Eight Steps to Embracing Mornings

We've all heard the saying "the early bird gets the worm", but my guess is the early bird likely wasn't managing a career, planning a wedding, preparing for marriage, building community in a new city, and moving all at the same time. Which means it was likely a little bit easier for him to get up early and get that worm :)

Before I start, I want to be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking there isn't enough time in the day, because it's simply not true. There is enough time in the day, but I have to be proactive in prioritizing and making sure my time and energy aligns with the things that matter most to me. My 2018 PowerSheets goals act as a compass for me, guiding me as I determine where and with whom to devote my time and energy.

If I learned anything in this season, it's this: When you feel like you don't have time in your day, you have to be proactive in making time. Whether you need a few extra hours in your week to work on a side hobby or want to prioritize time for taking care of your body, the easiest place to find time is in my mornings! I'm excited to share a few tips that have worked well for me below:


Photo by Marie L.

Ask yourself why. Take a few moments to ask yourself these questions: WHY do I want to wake up earlier? Will this goal get me closer to where I want to be when I'm 80? You'll feel much more motivated to stick to your goals when they are connected to a purpose. For me, waking up earlier gives me time to exercise and read, two of my goals for this year!

Set yourself up for success the night before. I once heard becoming a morning person starts in the evenings, and I couldn't agree more. Create an evening routine to prepare you for your morning ahead. Get your clothes out (exercise or work clothes). Set the timer on the coffeepot. Pack your lunch. Most importantly, honor your bedtime (and put the phone down!) Taking the time to create a routine for the evenings will help prepare you for a fresh start each morning.

Sleep with your shades open. I've found sleeping with my curtains pulled back makes it easier for me to wake up in the mornings. If you have a significant other who likes to be in pitch black, you can find lamps that mimic the sunrise to help your body wake up naturally!

Make a plan. In the same way that you created an evening routine, it's important to eliminate decision fatigue in the mornings as well. Creating a morning routine will help you know exactly how you want to spend your mornings. Whether you want to get your heart rate up by exercising or create more space for journaling or reflecting, a consistent routine will help keep you from climbing back into bed.

Make your bed (and stay out of it!) I've learned this the hard way: If you're reading in the mornings, move yourself to a different spot other than your bed. I'm positive I'm not the only that is guilty of climbing back into her bed in the mornings. Making my bed makes it a little less appealing for snoozing after you grab your warm cup of coffee and book.


Create room for the things you love. Mornings will be miserable if you fill them with the all dreaded tasks on your to-do lists.  Make room for something life-giving in your mornings so you have something to look forward to. It can be as simple as lighting a favorite candle or enjoying a warm cup of fresh-brewed coffee while you read through your current book. Maybe you want more time to have breakfast with your significant other before starting your days. Resist the urge to fill the extra space with tasks, and embrace activities that bring your joy, too.

Address the pain points. Ask yourself why mornings are so hard, and then fix it! If it's hard to get out of bed because it's cold in your home, invest in a space heater or warm slippers. If you don't enjoy showering in the morning, start showering in the evenings. Find your pain points, and eliminate them!

Take baby steps. We embrace growing slow, knowing that overnight results and quick fixes aren't the way to long-lasting success. Becoming a morning person isn't something I expect to happen overnight, and I've given myself lots of room for grace in my PowerSheets. Instead of adding "Wake Up at 6am" to my Daily Goals, I chose to add a weekly goal to exercise two mornings before work to my PowerSheets Tending List, I'm taking small steps and hope to work up to that consistent 6am wake-up time!

I'd love to hear from our early risers! What has helped you embrace the mornings? Leave your best tips, tricks, and resources in the comments below!

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Gift 2018 PowerSheets to a Friend!

It's no secret one of my favorite parts of my jobs as our Community Manager is getting to know each of you! Whether I'm putting a face to a name in our PowerSheets Group, chatting with you over on Instagram, or hugging you in person at the MTH Conference, I am exceedingly grateful for the privilege of hearing–and sharing–your individual stories! It's a true joy to hear about how our products are encouraging you to uncover what matters most and cultivate the most important things in your lives.

While I love hearing your stories, we also know another group of stories exist. These are the stories I don't always get to hear–the stories of women who would love a set of PowerSheets, but for one reason or another, are unable to invest in themselves in their current season. Our heart behind our entire business is getting these products into the hands of women around the world.


When processing inventory for our orders each year, we hold back a small number of PowerSheets for any necessary reshipments. Now that the dust has settled, we have found an extremely small stash of One-Year Dated PowerSheets Goal Planner. We're carrying on our tradition from last year to gift these to a woman in your life who is already cultivating what matters, no PowerSheets in hand. Our hope is this gift will encourage her to continue to tend to what's most important, and cultivate a life of intention.

If you love your PowerSheets and would like to nominate a friend to receive a set of PowerSheets of her very own, we would love to hear your nomination. We'll choose a select amount of nominated women to receive a sold-out One-Year PowerSheets Goal Planner.

We are thrilled to partner with you to get PowerSheets in the hands of some of the most deserving women in your lives!

All nominations must be submitted by midnight EST on February 25th. U.S. residents only, please. We will communicate directly with the chosen recipients, so please, no emails :)

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Celebrating Progress

As Amber so wonderfully reminded us this week, we're only six weeks into 2018! It's okay to not have fully mastered your 2018 PowerSheets goals yet. But a half-colored-in progress bar and empty boxes don't mean you can't celebrate your progress thus far! Bigger isn't always better and embracing those starting steps and little by little progress will give you the push you need to keep goal-getting!

Today, we asked some of the wonderful women who have been using PowerSheets over the past six weeks to share some of their progress with us, and we know you'll be encouraged!


"Fitness is a major goal for me this year,  and I just couldn't gain much momentum until late January due to a bunch of travel the first 20 days of the year. Now, I've got a new trainer, am consistently practicing yoga, and am on fire with the new Weight Watchers freestyle plan.I'm loving the new Fitness Wildcard page!  -Kristin T.

"We have enough savings now to start the process of buying a house! This is, at least in part, due to our goals that I have put into my PowerSheets every month – savings goals and spending restrictions. PowerSheets also helped me to look at the bigger picture of why we want to own a home–for us, so we can foster full-time. The process is going to take a while for us because we are going through a first-time homebuyer program, so includes things like taking classes and getting pre-approved for loans before we even start looking. So while we are still working on the larger goal of actually buying a house, the first step is done!" -Sarah K.

"I became a Christian in December and soon after I started a daily Bible reading plan, and I added it to my PowerSheets goals. Yesterday I reached DAY 50! I wanted to share this and celebrate! I'm struggling with some of my other goals, but I'm using this progress to remind me to stay positive :)" - Abigail R.

"Using my PowerSheets, I've started and maintained a meaningful morning routine. I've joined a gym for the first time in my life in order to simply walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes a visit. I've saved 1/2 of the money I need for a trip to CA next month to see my mom and sister I've mailed each family member with a birthday a book from Amazon (this is the year of giving books as presents!) I've started a Book Club I've decluttered my nightstand and my clothes. I've made so much progress!" - Aimee K


"We've paid off $10,000 in debt since starting our debt payoff process on January 22nd. Since that time, we've also increased our end of month cash flow by $800. To celebrate, we went out to eat for the first time in 2 months! It was worth the delayed gratification. I'm on day 85 of my chronological Bible plan, reading the Bible through in a year. To top it all off, I got paid for my writing for the first time in my whole life and had been dreaming of that since I was a teenager. - Nicole C.

"One of my big hairy PowerSheets goals for 2018 is to connect with the hearts of my boys. One way I am doing this by spending 1:1 time with them at bedtime. It's one of my daily goals on my Tending List. Have I done it every night since Jan 1? Nope. But I have done it way more frequently than if it were not on my Tending List. I also have lovely check marks next to my weekly tending list item of finding good books to share with my boys." - Melissa Q.

"I set a PowerSheets goal to read two books a month, and I'm already on book #7!" -Megan B.

"The thrill of checking off 'don’t spend any money' almost every day on my tending list has given such a psychological addiction to sticking to my goals! Thanks to my PowerSheets Tending List, I am 60% of the way to my goal of “Pay $10,000 toward my student loan debt beyond monthly payments.” The accountability of this little book has thrown my desire to make what matters happen into overdrive. I truly believe that without this community of amazing and uplifting women, I would not be anywhere near as far or could have dropped off the wagon. This community, these resources and the guidance of a tribe of women has enriched my life beyond imagination. I tell anyone who is willing to sit still long enough to listen about how amazing this goal setting process is!" - Kady C.


Wasn't that fun? Hearing those stories makes me want to flip open the pages of my PowerSheets right now and get to work on my goals! As we wrap up Cultivate What Matters Week, we want to hear from you, too!

Leave a comment, and share some of your PowerSheets goal progress below! We're ready to be one of your biggest cheerleaders as you make little-by-little progress on those good goals!

Use the code LETSCULTIVATE for 25% off your entire shop order this week! Stock up on stickers, one of our companion goal guidesLara's books, or our best-selling Write the Word journals!

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Starting Steps: Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Bigger is better. It's a lie we find ourselves believing at times, whether we realize it or not. It silently permeates itself into our culture: a bigger home, more clothes, a heftier bank account, and over time, we start to see it play out in our own lives.

But when it comes to our goals, less is more and smaller is better!

You don’t have to know the whole plan when you set your PowerSheets goals for the year—you just need to write out your specific starting steps and, in general, what has to happen after that. A bonus? Breaking down goals feels good because you experience tangible hope and momentum as you get those goals moving!

For some added inspiration, our team is sharing one of our 2018 PowerSheets goals and our first three starting steps below! You'll see that these starting steps are simple, tangible, and can be easily added to our Monthly Tending List! We hope you find some inspiration to start making progress on your goals, and buck the statistic. We hope you're encouraged!


Amber Housley, Marketing Director
Goal: Read 24 books this year that support my other PowerSheets goals
Why: Reading is a form of self-care for me. It distresses me, and it helps influence my creativity.

1. Print out wildcard page
2. Make an inventory of current books on my shelf and review current Amazon wish list. Add these to my wildcard pages.
3. Choose my next 2 books for the upcoming weeks

Casey Marchbanks, Designer

Goal: Find a church home in our new city!
Why: To find life-giving community for my family. To have a place to serve regularly. To grow my relationship with the Lord and with others!

Starting Steps:
1. Research & create a list of churches in our area that align with our beliefs
2. Visit a church from our list every Sunday
3. Go to a discovery class, or meet with a Pastor at the church that God leads us to!


Catherine Marks, Editor
Goal: Create a life-giving home in our new house
Why: Our little space is the domain God gave us to steward and shepherd well. It is the backdrop for our family’s life and a resource we can use to bless others.

Starting Steps:
1. Kon-mari (purge and tidy) every inch of our space so we have only the things we need and love (plus a place for everything and everything in its place)
2. Create a family goal and schedule wall where we can keep our mission statement and calendar, as well as track our goal progress
3. Order photos of our daughter to update our gallery wall to include her!

Emily Thomas, Creative Director
Goal: Refine our home
Why: Our home is the arena for learning, growth, ad unconditional love, and nothing matters more than love. If we can make it better, we should.

Starting Steps:
1. Walk our home and make a list of areas to be purged and decluttered. Use the PowerSheets Wildcard page.
2. Schedule each area of my calendar–no more than one per week
3. Pull together a new inspiration board for our first floor’s color scheme.

Jess Metcalf, Community and Content Manager
Goal: Phone down, eyes up
Why: Life is too short to be tied to your phone, and I want those around me to know how much I love and value them.

Starting Steps:
1. Set phone hours/boundaries
2. Order an alarm clock
3. Make a to-be-read list of books to read instead of mindlessly scrolling


Kaylee Hobbs, Customer Delight and Operations Manager

Goal: Find time and space to use my creative gifts
Why: This fuels my excitement for life, and I feel energized when I’m learning more about a creative hobby.

Starting Steps:
1. Set up a regular meeting time with a friend who encourages me to use these gifts!
2. Create an inspiration collection on Instagram.
3. Read a blog post related to furthering a creative skill–in this case, photography!

Kristin Winchester, MTH Conference Chief Encourager
Goal: Intentionally take care of myself.
Why: Filling my tank will make me a better wife, mama, daughter, sister, and friend. It will give me the ability to pour out and love all of my people well.

1. Block off one morning a month on the calendar and make sure someone can watch the babies so I can go do something on my 'fires me up list' (i.e. coffee with a friend, a manicure, etc.).
2. Schedule an at-home date night with KPW in February to review calendars and try to schedule a summer vacation.
3. Pick out 6 for-fun books to read this year.

Lara Casey, Founder
Goal: Pray the Word of God while reading through the Chronological reading plan again. Study Psalm 119. Use my prayer journal, say my prayers out loud, or record my prayers to my phone notes.
Why: To directly connect with God and to align my life, expectations, and value with the truth of the Word of God, not the ways of the world. To grow my faith, the faith of my family, and to build up the faith of others.

Starting Steps:
1. Sign up for the Chronological reading plan again
2. Print Psalm 119 and put on flashcards and in phone album
3. Set up 2018 prayer journal

I know what you're thinking! These are great examples, but where do I start? You're in luck! We created Goal Action Plan Guides full of ideas to help you cultivate some broader goals! Check them out for some starting steps for yourPowerSheets Tending List:

We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment and share one of your goals and your first three starting steps below. I'll choose one lucky commenter to win a Goal-Setting Sticker Book on Monday! 🎉

Having trouble coming up with starting steps? That's okay! We can help each other on in the comments and offer suggestions!

Use the code LETSCULTIVATE for 25% off your entire shop order this week! Stock up on stickers, one of our companion goal guidesLara's books, or our best-selling Write the Word journals!


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TODAY ONLY: Get the Cultivate Book for $1.99 on Kindle

Happy Valentine's Day, friends! TODAY ONLY, treat yourself to Lara's second book Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life for your e-reader for only $1.99 today!

You don't need a Kindle or e-reader to read electronic books. You can download the Kindle app for your iPhone or laptop and read them there. If you've been wanting to add Lara's book to your library, today is the day!

cultivate book lara casey

Head to Lara's blog to read an excerpt!

Already own the Cultivate book? Head to the shop to stock up on other goodies! Use the code LETSCULTIVATE for 25% off your entire order through Friday!

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