Here's What Six Months of Progress (Not Perfection) Looks Like!

by Emily Thomas June 23, 2020 0 Comments

Here's What Six Months of Progress (Not Perfection) Looks Like!

Wherever you find yourself at this mid-point of the yearwhether you're feeling totally defeated by a lack of progress, or amazed by what you've been able to accomplish (despite the circumstances)I guarantee you have moved forward on something that matters to you since January. Maybe it's new perspective you've gained, maybe it's a new habit you've cultivated, or maybe it's a big-picture goal well on its way to completion.

Whatever it is, as we pause this week for the Mid-Year Refresh (and move into the quarterly Goal Refresh in our PowerSheets!), take some time to write out the little-by-little progress you've made on your goals and what matters most so far this. I know you'll find something to celebrateand then, you can use that progress as motivation to keep going.

To get you started, I asked a few members of Team Cultivate to share with you some of the little-by-little progress they've made on their goals this year! Warning: their answers are a little long (ha!), but I thought you might enjoy hearing the nitty-gritty of what progress can look like. In the comments, we can't wait to hear from you!

P.S. PowerSheets® are the perfect tool to help you make little-by-little progress just like this! Our six-month sets are undated. Start now to finish this year with intention and joy. When you do, we'll invite you to join our limited-time Pop-Up Facebook group with other friends just starting outthe best kickstart to your next six months of progress!



From Abbie: One of my goals this year was to create a rhythm of rest and to study the Word deeply. I’ve seen so much progress on this goal, from practicing a weekly Sabbath every Saturday to going through a Bible-in-a-year plan (this one is five days a week, very doable!!) Each morning I aim to get in the Word, and on days I feel rushed for time, I've taken to listening to some chapters on the Bible app.

Our Sabbath has been a treasured day to look forward to (this sermon series helped guide our understanding of Sabbath). My husband and I turn off our phones, do something that brings us life (lately that's gardening), and plan a fun meal to cook together. 

From Irene: One of my goals for 2020 came from Jeremiah 29:5"Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce." In this verse, God is commanding his people in exile to put down roots—to stop waiting for tomorrow, and both work hard at building a life AND enjoy His blessings and gifts. 2019 was a year of a lot of transition for us, so I wanted to spend 2020 putting down roots.

So far this year, we've kicked off a big backyard renovation project—having sprinklers and grass installed in what was just bare dirt, building and planting a raised garden bed, and have plans for construction on a new deck to start any day now. In the midst of the messy progress, we moved our old Adirondack chairs to the back yard so we can spend our evenings enjoying the outdoors, being still, and watching our daughter be anything but still as she runs and plays. We've started to harvest and enjoy vegetables from our garden. Inside, we're slowly reorganizing all our lower cabinets and shelves to make them safe for a very curious toddler (and new baby on the way!), clearing clutter that we no longer need, and investing in furniture that will grow with our family for years to come.

From Julie:
One of my seven big-picture goals for the year is to "Prioritize Family Togetherness." What a year to do it—ha! Each month I have a weekly goal to enjoy a family adventure (aka intentional time together!) and document it. I use a "Celebrate Wins" Wildcard Page to track our weekly fun. In the first few months of the year, that looked like things like visiting the North Carolina Zoo, making Valentine's Day cards for each other, a trip to Lolli & Pops to refill our gummy bear jars, and visiting Disney World—so many public outings!

When the virus hit, we got creative with at-home and socially-distant fun. The last few months have looked like special meals on our deck, putting on superhero capes and patrolling our neighborhood, family bike rides, and sunshine-filled trips to the lake to float and fish. 

From Lara: 
My word of the year is delight, and I wanted to live that out this year by delighting in God's Word, using my physical Bible instead of my phone. I wanted to touch a physical Bible more so I could slow down and let the words sink in (instead of being distracted on a screen at times).

I started the year doing the Write the Word | Worship journal as a daily item on my Tending List, using a physical Bible to read the verses. This nightly routine was exactly what I needed. Right as the pandemic began, my Worship journal was completed, and I immediately knew what to do: keep going using the Hope journal! What a PERFECT journal for the start of this crazy time. I finished that journal last week and have moved to one of our brand new journals. I look forward to this daily rhythm and love how it's helping me live out my big picture goal!

From Lexi: One of my 2020 goals is to "love my people well," with a mini goal of calling and FaceTiming regularly. Little did I know how relevant this goal would be! My parents moved out of state in 2019, my husband and I made a cross-country move at the beginning of this year, and then a global pandemic hit, limiting travel.

Thankfully, we've been able to find creative ways to make long-distance chats fun and meaningful. With my family, we've played Kahoots and Jackbox games together via Zoom. We've also had virtual parties together to celebrate birthdays where everyone brought their own desert and hung out like we might over the dinner table at a birthday party!


With my husband's family, we found a way to play our favorite family board game (Settlers of Catan!) via Facetime, and also found a way to continue to watch our favorite show (Masked Singer) together every Thursday on Facetime.

From Marissa: 
One of my 2020 goals is to make our house work for us. Boy, was I unaware of how deep we would dive into this goal! I have made lots of progress, from small things like adding coat hooks at my daughter's level to big changes like moving furniture around in our living room to better accommodate family movie night picnics. However, we still have lots to do with some rooms not having any progress made on them at all. The most interesting part of this goal is how it has shifted to show me how well our home already works for us, and that the smallest progress has made the biggest difference. 

From Madeline: One of my 2020 goals is to do more of what fires me up regularly. My mini goals at the beginning of the year were to read all of the books I own but haven't read, learn four new piano pieces, and find inspiration in live theatre. Quarantine has given me more time to make progress on the first two! I've learned half of Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin and Everything Changes by Sarah Bareilles on the piano. I've also read 13 books this year and have successfully avoided buying any more to clutter my shelves.

I miss live theatre terribly, but have been listening to cast albums while I work and am planning all the shows I'm going to see when the lights go back up on Broadway! My favorite albums that put me in a workin' mood are Songs for a New World, Hamilton, The Last Five Years, The Prince of Egypt, Moulin Rouge, Waitress, and In the Heights.

This might sound kind of frivolous, but I am a workaholic by nature, so it's important for me to intentionally map out time for the things I enjoy to ensure that I take the time to do them. Having this as a 2020 goal has definitely helped me do that!

From Meg: A 2020 goal of mine is to create healthy rhythms for our family. I don't want distractions or exhaustion to steal the joy that we have! Also, with a new baby in our family, we need simple and intentional systems so we're able to enjoy each other and thrive.

I started out in January by just assessing what was and was not working for us in two categories: health (meal routines, chores, tech boundaries) and fun (family dates, adventures to plan for, etc.). In January and March we put systems in place that helped with our school lunch making routine (created a cabinet only for lunch boxes and supplies!) and homework routine (snack + school area set up on our kitchen island. We had a routine of doing homework while I prepped dinner!) We also started talking about a chore routine so we could make sure the essentials were getting done and we had more time to focus on fun (and less stress or decision fatigue about accomplishing tasks!). We also started putting tech away after school/work on Friday starting at 4 pm until Saturday afternoon. Friday p.m. - Saturday p.m. was blocked out family time for movie night, outside hikes, and just relaxing together! In early March we made a list of 10 adventures to focus on in 2020one for each remaining month.

Then COVID hit! I didn't realize how important this focus/goal would be for me until March. We really had to take inventory (again!) of what systems worked and didn't work for us once all of us started working and doing school from home. What I realized: a lot of the original systems we put in place that didn't involve going some where or school didn't change at all! (Examples: connecting every Friday night for a family date, always cleaning the bathrooms on Fridays, sending a load of laundry to get washed each a.m., reading together each night before bed, etc). These systems became habits and I'm grateful I was able to remember them when everything else started to feel overwhelming with the uncertainty.

After a week or two, I wrote out some goal ideas I could pivot. Instead of the 11 adventures out, we started re-envisioning how we could bring that adventure to our house. For example, we started "fun dinners" that were themed. During the dinner prep and while eating, we pretended we were out at a restaurant or visiting another country. It brought some fun and levity to the fact that we weren't able to go places.

From Mackenzie: The goal I'm most excited about this year is planning a wedding with joy! This process has been the definition of taking little-by-little steps to make progress - especially given the current season we're in! Being able to move forward with so much unknown has been challenging, but it has really helped us focus on what really matters to us on our wedding day.

So far we have set a date, decided on a location, booked our honeymoon, finalized the guest list, almost finished creating invitations, and we're very close to booking a photographer.

We have tried to keep the time we're planning filled with hope and joy. To keep up our spirits, we've been doing the pre-marital counseling that our church offers. We've learned so much about communication, grace, and forgiveness, which makes us really excited for what's ahead.

We've also started a little tradition of having themed meals before we dig into planning. One night, we made tacos and homemade fruity drinks and "watched" the waves crash in and out on the TV. It's so simple, but it has been lots of fun!

Friends, what goal progress are you celebrating at this mid-point of the year? We'd love to hear in the comments!

P.S. PowerSheets® are the perfect tool to help you make little-by-little progress just like this! Our six-month sets are undated. Start now to finish this year with intention and joy. When you do, we'll invite you to join our limited-time Pop-Up Facebook group with other friends just starting outthe best kickstart to your next six months of progress!

Emily Thomas
Emily Thomas



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