Episode 018 of the Cultivate Your Life Podcast was released on June 6th, 2019. Listen here!

Well, 2019 is almost halfway over. This year has not gone like you thought it would. Time feels like it’s flying. You feel like it’s too late to make progress on anything this year. You started all wrong. You’ve gone from feeling behind to feeling like this year is actually over, and you feel like you’ve failed. This year, my friend, is not over, not even close. In today’s episode, I’ll walk you through three steps to make the rest of 2019 count no matter how it started. I’m going to help you solve your goal problems. By the end of this episode together, you’ll be set up for your best rest of 2019. You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them, the things that last longer than you, the things that run deeper and are more thrilling than skydiving, the things that make you come alive.

Welcome to the Cultivate Your Life Podcast, where each week we talk about how to uncover what matters to you in the big picture and start acting like it today. Whether you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or in need of some refreshing truth today, I’m Lara, and you are in the right place. Let’s cultivate what matters together. The storm is passing over. The storm is passing over. The storm is passing over. Hallelujah. For real, though. Maybe you have had a really rough start to this year. I’m just singing that over you. The storm is passing over. The past is not your future. Good things can come from hard things. No matter how this year started for you, I’m so excited that you’re listening today because we are going to dig into the three ways, three really simple steps that you can implement right now today to help you break free. Around these parts, it is midyear goals week. I feel like that needs its own song. It is midyear goals week. Oh, yeah. It’s midyear goals week. Maybe not like that.

Get a little excited about these things. It is an exciting week. You know why? I love a good fresh start. I do. I believe in progress, not perfection. That means every day is a new fresh start, but especially at this midpoint of the year. I don’t know about you, but I feel this restlessness. It’s this transition for us from having the kids in school to summer. Maybe for you, it’s just the transition of the weather changing, and you’re doing different things in your routine. There’s this restlessness that happens. It’s like our brains and our heads and our hearts are thinking, “Am I using this year, this gift of a life, well? Have I done the things I set out to do on January 1st? Oh, yeah. What are those things?” We made a week to help us reset our lives, to help you reset your life. If you need a life reset, this whole week is for you.

Just make sure you’re following Cultivate What Matters on Instagram, and you’re going to be in for all the fun and all the goal coaching all week long, but this is where we starts, my friends, this right here, me and you. We’re going to get right into the heart of it. It’s midyear goals week. It’s time for a fresh start. I’ve been evaluating: Where am I this year? What did I set out to do on January 1st? What has happened and what hasn’t happened? I’m going to share that with you now. I had four goals starting on January 1. I have my PowerSheets Goal Planner here out on my desk. I’m going to flip over to my 2019 goals page. I’ve got four goals that I started this year with. My first goal is the year of heart, have a heart connection with the Lord, letting him cultivate my heart. My second goal is to have a no spend year, grow a faithful life over a comfortable life. Goal number three, the year of slow, cultivate the hearts of our children. Finally, goal number four, the year of Sabbath, take Saturday Shabbat with our family.

How did that actually play out in my life? I made a few little notes here about things that we have done, progress we have made. Keep this in mind. Everything that I’m about to tell you may sound like a lot of progress if I had accomplished all of this in a day or even a week or even a month, but I didn’t, not even close. We are officially 150-something days into the year, so let’s just break that down. If I were to take the tiniest step forward on some of my goals, if you took the tiniest step forward on some of your goals, even just a single step forward once a week, do you think that would add up? Well, that’s what you’re about to hear. I didn’t make all this progress in a day. Good things don’t grow overnight. They grow little by little by little.

You better believe there were times I was frustrated. You better believe there were times I wanted to make overnight progress, but I just kept reminding myself of the things that you and I always talk about and pressing through to make little by little progress, always coming back every month when I did my PowerSheets, always coming back to why I set these goals in the first place. It motivated me to keep going no matter how many times I fell down. You’re going to fall down seven times and get up eight. Also, before I tell you about my goal progress and we get to the three steps to make the rest of your 2019 count, no matter how it started, I have a little challenge for you. I think you’re up for it, my friend.

I think it’s really easy to look at or hear or perceive someone else’s progress on their goals and compare. Don’t do that. We’re not going to compare on each other. Here’s the real danger in comparison and what I don’t want you to miss. Comparison can blind us to the progress we actually have made. You might be sitting there thinking, “Well, I kind of remember my goals. I really don’t think I made any progress.” I would feel the exact same way, and I have felt that way, I know how you feel, before I used my PowerSheets, before I started to track that little by little progress, before I let go of all the pressure and really just focused on celebrating the progress I am making. Man, I felt so much guilt. I felt so much pressure. I felt so much comparison.

Listen in, and let my little bits of progress over these 150-something days encourage you to look at your own progress and to celebrate what you want to see more of. I bet that if you dug a little bit, you’d be able to uncover the things that you have moved forward on. If you’ve been following my monthly goal updates on my blog at LaraCasey.com/blog, you know that I have changed up my goals. They have grown just as I have over these days. That’s really the way it’s supposed to be. As we grow and change, so do our goals. Enough with the disclaimers. Are you ready for this? My number one goal is to have a year of heart. What does that mean? It means that my number goal, as always, is to grow my faith.

I’ve been faithfully reading, as my number one goal, faithfully doing my Old Testament reading plan. I did this this year with a whole bunch of friends, some from my church family group, some just friends I’ve known for a long time online. A group of 12 of us have been reading the Old Testament this year every day little by little together. I usually read first thing in the morning on my YouVersion Bible app. There’s this fun comment function for group reading plans that you can find on the YouVersion Bible app. It’s been really interactive and great. Also, on January 1, I had signed up for the Cultivate Fresh Faith Challenge. That was 31 days of writing the word and just getting right into scripture using our Write the Word Bible Journals. Y’all, that changed me.

You know, I’ve talked about this with you here on my show for a while now, how doing that challenge opened my eyes to using that Write the Word Journal and getting into scripture at night and having a consistent thing I do at night, not just my Bible reading in the morning. That new habit really stuck. You know why? Because I felt the fruit of it. It was hard at first. Just like you know now from listening to the first few episodes of the podcast, I know that our brains, they need time to be able to grasp onto new patterns. When we start something new and it feels hard, which new things, they can feel hard, that’s good. That means your brain is trying to rewrite the patterns and those habits that it so loves. Our brains, they seek pattern. They seek habit. They really want to grasp onto something consistent.

It takes some time to get there is the point. Doing that Write the Word Challenge and really pushing myself to do that every day in January helped me to see how good that was for my heart and my soul. I’ve continued to do that. I’ve had that on my PowerSheets tending list as a daily goal for the whole year. Have I been perfect in it? No, but I didn’t need to be perfect in it. I didn’t need to do it every single day, but the days I have done it have been really, really wonderful. I’ve read my Old Testament Bible plan. I’ve done my Write the Word Journal pretty consistently this year. I did some little things too. In February, I studied the word heart in the Bible.

I just felt like I was needing to understand that more, like, “What does it mean that God has a heart? What does he say about my heart? How do those two things intersect?” I just did a really quick word study in the Bible and looked at different passages that have to do with that or point to God’s heart. Very simple and practical, I started a note on my phone, you know in the Notes app, where I just collect things that come up. I might see a scripture that comes up in my reading plan and say, “Some of that illuminates for me a piece of God’s heart,” and I just add that to my notes section. I’ve very, little by little, been growing that goal over time. I’m so glad that I did.

Goal number two, the one that most people are curious about, my no spend year goal. This had so many practical things in it that we’ve done so far this year. Number one, we set a new budget, just brass tacks. Had to set a new budget. What would it look like for us to look at the big picture, like you and I do here all the time, of where we want to be when we’re 80 or 90 or 100? How could we start living like that today? What’s going to be important to us then and what’s not? Before we actually made a budget, we knew we needed to have our hearts made over. I really felt it. I’ve wanted to have a total money makeover, to use Dave Ramsey’s term. I’ve done The Total Money Makeover book and all that stuff. I really felt like it was deeper. I really wanted God to rewrite the way I think about all that I’ve been given, not just money.

Ari and I read the book God and Money, and it gave us direction and clarity. Then, we signed up for You Need a Budget, YouNeedaBudget.com, YNBA as the cool kids say. I started the year doing the Contentment Challenge with Nancy Ray and pretty much just stopped spending money. The thing is this all goes back to why the PowerSheets proven process works for so many women across the world. It’s not about just changing your behavior. You got to change your heart. You got to change the way you operate. That means looking at the big picture, looking at what really matters to you and what’s not going to matter to you and doing a life reset. To me, that’s why I PowerSheet.

I need that constant life reset when the pressures of life are just coming at me and I start to feel like, “Wow. It’s really impossible with all this pressure, with all these things I need to do, with all this day to day stuff, for me to make progress on the things that really matter.” Then, I stop myself. I’m here to stop you too. You feel that? You feel like it’s impossible for you to move forward? There’s just so much pushing in on you, the expectations of others, all the things you have to get done, that to-do list. It just feels like it’s running your life. I’m here to stop us. Let’s just take one moment, just one moment. This one step you take forward might change everything for you.

Stop for a minute. Look at that big picture. Where do you want to be when you’re 80 or 90 or 100 years old? What will matter to you then? What will not matter to you then? Just write those things down. Name those things right now. Maybe you’re in the car by yourself listening to this podcast. Name them out loud. No one’s going to know that you’re not on speakerphone talking to your best friend, so just name them out loud because it’s one thing to start a goal that really matters to you. Maybe for you it was fitness or finances or your marriage or parenting or a project you have, whatever it is. It’s one thing to start a goal like that, to sign up for the Contentment Challenge where you don’t spend money for 90 days. It’s a whole nother thing to follow through on it.

The follow through happens when you get clear about what matters to you in the big picture. What are you driving toward? If that thing isn’t clear, you know what? Your path is going to feel all sorts of willy-nilly. I’m sharing that because I didn’t just start by signing up for the Contentment Challenge. I started by getting my heart in the right place. I knew I was frustrated, just like you might be feeling right now with a goal. I was frustrated by the way that I was living before in all of these areas. I wanted change. I knew that there was more to this life. I wanted to use this life like it’s the only life I’ve got. You know what? Making progress on a goal, especially something that really matters to you…

Put yourself in my shoes. You’re trying to give advice to your friend. Your friend really wants to run a 5k, but your friend says, “You know, I really want to run a 5k, but this whole running thing, I don’t know about it. Maybe I’m going to do running once. Then, I’m going to show up on race day.” What would you tell your friend? Don’t we do that to ourselves? We think that progress on a goal should be easy, but if that really matters to you, you’re going to push through. That practice every day of, clearly I’ve never run a 5k because I have no idea what the next step is, but whatever you do next in a 5k, that thing, you’re going to do it because it matters to you. You’re going to follow through. For me, I’m going wake up, and I’m going to see that thing that I really want to buy for the garden, and I’m not going to buy it because that big picture goal matters more to me.

Next up, you know, something that God has really worked on in me, and now that you and I know each other a lot better at this point, you know that my whole life was bent on instant gratification before. I really felt like there was no time to wait to make little by little progress on a goal. I felt like, “No, I don’t have time because my life stinks right now, and I need progress. I need buckets and buckets of progress right now.” Of course, that type of thinking will just make you reactionary. It makes you reach for “quick fixes,” which really fix nothing at all. Doesn’t that sting? Doesn’t that? I know. We can acknowledge these things together. It’s for real. That never goes anywhere. We want it to so badly. We want to just push that easy button or just flip the switch, but here’s the cool thing. There actually is an easy button.

There actually is, and it all starts with one little step that adds up to another little step and another little step. That led me to be really intrigued by the company Acorns. Have you heard of Acorns? It’s so cool because you know we, here at Cultivate, we really like garden metaphors. The idea is that from a tiny acorn mighty things grow, and a mighty oak can grow. In the same way, from the little change that gets stuck in your couch cushions, if you use that and put that toward something, it can really compound over time. I started an Acorns account, which has been great. You can find a link for that in the show notes. Then, obviously the biggest thing for us is just don’t spend money. A no spend year is pretty simple. It is what it sounds like. We obviously have to buy things like groceries, but even in that trying to cut back on unnecessary things.

Of course, in that, God always has a sense of humor. We start this no spend year, and not even 24 hours later, our entire air conditioning system decides to go on holiday. Y’all, it’s funny. It was not funny at the time. It is funny now. I’m up here in my office, and I smell toast. The toast starts to smell a little too intense. Turns out our dryer had caught on fire. It gets better. Ari drops his phone in the toilet. There’s more. Trust me, there’s more, but all of this happened in a very short span of time. I really don’t know what God was trying to say in that except for just, “Keep doing your thing. Trust me. Yes, I’m funny.” It was really not so funny at the time. We kept going, truly, through the tears. Yes, I had tears about the influx of unplanned major expenses. Oh, there was one more.

I’m in the kitchen, and I smell, once again, some strange smell, like maybe a piece of plastic somehow had caught on fire in our dishwasher. We don’t even use plastic. I look over, and one of our light sockets is on fire. What in the world? All electrical malfunctions aside, I am very grateful that none of those resulted in anything worse. Look on the bright side. Our hearts kept going. Our hearts kept beating for this goal that was not about a dollar sign number. It was about our hearts changing. For us, we really got clear about, “You know what? What’s going to matter to us in the big picture is cultivating the faith of our children and helping them to see a godly example of how to steward finances well and how to be generous and how to live with heaven in mind and not the world. What do we need to do about that?”

That will motivate you as opposed to, “Everyone else is doing it,” or I feel guilt because I overspent somewhere, and I should do it. That’s what a cultivated goal is all about. It is about looking at that big picture. Really, that is a place I would start. If you’re feeling unmotivated about a goal or you fell off the bandwagon on January 2nd, and you’re still off of it, that’s okay. Just enjoy that grass down by the bandwagon that you’re laying on and look up at the sunshine and know that you can get back up. Sometimes it just means looking at the big picture and resetting your focus by knowing what matters most to you in the big picture and aligning your goals with that.

Goal number three is to have a year of slow to really cultivate the hearts of our children. For me, very practically, that’s meant focusing on just the important things in homeschool and just taking the pressure off. This is our second year of homeschool, gracefully moving into second grade. We’ve done kindergarten and just completed first grade. For us, this year, I just knew that what I need her to do in order to have her mind open to the rest of the learning we want to do, number one is I need her to love reading. We really worked on cultivating a fluency in reading this year, worked on math. The girl loves some math. We love Math UCPS. We did that. That was really good. It just felt like we took all the extra things out. We’ve done a lot of wonderful extra things along the year too, but the most important things were put first. Everything else followed from that.

Number two is we spent a lot of time cultivating their friendships. I’m so grateful for that. You know, having a goal, it’s not just about the action steps that you take with that goal. Sometimes setting a goal allows you to say an easier yes when opportunities come along that have to do with making progress on that goal. Any time there was an opportunity for a play date, I had an emphatic yes waiting because I knew that cultivating friendship with our children and other kids was important to us. Also, obviously, the garden. As you know from the last episode, we finally planted the garden. Go back and listen, if you haven’t yet, to episode 17 of the podcast, How to Take Back Your Summer. I am so grateful that we did that too.

Goal number four, and probably the one you have emailed me the most about and been so curious about I think because we all crave this, is having a year of Sabbath. With Ari being Jewish and us now having this shared faith but also his incredibly rich history of having grown up in a traditional Jewish household, we have used those traditions and implemented so many of those things to amplify our faith together. One of those things is now, at the very first part of the year, we both felt like, “Yeah, we need some rhythms of rest. We’re tired.” More than physically tired, we really just wanted to be our best this year. We wanted to be fueled for the right things and to help our children learn how to do the same, to help them learn how to have a healthy relationship with work and also to learn how to let go and just to trust that God’s going to take care of everything if you rest. It’s okay to rest.

We decided to start have a real Shabbat or a Sabbath. We broke out Ari’s Shabbat candle set, and we started to light the candles at sundown on Friday. We just committed as a family to take sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday as a family day. This means a lot of really practical things. It means that we had intentionally decided to say no to all the birthday parties on Saturday, all the errands that we were so tempted to run and just get one more thing done on Saturday, all the home improvement projects. That tends to me, wanting to do home improvement projects. All the things that kept us busy, we decided to fast from those for those 24 hours just to see what happened and to do what Sabbath was created for, which is to grow closer to God, to enjoy the things of life that we’ve been blessed with, to taste food in a new way, to be more present with the people right in front of us, to rest from our ordinary work, which doesn’t just mean our jobs. It means all the things, all the projects, all the stuff.

It really, to us, has meant a rest from the busy. You know now that saying no to something, saying no to all those birthday parties and all the errands and all the projects, is really saying yes to something better, yes to just abiding and being home with each other or playing outside together. The best part of this goal is I started taking naps. I count that as a marker of great spiritual maturity. I really do, and I really don’t mean that just in jest. I think for the longest time I felt like my worth was tied to how many things I could get done. If I didn’t get all the things done, everything would fall apart. Have you felt that? I remember one of the first Saturdays in the year my son Joshua looking at me and saying, “Mommy, will you just lay down with? Lay down with me for nap time.” I laid down with him, and I got really sleepy.

I just had this thought cross my mind like, “What if I took a nap right now? What if I took a nap? Ari is probably going to wonder if I fell off the face of the earth because that would be so abnormal for me to not be a busy bee during nap time and be getting all the things done.” I just went with it. Yes, he was very confused when we got up. He was like, “I have had no idea where you were for the last hour and a half.” I said, “I don’t know where I was either, but it was really good.” Now, it’s become this really sweet thing in my relationship with my sweet little Joshy. Now, every Thursday even, he says, “Mommy, is it Shabbat nap time? Is it Shabbat nap time?” He just loves that time, and so do I. It’s been now a part of our family narrative. It’s become something that he will probably remember and talk about for the rest of his life.

I have really needed those naps. It’s felt really good. Also, in this goal, I have studied out what does the Bible say about Sabbath. What does it say about work? When I say studied out, don’t get any big intensive pictures in your mind. I mean I’ve probably like looked it up four or five times. I’ve collected verses, just like I did with my year of heart in the note section on my phone. Every time one comes up or I hear something or read an article about it, that’s what I am doing. I’m collecting all those things as just this kind of bank of reminders of actually your worth is not tied to how much you get done. Your worth is not tied to how perfectly you do life. You can rest. God has this.

Now, have there been blunders along the pathway to these goals? Yes, a million times yes. You can go read all my goal updates at LaraCasey.com/blog, read my monthly PowerSheets updates. There have been countless times every single month where I don’t check everything off my tending list, but that’s not what it’s there for. It is supposed to be about celebrating and noticing and marking the little by little progress, not making perfect progress on something. Really, all progress is imperfect progress. We think we are trying to aim for perfect. We think that in order to achieve a goal we have to have a perfect track record with that goal. Guess what. You don’t. Isn’t that good news? It’s just the truth. That’s why I’m so grateful for my PowerSheets because they also have helped me. They’ve helped you to reset your goals every 90 days using what you and I now know about the power of the 90-day window.

Your brain can only focus on one thing intently for 90 days. After that, you know what? If you’re starting to feel that itch that something isn’t right here, you just are not motivated, you really want that goal, but your body is not following you on that or you start to feel like, “I don’t know if this goal really matters to me anymore,” that’s your brain telling you that maybe it’s time for a refresh. We’re right there with you feeling and it ready. We’re ready. Welcome, once again, to midyear goals. No matter how your year has started or what progress you have made or haven’t made, we’re going to get you moving forward with three simple steps. Now, some of you are feeling real good. There’s so many of you. I love, love, love hearing your stories of imperfect progress and how it’s really adding up. So many of you, the light bulbs are going off. You’re making progress left and right and not perfect progress.

Hi. My name is Amanda. I’m from Phoenix, Arizona. When I think about the year being half over, I feel excited, grateful, and amazed at how much can happen in just six months.

Hi. My name is Audrey. This year, I’ve gone through four big seasonal life changes, and adapting to those changes has been hard. However, with the PowerSheets, I did learn that it is okay to reset goals month to month since the goals you set are not permanent goals for the entire year.

Hi. I’m Sarah, and so far this year I’m feeling hopeful. My family and I are in a huge transition as we move across states and start news jobs, but as I’m intentional about keeping what matters at the forefront of our work, I find that I’m able to remember the why behind what we’re doing. It makes me excited for the opportunities of a fresh place and new growth.

Some of you wrote in with these updates. You said, “I just finished week six of Couch to 5k, feeling pretty darn good.” Another one of you said, “I’m finally seeing progress through little by little steps.” Yes. Another, “Making slow progress on goals that I actually never thought I could achieve.” That is amazing. I really like this one. You said, “July 1 is my January 1.” Rock on. My friend Journey to Wellness on Instagram, she said, “I actually got a late start with PowerSheets, but I made so much progress just in my first month, which was March.” Here’s some of the things she did. She said, “I spent time in the word every day. I memorized five passages of scripture. I completed a 21-day sugar detox to get my cravings under control. I started my new Instagram. I joined a career development course to kickstart my business. I planted a garden.” That’s awesome. “I wrote and sent gratitude cards. I planned a vacation and spent quality time with my hubby. I joined a gym, and I actually went. All of these things were really big milestones for me, and I’m so proud of myself.”

We are proud of you too. Beth Ann Arthur said, “I crushed one of my major goals in the first 90 days of the year. That was to apply for and get accepted into an amazing grad program.” High fives. That is awesome. “PowerSheets helped me so much by organizing my to-dos, track my progress, and think about my why for the goal.” Katie A Gaines, you said, “In spite of people in my house being sick since the start of January, I’ve decluttered three rooms in my house, repainting the master bedroom, started exercising regularly, and getting up before the baby and toddler most days. I also started taking my health under control.” She says, “I have multiple autoimmune disorders, which just makes life hard.” That is a lot of progress. That’s a lot of progress in this short amount of time.

Casey Warner, you said, “I have been developing deep meaningful friendships with two other moms in my Bible study group. Little steps like reaching out and inviting those friends to play dates, accepting help when others have offered, sending birthday cards and encouraging texts, and faithfully attending my Bible study group have all made a difference.” Big and small, I love hearing these things because they’re so specific to what matters to you and your unique life and season. I love this from you, Emily Wood. You said, “I created a spa day in a box for my sister’s birthday. I got it ready, I mailed it, and she got it BEFORE,” all caps, “BEFORE her birthday. Just the fact that I mailed her something for her birthday is huge.” Big or small, you know what? The small things are actually the big things. That is so awesome, Emily. I know she probably felt so loved.

Rhythm Divine, you said, “I’ve done more in the last three months than I have in all of 2018. I’ve lost weight, paid down debts, saved for a vacation, and grew my business all while being a present mom and wife.” Amazing. You know what? There are so many more things I could read here, but I think if we all sat together in a room and I asked each of you, “Did you do any of this perfectly?” the resounding chorus is going to be, “Abso-tootly not.” You know what? You keep the main thing the main thing, and no matter how many times you mess up along the way, that little by little progress is really going to add up. I am cheering all of you on. You know, around here, we celebrate with cowbells because we’re here in the South. Why not? I am ringing my cowbells for you, friends. That is so awesome.

Let me tell you a story. As an Enneagram one, I like to have a pretty clear picture of where I’m going in life. I do not like traditional goal setting. It just has never worked for me. Instead, I like looking at, big surprise, right, the big picture and setting out on a path that feels purpose-filled. That’s why I love, love, love walking alongside you and doing the same. When my daily life doesn’t align with that big picture vision, I get really frustrated, you know. I know you might be feeling that way about some area of your life, or just a goal that you just haven’t cracked yet. Perhaps I’ve been worrying too much about motherhood at some point. Let’s just envision this. Maybe I haven’t been working out as much as I would have liked. Maybe I haven’t been as strong in my faith as I would like to.

You are going to be in my shoes now. Say I feel this frustration on an ordinary Wednesday like today in the middle of June. Would you look at me and say, “Actually, Lara, in order to make progress on your goals, you’re going to have to wait until January 1st,” or, “You know what, Lara? I’m sorry. It’s too late. We’re already 150-something days into the year. You’re just not going to make any progress from here. You might as well give up”? Of course you’re not going to say that. I hope you don’t. That would be so sad. Aren’t we saying those things to ourselves? Aren’t you saying that right now to yourself? Feel like, “I’ve messed up so much so far this year or I haven’t even started. I don’t even know what my goal is. It’s too late for me to start.” It’s not.

As I’ve looked out at all the thousands of women across the last 10-ish years that I have been studying goal setting, as I look at the dates that they started really good things, things that really stuck, and I looked at the pivot point days for them, actually, hardly any of them landed on January 1st. Isn’t that interesting? Makes you think. It could be a Wednesday in June, could be the first of October, the second of May, the eighth of December, the 15th of January, any day. The munifying factor, the best day to start is the day you want it, no matter what day it is. The day you decide that the pain of staying where you are, staying the same, this restlessness, this frustration, the day that you decide that you don’t want that anymore and you’re ready to change, you’re ready to take a leap of faith because you don’t want to keep doing the same things you’ve always done, getting the same results you’ve always gotten, you’re willing to consider another way forward.

The best day to begin is the day you’re ready and rearing for a real fresh start. Starting a goal on January 1 or starting perfectly is not an indicator for success. You now know that women have started meaningful goals throughout the year, January, February, May, October. Just begin any time. Begin anywhere. I could truly list dozens of dates for you that have been milestones of real change for women just like you, turning points. There’s just nothing magical about January 1st. If today is the day you’re ready to dig in, today is the best day for you to start. There are seven more months in 2019, and each one is an opportunity to live life differently. I’m going to preach that to myself. There are seven more months in 2019, and each one, each day, each minute, each hour is a fresh start.

It’s an opportunity to live out what matters most to you no matter how many times you mess up along the way because you’re going to mess up. You just are, but you’re going to keep moving forward. There are so many days left to exchange those distractions of life. All of those expectations, all of the pressures of life, all of the shoulds, all the comparison, the escaping, all of those things, to exchange them for real life and to achieve the goals that really matter to you. You bring that desire you have for change, you bring that desire for a meaningful life, to get more out of this life, and I’m about to guide you through the rest. I’m going to guide you through the three steps to make the most of the rest of 2019. Make this the best rest of your year that you’ve ever had no matter how it started.

Here’s what we’re going to walk through. Step number one is clearly know what you want. How do you want to end this year? Number two, you’re going to break it down into really elementary simple steps. Number three, you’re going to take a step. You’re not going to wait. You’re going to do something about it right away, something small, but you’re going to do something about it right away to get that momentum rolling. Are you ready? Let’s dig in. As I’ve been listening to you over the last few weeks and also just remembering how I have felt too. I’ve been right there with you. As I’ve been listening, here are the six most commonly used phrases that I’ve heard you say. Maybe one of these resonates with you more than another. Maybe you’re going to say, “All six of them are me. Thank you very much.” Just as you listen in, start to identify which one of these is you.

Number one, “I feel like I have failed at every one of my goals.” We’re going to apply that three-step process to each one of these things and help you unpack them. You feel like you’ve failed at every one of your goals. Let’s, number one, let’s clearly find out what you want. How do you want to end this year? No matter what happened in the past, knowing that perhaps you haven’t made as much progress as you wanted to, maybe you forgot about your goals, maybe you’ve gone through so much transition this year, whatever the reason, what do you want to end this year knowing you made progress on? Looking at these next six months of the year, what is it for you? One way to get really clear on it is to use that golden question that you and I always come back to. We’re just making this a habit. We’re making this a practice.

This is a lifelong thing that we do together. Where do you want to be when you’re 80 years old or 90 or 100? Where do you want to be? What is going to matter to you? Write that thing down. What is not going to matter to you? I love that question. I love it. It always sets me straight. I think, “Okay. What’s not going to matter to me is what other people thought of me. What’s not going to matter to me is how clean I kept my house, how perfectly well-behaved my children were. What’s not going to matter to me is pretty much anything you can see with your eyes, but what will matter to me is the legacy of faith that I implanted and passed on to other people, is how I pass the torch.”

Here’s why it’s vital for us to start with that first step of clearly knowing what you want. If you don’t know what you want in the big picture, how in the world are you going to know what you want at the end of this year? If that’s what you want in the big picture, if that’s what matters to you, let’s start acting like it today. Number one, define what you want. How do you want to end this year? What story do you want to tell at the end of the year to say, “You know what? I spent the first six months of this year feeling like I failed at every one of my goals. You know what? I woke up on,” whatever day it is you’re listening to this, “I woke up on that day, and I said, ‘Absolutely not. I’m ready for change. I’m going to define what matters to me in the big picture, and then I’m going to start acting like it today'”?

Look at the big picture of where you want to be in the big picture, and then look at where you want to be at the end of this year. Just break that down. If that’s where I want to be, how do I need to get there? Number two, the next step is literally to do that, to break it down. Perhaps one of your goals this year is to cultivate your faith. That’s something that can feel really overwhelming and so complex and very intimate. You feel like, “I don’t even know where to start. This feels so complicated. Faith feels complicated. That’s why I haven’t made progress on this goal, just feels like I’m not getting it. I’m worried I’m not getting it. I don’t have enough knowledge or I don’t know the Bible enough, all these things. I don’t feel like I’ve been perfect enough,” whatever it is for you.

Look at where you want to be when you end this year. What’s going to matter to you? Is it how perfectly you prayed every day or checked off your quiet time or whatever you want to call it? No, what’s going to matter is the little steps forward that you took that added up to something big. You know what that motivates you to do? Take step number two and break it down. Maybe the very first thing you need to do, maybe the very first tiny, minute thing you need to do is just to stop right now and say, “God, will you help me?” That’s it. “God, will you help me and show me the way? In Jesus’ name. Amen.” Now you’ve defined for yourself what you want, where you want to be in the big picture, and where you want to end this year.

Number two, you have broken that down into the very first tiny starting steps that you need to take to get there, something really small, like so small, it’s so elementary that you can’t help but take action on it because it’s just so simple. If it doesn’t feel like so silly simple, you probably need to break it down more. That’s going to lead us to step number three, and this is a tip I learned a long time ago, I don’t remember who from, decades ago. When I was in college, I remember hearing this, someone saying, “When a goal is presented to you, don’t wait to take the first step. Take the first step immediately so you get the momentum going.” I actually do this every month with my PowerSheets.

Instead of just setting my goals for the month and marking out my monthly, my weekly, my daily action items and then just tucking my PowerSheets away, I try to literally at that moment take the tiniest little step forward on each one of those things. It takes me no time at all. Truly, if you’re breaking your steps down, they’re that small that you could probably finish a whole bunch of action steps within 10 minutes. That’s it, and that gets the momentum going. That way you’re not stuck feeling like, “I haven’t started on this goal.” No, you have started. Now you just need to take the next best step. Number one, clearly know what you want. Number two, break it down into tiny little starting steps. Number three, take the step. Just do it. If for you it was cultivating your faith, and you need to pray that prayer, just do that right now. Pause. Just pause the recording. I will be here when you get back.

Ask God for help. Say, “God, I don’t really know how to cultivate my faith. This feels complicated. It feels overwhelming. Just help me, please. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” The end. You have taken the first step. Where are the cowbells? We’ve got to give you more cowbells for that. That deserves to be celebrated. You just got to get that momentum going. If you’re feeling like you failed at every one of your goals, you have a way forward now. You’re going to clearly know what you want. You’re going to break it down. You are not going to waste any time because go back and listen to episode eight. Our days are numbered in a beautiful way. Our days are numbered, and we really want to make the most of them, so don’t wait. You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do. Now’s the time to go do them.

Number two, this is probably my favorite one because I totally get it. I’ve lived this. Number two, the thing that I hear a lot is, “What goals? I forgot about them.” I’m laughing because, again, I totally feel you, my friend. I’m going to give you the same formula for all of this. That’s what’s so great about it. You can take any scenario that you’re feeling right now, anything that you’re experiencing, and use this same simple three-step process to break free. You’re going to clearly know what you want. We’re going to start from step one. If you’ve forgotten about your goals, step one, know what you want. If you’re a PowerSheets user, pull out your PowerSheets. Super simple. Just open up the page where your goals are and read over them. Literally, that could be all you need to do to get your mind refreshed and moving forward.

If you have not looked at those goals in a while and you need a goal refresh, you’re in luck because there is a goal refresh in your PowerSheets, which really only takes about 15 minutes. Number one, clearly know what you want. Six months from now, you know what, you’re going to be so glad you started today. You just will. Six months from now, no matter how many goals you forgot about up until this point, you will be so glad you cracked open those PowerSheets for the first time and started a brand new set or took that first action, whatever it is. Six months from now, you’re just going to be so glad you started today. Clearly know what you want. How do you want to end this year? You want to end this year telling a different story. “You know what? First six months of the year, I totally forgot about my goals, but I got to this point,” just like we talked about before. Tell a different story.

“I got to this point halfway through the year, and I started to make real progress. I was not going to take the lie that January 1st is the end-all, be-all date to start a goal and have perfect progress. I was just not going to take that. It’s just a lie.” Here’s something cool. One of you actually wrote in, and I loved this. One of you wrote in, and you said, “I made huge strides starting around this point last year!” You never know how much progress you’re going to make starting now. In fact, sometimes a little refresh, a bit of a kick in the pants like I hope you’re feeling right now, real good one, good kick in the pants, can help you make more progress than you would have made the entire year combined had you not felt the frustration of not having made progress before. The times I have felt frustrated about not making progress on a goal, I’ve used that frustration to get clear. Now you know. Number one, to get clear about what you want. Where do you want to end this year? How are you going to tell a different story?

Number two, if you’re feeling like I forgot about my goals, break it down into elementary steps. Perhaps your first step is just opening up your PowerSheets to read your goals. Truly can be as simple as that. Number three, you’re going to take that step. Don’t wait. In fact, right now, if you have your set of PowerSheets in front of you, just open them up. Here. I got mine right here. Just open them up. You’re just going to flip over to that page, and you’re going to open them up and read them. Again, just pause the recording. I’ll be here. Promise I’m not going anywhere. Open up your PowerSheets and read your goals on that page. Just take a minute and let them just sink right in. Go back to that place where you were on January 1st. You know what? If those goals don’t resonate with you still, now you know the power of the 90-day window. Do one of your goal refreshes. You’re going to be ready and rearing to go. Don’t wait to take that step. Just do it now.

The third thing I hear a lot is, “I’m so overwhelmed. Nothing is going as planned. I’ve gone through so much transition. Where did these six months go? Crazy life has taken over.” Are you there right now? Let’s simplify things for you. Use that three-step process. First, what do you want? What is your ideal outcome? Given the situation that you’re in right now, with all the circumstances you have, maybe it’s kids or you’re caring for an ailing parent or you’re in a job transition, whatever it is, right where you are, on the soil you’re standing on right now, what is it that you want? Where do you want to end this year? What story do you want to tell? Do you know that our brains, they really like stories? I think that’s so intentional that God really used the power of story to pass down our history. So much of it was verbal at first and, of course, written as well.

Our brains, they really like story, so what story are you going to tell at the end of this year? Just imagine yourself on December 31st, and you’re looking back at a point in the middle of the year where you just felt so spread thin, so overwhelmed. Life just felt like it was flying like a freight train out of Georgia. You intentionally stopped, and you listened to this podcast with this very energetic redhead. You decided to take a step forward. You decided to get really clear about not just what matters to you this year but what matters to you in your life and using that clarity, you broke it down. You said, “Okay. These are the things that matter to me. These are the things that do not matter to me. I don’t know exactly how my life is going to play out. I don’t know every step ahead, but I know right now what is going to matter to me in the big picture.”

Break it down into elementary steps, really tiny. For instance, if a financial goal, paying off your student loans, is something that you really want to do by the time you retire, let’s just put that goal way out there. Trust me, I know how student loans can add up. You’ve got student loans. You really want to pay that off as soon as possible, but you know it’s going to take some time. You’re going to break that down into elementary steps. Perhaps your first step is to grab a copy of The Total Money Makeover at the library. You know, they have all those great books at the library. You don’t have to buy all this stuff. Just break it down. Elementary step, I need to learn a system. I need to learn this debt snowball system from Dave Ramsey, so my very first action step is to break it down.

You know what you can do as your very first step? You can stop right now, and you can call up your library. My library actually has an app. It’s pretty cool. You can actually go on the app, and you can reserve books right on the app and then just go and pick them up. For you, maybe just look up the phone number of your local library. Maybe you don’t even have a library card yet. Guess what. Your next step is to get a library card. You see, if we just break these things down, soon enough you’re going to have that book in your hands. You’re going to start to feel equipped. You’re going to know that it’s possible for you to pay off that student loan. You’re going to have a system in place. Man, that’s going to feel good. You’re going to end this year knowing, “You know what? I’m so glad I stopped, and I decided to not listen to that overwhelm and instead cut through the overwhelm, make one good decision forward. It changed everything.”

The fourth thing I hear a lot is very common because life happens is, “Life has changed a lot since January 1st. My seasons of life have changed a lot since the beginning of the year, and my goals need to be reevaluated.” Well, this is what the PowerSheets will do for you. They’re going to guide you to clearly know what you want, how you want to end this year and your life, really. Number two, break it down into those elementary steps to make a cultivated action plan. Then, take a step. Perhaps you have been in a big season of transition. You’re not even really sure if you can decide. I hear this a lot. “I’m not sure if I can even decide goals because I’m still in transition.”

Here’s my biggest tip for you, and I really hope you do this because it’s going to feel so good. Make a transition goal. Don’t worry about after the transition. Make a goal for yourself in the transition. Make a goal to live that transition really well or to make sure you’re at least focusing on, if it’s perhaps a move somewhere, you’re focusing on the most essential things first. For me, if I was making a move right now, and I’ve seen so many of my friends do this recently, the first thing I would seek out is a great church community. I would make cultivating community my number one priority. I would let everything else fall to the wayside until then. I just knew that I’m going to need to plug into a body of believers and people that I can grow with and find support with. I’m not going to wait til some magical day when I have my whole life together. I’m just going to go for it.

In order to break that down into elementary steps, the first thing I’m going to need to do is perhaps ask friends in the area, if you have any, for recommendations or start to Google it. Call some places. Ask your own church where you are if they have recommendations of friends that might live in that area. That’s a simple way to just break it down. Number three is to take that step right now. Only you know what your transition is right now. Only you know how your season of life has changed and what specifically it is that you need. What is that very first step? You probably know the first step, and you’re tempted to turn the podcast off at this point because perhaps it feels overwhelming. I know how that feels. Man, there’s this one. It’s so silly. Really, these things, they feel so silly, but they just linger on our to-do list. I’ve had this one email sitting in my inbox for the last week. It’s just a spreadsheet that I need to go in and approve.

For some reason, I’ve been telling myself a story that it’s going to take me a long time. I’m just sitting here right now looking at these steps that I’m imparting to you of know what you want. You know what I want? I don’t want to have anything lingering in my mind, taking up my precious mental space. Number two, I’m going to break that down. To break it down, I just need to open up my inbox, click into that spreadsheet, and decide that I am going to spend 15 minutes finishing that thing out and know that it’s going to feel so good when I do. Sometimes you’ve got to give yourself a mental reward of knowing how good it’s going to feel when you take that step. To take my own advice right now, I’m going to take a step right now, right this second. I am going to my inbox right now. You better believe I practice what I preach. I am looking at that email.

You guys, come on. Do your steps too right here with me. This is like, all of a sudden, impromptu workshop. We’re working it together. I’ve got the email here. I’m opening it up. I’m going to open the spreadsheet. I just tracked it. That took me all of about 20 seconds to do, if not less. It took me 20 seconds to take the first step on this thing that has been lingering on my list for a while. Boom. We think it has to be some giant, huge leap of faith or that the next step forward is actually completing the project. No. Sometimes the very step forward is just taking a step to make progress towards that thing. I have my spreadsheet open. This is going to be so much easier for me now to take the next best step once I’m done chatting with you and finally complete that thing.

Number five out of six is, “I need some serious motivation.” You’re feeling really ready for this midyear goals week, feeling a bit unsettled about how things have gone so far. You just feel like you’ve lost momentum. Number one, what is it that you want? What is it that’s not going well? I’m going to add that in there too for this one because if I was trying to kick myself out of the overwhelm, of feeling like, “Man, I just don’t feel motivated by this,” I would first stop and say, “What in the world is holding me back? What has been holding me back? What is it that I want?” Next, “How am I going to break what I want down into tiny action steps?” Really, you might be feeling like, “Okay. I know what I want, but, for me, it’s really hard to break things down.”

Sometimes it’s helpful to put yourself in the shoes of giving somebody else advice because I don’t know if you’re like me, but so many of us ladies, we really like to solve other people’s problems and not our own. We are very quick to have a solution for somebody else or to give somebody else goal setting advice. Then, it comes around to us, and we think, “I’m just going to escape from this conversation right now.” Put yourself in those shoes. If you are needing some serious motivation and you really feel like you’ve lost momentum, what would you tell yourself? How would you goal coach yourself to break that down? Know what you want. What is it that you want motivation in? What has been holding you back from being motivated? What are the distractions that have been in your way? Underneath it all, why have you been leaning into those distractions?

Really, distractions, it’s like weeds. Distractions are what’s above the surface, but what’s below the surface is what really needs to get rooted out. What’s below the surface is the source of that lack of motivation. What is it for you that’s below the surface? That’s going to be part of your defining what you want. How do you want to end this year? Do you want to end this year by letting go of those distractions? Do you want to end this year by focusing more on the things that last and the things that matter? Those things, man, they’re going to fire you up. Those things, when you get connected to the big picture of what matters in your life, I just know it, you are going to feel so fired up because those are the things that keep you moving forward no matter how many times you fall down.

Number two, you’re going to break it down. Now that you know what matters to you, now that you’ve written that down, of the things that have been holding you back from being in your zone, in your motivated zone, the things that have been holding you back and knowing how you want to end this year and the story you want to tell, what are the things you’re going to need to do to get there? It’s kind of like building a bridge. You’re here right now. You know where you want to be. You’ve got your starting point and your endpoint. What has to happen in between? Then, take that step. Don’t wait. Just do something about it right away to get that momentum rolling. If you listened to the last episode, I talked about how I felt this way. I felt this major cloud over me with planting the garden.

Through my neck injury and just so many circumstances, it just felt like, “Okay. It’s impossible. I’m not going to be able to do it this year. It’s just not happening. I’m so behind on doing this. It’s too late. Maybe it’s too late. Maybe nothing’s going to grow. I don’t know if I’m ever going to complete this. It’s such a big project.” I was lacking motivation, feeling really unsettled, feel like I lost my momentum. The first thing I did, though, I knew I had to break it down. I knew the very first step was for me to open my refrigerator and open up the bottom drawer where I keep all my seeds and take a good look at what we had and what I wanted to plant.

Really, the first step is opening my refrigerator and taking out the packets of seeds. That’s it. I pass that encouragement back to you. What’s one thing you can do right now that’s so small that’s going to get that momentum going? You know what happened when I did that, just even when I was holding those seeds? Getting over the hurdle to do the one step is so hard. Sometimes the hardest part of starting is starting. Am I right? When you finally get over that hurdle, just holding those seeds, I started to feel the fire come back, started to feel like, “Okay. Maybe this is possible. I want this. I’m going to keep going. I’m going to keep going because this matters to me in the big picture.”

Now, finally, the sixth thing that I hear a lot is, “I’m a bit sad that I still didn’t follow through. I haven’t hit a few goals quite like I had intended. I haven’t accomplished what I would have liked to yet.” I felt this way through so many points of the last few months. I really did. You just heard me tell you some of the results of that little by little progress. In the midst of it, I absolutely felt some of this. I just felt like, “Well, I haven’t really made the strides I thought I was going to make,” and yet here I sit looking back and realizing, actually, all those little steps, they added up to bigger things. I really didn’t think that that was going to happen.

I’m actually shocked and amazed at how much progress I made just given the fact that I felt like there were weeks where I felt like I wasn’t making progress on things because of whatever, but I just kept going back to it when I could and going back to it. Faithfully, just some months I would check off two little progress marks out of 30. It added up. What story do you want to tell by the end of this year? Clearly know what you want. Number one, what is it that you want? Where do you want to be at the end of this year? You want that same story, don’t you? You want to look back at the seemingly little progress you made and see that it actually added up to a whole lot. It may not have added up in the timeline you thought it would, but guess what.

Most of the time, in fact, almost all of the time, I am so much more grateful for the little by little progress I made as opposed to completely burning myself out and making these huge strides and then feeling like, “I need a six-month vacation from goal setting.” Right? Let’s not do that. You’re not going to do that. Knowing how you want to end this year and the story that you want to tell at the end of this year, you are going to break that down into doable steps. You’re going to fill in the gaps to say, “Okay. If this is where I want to end the year, here are the milestones I need to hit along the way, just things that would be helpful for me to hit to make progress towards this thing that truly matters to me. It’s going to feel so good when I make progress on it.”

Then, what is your one tiny, tiny little step that you’re going to take now? I know you might be on the treadmill or washing your dishes or whatever it is, but, you know, we are pretty agile creatures. I bet there’s something you can do. After this, you’re probably listening on your phone. Right? Might be creeping you out knowing that, but you’re likely listening on your phone right now. You could do a lot with that little phone. You can send an email. You can look something up. You can call somebody. Yes, people still call each other. You can take a tiny little step forward. Send an email. Send that text. Make that phone call. Here’s the thing. The steps forward that we take here together, they are not the types of step forward that the rest of the world thinks you should take. You know, the rest of the world tells you that you have to do it all and be it all to live a meaningful life.

Not us because we know the truth. We know that doesn’t work. We know the pressure that comes with that and the tendency to seek distractions that comes with that and the escaping that comes with that because it’s just not realistic. Chasing perfect is going to end up letting you chase your tail. These little steps forward that you take are life-giving steps. These are steps forward not just towards a goal that’s going to look good at the end of a single calendar year. The steps forward that you’re taking, my friend, are about goals that grow what lasts longer than you. They’re worth taking. You know what? Making progress and goals is fun. It really is. It is fun to take steps forward on things that add up to a meaningful life, things that are about legacy. I’m thinking right now about so many of these things are not about me. In fact, all of them are not about me.

Even opening up the Acorns account and doing the Contentment Challenge and letting go of the expectations with homeschool and taking naps with Josh, all these things, this is cultivating. This is about preparing the soil of your heart and your life for good growth ahead. It’s about other people. That, in itself, is exceedingly motivating. Now, there are going to be times that you’re going to need a little extra oomph in this, and I’m here for you. I’m here for all of it. Here’s some tools to avoid failure in all of this. Now you know this three-step process that you can really apply to anything. Number one is to clearly know what you want. How do you want to end this year? What matters to you in the big picture? Write some simple thoughts down. It doesn’t have to be perfect prose or written in perfect words. Just write down what’s clear and true for you. Number two, break it down. Fill in the gap, the pieces between where you are now and where you want to be at the end of the year.

Again, it’s not about having a perfect plan. I don’t know what the plan is exactly that’s going to unfold in my life in the next six months, but I can set out for myself some goal milestones to hit so that I’m using my time intentionally, on purpose, instead of by accident, letting life happen to me. You’re going to clearly know what you want. Number two, you’re going to break that down into really elementary steps. Number three, you’re going to take a step. It’s great for us to talk about all these things. Ultimately, though, you have to do something about it. If something really matters to you, of course you’re going to wake up and do something about it, but I want you to do it right away. Do that thing. Just take a tiny little step, so small. Do something to get the momentum going. Now you know those three steps. You can apply that to anything.

Here are three tools for you to just keep in your tool pocket. Dude. Who has a tool pocket? Do you have a tool pocket? I more so have a large bag full of basically the kitchen sink and everything else. I think there are diapers in there. I’m pretty sure there are. I have multiple snacks because girl needs her snacks. I have a Cultivate zipper pouch that has all my makeup in it because Cultivate zipper pouches are not just for pens. I use them for my makeup. I have one for my Sunday things like Bible study stuff, my highlighter for my Bible. I wrap that little strappy thing around my Bible. Got them for everything. Anyway, I digress. Here are some tools for your tool pocket or your big bag of tricks.

Number one, when you write your goals down, you’re more likely to achieve those goals. Write your goals down is number one. Just write them down. Don’t just think them. Write them down. According to neuroscience research, get this, people who very vividly describe or picture their goals in the big picture, you’re good at this, are anywhere for 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish those goals more than people who don’t. The PowerSheets’ three-step proven process will help you do just that. We just did that together. This process works. Number two is to put a reminder of your why where you can see it or just put your goals somewhere you can see them. This is so simple. It seems so elementary, but out of sight, out of mind.

You could either take your goals list from your PowerSheets, stick that up where you’re going to see the most like on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, on your desk, wherever. Take a picture of it. Make it your iPhone background. You could put your vision board from your PowerSheets or your word of the year card that we give you with every set of PowerSheets, put them somewhere you’re actually going to see them. For me, I keep my actual PowerSheets, my tending list for the month, here on my desk. It’s right in front of me open. It’s never closed so that I have it out in front of me. That is going to help you to take action more constantly instead of set it and forget. We don’t want to do that with our goals.

Number three is automate things. You can actually tie something into something. Perhaps you have bath time with your kiddos. I might have Josh in the bath, and I’ve got these little tiny hand weights. I can do lifting a few weights, nothing major, while I’m watching Josh in the bath and also keeping another side eye on the other kids that are watching Veggie Tales in the other room. You can combine something into something. You know that goal’s important to you. I sit, and I talk to Josh. He thinks it’s hilarious that I do that sometimes. Just find something that you can automate. Here’s the kicker. The way to automate it is to stick the weights next to the bathtub. I also keep my gym shoes always out pointed towards the door so that I am ready to put my gym shoes on and take the kids for a walk in the morning or a run up and down my stairs.

Just make it simple. You know, we only have so much willpower, so you’ve got to save it for the decisions that really matter. When you can automate some of those things and make it super easy for you to take those steps forward on your goals, that’s where the magic starts to happen. If you don’t set that clear goal and take that next best step, you may not know where you’re going, and that doesn’t feel like fun. Your life may feel like it’s staying the same, feels like life just keeps happening to you, but imagine if you do get clear on what matters to you and what doesn’t, and you write those things down. You break it down, and you take that very first small step. You’re going to feel motivated. You’re going to feel alive.

You’re going to end this year knowing that you made progress on the right things instead of all the things. You spent your time well. You used it well, and you feel satisfied about that, knowing that you decided to change today, not on some magical, perfect, mystical day, but just today, any ordinary day of the week, nothing special needed. The one thing that is special, though, is that desire to change. Now, you know it doesn’t matter how you started the year. You can finish it well. Now, you know that this year is not over, not even close. Today is the best day to start. Best of all, you know that, little by little, your steps are going to add up. Think about it. Making the most of what we’ve been given is really a series of small decisions made over time. Little by little, they add up to a legacy and a life of purpose.

I leave you with this. July 1st, as our friend said, can be your January 1. Where do you start? You start where all good things begin with one small step. Wherever you are, take that next best step. Perhaps for you it is writing down where you feel stuck, how you’re feeling about goals at this midyear point in the year. Write down how you’re feeling and how you’re doing and what’s been frustrating you. You know now that frustration can actually be your fuel. It’s a really powerful fuel to make change and live out your best story for this second half of 2019. You want this. You’re ready for change, and you want to make the most of this life. Well, today is your day. I really love spending time with you.

You know, in our office, we often tell each other, “I not only love you, but I like you.” I just like you. I do. You all, you leave the most generous, beautiful, wonderful words in reviews of the podcast that really encourage other women’s souls to think differently. You’ve shared this podcast with women who really need these free messages. I am just really grateful for that. You are very, very generous. You are remarkable women. No matter how this year has begun for you, just the fact that you’re here listening to this podcast makes me know that you want it, that you’re going to get after it, that this matters to you. I love that we share the same heart for progress, not perfection. I’m excited. I’m excited for you. I’m excited for your best rest of 2019 to unfold no matter how it started.