Jan 4, 2017

10 Tips for Getting Started on Your 2017 Goals

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Happy 2017, friends! How are you feeling about this new year? Overwhelmed? Unsure? Fired up? Excited? I’d love to hear from you.


If you are in need of some simple grace-filled coaching on how to get started with your 2017 goals, you are in the right place! Here are my top tips for getting started, and making powerful progress. I have a fun giveaway at the end for you too!

(You guys, this screen shot of me below makes me giggle!)

Tip 1: First, get some GOOD GOALS. You’re going to be tempted to skip this tip and find some “quicker” ones, but this is the best one. Before you get started on making your goals come to life, you’ve got to have some good goals! There is nothing magical about January 1, and you are not one bit “behind,” if you haven’t started (or finished) setting goals yet. Today is the best day to begin. Uncover your good goals for 2017 in my sixth-annual Goal Setting Series. It’s free (yay!), and I am blown away by the over-1000 comments so far—you are all on fire!

2017 Goal Setting, Part 1: Get Started!
2017 Goal Setting, Part 2: Cultivate What Matters
2017 Goal Setting, Part 3: Say Yes, Say No, Choose a Word
2017 Goal Setting, Part 4: Uncover Intentional Goals
2017 Goal Setting Part 5: Make it Happen – How to Set Your Good Goals
*The Ultimate Goal Setting Giveaway in this series ends January 30th, so you still have time to dig in!

Tip 2: Embrace progress, not perfection. Know that good things grow over time, and the little-by-little progress you make matters. It adds up! You don’t have to have the perfect plan right from the start to begin something (we often get hung up there, don’t we!?). In fact, I encourage you to test out different systems and starting steps to see what fits you best as you begin a goal. For me, the month of January is my “testing” month. I’m getting my feet wet with my goals, learning what works and what doesn’t, and genuinely embracing progress, not perfection. It’s okay to grow slow. You do not have to do it all, and accomplish everything on your list immediately. I know you may want to, but we miss so much when we race to the finish line. We miss the magic and ripening that happens in little-by-little imperfect progress.

Tip 3: Get uncomfortable. Our brains seek out routine and what’s easy because “easy” uses less energy. So, when you shake things up and break your normal routines, it’s potentially going to feel uncomfortable. Your brain literally works harder when you cultivate new goals or habits. Embrace the uncomfortable in getting started on your goals, knowing you’re on the right path!

Tip 4: Share your goals! Accountability is powerful, and it sometimes makes me cringe (anyone else feel this way too?) because I know it will call me to action. It just plain works. Tell the people closest to you about your goals, share them on a blog, text them to friends, or tell your small group to pray for you. As I mentioned in the video above, my husband Ari is my best friend, and I was still hesitant to share my goals with him because I knew he would ask me about them later on! Sharing our goals makes us accountable, and I’m so glad I took the leap and shared them. : ) For more accountability, join a Goal Group for free at CultivateWhatMatters.com, or make a date with local friends for goal encouragement (many people do this for PowerSheets). Goals are better grown together!

Tip 5: Make a hashtag. This is a fun tip for those who want to share your goals, and tell your story! Hashtags are a part of a bigger story—they allow us to follow storylines. So, if you want your goals to become a part of your story, consider a hashtag to keep you accountable to telling and living the story of your goal. Mine for my 2017 Goals are #RunLiftPraise, #2017TheYearofLight, and #OurLifeGivingHome.

Tip 6: Set yourself up for success. When you are growing something new, weeds are bound to pop up and try to suck the life out of what you’re growing. So, set yourself up for success and don’t let the weeds grow! I recently installed WasteNoTime for Safari (allows your to block usage of certain websites), Ad Blocker Plus for Safari (removes banner ads), and Newsfeed Eradicator for Chrome (removes your Facebook newsfeed and replaces it with an inspiring quote!). These have been so helpful to keep me focused!

Tip 7: Put your goals front and center. Have your goals out and written everywhere and anywhere! Too often, we simply forget about our goals, and end up going through the motions of life. But, we aren’t going to let that happen in 2017, are we? Keep those goals front and center so you don’t forget where you’re going! (If you are a PowerSheets user, put your monthly Tending List out where you can see it every day—I keep mine open on my desk!)

Tip 8: Harness the power of the calendar. I will blog an entire post about this soon, but I am learning the power of the perpetual calendar (recurring events that happen each year), and the power of filling your calendar with what matters (your goal action steps, rest time, relationships) before it gets filled with all the other things of life. First things first, take a look back at your 2016 calendar and identify times you needed more margin, planned too much, or want to change things for this new year. This is so helpful for us in our business, but also for our family. There were many holidays I didn’t do meaningful things for that I could have done something for (even something super simple) had I been more intentional in preparing. A little forethought goes a long way. It seems so simple, but it’s so rarely done: make what matters to you a priority and put it on your calendar! Many more tips to come, and in my video above. You can get a peek at my calendar here, too.

Tip 9: Think outside the box. Since it’s cold here in Chapel Hill right now, running (one of my 2017 goals) isn’t going to happen outside for a while. Instead, I’m “running” inside on an exercise machine we got on Craig’s List, and I’m listening to the audio Bible using the YouVersion Bible app! Get creative with how you make your goals happen.

Tip 10: Use the Cultivate What Matters Method. Use the Cultivate What Matters Method in this post to write your goals and starting steps out. You’ll be so glad you did. If you are someone who feels overwhelmed because you think you have too many goals for the year, be sure to read my tip above goal 4 in this post. I hope it helps you simplify, like it did for me!


Okay, it’s your turn! I’d love to hear your own tips and tricks for getting started on your goals, and staying on track. What helps you? What motivates you? What are you trying this year? One lucky commenter on this post will win a Cultivate What Matters sticker book!

P.S. After everything selling out so quickly, we are pumped to open pre-orders for six-month undated PowerSheets today! Get yours here.

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  1. Bess Godwin on January 4, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I think as far as motivation goes, cozy alone time is my favorite. Just 1/2 an hour away from my 17 month old to quietly reflect and focus does it for me!

  2. teresa on January 4, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    I really liked your series about goal setting. As the.new year approached I found myself so anxious about my resolutions and goals as I hadn’t set any. Reading your posts just before the first of the year REALLY helped me to take fhe pressure off. Instead I focused on what had went well in 16. I asked a good friend/mentor to lunch this week and received so much clarity from our time together. That was all because of reading your blog. Thank you!!!!

    • Lara on January 5, 2017 at 11:57 am

      I’m so grateful you’ve been encouraged Teresa!

  3. Ashton on January 4, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you so much for these tips – it is truth that my time gets filled up with so many unimportant things if I don’t put the meaningful things first. Nothing is worse than a busy day or week that I look back on and nothing truly meaningful got done. Good luck with your goals! My goal this year is to speak and write more truth.

    • Lara on January 5, 2017 at 11:57 am

      Thank you so much, Ashton! Cheering you on!

  4. Alli on January 4, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Last year I started some accountability with a friend and that helps SO MUCH. I am a people pleaser who likes deadlines. Our time together forces me to do prep work–which I enjoy, but would put off–and stay on track.

  5. Harley on January 4, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    I love the idea of a hashtag! I’m not sure if I’ll be able to come up with any that relate to my goals, but I’d love to! I’m going to let this sit with me for a while so I can share progress on Instagram. I also have an accountability buddy and a blog that I plan to post my progress on. One of my “steps” for all of my goals is to have my tending list open & on my desk, to review it & my planner every day, and to review my goals before filling out February’s tending list. (last year, I would just fill out the tending list and forgot all about my goals!).

    Thank you so much for all of your words, blog posts, facebook lives, encouragement, and your team. I have grown and thrived so much since stumbling upon your blog a few years ago!

  6. Hannah on January 4, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Hey Lara! Thank you for this inspiring posts! You are the best 🙂 Right now what’s helping me with my goals is just simply staying focused. Easier said than done- but I am keeping my Tending List for the month where I can see it everyday, and I have my Word for the Year {VISION} taped on the back of my bedroom door- so when I wake up and whenever I leave my room, I have to see it. Praying and staying FOCUSED have really helped so far! So excited for all to come this year!!!

    • Lara on January 5, 2017 at 11:56 am

      What a great way to use your word of the year card – so great!

  7. Lauren D. on January 5, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Love your goal setting series! I keep coming back to it to read people’s comments and get inspired.. Love that it’s a living post! Thank you so much for sharing all that you do.

    My goals this year are very home based, creating traditions and routines in our home, creating a family table for meal times – seems impossible with 2 babies under 2 but we’re going to give it a go.

  8. Nicole C. on January 5, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for the tips. This post is very reassuring as we are on this journey! The main thing that has helped me is something Terri Savelle Foy taught me a few years ago… set your goal WITH A DEADLINE! …and make a vision board!!! So you see it every day in addition to writing it in the powersheets. I also speak my goals daily, outloud! Also, decluttering helps a ton, because I feel like I have space to sit down to have quiet time, to plan, to do my power sheets, create my vision board etc…I’m all fired up now!!! (better add this stuff to my “what fires me up” page hehe!! 🙂

    • Lara on January 5, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Haha! Love it, friend. Great tips – I especially love the idea of speaking your goals out loud daily!

  9. Tiffany on January 5, 2017 at 10:16 am

    This is my first year using Powersheets and it’s not going as I hoped. I am telling myself it’s because my husband is still on vacation and school hasn’t resumed for the kids so our schedules are off. Additionally, last night when agreeing to help someone with a project I came back to the fact that my goals don’t have deadlines so they are crowded out by other people’s goals. This year my word is “Invest” and in order to invest in the things God has given me, I MUST put them on my calendar. I’m looking forward to reading your post about our calendars.

    • Lara on January 5, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Yes, I love your thoughts, Tiffany! You can do it – one step at a time! : )

  10. Meg T. on January 5, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    I’ve been so lost on goal setting this year. I’m 5 months pregnant and feel overwhelmed and at an stand still, many of my goals are things I cannot participate in during the restrictions of this second pregnancy. I prayed about goal setting and finding a word for 2017 and I was so impatient and frustrated that I felt lost. A friend posted about your blog and my prayers were answered! Thanks for you work and for sharing your gift with us. Brain fog is clearing and goal setting resuming!

    • Lara on January 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Meg, if you haven’t already joined the private PowerSheets Facebook group, I encourage you to! (Search “PowerSheets Group” on Facebook.) I posted some examples today of how to set “goals” during big life transitions and hard seasons. I am cheering you on!

  11. Rachel on January 5, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    I am still finding out what motivates me or helps me to get started on my goals, that I have yet to start. Lot’s of procrastination, laziness, scared of what I will uncover are probably the top excuses I use so that I don’t have to do it. Maybe being too comfortable is the issue, the routine of the everyday life that has me bogged down and not inspired. I need to do different things, things out of my comfort zone, out of my daily routine… I shouldn’t have any excuses, PERIOD!!!! I am human, 2017 is not starting off on the right foot that I was expecting. Maybe it will come here soon, thoughts that come from inspiration, goals that aren’t too scary, hope I will be comfortable about being uncomfortable. (I hope that makes sense)

  12. Sarah on January 5, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    I’m new to the powersheets. Im loving them though. Just got the 6m one. I’ve never been a goal person as I always feel they get broken or I never would complete them. I like how you word it all. Cultivating what matters. The perspective on a goal and how they can change truly has helped me realize what goals I really want to go after. 🙂

    • Lara on January 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      I’m so grateful to hear this Sarah! Yay!!!

  13. Erin on January 5, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    My biggest tip getting started is recruitment. I talked up the powersheets so much that a friend of mine asked (and received!) a set for Christmas so knowing I have her really helps. She is someone I feel comfortable sharing everything with and she is amazing to bounce thoughts off of. I also purchased a new calendar and went through this first “season” in the calendar and made notes like “Look at your goal list” “check those powersheets” “any ideas for next season” just to keep in the forefront of my busy day. I consider having these powersheets an incredible opportunity to better myself and my life (in turn, my kids and family etc) so I want to be sure I am not losing steam once the honeymoon phase ends :-}

    • Lara on January 5, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Yes! Such great tips, Erin!

  14. Susana Kury on January 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    I don’t know how i landed on this website but I’m loving the motivation so far 🙂 Thanks.
    So, I have so many goals this year. I wrote them down kind of in a brainstorming way, very disorganized. I haven’t written down real goals since college, 5 years ago. I have bought numerous agendas, but quickly stopped writhing in it. What’s different this time? I think I have finally realized i needed to get more organized (i have 3 kids now, 5 y/o, 2 y/o and 4 mo…). So, my children are my main motivation. Difficult times have helped in the past, even if that sounds weird, just knowing you I was not able to fail gave me an extra motivation. This year I have as personal goals: cultivate love, spend more time with hubs and kids AWAY from social media and work, I want to be there fully whenever possible. I also want to take photography lessons. On the professional level I want another degree to offer a better service to my patients.

  15. Rose on January 6, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Hi Lara, Team Cultivate and my fellow gardeners..: )

    I did the same thing Erin (two posts above 🙂 did … I recruited my dear sister in Christ. She is now an elated PowerSheet recipient too! We text, send pics and cheer each other on!

    Accountability definitely motivates and assists me in achieving my goals.

    I love my women’s small group bible study… reading, discussion and fellowship…so in that same vain…

    I finally faced my fears… stopped chasing perfection and joined social media (my process is messy… I have no pics up but just yesterday I accomplished that goal! Progress not perfection! Praise God!

    I am now a member of FB and Instagram! Accountability here I come!

    I will confess…I purchased Sally and Sarah Clarkson’s The Life Giving Home and the 12 Month Guided Journey by Sally and her son Joel… I purchased the books when they were 1st published. I will admit never read them…No accountability and overwhelming fear… What if I can’t do this…

    I just joined Sally’s Facebook group and a 31 day challenge will begin soon by anawins a blogger!

    I signed up…

    My church is hosting a 12 week Run For God Bible study… We will pray, read the Devotional and run together each week…and there is an optional run day on Saturday mornings.

    The idea of running for God inspires me to run the race.

    I have decided to prayerfully place scripture to each goal…

    Beth Moore has the Online Siesta Scripture Memory Team aka Any woman can join…

    (long story re: the name Siesta’s but she said it also means rest and I love the idea of learning scripture symbolizing I am resting in the Lord :)…

    We post one verse small or large any translation twice a month…

    I joined the SSMT FB group ! I ordered the small flash card style SSMT spiral so all my flashcards are together on my desk!

    Receiving a small little package from Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministry… I was tickled pink! More motivation! She is my favorite Bible teacher!

    There is even a celebration of all the Siesta’s and the only admission price… you bring your scriptures and read them to a Siesta at the event… and we will all celebrate together… with Beth Moore… God is so good!

    Prayerfully, I am working to garner employment that will make this goal a reality!

    Thank you Lara…. from the bottom of my heart…

    • Lara on January 6, 2017 at 9:44 am

      I love how you are cheering each other on! This is wonderful!!

  16. Rose on January 6, 2017 at 3:38 am

    I almost forgot… I am using the App you recommended OpenBible.info

    All of the scriptures I am going to memorize will coincide with my Word for the Year. Prayerfully this will bring me closer to God’s purpose and plan for my year… and my life…

  17. Angela Sarris on January 6, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    I would like to be put in the pot for the drawing of the PowerSheets! Please…Thanks! You mentioned in your good goal setting video a FB chronological bible reading group …wow there is a lot of them is there one or two that any one would recommend they enjoyed? thanks!! Angela

    • Lara on January 9, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Yes, search #AsItHappened on Facebook and you’ll find the group! : )

  18. Brittany on January 6, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    I need to start keeping my Tending List out in front of me. I love the idea of checking off the daily progress, but I often forget each day because it isn’t in front of me. I recently started my own blog, so I’m going to post my goals there for accountability!!

  19. Judy w on January 11, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Just getting started is the hardest part!!! Thanks so much Lara for the motivation. I changed careers one year ago and the last year has been only about letting go of old expectations and being in the moment. But that has not lead to any proactive goal setting–or even thinking about the future. So… I’m so glad to have found you and your methods! Feeling pumped about this year!!

  20. Ashley on January 30, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I put together a small care package for an old roommate and friend who lives in another state.

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