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Why You Don’t Need PowerSheets To Set Goals

Today can be your January 1st. I know what you're going to say because I've heard it a lot since we sold out of our 2017 PowerSheets a few weeks ago: "Jess, I need #PowerSheets and you're sold out! I can't start fresh without PowerSheets!"

What I'm about to say probably goes against every marketing tactic out there, but I'm going to say it anyway:

You don't actually need our PowerSheets to start cultivating an intentional life.

Are PowerSheets a tool that helps you organize your thoughts and dreams and break those down into action steps? I wholeheartedly believe so.

Is it helpful to have a beautiful spiral-bound workbook to keep everything together? Yes.

Are you more motivated to stay on track when you've spent money on and invested in a tool? Maybe.

But here's the thing: You can start right where you are. It's not the product that matters; it's the work you put into it. You don't have to have a PowerSheets Workbook to start setting intentional goals. In fact, if you wait until 2018 PowerSheets come out this fall, you are doing yourself a disservice by not taking advantage of the momentum and excitement you feel right now.

So what do you do while you wait? Here are some great places to start (some are even free!):

  • In her 2017 Goal-Setting Series, Lara walks through her personal PowerSheets prep and goals for the year. It's a great place to follow along, with a notebook and pen in hand. There are five parts, and here is a direct link to Part One.
  • The Cultivate blog is full of great tips and tricks that are applicable even if you don't have PowerSheets in hand! Equal parts encouragement, behind the scenes of what's happening in the office, and practical to-dos, it's a great place to find resources for some of your action steps.
  • Lara's first book, Make It Happen, incorporates some of the same prompts from the PowerSheets process. Work through this by yourself or with a buddy.
  • Our Couples and Parents Companion Guides are a great resource to help you set goals with your significant other or for your family. If youre looking to cultivate friendships, our Fruitful Friendships Workbook is for you! We created these guides to use in conjunction with your PowerSheets, but they're full of great conversation starters and resources!
  • The Making Things Happen Conference is coming back in March 2018! Tickets officially went on sale yesterday, and you can save your seat and secure the early bird price today! I know you'll have PowerSheets in hand by then, but trust me, this intensive was created to give you a solid foundation and action plan. It was created to help you simplify your life and gain clear direction.

For those of you reading this that don't have PowerSheets in hand, I'm going to challenge you to something today. Make a decision to spend the rest of the year intentionally cultivating what matters. Write it down, and start making little by little progress on it.

The Cultivate team is always ready to answer your questions, remind you to focus on your why, and be your biggest cheerleaders. We are on this journey with you!

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Making Things Happen is Happening in 2018

We're thrilled to be releasing tickets for our 2018 Spring Making Things Happen Conference in Chapel Hill, NC on March 19-20, 2018!

The Making Things Happen Conference is unlike any other conference. MTH is the work you do before investing in other conferences. Before you take action on what’s important to you, you have to know where you’re going. This intensive was created to give you a solid foundation and action plan. It was created to help you simplify and gain direction. One of the most tangible ways I can describe MTH to you is simply this: MTH is like PowerSheets in person.

I know there are many of you out there who weren't able to get a set of 2017 PowerSheets. While they're not exactly the same (obviously, the price point is quite different!), we truly believe that the experience of attending the Making Things Happen Intensive is similar to walking into a set of PowerSheets–but far, far better! We often describe PowerSheets as a guided coaching tool, but at MTH, you actually DO have a guide and a coach: Lara Casey herself and a group of accountability partners.

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Photo by Amy Nicole Photography

I know what you're thinking. "That sounds great and all, Jess, but March 2018 is months away and I can't afford to think that far ahead."

Allow me to politely respond with this: You simply can't afford NOT to think that far ahead.

MTH is about digging deep, establishing priorities, uncovering a purposeful vision for your life and business, and discovering how to make what matters most happen. Making Things Happen was founded on the idea that you have the choice to change your life. This time is an investment in you and your future. We prioritize what is important to us. Register for your seat today, add it to your calendar, and plan to be there with us!

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Our Encouragement Crew gives the best welcome hugs! Photo by Carrie Joy Photography

You can read much more about Making Things Happen, as well as testimonials from our most recent class of attendees, here. If you'd like to learn more, we'd also encourage you to watch the replay of a previous webinar with Lara and a few MTH alums from all different backgrounds to see if the experience might be right for you.

If you're on the fence, now is the time. We intentionally chose not to host a Fall 2017 MTH, which means we have friends who have been waiting upwards of a year to register for Spring 2018. I have a feeling this might be the quickest sell-out, so don't delay in registering. Payment plans are available.

Questions? Leave a comment below and we'll happily answer them!

P.S. We're giving away a scholarship seat in memory of one of our dear long-time friends, Yvette Price, who embodied all that we teach at MTH. She was courageous in her battle with cancer and made what matters happen despite great challenges. She grew what would last longer than her: a whole lot of love and joy in the lives of others. In her honor, we're excited to give away one seat to either an alum or new attendee. This scholarship is for the full ticket price not including travel or accommodations. Enter to win the Yvette Price Scholarship over on Lara's blog by July 31st!

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How to Make New Friends

Can we all just take a moment to acknowledge how difficult it is to actually make new friends? Not just social media friends, but real "I'm-calling-you-right-now-because-I-need-you" friends. Gone are my college days when I was surrounded by thousands of other undergrads looking to make lifelong friends, and now I'm faced with what feels like an incredibly daunting task of building new friendships as someone in their mid-twenties.

Whether you've just moved to a new city for a new job or are simply looking to make some new friends in this season of life, we wanted to offer some of our best tips for you!

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Fight the fear. This might be the hardest, but most important tip of all! It's so easy to look at a friendship that went wrong or your lack of girlfriends this current season and believe that you just aren't cut out to have good girlfriends. If I could, I'd politely grab your face, look you in the eyes, and say "that, my friend, is a lie." We created our Fruitful Friendships Workbook to help you walk through who you are and what you hope to find and grow in friendships. There's also a section for you to reflect on past friendships–both good and hard–to find common threads. Similar to PowerSheets Prep Work, reflecting on these things help you uncover what's important to you as you cultivate these new friendships!

Start with who you know! Take advantage of the friends who say "Oh, you should meet ___! You'd totally get along!" Whether it's someone who lives in the new city you're moving to, or a friend with a common interest, ask a friend to connect you to that person, and then reach out to them to schedule a time to hang out. If any of my friends say, "Jess, you should totally meet ____; she loves guacamole and reading" you can bet that girl is going to get a follow-up email or text message from me!

Commit to something you love that meets regularly. The key here is to find an event that occurs regularly; it doesn't have to be every week, just consistently so it's already on your calendar! One of our Editors, Emily, created an Articles Club along with a friend of hers and used her social media platforms to invite local friends! Nicole signed up for a local pottery class last year. My boyfriend and his friend's in Atlanta are on a bocce team that plays once a week. The opportunities are endless! Whether it's a mom's group, a small group through your faith community, a sport league, a skills class or a book club, there are so many ways to find friends who have common interests or are in the same season of life as you.

Embrace awkward. We've already established that making friends is hard, and it doesn't happen overnight. Learn more about how (and why!) to embrace awkward in your friendships–both new and old. As Lara says, perfect the art of the awkward pause and wait for all the good that is to come! Get out there, ask lots of questions, and don't be tempted to fill in the silence. My favorite conversation starter? What's one thing that is keeping you up at night? It's a pretty simple question on the surface, but it opens the conversation up to go past surface level. Sign up for our Fruitful Summer series for our free conversation seeds and other second questions to try!

Be available. Some of my favorite friendships have come from simply saying yes, even when I'm tired (especially when I'm tired!) When you receive an invitation, be open to stepping out and saying yes. Obviously, if you need some alone time or have already scheduled two things that evening, you can say no. However, don't fall into the trap of just wanting to go home and change into your pajamas at 6pm (please tell me I'm not the only one who does this?!)

Challenge yourself! Add one of these tips to your PowerSheets Tending List this month as a challenge to yourself! If you're looking for more ways to get started, page 25 of our Fruitful Friendships Workbook is full of ideas that have worked for the Cultivate team as well as tips sourced directly from each of you (you guys are seriously full of so much wisdom!)

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My final piece of advice? Find friends that think you're hilarious :) Photo by Olivia Suriano of Nancy Ray Photography

What do you have to add to this list? Leave a comment with the craziest way you've made a new friend!

 

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How To Enjoy Reading

If you've spent even just a few moments with me, you'll know that I'm quite a bookworm. My favorite summer memories involve participating in the summer reading program at my childhood library, and Belle was (still is) my spirit Disney Princess. She has me at the yellow ballgown and her heart-eyed face when she saw the Beast's library; it was meant to be.

Anytime I talk about my unashamed love for reading, I'm often met with rebuttals like "I wish I liked to read" or "I don't have time to read." I'm not an expert by any means–there are friends who read dozens of more books each year than I do–but these are some of my best tips to help you cultivate a love of reading. When I posed this question on Instagram stories, I got more than 70 responses with your favorite tips (many of them already favorites of mine!) Thank you for sharing, friends!

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Make time for it. Simply put, you make time for what's important to you. I could be in the busiest season of my year (looking at you PowerSheets launch season), but I'm still going to find time to talk to my boyfriend. Why? Because he's important to me. The same is true for the other things in my life. Reading is important to me, so I've made time for it. I've added it to my PowerSheets Tending List, and it's been a game changer. Set aside 20 minutes each day to dive into your book. It doesn't matter what time of day as long as you are making time for it.

Find the best way to consume your books for your lifestyle. Reading has evolved so much in the past decade, and there are a variety of ways to consume books nowadays. From audiobooks to e-books to hard copies, the possibilities are endless. Gone are the days where reading means curling up on your couch. I've listened to almost as many audiobooks in 2017 that I've read because I often find myself in the car for long drives.

Keep a list of what you want to read next. Keeping a list will eliminate decision paralysis when it comes time to choosing what to read. I take screenshots of recommendations, add books to my Amazon cart (but try not to buy them!) or library queue. Knowing I have a few places to go for suggestions when it's time to choose my next book is so helpful!

Find a buddy! One of my goals for the coming year is to start a book club! Because everything is better with a buddy, and wine :) The accountability of knowing you have a reading buddy or book club can often be the fire you need to finish whatever book you've been reading.

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Always keep a book with you. Download the Kindle app on your phone. Keep a book in your purse or car. Set yourself up for success and use the small pockets of time throughout your day efficiently. I never regret the moments I choose to read a book instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media.

Track what you've read. Tracking your progress is fun and motivating! It's one of the reasons we updated 2017 PowerSheets to have a progress bar! I keep a private Pinterest board for books I've read each year since 2015. I love having books in one spot (where I can see covers, too) when someone asks for a recommendation. Others mentioned Goodreads, which I've heard great things about, too!

Read what you love. Don't guilt or trick yourself into reading something you aren't excited about. If you like reading non-fiction, read it (more power to you!) If you're a fan of young adult novels, go for it (and let's talk!). You'll never be motivated to finish a book if you feel obligated to read it. With that said, give yourself permission to put a book down if you just aren't into it.

Now it's your turn! Leave a comment with some of your favorite books! I'd love to add some titles to my TBR (to be read) list!

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Introducing Our Summer Goals Collection

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed that it has been quiet on the Cultivate blog these past few weeks. Let's just say that I still have a lot to learn about taking care of myself and managing my expectations, but that's a different story for another day. I hope you we don't fool you into thinking the Cultivate ladies have it all together because we most certainly do not. If you're feeling overwhelmed, vocalize it so that those around you can help. Okay, hopping off my soapbox now...

It's only fitting that the first post to dust off this here blog is announcing our Summer Goals Collection! Summer is often thought of as a season to let go and check out, but what if this is your season to dig into what is most important to you? What if it's time to make a decision to do the work and stop coasting? Guess what? Doing the work and digging in doesn't have to be boring or draining. We created these products to be beautiful, intentional, and fun! Without further adieu, let me introduce you to our lineup:

Fruitful-Friendship-Workbook

If you were hanging out with us last summer, you heard us talking a lot about a Fruitful Summer magazine for 2017. When brainstorming and designing, we found ourselves wanting something you could write in, not just a beautiful magazine to consume. From there, we decided to make a hybrid between a magazine and workbook. The Fruitful Friendship Workbook is part inspiring (to help you think in a new way) and practical (to help you put it into practice). It will equip and encourage you to dig into community right where you are–no perfection or perfect track-record required. I was lucky enough to help write this guide alongside Lara, and let me just say, we spent a lot of time making sure we merged the practical with the meaningful. There are tons of ideas in here about how to cultivate friendships that I'm already storing away for my June PowerSheets Tending List!

Fruitful-Summer-Encouragement-Postcards

Our Encouragement Postcard Sets are one of my favorite items in the shop (and the most economical way to encourage your loved ones for those of you on a budget!) The Fruitful Summer Encouragement Postcard Set has an assortment of 20 cards featuring a fun summer saying, fruity pun, or friendly message. I'll be the first to admit that I laugh at most things (it makes me a great friend!), and some of these have me laughing out loud because they're so punny!

Take-The-Leap-Mini-Print

We will sing the praises of Asana, our project management software, all day long if you let us, but one of the most fun projects is certainly our Product Development project. This is where we put all your ideas as they come in, brainstorm ways to improve current projects and dream up fun new ones for you. We knew we wanted to update our mini prints, and we brainstormed a long list of phrases for our newest Mini Print collection. It was tough to narrow it down to just three! Our three newest mini prints look great tacked onto a bulletin board for extra encouragement or slipped into a card as a small surcee for a friend. In addition to the  Take the Leap Gold Foil Mini Print pictured above, we have What If Today Gold Foil Mini Print and Little by Little Gold Foil Mini Print.

Parents-Companion-Guide

Speaking of Product Development, after receiving numerous requests about how to set good, grace-filled goals as a family, we made it!The PowerSheets Companion Goal Guide for Parents will help you uncover your goals and what matters to your family. Our team members with littles have already taken this one for a test drive, and we're loving all the big ideas they are coming up with for their family!

Couples-Companion-Guide

Our PowerSheets Companion Guide for Couples has been in the shop for a few months now, but we'd be kicking ourselves for not mentioning it you again. The stories we’ve heard from the couples who are using this guide have been so uplifting! This guide will help you uncover your goals and what matters to both of you. Great for married, dating, or engaged couples. Fill this little book out on a summer date night, on the porch one evening, all at once, or little by little.

My best piece of advice for those who might have a partner that isn't quite as excited about setting goals? Trick them into it! That sounds malicious, but I promise it's not. Use the prompts in this guide as conversation starters! You can always go back and fill it in later.

Cultivate-Tank-Top

If last year’s Fruitful Summer Product Launch was any indicator, the new Cultivate What Matters Tanks will be a favorite! Our sizes are limited, so if you want to snag one, I recommend adding it to your cart quickly! This is the perfect tank for heading out on a run or throwing on for a relaxing day at the park.

 

Fruitful-Summer-Bundle

I'm saving the best for last, y'all! The Fruitful Summer Bundle! THIS is the gift I'd give all my friends if I had an unlimited bank account because it encompasses products that encourage and equip you to do something about the things that matter to you. (If I'm being honest, I'd probably also throw in a Write the Word journal, too!) Set meaningful summer goals and grow meaningful friendships this season with our Six-Month Undated PowerSheets Workbook in White, Fruitful Friendship Workbook, Fruitful Summer Postcard Set, and Take the Leap Mini Print. There are only 200 of these bundles available, so get yours while they last. We were created to do life together in community, and there's nothing more fun than diving into your 2017 PowerSheets and Fruitful Friendship Workbook with a group of gals who are your biggest cheerleaders!

Whew! Those are a lot of words, and I could probably tell you approximately 73 other reasons I'm excited about each of these products, but my to-do list calls. Each of the Cultivate ladies has picked a frontrunner, and time will only tell to see who is right! Tell me below: do you have a favorite from the Summer Goals Collection? 

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