Diana Kerr »

The last month of the year! December is one of my favorite months because 1) it presents a fun challenge in wrapping the year up well and 2) it’s also the month I set my 2018 goals.

I’ll be setting my 2018 goals on December 9 using my PowerSheets. Check out PowerSheets here if you think an intentional goal planning workbook would help you live a more bold, intentional life in 2018. :)

I also made this video explaining what PowerSheets are and how they work:

December is quite full, despite my efforts to be intentional and not cram the calendar. To an extent, I need to accept the fullness of the calendar. (Or ditch out on things like Advent church or family events, which I’m not too willing to do, even though I technically do have the choice to do that.)

Accepting that full calendar means I also need to accept the reality of not having as much time as usual to accomplish personal goals. I’m also taking an entire week off from work. With that in mind, I tried to set December goals that are fairly simple, with some repeats from November of things I want to keep working on.

First, here’s how things went with my November PowerSheets goals! (Confession: A huge part of why I post my goals each month is for the accountability of sharing my progress! haha)


1. Buy 80+% of our Christmas presents

2. Donate 4+ boxes of items to people in need

We donated 2 boxes and I have some other items I just haven’t boxed up and itemized yet. Yes, we itemize and deduct on our taxes most of our charitable gifts. My accountant parents taught me that this is good stewardship, and I agree, as long as the time you spend itemizing is good stewardship as well. :)

3. Simplify/de-stress shopping for, planning, and cooking meals, especially for Harrington

We don’t have some fancy system, but we’re in a good place with this for now and I don’t feel overwhelmed each time feeding time comes around like I used to.

4. Choose to live in a peak state

This has been hard with the fatigue I’m feeling from detoxing some heavy metals, but I keep praying to God to help me choose gratitude and joy even if I feel exhausted.

5. Bring joyful energy and listening presence to relationships and events

God is growing me, but I still feel like I missed a lot of good opportunities here. 

6. Decide on a plan for Kyle’s 30th birthday

7. Complete video opt-in series

8. Reach income goal in business

I didn’t hit the high end of my goal, but I solidly surpassed the lower end of the range I had set. Praise God for his faithfulness and provision!

Weekly goals:

Goal: Complete these at least 3/4 weeks

1. Process inbox for 90+ minutes

2. Make healing soup our nutritionist recommended

3. Exercise 2+ times

4. Keep calories to <2,300/day on average

Daily goals:

1. Pray and spend time in the Word | Goal: 30 days // Actual: 29

2. Encourage Kyle | Goal: 20 days // Actual: 22

3. Do a very short exercise routine in the morning and stand in front of my vitamin D lamp | Goal: 15 days // Actual: 24

4. Streamline/simplify/systemize something in my business or personal life | Goal: 20 days // Actual: 21

5. Track food in FitBit | Goal: 25 days // Actual: 27

6. Wind down completely by 9 | Goal: 18 days // Actual: 20

7. Lights out by 10 | Goal: 15 days // Actual: 16

Books I finished:

These and all other affiliate links in this post support our Giving Back initiative

What’s Best Next

Now, here are my December goals!

I use the PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner to set and track these goals!

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1. Research and choose a Jesus-focused tradition for our family to begin for Advent or Christmas

Any ideas? :)

2. Plan a 30th birthday for Kyle that makes him feel loved

He turns 30 on Christmas! Every year is a challenge to honor his birthday around that very busy season focused much more on Christmas/Jesus than his birthday!

3. Set 2018/Quarter 1/January PowerSheets goals + an action plan, focused on God

4. Hire a Content Manager

More info on this coming soon! Make sure you’re on my email list for the deets!

5. Start Traction book

6. Reach business income goal

7. Bring joyful energy + listening presence to relationships and events

8. Choose to live in a peak state

9. Fast from TV during the week in the weeks leading up to Christmas

As I was reflecting on how to make space to worship and adore Christ in this season despite a very full calendar, I realized that trading TV time in the evenings for time in his Word or relaxing with my favorite Christian worship music was a no-brainer. 

Weekly goals:

Goal: Complete these at least 3/4 weeks

1. Process inbox for 90+ minutes

2. Make healing soup our nutritionist recommended

3. Exercise 2+ times

4. Keep calories to <2,250/day on average

I’m still nursing, so I need calories, but I have struggled in the past with eating too much, and I’m convicted by that wastefulness. 

Daily goals:

1. Worship and adore Christ through prayer and time spent in the Word | Goal: 30 days

2. Encourage Kyle + Pray for him | Goal: 20 days

3. Do a very short exercise routine in the morning and get Vitamin D to help reset my cortisol rhythms | Goal: 15 days

4. Streamline/simplify/systemize something in my business or personal life | Goal: 20 days

5. Track food in FitBit + Reflect briefly on positive choices versus ways I could have eaten healthier | Goal: 25 days

6. Wind down completely by 9 | Goal: 18 days

7. Lights out by 10 | Goal: 15 days


Share your goals with me in the comments or link to your goals post if you blogged them!

Join my email family for email-only tips and encouragement (all with a focus on Jesus) to help you live a #boldintentionallife

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  • December 5, 2017 - 5:25 pm

    Sarah Vaughan - I just love these posts! It’s so much fun to see others’ Powersheets progress! Just ordered mine for 2018, and I am so excited to plan for the coming year!ReplyCancel

  • December 4, 2017 - 8:33 pm

    Erica - Hey Diana! I’m curious what Vitamin D lamp you use. As the Midwest darkness settles in, I’m looking for some alternative energy boosts. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • December 5, 2017 - 1:27 pm

      Diana Kerr - Hey Erica! I’m sorry to say the brand we had is discontinued. I’m guessing Amazon would have plenty of good options! :)ReplyCancel

  • December 4, 2017 - 7:53 pm

    Jacqueline Van Hemert - I love reading your goals and watching you make progress. Since we are getting ready to welcome our first baby in January it’s really encouraging to see you continue these habits as a new mom!

    One of our favorite Advent traditions that we started a few years ago is called the Giving Manger. It’s meant for little kids to do, but we’ve found it to be a really sweet tradition even between the two of us. We have a little manger made from popsicle sticks that we put out on the first Sunday of Advent. Next to the manger we keep a container of straw. Every time one of us performs a kind or sacrificial action, the other can reward them by putting a piece of straw in the manger. The purpose is to remind us that our virtue pleases the Lord, and our kind works toward each other makes Jesus’ bed more comfortable. We’re excited to introduce it to our little girl when she’s old enough!ReplyCancel

    • December 5, 2017 - 1:27 pm

      Diana Kerr - What a cool idea, Jacqueline! I really really appreciate you sharing this! Thank you!ReplyCancel

This post originally appeared as a guest post on Time of Grace.

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I’m amazed at how much I used to care about the little details of Christmas, in a mostly self-serving way. (Disgusting evidence here.)

Truth be told, God has worked on me and he still does, especially every time I have a “good” idea that actually isn’t . . . because of what it will cost my joy and sanity.

Here’s the thing: Fussing over details and enjoying Christmasy things is not straight-up sin. I’m not here to make you feel guilty because you bake 20 different kinds of Christmas cookies each year.

What I do want to do is help you ditch any perfectionism or overcomplication that’s getting in the way—of being worshipful; of being truly joyful; or of being the nice, sweet version of yourself that your family actually likes.

Friend, here are five truths (that I’ve learned the hard way) that I needed to share with you if you’re looking to ditch perfectionism this Christmas season:

  1. Everything you spend time on is time you can’t spend on something else. Consider the trade-offs wisely. 
    That time spent at the mall obsessing over finding the perfect gift takes time away from your available hours for more meaningful or Jesus-focused activities. It’s simple math.
  2. If your efforts to create lovely memories turn you into an ugly version of yourself, your efforts are counterproductive.
    Even if you have good motives, if you take on too much and the ugly comes out, that’s no good for anyone. It’s definitely going to cast a shadow on those perfect family memories you’re striving for.
  3. An invitation is just that—an invitation. It’s not a mandate. If you’re invited to something and have that time slot open, that doesn’t mean you have to attend. 
    Know your limits and stick to them. How will saying yes to this event affect you (and your immediate family) physically, financially, emotionally?If it won’t affect you in a positive way, be a little more cautious in saying yes, unless your presence would truly be a huge blessing to the host or guests and you’re willing to make the sacrifice.
  1. Not everything matters as much to the people you love as you think it does. Don’t assume they care more than they do.
    As a woman whose love language is “acts of service,” I was so guilty of this early in our marriage. I stressed myself out trying to make things perfect for my husband, assuming he cared or that he expected that. (He didn’t.)Ask the people in your family what traditions or aspects of Christmas are important to them. Maybe no one really cares as much about baking Christmas cookies together as you thought they did. Great; scale it back or ditch it. On the other hand, maybe they care a lot about picking out and decorating the tree. Make that a special event by cutting out some of the other fluff so you can really savor it.
  1. The first Christmas was brutally simple, and yet it was the most glorious and worshipful by far. 
    The Christ Child was not crowded out by any of today’s typical holiday craziness on that first Christmas. There’s more space for God when we keep Christmas simple.When we leave a margin and avoid unnecessary fuss and complication, we allow room for him to seep into the dry and needy places of our souls to restore and fill us with the pure, simple gospel born in the flesh in a simple stable.
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My friend Dr. Meghan Birt is our first ever guest blogger and she’s got some amazing advice for you today! Take it away, Meghan!

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Hey sweet friend. I want to give you a little pep talk. I think you need one when it comes to your health. Let’s be real together, ok?

You may be a little worn out, exhausted, bloated, or feeling like you’re craving food (sugar is a big one) and you don’t feel like you have an extra minute to eat better, sleep more, or work on your health.

I think that you and I are a lot alike. We are both women (maybe mommas) who live a full life. Maybe you are a type-A firstborn like me who wants to pile a little too much on my plate.

Are you feeling like you are a little too run down? Maybe you’re feeling less than your best, or a lot less than your best. But at the same time you’re probably thinking you have no time to spend working on your health. You can’t press pause on anything on your life to take time to really focus on your health.

I know what you want because we all want this. You want to feel energetic, living on purpose. You want to cut through the overwhelming health information and make it simple enough to do everyday. You want to truly believe abundant health is possible… but you don’t know how to do it or when you’ll have time.

You do have time to work on getting healthier. Think about it, none of us want to feel sick and tired. No way! We desire to feel our best and live on purpose. What happens is we get stuck. We are stuck feeling like we can’t do it and it is just too overwhelming. This pattern goes on and on. That is until you decide you’re going to stop it. Let’s stop it today!

I want to instill a bit of confidence in you before I go onto making time for your health. You can do it! There’s nothing special about me or the next person. You have everything within you (that includes the Holy Spirit) that allows you to be successful and apply healthy living tools, whatever they may be.

You’ve got it. I believe in you! And it’s time to believe in yourself. You’re not going to be perfect, but you can be consistent and make great choices one after another.

I’m going to share my healthy living secret with you. Are you ready for it?

My secret is simplifying health. Let’s stop making it so complex.

I believe we gain health by small choices made consistently. Those consistent choices become habits. Over time our habits add up.

Start with one thing and move onto the next small thing. Our health changes in the little by little. That’s the basis of simplifying health. You can make one small change for your health today and do it until you make it a habit.

If you tried to change your health in 5 days by doing 30 new things, you would get overwhelmed, burned out, and give up before you notice any of the benefits to living healthier. I see it happen all the time and I was in that mindset myself along time ago. It’s a recipe for feeling guilt, disappointment, and self-condemnation. I see way too much burn out when people try to change their lifestyle choices. We think we can change everything tomorrow and stick to our thousands of health goals perfectly.

What one thing do you want to start working on for your health? Start small because small goals are actually more successful than big, huge goals.

Think about your one goal. I bet you can find the time to fit that into your schedule. It’s so small, how can you not fit it in? This is what is going to happen. You’re going to feel so good about the forward movement you’re making on that goal, you’re going to want to try another small thing until that is a habit.

I’ll tell you one more thing I’ve learned over the last 10 years in the natural health and wellness field. Our health can seem anything but simple. Sometimes it can be downright hard and confusing. Don’t misunderstand me when I talk about simplicity. It doesn’t mean that there’s one magic supplement to take, one exercise you can do once a year, or a food you eat 3x/day and it gives you infinite health.

If our health takes time and effort (I won’t lie, it does), why would we want to make it harder to apply and overcomplicate it? Why do we overwhelm our minds with too information and essentially freeze ourselves from making any decisions or taking any action? Your mind and life doesn’t have a extra room for a high capacity of complex health information.

You really don’t have time to be run down, tired, and not being as purposeful and productive as you can be. Think about that for a minute. When you start working on your health and feeling better, you actually have more time because you actually FEEL better. Your brain, body, and mind will be able to function at a higher level. Imagine it, you can feel better.

Our health is important. Have an attitude of seeking health knowledge, taking simplified action, and reaping the benefits of your healthy lifestyle. You’ve got this!!

Dr. Meghan Birt is a chiropractor, educator, and healthy living encourager. She’s also a wife and mom to one sweet girl. Dr. Meghan’s love of natural health started many years before getting her chiropractic degree. Healthy food and nutrition was the catalyst into becoming a chiropractor and she was able to achieve healing in her own body through natural means. Dr. Meghan wants to inspire a love of health in women and believes every individual has the opportunity to live their healthiest life possible, which can be achieved through natural approaches. You can find her at www.meghanbirt.com and on the Just Enjoy Health Podcast.

If you’re looking for simple steps so you can take action on the areas of your life that matter download Meghan’s Simplify Your Health: Wellness Planning Guide. This is your starter guide to making time for your health by making it a lot simpler!

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Around this time of year, it’s always tempting to sliiiiiide into the end of the year and trick ourselves into thinking that the year’s basically over.

Friends, that’s simply not true.

You’ve got about 60 days left this year to make good goals happen. 60 days is 60 days. The last 60 days of the year are just as valuable as the first 60 days.

Heck, you can even start working on a 2017 goal you set back in January that you haven’t started on yet. I give you permission! There are very few absolute rules in goal setting, so you can decide to start on a 2017 goal in November. It’s allowed. If it’s still important to you, I say go for it.

I’m excited both to end the year well and I’m excited for next year’s goals. I already have a date on the calendar in December to work on my 2018 goals (using the PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner, of course!), and I’ve been brainstorming ideas of 2018 goals.

I’ve even got a fun challenge in mind for 2018 that I might try out and invite you along for the journey. Make sure you’re on my email list to find out about that. (Plus, I send lots of good email-only tips to my email family–another incentive to be on there.)

If you’re getting pumped about 2018 goals already, I recommend watching the Facebook Live I recorded last week about 3 steps you can take in less than 7 minutes to prepare you for a bold, intentional 2018. (I’ll tell you exactly what it’s about so you don’t have to watch the whole thing: The first 10 minutes, I share those 3 steps, and the last 13 minutes I tell you about PowerSheets for those who want some PowerSheets tips or are curious in if they’re a good fit for you.)

In setting my November goals, I did what I do every month–define my objective.

I write out answers to questions like, “How do I want to feel during and about this month?” “What outcomes/results do I want from this month?” Of course, glorifying God and being close to him is always, always the #1 thing. But I need to dig deeper to know what that looks like.

As I answered those Qs for November, two big themes aside from some of my usual answers (such as “provide for my family”) were:

  1. I wanted to be well-prepared for an intentional, worshipful, joyful December
  2. I want more energy! :)

I used those answers to help set these goals, which I’m about to share with you!

First, here’s how things went with my October PowerSheets goals!


1. Read Sleep Smarter and implement at least 2 things from the book

Didn’t finish this but I’m close. I read the Bible a lot this month and would have finished this book if it weren’t for that. Thankfully, the Spirit led me to choose my Bible over other books more than usual this month, and that is definitely not a bad thing. To be honest, sometimes reading a book seems more appealing to me than the Bible when I have a moment and have to choose. It disappoints me that this is true since no book ever fulfills me the way the Bible does.

2. Choose to live in a peak state

This is a hard one to measure and fully “cross off” but this was definitely a huge area of focus this month and helped a lot with my poor energy.

3. Plan Erica’s baby shower

It was wonderful! I asked myself, “What’s my outcome with this shower?” (I know, I’m SUCH a life coach! haha) But answering that gave me some ideas on how to use that party to really make my sister feel loved both at her shower and in the future when she’s a new mom.

4. Bring joyful, listening presence to my relationships

I’m not crossing this off because I’m hard on myself about this. It’s a constant struggle, or I should say, something I need to be continually mindful of. If I’m not careful, I can be a) too task-oriented and/or b) too chatty and not a good listener! God continues to grow me, but I know I could bless people so much more than I do now.

5. Link specific prayers to tasks 

Started, but definitely not completed!

6. Simplify and de-stress healthy, timely meals, especially Harrington’s meals

We made a lot of progress here, but we’ve got more work to do. Any tips on feeding organic, grain-free, etc. in a simple, intentional way? I need all your mom hacks, please. :) 

7. Create a video series about clearing mental clutter

8. Fill coaching spots of clients who end their coaching program this month

9. Reach monthly income goal

God blew me away this month in this area. PRAISE HIM. 

Weekly goals:

Goal: Do each of these at least 3/4 weeks

1. Savor a Sunday Funday Sabbath

2. Keep calories to <16,450/week (2,350/day)

3. Exercise at least 2 times (Other than walking)

4. Read before bed instead of watching TV

5. Process paper/electronic inbox 60+ minutes

6. Improve the efficiency of at least one thing in my personal life or business to buy back time

Daily goals:

1. Pray + spend time in the Word | Goal: 20 days // Actual: 29

2. Track food in FitBit | Goal: 22 days // Actual: 29

3. Encourage Kyle | Goal: 20 days // Actual: 27

4. Practice gratitude focused on God, not my circumstances | Goal: 20 days // Actual: 22

5. Grow in faith with Kyle | Goal: 15 days // Actual: 23

6. Completely wind down by 9 pm | Goal: 12 days // Actual: 18

7. Lights out by 10 pm | Goal: 15 days // Actual: 10

Books I finished:

These and all other affiliate links in this post support our Giving Back initiative

The Magnolia Story audiobook

Now, here are my November goals!

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NOVEMBER GOALS

Like I mentioned, I use the PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner to set and track these goals!

PERSONAL //

1. Buy 80+% of our Christmas presents

2. Donate 4+ boxes of items to people in need

3. Simplify/de-stress shopping for, planning, and cooking meals, especially for Harrington

4. Choose to live in a peak state

5. Bring joyful energy and listening presence to relationships and events

6. Decide on a plan for Kyle’s 30th birthday

I’d love your ideas on how to celebrate him–must be simple and fairly inexpensive! :)

BUSINESS // 

7. Complete video opt-in series

8. Reach income goal in business

Weekly goals:

Goal: Complete these at least 3/4 weeks

1. Process inbox for 90+ minutes

This refers to tasks/notes I toss in my Todoist inbox and my paper inbox to get them out of my head and deal with them later.

2. Make healing soup our nutritionist recommended

3. Exercise 2+ times

4. Keep calories to <2,300/day on average

Daily goals:

1. Pray and spend time in the Word | Goal: 30 days

2. Encourage Kyle | Goal: 20 days

3. Do a very short exercise routine in the morning and stand in front of my vitamin D lamp | Goal: 15 days

This is to try to reset my cortisol rhythm and increase my energy in the morning! 

4. Streamline/simplify/systemize something in my business or personal life | Goal: 20 days

5. Track food in FitBit | Goal: 25 days

6. Wind down completely by 9 | Goal: 18 days

Put phone on airplane mode and avoid checking texts or social media, etc.

7. Lights out by 10 | Goal: 15 days


Share your goals with me in the comments or link to your goals post if you blogged them!

Join my email family for email-only tips and encouragement (all with a focus on Jesus) to help you live a #boldintentionallife!

 

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PinITBudgeting is like a four-letter word when it comes to finances, am I right?

Some of us feel the same emotions about budgeting that we feel about horror movies. (Cue terrifying music and a high-pitched scream.) Budgeting has this stigma of being dreadful, of sucking the fun and spontaneity out of life.

Personally, I think the stigma’s inaccurate.

I think budgeting actually gives you freedom and improves your quality of life, even though so many people view budgeting as limiting and constricting. It’s all in how you look at it. I’ve witnessed through friends as well as experienced first-hand how freeing it can be.

Think about these 5 ways that using a budget can actually be pretty amazing:

1. Budgeting lightens the weight of the debt that’s burdening you

Whether you’re trying to pay off debt (which is most of us) or avoid debt (good for you), budgeting helps you achieve freedom from debt’s grip.

None of us want someone or something else to control us (and that’s kind of what debt entails); we want independence. A budget helps you spend money you have and avoid spending money you don’t have.

2. Budgeting lets you spend money throughout the month without worry or guilt

Using a budget eliminates much of the stress of wondering if you’ll end up ahead at the end of the month or run out of money.

Rather than letting life just happen to you and crossing your fingers that it works for the best, OR compulsively checking your online banking app to make sure you still have money, budgeting gives you power because you know where you stand.

When you sit down and take a look at how much money you’ve got to spread around, you know how much room—how much freedom—you have in each spending category. You can spend with confidence instead of with guilt or worry because you know, for example, that you budgeted $50 (and therefore actually have $50) to enjoy that anniversary date night.

3. Budgeting minimizes anxiety about the future

When you budget, you sleep better at night because you’re better prepared for the future.

Before Kyle and I had a baby, it was comforting to know that budgeting had help put us in a position to be able to have kids without huge financial strain. We didn’t have to lower our standard of living or go into debt to have our son.

If future life circumstances cause us to make major changes in our spending habits, I’m not worried, because we have 1) paid off all our debt except our home we know exactly where our money is going right now and how to use a budget to adjust accordingly.

Related post: Read our story about paying off $30,000 in debt in less than a year

4. Budgeting cuts waaay down on those ugly money fights in your marriage

I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s insanely helpful to be on the same page with your spouse when it comes to money—to decide ahead of time what your priorities are so you avoid disagreements and impulsive purchases.

Here’s one of my favorite tips for budgeting with your spouse: Allow each person an allowance. It can be as much or as little as you like, but each spouse has 100% say over their own allowance money and can spend it however they want. When I say however, I mean that you get to spend money guilt-free on the things your better half might deem wasteful or unnecessary. (For us ladies, that might mean manicures or shoes, and for our guys, it probably means something they “need” for one of their hobbies that we women find totally useless.)

Related post: How the allowance system changed our marriage and life

5. Budgeting lets you say no to stuff without feeling awkward

Saying no to friends and family is hard. You don’t want to look or feel “poor” when you say no to a trip with friends, or when you ask your family if they’re down for cutting back on Christmas presents this year.

It sounds a little goofy maybe, but budgeting makes that easier. It’s much easier to say, “That’s not in our budget,” or “That doesn’t work with our budget” than say instead, “We don’t want to” or “We can’t afford it.”

People have more respect for your choices and you’ll feel more confident about those choices when you are clearly being intentional about your financial goals.

Alright, honesty time—Where are you at with budgeting? Love it?/Hate it? Why? Comment and let me know!

On top of all these reasons, the biggest reason Kyle and I budget is to steward well the money God has given us.

Yeah, it takes some extra work than to just not pay as much attention to our finances, but if you gave someone money to invest or spend for you, you’d expect them to not blow it, right?

The fact that we’re living in the wealthiest country of all time, ever is something we don’t take lightly. There’s so much opportunity to do good with the money God has entrusted to us (way more than we deserve, if you ask me).

THAT is the #1 reason why budgeting is awesome and worth it to us. Hopefully that encourages and excites you too. :)

Share this post on social media if you agree that budgeting is not lame, but actually pretty awesome. :)

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  • October 18, 2017 - 8:33 pm

    Lori Bowman - I completely agree! Love this article! During college I did not budget and was not the best with finances. Now I have been out of college for 5 months and been budgeting for those few months and already have one loan paid off!! It is so liberating! It really put into perspective too how much God has truly blessed me with!ReplyCancel

  • October 18, 2017 - 3:32 pm

    Chelsey Fisher - Yes! I love this! Another great thing about a budget is you are better able to prepare for unexpected expenses! We had a $1,000+ unexpected car expense recently, and because of our budgeting and emergency fund, it was something we were able to cover without worrying about it. We just have to rebudget a bit in the next few months to comp for that loss to our emergency fund.ReplyCancel

    • October 18, 2017 - 4:45 pm

      Diana Kerr - Totally agree, Chelsey! Wow, I bet that felt awesome to have that big expense come up but not have to worry about it. Praise God for that!ReplyCancel