Welcome to the final post in the 2021 Goal Setting Series! In Part 1, we looked back at the last 10 years together (!), and all we know for sure about intentional goal setting. In Part 2, we looked back and did a treasure hunt together. Today, in Part 3, we’re looking ahead! I’m sharing my 2021 PowerSheets goals and I can’t wait to hear yours, too!
My friends!!! This is it! You’re so ready to put 2020 behind you and make room for the new! But, perhaps you’re also feeling a little hesitant. What if things are hard again? What if your goals don’t go as planned?
But… what if you’re right where you’re supposed to be to take a leap of faith and do things differently in the year ahead? Look around. The world is starting to see what you and I have long-known about goals and starting a new year well: maybe it’s not about having a list of big, shiny goals in hand. Maybe it’s about cultivating what matters right where we are, with what we have. Maybe it’s about taking just one intentional step forward, and then another. And maybe it’s about doing small things with great love and seeing those things add up over time—no perfection required.
Goals won’t change your life; knowing what matters will. Cultivated goals are simply how you get there!
As I looked ahead to 2021, I felt all of the same things you might be feeling: excitement, grief, hesitation, hope—all mingled together. It’s been a hard year. But, here’s what we both know for sure after all these years, and where I can have faith: good things grow out of hard things.
There’s no such thing as perfect progress on a goal. All progress is imperfect. And it’s okay to be scared—sometimes being nervous means something is really important to you.
It’s okay to grow slow—in fact, it’s really good.
Striving for perfection halts real progress on the things that matter.
We can’t do it all and do it all well, but we can choose to cultivate what matters.
Small steps add up and good things grow little by little—not all at once. This is good news!
I flew through the PowerSheets Prep, got right up to the point of writing my goals, and I paused. What if these are the wrong goals? What if I don’t have enough energy for them after this year? What if I fail? And then I laughed at myself, thinking of all the times we’ve talked about these very things together! 😊 As I considered what felt like an imperfect list of goals for the year ahead, and felt the excitement and hesitation, I repeated these truths to myself (maybe you need them right now, too?):
2020 was hard. 2021 may be hard, too.
But, would I rather wander aimlessly and waste time second guessing my direction? NO.
Would I be grateful I spent time on these goals at the end of 2021? YES!
Would I be sad I didn’t spend more time getting the words just right? NO.
Were the goals I was considering a really GREAT start for the year? Double YES!
Imagine the end of 2021 and you’ll know: what matters is always worth taking a leap of faith. So, let’s believe in what we can’t yet see. Let’s take some steps forward (especially the ones that feel imperfect!) and, little by little, the fear part will dry up. We’re not going to fertilize the fear this year, friends! Are you with me?
Let’s decide to take action on goals that cut through all the things to get to the things that matter.
Won’t that feel so good?!
One last reminder: we are always “in progress.” Your goals may be the same! As you go through different seasons, the way you take action on your goals may change. As you learn new lessons and take on new life responsibilities, your capacity to do different things may change, too. As you write out your goals, remember that you don’t have to set them for the calendar year. Set them for just this season ahead, and refresh your goals every few months. This is why we put a NEW Goal Refresh in the PowerSheets for every season.
Don’t you feel so much freedom knowing your goals don’t have to be forever?
Ahhhh!!! I’m so ready!
With that, here’s how I’m starting fresh in 2021:
Goal #1: Run with Him
— Mini goals: This goal is all about focus! My mini goals are to make a 2021 prayer list, focus on my relationship with the Lord in solitude, increase my bold and dedicated time with Him (continuing to write in my Bible and write the Word!), study Psalm 119, read the Bible again with friends (we’re considering Chronological this year), keep Psalm 90:12 before me, prioritize my health to be able to focus on Him and have more energy to live out what He wants (get answers to my health conundrums and literally run with Him!), and cut out anything that distracts me from all of this.
— What could stand in the way of progress? My comfort zone and not prioritizing rest, solitude, and health (which lead me to be distracted!).
— Starting steps: Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, right? My starting steps are to choose a Bible reading plan for the year alongside our reading group, make new playlists for running, do a time audit (already started this), and start my 2021 prayer list. I’m especially excited about the prayer list. This is new for me this year and so simple. I’m just writing a list of specific things I need God’s wisdom and help with in the year ahead—everything from “Should I have a co-host for the podcast?” to “What do You want us to do for school for the kids next year?”
— Encouraging words: Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Psalm 37:3
Goal #2: Love others/build others up in the Spirit
— Mini goals: Bring a feast of good ideas to our children in homeschool, have individual experiences with each of them (Ari + me together with each of them – not so easy these days, but we’re going to figure it out!), date Ari again, make a list of books we’ll read as a family in 2021, complete homeschool planning for the next term, plan something meaningful for our 15th wedding anniversary in March (a milestone worth celebrating!), love friends in new ways (I have specific ideas I’m going to test out in January!), and focus on generosity through this whole goal.
— What could stand in the way of progress? Not having solitude myself. I am an introvert through and through. I need extra time to settle my heart and brain (something I’ve learned more than ever this year) to love others well. This goal includes saying no a lot more to make room to love people in new ways.
— Starting steps: Add some of the one-another scriptures to my Blank Write the Word journal that I’m starting the year with, make a list of COVID-safe dating Ari ideas, make a list of 15th-anniversary ideas, and start our family reading list—lots of lists! I’ll be using a Legacy Journal for most of these lists and many of the specifics of this goal are going on my 2021 prayer list!
— Encouraging words: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16
Goal #3: Open space for the Spirit—my spirit and His!
— Mini-goals: Do a work time audit to clear out things I need to let go of (so I can focus more on others I want to dive into at work!), say yes to far less (you see how connected my goals are!), and take road trips together as a family to places where there’s space to roam wild and free. Also, I’m putting my foot down on my phone. Well, not literally, but sometimes I want to! I’m drawing a hard line on not having my phone around at all when the kids are present. I tend to keep it out of sight in general, but even checking the weather report for the day could be done in other times and other ways so I’m fully focused on them. I only get this one life with them and I want to use every minute to see them, listen to them, and build them up.
— What could stand in the way of progress? Being afraid to fail! This goal has some bold mini goals, and I keep reminding myself that I’ll be SO grateful I did them (even with some missteps along the way!) at the end of 2021. I’m choosing risk vs. regret on this one.
— Starting steps: Plan our 2021 road trips, make a list of scriptures related to this goal, tell the kids about my no phone goal, intentionally plan to step away from my desk more this year to get out in open space, and let go of social media even more. My decisions at the start of 2020 were fruitful there. I want to keep it going!
— Encouraging words: Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Psalm 107:30
And my 2021 Word of the Year? This was a clear and easy choice after doing my PowerSheets!
I want to be full of faith this year, believing in what I can’t yet see, focusing on a deeper relationship with the Lord (I almost chose the word “relationship”), my family, and loving others in new ways. I will do this by running with Him confidently and making intentional space—beyond my comfort zone—for the Spirit. Wide open space for us to run free and be able to taste and see that the Lord is good and love deeply because of it.
There you have it, friends! This is my fresh start. I’m so grateful and excited to do this year alongside you!
Dear 2021 Selves,
You know the year ahead won’t go exactly as planned (hello, lesson of 2020!). It may not be perfect, but it sure will be meaningful. So much changed this year, but one thing remained the same: what matters. We’re saying yes to what matters and no to all the rest. You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? They all start with small steps. 2021 selves, we’ve got you, we love you, and we’re taking small steps with great love today for YOU.
Your December 31, 2020 Selves
A big thank you to everyone who entered! What a joy it was to hear your responses and get to chat with you in the comments! Congratulations to our winners below! If you’re a winner, please email Abbie@CultivateWhatMatters.com to collect your prize within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected!
One of the best ways to prepare well for 2021? With these amazing tools! For our 10-Year milestone together, enter to win one of everything in the Cultivate shop (YES!!) – Rebecca Walters, a pair of AirPods – Allison Lieuwen, a scholarship to Financial Peace University – Sara Driscoll, and an Echo Dot – Courtney Doi. Enjoy these yourself or have New Year’s gifts for everyone you know. 😊 Simply comment to enter and we’ll choose winners in early January. Bonus points if you share this post with friends!
Your turn! What goals are you excited about? What’s your word of the year? Comment below! I can’t wait to hear!
P.S. Here’s a special 10-year celebration discount just for you. 🎉 Get 25% off anything in the shop with code 10YEARS now. Code is valid through January 1. Happy shopping, friends!