Intentional women grab a piece of paper and scribble out some goals for the month or year.
Really intentional women use a goal setting tool to guide and focus their goal setting efforts, a tool such as PowerSheets.
Since I get so many questions about PowerSheets, today’s post breaks down:
- What are PowerSheets?
- What’s in the PowerSheets? What do you fill out?
- Why are PowerSheets important?
- How to use PowerSheets to set intentional goals
Pin this post (It’s a meaty one!) so you can come back to it again and again!
What are PowerSheets?
If you follow my blog, especially my PowerSheets goals posts, you’ve heard me talk about PowerSheets a lot!
PowerSheets are an intentional goal planner.
I like to say that they’re kind of like self-guided coaching.
They walk you through where you are now, where you’d like to be, and how to set goals to bridge that gap. Then, they help you tend to those goals with a monthly tracking sheet called the Tending List.
Very simply, they’re a goal setting workbook full of great prompts to help you set good goals and then make them happen.
What’s in the PowerSheets? What do you fill out?
Here’s a video of me walking through a 2018 PowerSheets workbook so you can see what the pages look like and what the process is like of filling them out! I take you through the entire workbook in about 25 minutes.
To sum it up, here are the main pieces of PowerSheets:
- You start each set of PowerSheets with “Prep Work,” which helps you dig deep so you can set good annual goals.
- You then set annual goals based on your Prep Work.
- Quarterly checkpoints help you do some reflecting and refresh your annual goals throughout the year.
- Each month you do a smaller amount of reflective prompts to help you set monthly goals.
- You write out and keep track of your monthly, weekly, and daily goals on the Tending List. Most people’s favorite part of PowerSheets (Mine included!) is the Tending List.
Why are PowerSheets important?
In my work as a Christian life coach and as I navigate through my own life too, I’ve realized this:
One of our biggest obstacles to living an intentional life is that we don’t truly know where we are now and where we’d like to be.
If you don’t know where you are and where you want to be:
- You’ll lack a road map and likely feel frustrated and restless, like you’re spinning your wheels
- You’ll set goals that don’t really align with what matters to you (which means you might not be super motivated or excited about them)
- Even if you do get a lot done, you might still not feel like you’re living intentionally and regret how much time you spent on stuff that didn’t matter a whole ton
- You might struggle living a truly Jesus-focused life—walking and living in grace on a daily basis
So how do you use PowerSheets?
Well, thankfully, PowerSheets take most of the guesswork out of goal setting. Which makes them worth every penny, because figuring out how to go about setting good goals feels paralyzing for most people without some guidelines and direction. (Even I feel that way, and I’m a life coach!)
PowerSheets will walk you through the process of setting good goals. There are even instructions throughout the workbook as you answer the prompts.
That being said, since a lot of my coaching clients are PowerSheets users, I’ve learned some of the hang-ups that hold women back from using them and getting the most out of them.
Let’s talk about overcoming those obstacles, as well as my best tips for PowerSheets goal setting!
How to use PowerSheets to set intentional goals
The nitty-gritty of making PowerSheets happen + overcoming obstacles
1. Set aside time to work on them.
One of the biggest obstacles I see women face with PowerSheets is just getting started. Getting started simply requires setting aside some time to dive in!
I guarantee you that it won’t feel too overwhelming once you put pen to paper and just begin. In fact, it often feels really invigorating and exciting!
You’ll need to set aside time to work through:
- Once/year: The prep work and annual goal setting (This can be all in one sitting or split among multiple days. Be prepared—you won’t be able to complete this in half an hour.)
- Once/quarter: The quarterly refresh
- Once/month: Monthly goal setting and reflection
You’ll also want to make sure you’re checking in on your PowerSheets daily or at least weekly IF you want to make the most of them! More about that in a minute.
Here are my tips on setting aside time to work on PowerSheets:
- Try to set your PowerSheets work time for the end of the year, quarter, and month. This might not always be possible, and imperfect goal setting is better than no goal setting, but most people feel a lot better beginning a new year or a new month with their goals already set. I love having my PowerSheets goals already in place and hitting the ground running on the 1st of each month and year.
- If possible, aim for consistency in your work time. If you can decide that, for example, you’re going to set aside an hour on the 28th of each month for PowerSheets, or the last Thursday, not only do you not have to make that decision each month, but you’re also more likely to stick to it and not forget.
- Schedule it on your calendar as an appointment with yourself. Whatever time you choose to work on your PowerSheets, whether it’s consistent or not, get it on the calendar in advance and honor that as an important appointment. If something comes up that absolutely has to go during that time, reschedule your PowerSheets “appointment” just like you’d reschedule an important appointment with someone else.
- Take action on what needs to happen to be able to make your PowerSheets goal setting time happen. Do you need to talk to your hubby and make sure he can be fully responsible for the kids during that time? Do you need to get ahead on some work in your business so you can take an entire day for your prep work and annual goal setting in your PowerSheets? In other words, think through the obstacles you might face and do what you can in advance to make them a non-issue.
2. Annually: Complete the prep work.
The prep work is the good, sometimes-challenging goal-uncovering work you do before you go about setting your goals. Hastily writing out goals–without taking the time to really reflect on and understand where you are now and where you’d like to be—usually doesn’t end well.
In the prep work, you’ll fill out in your PowerSheets your answers to a number of prompts such as:
- A Cultivated Life Evaluation
- What fires you up
- What you fear and why
- What worked last year and what didn’t
- Lessons you learned in the last year
- Your vision of your most purposeful year
Like I said, Lara Casey guides you through the whole process of answering these and all the other questions and helps you to think through your answers.
Here are some extra tips on the Prep Work:
- Push yourself deeper, even on the prompts that are tough. Some of the questions might be ones you haven’t thought about before, which is okay and normal. If you struggle understanding a question or you struggle coming up with answers, think about what purpose you think that question might serve. For example, if you’re struggling to come up with your word of the year, ask yourself, “Why is it valuable to have a word of the year and how do I want the word I choose to impact the year?”
- Don’t worry about doing it “right.” Keep the end goal in mind. The end goal of PowerSheets is to help you uncover and set good goals. However you use your PowerSheets, if you accomplish that end goal, that’s a success!
- Don’t get hung up on whether you answered a question “right.” If you reflected deeply and honestly, well done. :)
- Don’t worry about filling up every single space fully. Yes, you should push yourself to think deeply to come up with good answers, but good answers might be really simple. Maybe you get to the “What fires you up?” page and your heart just thinks, “All that fires me up is being with the Lord and living on mission for him. Nothing really compares to how that fuels me, and I want to orient my whole life around that.” You can write down only that if you want! You don’t have to list a gazillion things.
- Use the stickers and colorful pens… or don’t. I give my stickers to a friend who looooves using them, because I love visual simplicity and I like my PowerSheets in black pen without stickers. If stickers and colors help you set and achieve your goals, use them. If they don’t, you don’t have to use them! Save your time. :)
3. Annually: Set annual goals.
Now that you’ve completed the refining, eye-opening, life-clarifying Prep Work steps, it’s time to actual set some goals.
Here are my best tips for setting your annual goals:
- Pray once again for God’s guidance!
- Don’t skip the step the PowerSheets encourages you to do of going through your Prep Work and circling things, looking for themes, etc. (Especially if you’re like, “I don’t know what goals to set!” This will almost certainly help illuminate what areas you need to set goals in.)
- Consider the end result you’re after and brainstorm all the possible ways to achieve that. Maybe you want to grow revenue in your business or you want to lose weight. Don’t just write down the first idea you have for how to do that. Brainstorm your options for achieving the end result and then choose the best one. (In other words, don’t decide to train for a marathon in order to lose weight if you hate running and could lose weight in a way that would work better for you!)
- Keep your number of goals small! You don’t have to fill up all 10 goal spaces.
- Think about setting one main goal for each area of your life that you really want to improve. Maybe instead of setting 4 goals related to your health, you intentionally choose 1 that will make the greatest impact and decide to be really focused on that!
- If it’s really hard to set goals for the whole year, try setting goals for Quarter 1 instead, or setting areas of focus. SMART goals are great, but not always realistic for a whole year. I had a baby in February 2017 so I didn’t want to set super specific goals for all of 2017 because I didn’t know what to expect becoming a mom!
4. Quarterly: Complete the Quarterly Refresh.
My best advice for the Quarterly Refresh is to celebrate how far God has brought you in the past 3 months! Your life won’t be perfect “yet” since you set your annual goals (Hint: It never will be until we’re in heaven), but there is always progress to celebrate, even if that progress is mostly lessons learned.
5. Monthly: Set monthly, weekly, and daily goals on your Tending List.
The Tending List is where the magic of goal-getting really happens! You’ll fill out some prompts to end the month well and prepare for the upcoming month, then you’ll fill out your Tending List with goals for that month plus weekly and daily goals.
Here are my Tending List tips:
- Review your annual goals. You set your annual goals for a reason, so use each month to make progress on those! Try to have at least some of your monthly goals tie into your annual goals.
- Don’t worry about tying together every monthly goal with a weekly and daily goal. I see coaching clients get overwhelmed trying to set a weekly goal for each monthly goal and then a daily goal for each weekly goal. Most goals aren’t able to be broken down that perfectly. There is usually some overlap between my monthly/weekly/daily goals, but often they don’t have a lot to do with each other.
- Try to avoid filling every single line with a goal just because the lines are there. A month is a good amount of time, but it’s not a huge amount of time. It usually feels much better to get to the end of a month and see a lot of progress on a small amount of goals instead of partial/nonexistent progress on a bunch of goals.
6. Daily or weekly: Check in on your Tending List
I keep my PowerSheets on my desk at all times, open to the page with the month’s Tending List. This helps me take action on what I wrote on there! It’s also really satisfying to check off or mark progress on goals.
I will bold this next point for emphasis because it’s so important:
You can set really good PowerSheets goals, but if you don’t keep those goals in front of you and don’t take action, those amazing goals won’t do much.
So, figure out what your plan will be for making those goals happen.
Here are some ideas for making your PowerSheets goals happen:
- Decide where you’ll keep your PowerSheets so you’ll see your Tending List often.
- Choose a time of day or time of the week to check in your Tending List.
- Snap a photo on your phone of your Tending List so you can reference it anytime you have your phone on you.
- Blog your goals for accountability’s sake.
- Hire a coach. Even the creator of PowerSheets, Lara, has a coach! (Me. :)) Coaches are valuable for everyone.
To sum things up, PowerSheets are my favorite goal setting tool and they’ve blessed the lives of thousands of people. You can create an intentional life, friend, but it’s not easy. It pays to get some help—from friends, from a coach, from a tool like PowerSheets, etc.
Which PowerSheets workbook option should you purchase?
Click here to order PowerSheets from the Cultivate What Matters Shop! !
I recommend investing in the one-year dated workbook unless you starting PowerSheets at a time other than January—then go with the 6-month undated workbook!
Lara and the Cultivate What Matters Team also offer a Goal Guide for Couples and Goal Guide for Parents that can work separately from PowerSheets but work best hand-in-hand.
Any questions about PowerSheets? Post them below so I can encourage and help you!