working so long on finishing my degree. Getting pregnant made me realize I had to finish!
    15) This was a HARD one…Learning to let go of my wedding business back in VA and start afresh in CA
    16) Finding peace in the stillness and lack of work in CA even though my heart was aching for VA
    17) Learning to be a mother, to be selfless, to manage my time better
    18) Being reunited with old friends back in CA
    19) Seeing by dear elementary friend has her third baby just two months before I had mine
    20) For selling our house in VA and buying a house in CA
    21) Living in a house in a neighborhood with tall old trees, hardwood floors and a pool…silly I know but always have wanted hardwood in my house
    22) For getting to support my husband in his new career and working for him for a short time even though my heart ached to be doing weddings again…God gave such grace.
    23) For getting a few styled shoots published on some wedding blogs
    24) The beautiful baby showers that were thrown for me in CA and VA.
    25) For hearing and seeing the joy of all our friends and family as we announced our pregnancy.
    26) Finding some dear friends in my new town where I don’t feel like I fit in sometimes.
    27) Getting to co-lead worship at our church with my husband.
    28) Having all of my sisters (except one) come home for the holidays and getting to introduce Jackson (my son) to them
    29) Seeing their joy when the got to hold him
    30) For celebrating 7 years of marriage with my wonderful man

  134. Carrie Moe on January 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm
  135. Nieka Nicole on January 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    STEP 1: 2012 Grateful list and what I made happen
    I started school again and completed a semester with great grades
    I was able to take a weeklong vacation from work after not missing one day for more than a year
    I started tithing…the right way
    I kept my hair done and it has grown about two or three inches
    I’ve lost some weight. About 60-50 pounds and I don’t know how it happened. GOD IS GOOD!
    I made a best friend
    I finally got a new phone
    I have been with my job for a year
    I went to my little sister’s concert
    I went to my little sister’s basketball game
    I bought a car
    I went out of the state for the first time. To North Carolina and to New York
    I went to my uncle’s house for thanksgiving after not speaking to my dad’s side of the family for years
    I am grateful that I am financially blessed
    I am grateful for my relationship with God
    I am grateful for my relationships with my family
    I cooked more and learned new recipes

  136. Hannah on January 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    No more lurking!! Thank you so much for pulling at my heart and inspiring me to do this. I recently started a business and it has been the most exciting/scary thing ever! I want this year to be all about making things happen for my new ventures and life! Part 1 starts now!

  137. Ashlee Proffitt on January 8, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Thank you for being an amazing woman who loves God, cherishes your husband and sweet Grace and still finds the power to encourage all of us women who are in desperate need. 2012 was a hard year for my family. If I’m being honest the past 4 years have been hard. Really hard. But I am a living testimony of God making beauty from ashes. I am so excited for 2013 (only a few days behind and I will unabashedly blame that on moving our family of 5 just a few days after Christmas!) I have a big cup of coffee, my planner, journal and pen in hand — my plan is to knock this out tonight and I cannot wait!! THANK YOU!!!!

  138. Estella Taylor on January 8, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I hope it’s not too late to start. I am such a lurker but have admired Lara since MTH started. Everytime some doesn’t go according to my plan, I begin to doubt myself and have a lot of self-pity. I have never been one to make resolutions so at the end of the year I decided to reflect and make a plan of action and have more faith that God’s will be done in my life and the life of others. I didn’t write anything down even though I knew better so I am starting now. I am going to make life happen in 2013! Thank you so much!!

  139. Erika on January 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Step 1: What DID work in 2012. What DID happen? And what are you grateful for?

    1. My husband and I began making steps towards welcoming our first child through adoption. We are blessed with a really fantastic agency to work with and we have been extremely blessed with exceeding support through prayers and giving from close friends and family. AND, even a few unexpected gifts!

    2. I graduated from college! Hallelujah! It was a long nine years and I am very grateful to be done.

    3. I strengthened relationships with my family members and with a close friend from childhood. Well you know from high school. It’s the same thing. We were children then, right? 🙂

    4. At work, I was able to use the skills and talent God gave me to create two curriculum. It was a fun challenge and I was pleased with my work.

    5. I fell in love with my husband all over again. We have incorporated a few things into our marriage. Maybe I will share those one day but the big thing we have discovered is to never ever forget to enjoy each other first. It is important to remember what brought you together in the first place and to cherish it. Laugh often, forgive, and do fun things together! It will make the biggest difference.

    6. Spent a good long weekend in Hatteras, NC this summer with my husband and our dog. It was a great trip: relaxing, quiet, romantic, and fun!

    7. I began to take better care of my health and nutrition. I have always been small and although I am comfortable I have recently realized the possible toll that not eating much can do for my body. I actually found this really great article once, I’ll have to re-find it, that discussed how we are not just a spirit or a body but we are body and spirit and we must take care of both. It was really eye opening and encouraging. Plus, it had John Piper. Must check back on that!

    8. With the help of friends and family, we were able to complete several home projects including putting up a fence and adding a room in the garage. Our house turned into a home this past year.

    9. I learned the importance of listening to God speak to me and not putting my worth into others. It took a little solitude from some things and a few people to get there and I am most thankful for the wisdom to do so. Like my favorite Lecrae lyric reads, “I know the Holy Spirit is purging me of everything that is hurting me….” 2012 was the year for purging.

    10. Keeping family close by. It is very obvious if you have ever me that I am a huge family person. Thankfully, my husband and my own family live near to us. I could write a whole page on how much our families mean to us and how much I enjoy being a part of their lives. It’s simply indescribable.

    11. I didn’t read the Bible as consistently as I would have liked to but this year I read more of the Bible than in years past. It will always be my goal to be in the Word more.

    12. This year, I realized insecurities and confronted them.

    13. I also confronted anxiety.

    14. I said “I’m sorry” a lot and tried my best to be a good friend. I know I failed a lot at this too, but I consciously made changes to be more giving and to see my faults. I pray this continues.

    15. As always but more visible to me this year, God proved to be my strong tower and refuge when I was beat down with every emotion that comes from praying for unsaved family members. I learned that no ONE is too big of a job for God. It’s in his hands I rest.

    16. I am grateful for my sweet husband- he loves unselfishly and forgives easily. I couldn’t have hand picked a better partner.

    17. I am grateful for my job and the privilege to work with an amazing team of dedicated teachers. Plus, the kids are really amazing!

    18. I am grateful for sisters and brothers in Christ.

    19. I am grateful for my church.

    20. I am grateful for our house and for everyone who lives there.

    Step 2: Evaluate what DIDN’T work in 2012.

    1. Neglecting to enter the banquet room of God and chose to “handle” things on my own.

    2. Neglecting to pray and choosing to worry didn’t work either.

    3. Being discontent with what I have been so freely and UN-deservingly given. This never works.

    4. Facebook. My own personal account had to go. It’s a great means to stay connected with people but it just added to the clutter in my life and it had to go.

    5. Any time I judged someone else, gossiped, or didn’t forgive didn’t work. Bitterness is an ugly friend.

    6. When I lost my cool at work over my students. It’s a challenge! Kids can be quite testing of the most personal aspects in your life. Talk about needing to put the FULL armor of God on each morning! 🙂 Phew!

    7. Not preparing for the next day the night before. This year I slept in late and woke up late too many times. This didn’t work for anyone.

    8. A lot of people gave far more to me than I gave to them.

    9. Second guessing myself and fearing man over God also didn’t work.

    10. Being too busy for deepening relationships.

    Step 3: What FIRES you up?

    1. Jesus, my Savior!

    2. Growing with Paul, laughing with Paul, being serious with Paul, enjoying Paul….

    3. Marriage

    4. Knowing God rather than just knowing about Him (There is a difference guys!)

    5. Good books

    6. Good music

    7. Taking pictures

    8. Making memories

    9. Taking trips

    10. Making a big deal out of holidays

    11. Investing in people

    12. Family

    13. True fellowship

    14. Simplicity

    15. God’s constant pursuit of my heart

    16. Being BROKEN! (Sounds weird, but really….it is refreshing!)

    17. Seeing people turn to Jesus

    18. Organization

    19. Teaching

    20. Becoming a Mom

    Check out my blog at

  140. Carmen on January 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    What a wonderful assignment! Never thought of doing something like this. Lara, I’m glad I stumbled upon your lovely blog! So inspiring! I’m following along too! Here is goes:
    What worked for me on 2012:
    Working hard on controlling my emotions, temper and focused on creating a peaceful home. Change begins with self!
    Stopped nagging, blaming and started to focus on the positive and goodness of others (especially my family and those around me).
    Worked on rebuilding my marriage.
    Helped my mother with many personal errands.
    Took an online finance class. (Mandatory) This taught me a lot!
    Received bankruptcy discharge. We are now free from personal, business and credit card debts. (Not proud about it, but I look at it as a blessing).We were in deficit because of a hardship that happened during the recession.
    I was able to keep my car (with the bankruptcy). I have 5 more months of loan payments to go, and I don’t think I will be trading my car any time soon.
    Got prepared and took on the big challenge of shooting 2 weddings.
    Took a road trip with the family to Orlando, FL for the first time. We enjoyed ourselves. I will definitely do it again!
    I exercised by myself or with family. Went to the gym and also did some outdoor activities like: biking, jogging and walking.
    I tried eating a little healthier.
    Invested on a new portrait lens and I love it!
    Took a road trip with my family and visited my other family in New York.
    Built my photography website on my own.
    Took an online photography workshop focused on business.
    Worked on 4 styled shoots to start building my portfolio.
    Learned new editing techniques.
    Started using full version of photoshop + invested on photoshop actions for retouching skin.
    Donated $
    Enjoyed the company of family and friends during family celebrations and cooking for them.
    Started waking up an hour earlier, so that I can come in and leave work earlier.
    Grateful for my family and friends who are always there in the good and the bad. (Blessed!)
    Grateful for my daughters’ accomplishments. My oldest daughter graduated high school and the youngest is doing great in school.
    Grateful for family who came down to visit us from NY.
    Grateful for my photography mentor.
    Grateful for my past clients.
    Grateful for our health.
    Grateful that I started visiting a new church.
    Grateful for my husband for taking the step to reach out to Naca; (our last resort we had left) to try to save our house. Even though I doubted this was going to work at first, a miracle happened and God blessed us by letting us stay. We signed our new mortgage contract in December!
    Grateful for all the goodness the Lord has provided for me and my family, and for helping us finish the year in victory!

    What didn’t work for me:

    Not being wise with time. I need time management skills!
    I was fearful, hesitant, and not being brave enough to do things I’ve been postponing.
    Spend money on unnecessary things.
    Went to sleep late most of my nights.
    I was too busy being busy.
    I worked behind a computer the whole day, most of the days.
    Didn’t pray often.
    Didn’t read the bible.
    Hardly went to church. The only resource to keep myself tuned was His Radio.
    Editing pictures took a toll on me.
    I felt stuck most of the time.
    Being home but not spending quality time with my family.
    Staying upset for too long.
    Didn’t lose the 5lbs I’ve been wanting to.
    Did not market myself properly for my photography.
    I didn’t let God lead.
    Wanting to be in control.
    Losing focus on a lot of things, including spiritually.
    What fires you up?
    Living a healthy lifestyle
    Family get-together
    Clutter-free living
    Documenting life
    Lifestyle Photography
    Branding & Design
    Graphic Arts
    Beautiful Fonts
    Getting inspired
    Beautiful images
    The idea of visiting Europe.
    Singing along favorite songs
    The idea of being successful at blogging. Taking it more seriously.
    I love to surround myself with positive and like-minded people.
    Meeting new photographer friends.
    I love delicious and healthy foods.
    Worship Music
    Create and sell things.
    The thought of opening an Etsy shop.
    Taking sewing lessons
    The thought of attending an art class in my community with my youngest daughter who also loves to draw and paint.
    Meditating in God
    Meditating in His Word.
    Being brave to say things and do things.
    The ocean
    Having a relationship with God
    Being financially free
    Spending time with friends and family
    Lazy weekends
    Korean romantic comedy movies
    Reading blogs that are inspiring
    Pretty dresses and blouses
    I love taking on new projects
    Beautiful flower arrangements
    Family parties
    Helping others
    Enjoying life in a healthy way
    Still working on my pinterest board 🙂

  141. Terrilynn on January 9, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Lara, you are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your heart daily. I spent the holidays working through my goals. My lists were very eye opening. Moving on to the next task! Here’s my Pinterest board. Better late, than never!

  142. chanelle bland on January 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Things I made happen in 2012 &what I’m grateful for

    -I traveled to five countries for the first time: England, France, China, Turkey, & Italy
    -I became pregnant with my first child (yay for baby bland)
    – I resolved to follow my dreams and trust God to do the rest
    -I spent 60 days, 2 whole months, traveling for pleasure
    – I got 6 As and a B+ in grad school
    -I asked God for help and guidance and truly saw Him answer my prayers
    -joined a married women’s small group (what would I do without MWSG? Love these ladies

  143. Mary Coules on January 11, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    What a renewed feeling to complete Step 1, 2 & 3. Emotions continue to flow and it is so freeing to just be still and completely honest about where I have been, where I am and where I am going. Believe you can and you are half way there. This is so inspiring! Thank you for always sharing your heart. xoxo

  144. Laura on January 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I very proudly quit drinking, ended a bad string of events, successfully completed bootcamp, ran, rod a bike all through ocracoke, read books multiple books, improved my relationship with my mother, improved my relationship with my husband, husband got a new job, packed up my classroom, made my mind up to leave (though havent yet)job, made some new friends, read the bible more, hair improved drastically, clarity improved, hmmm….what didnt work, sticking/staying in job, stopped working out at times, depression issues, husband’s great job is in another town, leaving a part for some of the week, wanting to be by myself a lot, wasted time on the computer, lazy, not working on my passions…..
    but though there a lot of things that fire me up,
    running, wind, water, ocean baths, making jewelry, loving people, creative energy and spirit, the love of God, learning how to be a better person, learning to share and give, fashion, fashion , fashion, style, styling, photographs, painting, being skinny, learning to let go of obsessions and embrace my self, and bless my soul PINTREST, oh how I love you, you fire me up a lot

  145. Jenni Roberts on January 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Been going through week one this morning! It made me think of this part of At Home in Mitford that I read last night:

    “One of the things that makes a dead leaf fall to the ground is the bud of the new leaf that pushes it off the limb. When you let God fill you with his love & forgiveness, the things you think you desperately want to hold on to start falling away…and we hardly notice their passing.”

    Stuff that doesn’t work will start falling away when we focus on the other two steps, I think.

  146. Ashley Paz on January 15, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I just finished the LAST wedding I have on the books, period. I have been stressing about this downtime, and of course there is that fear of, “Will I book another wedding?” Of course I will have lots more, but I think that Gid has blessed me with this downtime as a way to telling me to SLOW DOWN, reflect on myself, and my business. I have literally filled up a notebook in the past two weeks with these excercises, and as I read back through it I am finding these recurring trends:

    1. Focus more time on my family
    2. Spend more time with God
    3. Get rid of the negative influences
    4. Realize that I can’t do it all
    5. Give more time to myself
    6. Surround myself with those who inspire me
    7. Stop comparing myself
    8. Stay true to myself and the mission of my brands
    9. Have more patience
    10. Live healthier by excercising and eatin better

  147. Allyson L. on January 16, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    I’ve had it on my to do list since the start of the year to start your goal setting series, but I kept telling myself I had to run a business. I finally realized I needed to do this to better run my business, so I decided it was time! Lara thanks so much for saying that we don’t have to start on the 1st of the year, it motivated me to get this started today. Moving on to part 2! Oh and here is a link to my Pinterest board, a work in progress.

  148. emily robinson (@freebirdpaperie) on January 17, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Check out @LaraCasey’s All Business:

  149. mary on January 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm
  150. Estella Taylor on January 20, 2013 at 6:56 pm
  151. Elizabeth on January 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I’m a little late to this party but so glad to have discovered #MTH2013. I’m working on my inspiring Pinterest board! Here it is:

  152. Terrilynn on February 10, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Late night reading and posting happening. I made a commitment to review my goals and Pinterest board at the beginning of every month to keep me focused for the month. So far-so good. 2013 MUST be my turnaround year. If I take steps to identify each month things that went well, not-so-well and things I’m grateful for on a monthly basis I can’t help but to succeed. Here is my Pinterest board again:

  153. Nicole Rene on February 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I wrote everything out on a note pad, here is my pinterest board:

    Thanks for being so inspiring Lara!!!!!!!!!!

  154. Angela on February 27, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I just signed up for Making Things Happen 2013 and I am working on Parts 1 & 2 but Part 3 was super easy. Here’s a link to my Pinterest MTH board. Looking forward to meeting everyone!

  155. Megan Minns on April 4, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Beyond excited to get started on this journey!! Even though it may be April, I completely agree that there is nothing magical about 2013 and I’m ready to get going! As a recent-23 year old I think I’ve been stuck in the “how my life is SUPPOSED to look” cycle and constantly comparing my own life with others. As I began to follow your blog and Emily Ley’s as well, I began to become excited… excited to realize that there could be more for me out there than just climbing the corporate ladder until I could finally start living after retirement. I grew up sketching and drawing and have long since missed that part of my life. By sharing your journey, your story, your misses, your successes, I have become a girl on fire! I’ve been listening to my heart, my passions, and believing in my dreams. It’s been liberating and has brought me so much closer to the Lord already. I’ve been writing down my answers to your questions on my notepad, but I’d still love to share my pinterest board here – I think it’ll be a board in progress throughout this journey as I truly begin to learn what fires me up! THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your journey. It has already impacted my life significantly and I hope to one day meet you and Emily both at MTH… 2014 maybe?! 🙂 Many thanks, Megan

  156. Hope Easter on April 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Hey Laura! So I’m starting the goal portion of this right now, but like you said it’s never too late too start.

    While I didn’t accomplish very much at all in 2012, what I did accomplish was massive to me.

    Feeling the full on presence of the Lord, was amazing!
    I started the Dave Ramsey plan, and as of right now I am debt free! 🙂 (*happy dance*)
    Even though I worked a lot of lonely, and sometimes frightful nights on 3rd shift last year, I was able to worship in those hours, and have quiet time alone with the Lord.
    I was able to get my grandma to all of her doctor appointments, and ride her around to different places.
    I house sat for my neighbor while she was away, and got to play with her wonderful little pets. 🙂

    As far as business goes I got too distracted by fear and social media websites. I let the enemy taunt me with negative, and down right awful thoughts. I hired a graphic designer too hastily(even thought they are the best people ever, and I love them!). It set me back in my goal of being out of debt last year.

  157. Ashley Flores on April 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

    STEP 1:
    -reading books
    -visiting my grandmother
    -staring a blog’-staring a YouTube channel
    -listening to K-Love on the radio
    -cooking breakfast for my husband
    -volunteering with Compassion International
    -painting my own nails
    -holding a bi-weekly women’s Bible study group at my home
    -becoming a better homemaker
    -creating Code Blue’s web site (my non-profit)
    -taking better care of my hair
    -leaving InWorship (former job, no hard feelings)
    -starting to work as a university recruiter
    -writing for a new magazine
    -travelling more
    -attending commencement at Liberty to receive my master’s degree
    -NOT voting for president
    -recruiting a program administrator for Code Blue
    -eating less fast food
    -cooking more overall
    -reading positive blogs
    -completing the “Bible in 90 Days” challenge
    -vow renewal ceremony for our anniversary
    -detaching myself from an unhealthy organization
    -not taking birth control anymore

    STEP 2:
    -effectively communicating with Shelton
    -controlling my emotions
    -journaling on a daily basis
    -taking on too many projects at once
    -writing for WHOLE magazine (yea, I know it’s on both lists lol)
    -stressing out
    -dealing with depression
    -feeling insecure
    -being organized overall
    -sticking to a regular cleaning schedule
    -monitoring necessary car maintenance needs
    -managing Code Blue and working full-time
    -finishing the book I’m writing
    -seeing my niece and godson more
    -spending more time with my BFFs
    -observing a personal Sabbath day

    STEP 3:

  158. Becky on April 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I received the powersheets yesterday and after watching the first part of the video I diligently sat down to write down what has and hasn’t worked for me and some of my goals. I have to say… seeing all of my goals written out is overwhelming. The Devil tells me it’s too much. It’s impossible. There’s no way I can accomplish everything I want to. *sigh*

    • Lara on April 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      You can do it, Becky!!! I am so excited for you! And yes, God’s way is simplicity. He will help you do things one day and one tiny step at a time. Kick “overwhelmed” to the curb and dive in! I’m so thrilled for you : )

  159. Becky on April 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    oh… but I did start a Making Things Happen In 2013 Pinterest board and here is the link:

  160. Shelly on June 19, 2013 at 12:36 am
    my inspiration vision board.
    Thanks for ROCKING my socks off today with powersheets. I can’t WAIT to wake up in the morning and DO IT AGAIN. And again, and again. Love you.LC. LOVE. YOU.

    • Lara on June 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Love it and YOU! Rock it out, Shelly!

  161. Lauren on July 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Purchasing these sheets had me nervous at first. I wasn’t sure how effective they would be. Seeing all this behind the scenes online support that will assist in the sheets assures me I mad a great purchase or investment in myself! Started my what has worked/hasn’t/ & pinterest board. So excited to see where God leads me in the next 6 months! Thank you Laura for being such a wonderful inspiration

  162. Kathryn Duckett on July 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I bought your Powersheets! Thank you. Doing the pre work here. Will be working on my Pinterest board in the next few weeks.

    What I made happen in 2012/2013:
    1. Moved across the country
    2. Planned a wedding
    3. Got married to the best man I know
    4. Stayed engaged through all the craziness in my life—God is gracious!
    5. Survived 60-70 hour work weeks while selling all my possessions and moving before the wedding
    6. Designed several book covers
    7. Created a full line catalog
    8. Learned how to use java scripting and other long document features in InDesign
    9. Had first international design consultation
    10. Rebranded publishing imprint
    11. Set up house in Florida., bought all furniture and home goods
    12. Made new friends in Florida
    13. Completed pre-marital counseling
    14. Started using Basecamp with clients
    15. Joined Cowork Jax
    16. Drew portrait of fiancé and I
    17. Wedding was featured in Style Me Pretty
    18. Did my first hand lettered wedding invitation suite and paper goods for styled shoot
    19. Shoot was featured in Grey Likes Weddings
    20. Met design icon Louise Fili
    21. Said “no” several times to guard what matters at work and life
    22. Got Adobe Creative Cloud
    23. Hired an accountant and saved money on our taxed
    24. Started using Instagram and hand lettering for more purposeful social media—a platform to encourage and share scripture
    25. Successfully limited my Facebook time to less than 1 hour a week
    26. Started tracking my work hours in Harvest and have been able to see more accurately my schedule and ways to improve
    27. Started believing I’m worthwhile, that I am talented
    28. Started to see how anxiety and fear drive me, and started to work on that
    29. Started video meetings with clients instead of just emails
    30. Realized I need to be the gatekeeper on my workflow

    What Didn’t work:
    1. Worry, fear, anxiety
    2. No work/life separation
    3. Staying home for work and not getting out
    4. Not having goals, feeling “lost” in menial tasks of day—not giving myself opportunity to architect my dreams
    5. Not praying, not getting perspective from Bible
    6. Not talking to clients face-to-face or on phone
    7. Not having set work hours
    8. Not stopping to be inspired by this beautiful place I live
    9. Thinking small, living “to-do list” to “to-do list” each day.
    10. Talking on and on about my problems instead of journaling

    What fires me up:
    1. Seeing my husbands eyes twinkle, playing together, inspiring each other, and helping each other
    2. Cooking creative, healthy meals
    3. Saving money
    4. Clean spaces, lots of white, lots of simple, practical, beautiful organization
    5. Getting outside—swimming in the ocean, hiking through a forrest, beach combing, bike riding
    6. Good literature through audiobooks
    7. Filling my mind with GOOD things instead of worry, like listening to a good book, hearing scripture, drawing scripture, highlighting, analyzing, and breaking down truth
    8. Camping!
    9. Star gazing
    10. Apple pie a’la mode
    11. Camp fires and telling stories
    12. Long heart to hearts
    13. Cuddling in a rain storm
    14. Getting a handwritten note
    15. Encouraging someone
    16. Sharing Jesus with someone
    17. Praying with my husband
    18. Being honest with close circle and encouraged and prayed for by them
    19. Turning off my email, phone, and just taking time to design or draw
    20. Stripes, classic solids, simple, simple, simple
    21. Having a plan and it works beautifully
    22. Feeling prepared for the day
    23. Nice kitchen tools, like good knives and steel mixing bowls
    24. Decluttering, clearing stuff out, keeping life streamlined and simple
    25. Talking to my parents, hearing their wisdom
    26. Catching up with an old friend
    27. Baking cookies for someone
    28. Surprising someone with something small but thoughtful
    29. Taking the dog on walks together
    30. Having people over for dinner
    31. Hospitality—I am crazy excited to have overnight guests now that we’ll have a second bedroom.
    32. Putting together welcome basket for guests, laying out their towels, making them breakfast
    33. Simple, gourmet meals like pasta salad
    34. Making Thomas breakfast on Saturday
    35. Sitting in our spot on the Island—Fantastic Fudge, watching the twinkly lights and people walk by while eating ice-cream
    36. Planning how to position a room, styling it
    37. Finding just the perfect thing at a thrift shop
    38. LETTERING! Sketching type and finding all the connection points. Most thrilling way to pass the time.
    39. The dream of working with Thomas full-time someday
    40. When Cooper (our dog) walks off leash and obeys
    41. Spending just what is budgeted for and no more
    42. Hot tea and scones
    43. Belgian waffles and whip cream and strawberries
    44. Watching the rain stream down a window
    45. Love letters from Thomas
    46. Seeing my husband be creative
    47. Watching a good, thought-provoking movie and then talking about it
    48. Homemade popcorn
    49. Having my to-do list done. No demons haunting me. Being AHEAD.
    50. Hearing Thomas sing
    51. Pretty, simple things
    52. Fresh herbs
    53. Fresh flowers
    54. Gardens
    55. Clean sheets
    56. Grilling out! Grilled pizzas, kabobs, pineapple
    57. Giving someone a hug
    58. Hearing someone else’s dream and dreaming with them

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