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PowerSheets Party – February 2017

Happy February, friends! January is often a month of acclimation to our new goals, so the Cultivate team is excited to dig into February and share our PowerSheets Prep with you! On the final Friday of each month, the team hops on Instagram stories to share our personal PowerSheets prep with each of you! Join us in sharing your prep work each month using the hashtag #PowerSheets on social media so our team can cheer you on and encourage you as you cultivate what matters.

Share your February goals in the comments below. We'd love to read about what you have planned for the month!

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What’s Saving My Life Right Now?

If you spend any time around me, you know that I'm an avid reader! I could talk your ear off about the books that I'm reading, how much I love my public library, and my favorite subscription box (spoiler alert: it involves books, not make-up!) Each year, one of my favorite bloggers writes a post in the middle of winter about what's saving her life right now? A few years ago, in the middle of the cold and grey days of winter, she adopted a habit of keeping a list–an actual, physical, pen and paper list–of the things that were actively giving her life in the middle of her least favorite season.

The idea actually comes from Barbara Brown Taylor's memoir Leaving Church. In her book, Taylor shares about a time she was invited to speak, and her host assigned her this topic: “Tell us what is saving your life right now." Most of us know what’s killing us, and can articulate it, if asked. But few of us stop to note what’s giving us life. Taylor says it’s too good a question to not revisit every once in a while: What are the things—big or small—that are saving us?

In fact, if you've followed Lara's Goal-Setting Series, you know that one of her 2017 goals is to live a year of radical gratitude and praise. This goal came out of her realization that she had been doing a lot of complaining recently, and that complaints are often clues; they reveal to us places in our heart where we aren't trusting. Her goal resonated with me because I've noticed the heaviness of our current climate weighing on many of those around me.

When she announced she was a hosting a link-up today, I thought it would be great for conversation within the Cultivate community, especially considering Punxsutawney Phil just forecasted six more weeks of winter for us all!

Here are a few things that are saving my life right now. I hope you'll share your lists below in the comments!

  1. Space Heater - Turning my space heater on in the mornings makes it easier to get out of bed in the winter, particularly if I have a 6am exercise class scheduled. I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been known to carry it from room to room in my house :)
  2. Six-Month Undated PowerSheets - While I'm a big fan of our One-Year Dated PowerSheets (which are sold out for the year!), one of the things I love about our Six-Month Undated Workbooks is the ability to start right where you are. We often say in the office, "There's nothing magical about January 1st!" to encourage friends to start cultivating what matters right then, and these PowerSheets Workbooks are the perfect tool for them! It's easy to start the year excited with big intentions and goals, but it can sometimes feel overwhelming to try to plan out action steps to make those happen. My PowerSheets (I have a work and personal set) give me a daily touchpoint to check in and make sure that how I'm spending my time is purposeful. We've opened preorders for a small batch of Six-Month Workbooks that are expected to ship in May, arriving just in time for June goal-setting. I hope you'll join us in living your most purposeful year yet!
  3. The Center for Civil and Human Rights - I visited the Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum in Atlanta last weekend for the first time, and I left speechless. According to their website, their purpose "is to create a safe space for visitors to explore the fundamental rights of all human beings so that they leave inspired and empowered to join the ongoing dialogue about human rights in their communities." The museum is engaging and interactive, and I read almost every word throughout each exhibit. It can be easier to look at some of the dark moments of our nation's history and want to turn a blind eye, but the final exhibit of the museum invites visitors to step into the hard work of thinking critically about what role they can play in changing the course of our future. It's worth a visit if you're ever nearby!
  4. Goody Large Claw Clips - I have good intentions each morning when I fix my hair for it to stay down, but by the end of the day it often ends up in a bun on top of my head! I had one favorite hair clip that I loved (it has plastic grips on the inside so your hair doesn't fall out!), and when it broke last year at MTH, I was incredibly sad because I hadn't been able to find the exact same ones! Unbeknownst to me, the sweet Rhi Bosse overheard me and happened to find them in her local Walgreens once she got back home. She sent me the sweetest video and a few days later, I got one of the best pieces of happy mail I've received!
  5. Asana - The Cultivate Team started using Asana last year, and it has been one of the best decisions we've made as a company! Our email inboxes have stopped filling up with to-dos, tasks aren't falling through the cracks, and we have a clear plan for what the next year looks like mapped out for everyone to see. Best part? It's free!
  6. Washing my face when I get home - I wish I could remember who first told me this trick a few months ago, but I've happily adopted it! If I don't have evening plans after work, I'll immediately wash my face when I get home. Not only does this help me unwind for the evening, but it also prevents me from talking myself out of washing my face late at night when I'm ready for bed, which I've been known to do more often than I should!
  7. Meaningful conversations - One of our daily PowerSheets goals at work is to have meaningful conversations. The ability to pause work for a moment to discuss a variety of things–whether they are work-related or not–gives our team an opportunity to step away from the to-do lists and re-energize. Not to mention it creates relationship equity!
  8. Amen Paper Co. - Our friends at Amen Paper Co. continue to surprise us with the products they are creating! Their Advent Devotional was not just beautifully done, but full of wonderful truths from some incredible women (including Lara!) throughout the holiday season. They launched their Lent Devotional yesterday, and we can't wait to get our hands on a copy!
  9. Enneagram - If you enjoy personality tests like Myers-Brigg and Strengths Finder, allow me to introduce you to the Enneagram! Most personality typologies explain “what” you do. The Enneagram, on the other hand, goes much deeper and explains “why you do what you do.” OnceI figured out my personality type, reading my profile was spot on (the negative things were cringeworthy because they were all so true!) This book is an easy and fun read and does a great job explaining the nine different personality types. Like any other personality test, this is an excellent exercise for team-building.
  10. Remembering that our words carry weight - This article reminded me that we have the capability to do good with the words we use, and listening to the words of others (particularly those who are not like us) can open our eyes to a new perspective.

There's an excerpt from my list, and now I want to hear from you: what's saving your life right now? Big or small, share below in the comments!

This post contains some Amazon affiliate links. No extra cost to you, but it helps us raise funds for Love One Another Project!

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Our Favorite PowerSheets Hacks

One of the things we often say about PowerSheets is how they are perfect for anyone–moms, students, creatives, entrepreneurs—who needs a grace-filled goal-setting system that works! There is flexibility to use the workbook in the way that works best for you, and the PowerSheets Facebook Group has shown us that our PowerSheets users are some of the most creative ladies (and gents!) out there!

The Cultivate Team often found ourselves sharing about some of the PowerSheets hacks in our team meetings or sending a text to one another that said "did you see what Julie did with her PowerSheets in the Facebook group?!" We decided to round up some of the best PowerSheets "Hacks" for a blog post in hopes that it would encourage others to continue to make little by little progress in cultivating what matters in their own lives.

We hope you enjoy some of our favorite PowerSheets "Hacks" below!

PostItNotes

Michelle T. uses sticky notes to write verses and prayers out to add to her PowerSheets. This would also be an easy way to move certain things over each month without having to rewrite them!

Nicole worked hard to find a flexible, durable, and easy to clean cover for the PowerSheets! But we though Taylor S. (and many others!)'s suggestion to slide their PowerSheets into Happy Planner covers is a genius way to transport them around!

If you're looking for a way to easily flip to your Monthly Tending List, Amanda A. told us the inkWELL Press Gold Ruler snaps perfectly into the PowerSheets coil so you can easily find your Tending List!

InkwellPressRuler

Photo via Amanda A.

One of my work goals is to send more happy mail to our customers, and I love Evangelina C.'s suggestion to add a small Post-It Pocket to the inside cover of her pages and fill it with stationery so she can easily check that off her Tending List!

"I wrote each of my seven big 2017 goals in different color and then wrote my tending list items in the same color as the goal they go with. It's helps me see which goals I am making progress. It also helps me stop from put things on my tending list that don't help me make progress on my goals." -Laura M. via Alexandra Y.

ColorCodeGoals

We were so excited about the perforated Tending Lists in 2017 PowerSheets, so we love hearing how Laura K. uses it each month! She folds her Tending List into her Erin Condren planner so that she only has to carry one planner around!

If you're always looking for a nearby pen during PowerSheets Prep, take a loop of ribbon and a hot glue gun to add a pen holder to your PowerSheets like Gretchen F did!

Just like, Laura K, LK Harris uses the pocket in her Simplified Planner to hold the Tending List each month!

TendingList

Another great way to make sure your Tending List stays front and center each month is to hang the Tending List on a clipboard by your desk like Jennifer M. does!

If any of her weekly goals are 2 times a week habits, Ellie H. divides the box into two small triangles. She colors in each triangle once she's completed them!

Use the stripes on the tabs and a ruler to turn it into a monthly calendar and track your big to-do!

I loved Harley R.'s suggestion so much that I adopted it for my PowerSheets! If one of Harley's Weekly Goals is done on a certain day (for example, meal prep on Sundays) then in the box, she will write in pencil the number of each day it should be on (so, each Sunday in Feb: 5, 12, 19, 24). This helps her to cross it off on the correct day!

PencilDates

Do you have anything to add to the list? Leave us a comment and share your wisdom! If you're not already a member of the PowerSheets Facebook Group, we hope you join us for inspiration and encouragement from this amazing community!

This post contains some Amazon affiliate links. No extra cost to you, but it helps us raise funds for Love One Another Project!

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Our Favorite Things – January

Today's the last day of January! We're here to celebrate the progress that's been made, and to share a few of the things that have helped us cultivate joy, make progress on our goals, and live more purposeful days this month. We'd love for you to share what has helped you in your PowerSheets progress, too - just drop a note in the comments!

  1. Our PowerSheets, of course! Have you done your prep work for February yet? If not, set aside some time in the next few days! (Don't have PowerSheets? Preorder a set here, and then get started for the next few months with Lara's free goal setting series.)
  2. Our whole team has a pair of soft cotton pajamas from LAKE, and they're pretty much all we wear to sleep these days! They're on the spendier side, but sometimes you need to treat yo'self :)
  3. In a crowded market, our friend Lindsay Letters still managed to create a beautiful product that truly stands out. If you've loved Lindsay's style for as long as we have, you'll love getting the chance to add your own color to her letters in her new coloring book, Sweeter Than Honey!
  4. Nicole is a big fan of this no-knead bread recipe. Perfect for keeping you busy on cold winter days, and as an unconventional Valentine's Day present for friends!
  5. Do any of your 2017 goals involve learning something new? From creative writing to cooking to sewing to photography, if you want to learn about, Skillshare probably has a class to teach you about it. They're all taught by experts, and they often run specials (like three months of unlimited class time for just $.99!).
  6. Lara and I both got FitBits at the beginning of the year (mine is an Alta and I think hers is a Charge 2), and our office has never been the same! The circle of open space around our central table has been newly dubbed "the track" :) We are both loving the reminders to get up and move!
  7. For those hoping to spend more intentional time with their kids or significant others, might we recommend going low-tech? These beautiful playing cards are perfect for dreary winter days, and will spruce up your next game of Rummy or Go Fish.
  8. For those trying out Whole30 or who just want to eat a bit healthier in the new year, I highly recommend trying this roasted butternut squash soup. Just a few ingredients, easy to make, and SO delicious!!

Tell us: what "things" are helping you make progress on your goals this month? We'd love to hear so we can add them to our lists!

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How To Choose Your Word for the Year

The PowerSheets Facebook Group is a wonderful place for inspiration and encouragement for friends as they dig into their PowerSheets. I recently saw a thread of comments from someone in the group feeling overwhelmed about how to choose a word of the year and asking for advice!

I completely understand the overwhelm–even though it isn't necessary! It often feels like there is a lot of pressure to choose the "perfect" word for your year, but I wanted to offer a pep talk and some advice that has been helpful to me, personally, to anyone who is feeling paralyzed by the choice!

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Photo by Lara Casey

Remind yourself that you don't have to be perfect. The PowerSheets process is not about doing everything perfectly; it's about discovering the perfect goals for you in this season. The same is true for your word of the year! If you start to feel overwhelmed, remind yourself that this isn't traditional goal-setting. This is grace-filled goal-setting, and there is plenty of room for you to get messy and change your mind!

Read through your Prep Work with a fresh set of eyes. Go back to page one of your PowerSheets (yes, page one!) and start from the beginning! Take a highlighter or colored pencil and start circling or underlining any themes that you see! (That's how Lara discovered her unexpected word for 2017!) When you look at all you’ve written so far, what word keeps popping up in your mind? Ask yourself what one word most resonates with you for the year ahead, pulling together all that you want to make happen?

Brain dump. Once you've read through your Prep Work again, find an empty page in your PowerSheets and start brainstorming a list of words you think could work, even if they aren't exactly right! Writing it down will get all your ideas on paper and give you a chance to see them all at once!

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Photo by Stephanie Williamson

Open a dictionary and thesaurus. Take your brainstorm list and use an old-fashioned dictionary/thesaurus to start researching your words! Look at the definition of each word, it's origin, and synonyms and antonyms. You may be amazed at what you discover!

Choose a word (or a few!) Don't box yourself into only choosing one word if multiple words or a phrase resonate with you. There is no word limit on this portion, so choose something that resonates with you!

Write your word down! Whether it's written on your Word of the Year Card or a post-it notes, write it down, and put it somewhere you'll see it every single day! It can go on your desk, on your bathroom mirror, or in your car, just make sure that you are being reminded of what you are focusing on for the next season!

Give yourself permission to change your mind! One of the greatest things about the PowerSheets process is how we've built in opportunities for you to reflect and redirect your goals every three months! In the Goal Refresh section, you can choose a new word or phrase to focus on in the next three months. You don't have to wait until three months to change your mind. Grab a post-it note or an old-fashioned bottle of white-out and add your new word over the old one! Progress, not perfection, friends!

Have you chosen your word for 2017? If so, leave it in the comments and let us know! We can't wait to see what you're focusing on in this next season!

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