August Goals Round-Up

Happy August, friends! Many of you might be heading into a season of change this month as kids and students head back to school.

It can feel daunting to pick up your PowerSheets and get started in the midst of embracing change in your life. This time last year, I would have been heading back to school, and now I am managing a move into a new apartment. I have caught myself thinking so many times, “how do I possibly have the time to make progress on my goals for the month, let alone sit down and set them.” We’ve all been there, right?

But, PowerSheets aren’t about trying to fit it all in and then make progress on your goals on top of that. Sitting down to do your PowerSheets prep for the month allows you to re-align and prioritize based on what you would like to grow more of in your life. You can then be well prepared for the change ahead!

This month’s August Goals Round Up is about embracing change and being prepared to weather the change ahead by getting back to what matters.

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I always love seeing Amber's colorful PowerSheets Tending List! 

Feel like you still need to make more progress on your July goals? Amanda chose to continue her goal of reassessing her budget/debt pay off plan from July to August. Reevaluating what needs more progress from last month helps you to identify what you can focus on in the month ahead.

If you’re like Amanda and want to pay off debt this year, read Emily’s post on how to pay off debt!

Rachel's color-coded Tending List makes my heart happy! It’s a great way to visually see where you are spending your time for the month!


Madeline's use of stickers is totally appropriate this month - Happy Birthday month, Madeline!

I love Jennifer's advice for those who may struggle with goal setting. She suggests meeting regularly with a friend, family member, or spouse to discuss what your priorities are for the month ahead. It is, after all, our best PowerSheets tip!

Karyn's plan to keep track of her progress this month involves checking in every #TendingListTuesday! I'll be doing the same since it can be hard to remember to check in every day.

Remember, keep sharing your goals with us each month so that we can cheer you on! Whether you're posting in our PowerSheets Facebook Group, leaving us a comment on social media, sharing your progress with #TendingListTuesday, or using the #PowerSheets hashtag, we love seeing what you are working towards each month!

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Cultivating Habits in a Season of Transition

One of the greatest parts of my job is the ability to cheer the Cultivate family on as they make progress on their goals each month. On the flip side of that, I am consistently blown away by how encouraging everyone is to me as I make progress on my goals. One of my 2017 PowerSheets goals (and hardest because I kept it a secret from you, sorry about that!) was to transition to working remotely full-time as I prepared to move to Atlanta, GA.

I'm a month in, and by no means does a month make me an expert, but I wanted to share something I've been learning over the past few weeks in hopes that it encourages someone else in the midst of a transition.

Is it just me, or does the word transition often gets a bad wrap? I knew when thinking about and planning my transition, I wanted to reframe the narrative in my head. It's simply a matter of a perspective shift to go from "Gosh, I'm moving to a new city. I have to start all over." to "I have a unique chance to start fresh and create new habits!" Don't get me wrong; I know this is easier said than done at times, and I'll be the first to admit there were tears and nerves galore! Similar to starting a new journal or having fresh school supplies, there is something exciting about having a blank slate.

I've used the past month to focus on cultivating three healthy habits: Exercise, Organization, and Healthy Eating Habits. You've likely seen some of these on my PowerSheets goals on Instagram, but I wanted to share a bit more about them here in hopes it encourages anyone looking to cultivate new habits–no transition needed!


Exercise: Before transitioning to Atlanta, I was traveling almost every weekend. Whether it was going out of town to visit my boyfriend, heading home to see family, traveling for Southern Weddings editorial shoots, or celebrating friends' weddings, my suitcase essentially stayed packed. It was wonderful in so many ways, but it disrupted all my healthy exercising habits, too. Now that I have a central home base, I've found a local barre studio that is within walking distance to my new home, and I'm ending most of workdays with an exercise class.

  • Find what you enjoy, and do that!
  • Hold yourself accountable. I have exercising in my PowerSheets, and a more customer plan printed out and hung on my fridge. I mark off my progress in both places each day, and it's quite gratifying!
  • Create an incentive for yourself! I've created an incentive structure for my exercise plan! If I meet my goal for my summer plan, I'm allowing myself to purchase one new article of exercise clothing I wouldn't normally purchase. (Send me any suggestions you have!)


Organization: I went from a six-bedroom house with my own room to a 250 square foot apartment, and let me tell you, it's been one of the greatest things that could have happened to me. Why? I was forced to sort through my things and decide what was worth keeping, what was worth storing, and what needed to just get tossed, donated, or sold. A lot of my stuff went into storage, and over the past month, I've kept a list of what I need to grab on my next trip home. Guess what? That list is a lot smaller than I thought it would be.

  • Ask yourself "Would I pay money for this again right now?" If the answer is no, it's probably time to part ways with the item.
  • Throw stuff away! The craft supplies you've been keeping just  because? Toss them. The old  birthday card from someone you kind of know? Trash. My best advice here: do this right before trash collection day so all your full bags get picked up right away!
  • Sunk costs are always sunk. As you're going through your clothes, it will be tempting to think about how much you paid for something and decide to keep it on that factor alone. Don't fall into that trap! Think about if it's an article of clothing you love and wear often. if not, donate it, give it to a friend, or try to consign it. But don't hold onto it for that reason alone!


Eating healthy: In my case, there is a direct correlation between the number of my roommates and my eating habits. I shared my home in Durham with five other ladies who would often bring home leftover treats from work or decide to bake something yummy. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not shifting the blame to them by any means! While these things are great in moderation (I'm all about food freedom), having the ability to walk to the kitchen and cut off a slice of pound cake whenever my heart desired (including breakfast!), was not the healthiest thing to do. I moved very little food items, so I was essentially starting over with my fridge, freezer, and pantry. My first grocery trip may have been a bit more expensive than normal, but it was completely worth it. Now that I live alone, I have complete control over the food that comes in my house. Therefore, if I don't buy cookies at the store, I'm not tempted to eat them. It sounds elementary, but it works!

  • Don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry. You'll be much less tempted to buy those dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I'm looking at you Trader Joe's.
  • If you do buy a treat, but the smallest container of it. There is part of me that says "Jess, but if you buy 36 bagel bites you're saving money!" (Yes, I love bagel bites. No judgment!) But if I buy 36 bagels bites, I'm going to eat 36 bagel bites. If I buy 9, I'm only going to eat 9. I know that sounds so simple, but I have to remind myself of that often!
  • Keep a list of healthy and easy meals to plan and prepare ahead of the week. Knowing I have a meal to eat when I finish work fights my urge to go grab something quick or order out.

I'd love to hear from you! How do you cultivate healthy habits in the midst of a transition? Leave a comment below, and share your wisdom with me!

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How to Pay Down Debt in 2017

When I look back at my twenties, one of the goals I'm most proud of accomplishing is paying off my student loans. Paying off debt is kind of a classic PowerSheets goal: it takes planning, little-by-little progress, perseverance when it seems like you're not getting anywhere, and a strong connection to your "why." That last one is especially important because it's easy to lose heart when you're slogging through the often long and tedious process.

For me, in addition to reducing the amount I'd spend in interest over my lifetime, the real WHY of paying off my debt was to move one step closer to financial freedom—because when you're financially free, you have more independence, more security, and more options in almost every part of your life.

If you're facing down debt, whether student loans, credit card, a car payment, or a mortgage, what's your WHY to get rid of it forever?

Got your why? Good! I also wanted to share a few of the tips and techniques we used as we paid off student loans, car payments, and our mortgage (ongoing!)


1. Stick to a budget. Without a doubt, following a budget is the number one reason we were able to make progress on our goals. Without giving every dollar a name, we easily would have frittered away money we could have been putting toward our payments.

2. Schedule payments in advance. Sign up online for a monthly auto-debit for each of your accounts so that you’re never late with or forget a payment. Make it automatic – you won’t miss it as much as you think.

3. Feel the pinch. Every time our budget expanded, we chose to allocate the extra dollars toward debt reduction. Raise at work? Going toward debt. Bonus? Going toward debt. Sometimes in the last few years we looked at each other and were like, why do we feel poor?? But then we reminded ourselves that we were living at a lower standard of living by CHOICE. If you’re paying off debt and are not feeling the pinch in your lifestyle, you almost certainly have room to cut back and increase your payments.

4. Get a little crazy. My sister is working with "gazelle intensity" to pay off student loans from her physical therapy degree, and to help reach her goal faster, she started picking up PT shifts at a local hospital on the weekends in addition to her full-time job during the week. Does she love giving up that free time? No way! But for a season, she's willing to trade freedom now for much greater freedom in the future. Consider working extra hours, starting a side hustle, downsizing to one car, or something else "extreme" in the name of moving the needle a little faster.


5. Pay more than the minimum amount. If you’re feeling the pinch you are likely already doing this, but it’s worth stating again: pay more than the regular monthly amount. At times, we were paying more than twelve times the required monthly payment on certain debts using the debt snowball. Which leads us to...

6. Roll the snowball. The debt snowball is simple, but it is by far the most important technique we used to pay off our debt early. The basic idea is to pay the minimum amount on all of your debts except one and then throw all of your other available resources at that one. Once that debt is paid, immediately move the payment for that debt toward another and so on until all of the debts are paid. Dave Ramsey suggests starting with the debt with the smallest dollar amount and moving toward the largest dollar amount; other experts recommend starting with the debt with the highest interest rate and moving toward the lowest interest rate or considering the taxability. We used a combination of these strategies. As long as you’re working aggressively toward your goal, I don’t think you can go wrong.

7. Track your progress. I kept a Google Doc spreadsheet that listed our debts, the current amount we paid per month on each, the outstanding total of each, and the month the last full payment was scheduled. Every time a payment processed, I’d go in and update the spreadsheet. It was extremely motivating to see everything shrink over time!

I would love to hear: Is paying off debt one of your PowerSheets goals? Where are you in the process? Are you using the debt snowball?

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PowerSheets Goal Inspiration

With SO many new friends receiving their PowerSheets over the last few weeks (2/3 of you who ordered in our recent sale were new customers!), there's been as much energy in our office lately as there is at the beginning of the year! As you set goals to cultivate what matters in the second half of 2017, we wanted to point you to a few resources from the first six months of the year that might help inspire your goals...


Looking to make new friends, or deepen existing friendships? Purchase our Fruitful Friendships Workbook, and read about how to make new friends, how to create traditions with your friends, and how to take care of your relationships.

Want to grow closer to your significant other? Read about setting goals together.

Struggling with self care? Read about our renew breaks and why we do them, how to enjoy reading, and our best tips for getting some real rest.

Struggling with exercise? Read about how to get fit (and how embracing imperfection can help you get in the best shape of your life).

Want to take control of your money? Read about how to build a budget and how to track your spending.

Looking for some general tips about getting the most out of your PowerSheets? Read how to choose a focus word, some of our favorite hacks, and our very best PowerSheets tip.

And don't miss our round-up of 2017 goals from the beginning of the year, where there's tons of great inspiration from our community!

We're so excited for you, friends! Dive in!!

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Fruitful Summer Week Is Over. Now What?

What a great week with each of you celebrating Fruitful Summer, and this is only the beginning!

We talked a lot about making new friends, spent time together chatting about staying motivated on your summer goals, and talked about how to cultivate friendships in your life.

All week long we've had a blast reading your blog comments, listening to your stories via email, and hearing from you on social media, so we decided to keep it going!

Starting Wednesday, May 31st, Lara and I will be walking through the new Fruitful Friendships Workbook together every week through the entire summer! Grab your Workbook today to get it in time. We can't wait to get to know each of you better this summer!


We've loved hearing how many of you are ready to dig into setting meaningful goals for the summer, so Lara has decided to host a live Get the Most Out of Your PowerSheets classnext Wednesday at noon on Facebook Live. No need to register--just mark your planner and be there!



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