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Cultivating My 2018 Goals

I am not a gardener. I never have been, and I don't know that I intend to be. I think the issue is that I don't like to get my hands dirty, and maybe that says more about me than I realize ;) My grandfather had a garden, and I remember perching against the fence while my sister dug holes in the red dirt to play in, fresh grown corn and tomatoes sprawling in the background.  But gardening was never for me.

I'm more the kind to wander a farmer's market and admire someone else's blooms, paying the $5-$20 to enjoy those blooms in my own home, rather than to take the time to tend to my own plot of land and wait, wait, wait for the harvest to come.

Last year Lara Casey, one of my role models, published Cultivate: A Grace Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life and I promptly picked it up off the shelf, read three chapters, then lost it in the flurry of beginning the new year. I picked it back up again in December and decided to dig into it  -alongside my beloved Powersheets- to plan 2018, and it has made all the difference!

*The yearly workbooks pictured above are sold out, BUT you can still sang your own PowerSheets HERE

Truth be told, I wrote this post twice. Once with 8 major goals and then, after a few chats with friends and working through the Goal Setting Series on Lara's site, I narrowed it down to three. THREE goals for 2018. It felt pretty scary at first but now it feels oh so good.

My three goals came from Proverbs 31:25, a verse I had already chosen to be part of the vision for the new year. Verse 25 says, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she laughs without fear of the future." So, with that in mind and without further ado:

My 2018 Goals

1. Cultivate STRENGTH. The dictionary definition of strength includes "the quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power; mental power, force, or vigor; an inherent capacity to manifest energy, endure, and resist." In 2018, I want to make positive changes to my physical health and tend to some unhealthy habits and thought patterns. This one is #1 because progress here will set me up for success in years to come, and it will allow me to say a ready yes to opportunities and dreams that God brings along the way. I also want to strengthen my heart in the Word and by spending daily time in His presence and prayer.

Cultivating STRENGTH looks like:
+ dedicating daily time to prayer, scripture, and seeking God.
+ implementing a sustainable, healthy way of eating.
+ committing to an active lifestyle.
+ take 100 Orange Theory classes in 2018.
+ creating simplified routines.
+ practicing self control to break unhealthy habits.

2. Cultivate DIGNITY. The dictionary definition of dignity includes "the state or quality of being worthy of honor; a sense of pride in oneself or self respect; a composed or serious manner of style." When I think of cultivating dignity this year, the primary way is by practicing financial responsibility. I want to get out of credit card and personal debt, managing my money more wisely instead of stressing from paycheck to paycheck, as well as be able to adventure in the summers and give generously. Things begin with cultivating financial responsibility. Also, I want to make my work meaningful, which means preparing well, not overcommitting myself to good but unnecessary things, and approaching what commitments I do have prayerfully.

Cultivating DIGNITY looks like:
+ Reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Make Over.
+ Beginning his 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom.
+ Use EveryDollar to track spending and Qapital to begin saving.
+ Prepare well at work, cutting out procrastination.
+ Honor what commitments I have and prayerfully limiting any I might add.

3. Cultivate LAUGHTER. It felt a little silly to include the dictionary definition of laughter, so instead I will share with you my definition of this word in the context of goal setting. When I think of laughter, I think of cultivating joy and gladness, taken from 2017's verse of the year, Isaiah 51:3. Joy makes me think of cultivating contentment, but also doing more of those things that fire me up. Gladness makes me think of savoring my season, digging into local community, and being a positive presence online. All of those things had been worked into my original list of 8 goals, so it seems fitting that they fall under the laughter category here.

Cultivating LAUGHTER looks like:
+ scheduling things that bring me joy into my week.
+ cultivating contentment in my season, with my belongings, and when online.
+ blessing and encouraging others whenever possible.
+ digging into my local community.
+ doing more of what fires me up.
+ reading 52 books in 52 weeks.


Voila! Ohh, it feels strange and scary and exciting to only have three goals this year! Honestly, I think simplifying it to three categories will set me up for more success in goal setting than I've ever experienced. At least that's what I'm hoping.

You'll notice that I included a couple of numbered goals in there, too, namely reading 52 books in 52 weeks and taking 100 Orange Theory classes. I wanted to be sure to include my book challenge, bringing it down from last year's 75 books (missed it by 10!) since reading is one of those things that both fires me up and inspires me creatively.

I also added the 100 classes goal as a non-scale-victory in the category of physical strength. Instead of saying X number of pounds lost, making myself dependent on the scale to see if I've been making improvements, a class count will mean that I have been utilizing my somewhat pricey gym membership and after 100 classes I can almost guarantee to see a difference in strength! Both of these things excite me very much.

What are your goals this year? 
How do you plan to make what matters happen in 2018?

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