Emily M. DeArdo


Goal Setting 2018: Creating a Cultivated Life

goal settingEmily DeArdoComment
all those things you want to do.png

Can you believe it's almost Christmas? Or the end of 2017? Where has this year gone?! 

One of my favorite parts about this time of year (other than Christmas, of course) is that Lara Casey starts the Goal Setting series on her blog. If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know how much I adore Lara and her Power Sheets. I had the great privilege of attending her Making Things Happen conference in March, and wow, Lara is just amazing. 

Her series kicked off yesterday, and it has inspired me to write my own. I've done this sporadically over the years, but one thing that I'm going to do in 2018 is write monthly updates about my goals, both to keep me accountable, and, hopefully, to inspire you to set your own goals! 

I'll be echoing Lara's steps in my blog entries, so if you read hers and mine, I hope you'll be able to get two doses of inspiration. :) 

So, let's go!


The Cultivated Life Evaluation

How did 2017 go? How do I feel about various areas of my life? 



--Spouse/Significant Other




--Spiritual and Personal Growth



Health: I made a lot of strides here this year. I've lost 26 pounds, and still going, I've dropped inches and clothing sizes...I'm really happy with how things are going here. I am committed to continuing this work in 2018!

Friends: I am so fortunate to have lots of deep, fruitful friendships. 

Family: Like the friend category, I have strong relationships here. I get support from them. We spend time together. This is all good. And my brother's getting married in May, so I'm adding a sister-in-law!

Finance: Ehhhh. In September I recommitted to doing Dave Ramsey's 10 baby steps. Right now I'm in Baby Step #1--building an emergency fund. Want to know where the money from the book and scarves go? It goes right there. :) It's helping build financial security. Yay!

Spiritual and personal growth: I have a pretty good prayer life. I want to go deeper and make this a true priority. Not just a lip service priority. 

Work: Work has been amazing this year! I released Catholic 101, started Barton Cottage Crafts, and I've grown my blog audience. I am so thankful for all my wonderful readers! And there's more to come in this area in 2018. 

Step Two

stop chasing perfect

I am choosing PURPOSE over PERFECT. That's what Making Things Happen in March taught me. Choose the CULTIVATED GOAL. Choose that good things. The things God has created me to do. STOP chasing someone one's story. Live my story. Sit in the dirt. Growth through the dirt. Cultivate what matters. 



Looking back on 2017: Good things and Goal Progress

Good things that happened: 


Catholic 101 was released!

Vacation to Colonial Williamsburg and the Outer Banks


Lost 26 pounds

Developed Barton Cottage Crafts

Got an editing job (More about this in 2018!) 

Seriously decluttering and simplifying at home

Deeper relationships 

Family connections and visiting.

Deeper familiarity with Scripture

Creative progress and enjoyment

Silent reterat

Making Things Happen! 

Starting the financial Baby Steps


My 2017 goals: 

1) Deepen my relationship with God through daily Mass, and Liturgy of the Hours, and writing the Word to get deep into His Word. 

How'd I do?: WELL! My editing job actually forces me to get deep into Scripture, which is so funny. God clearly wanted me to work on this goal! I am making progress in weekday Mass attendance, monthly confession, and saying the Liturgy of the Hours. This will all continue in 2018. 

2) Create Financial Peace  I'm being sort of vague on this one, because it's in progress and it's personal in a deep way. But I hopefully will have more to tell you soon. :) 

3) Be healthy by losing weight, exercising, and journaling. 

How'd I do?: Doing well! But this is not over yet. :) 

4) Get the book published by querying agents, growing the blog, and writing new pieces for publication. 

How'd I do? Did well in cultivating my audience, releasing the ebook, and writing new pieces for publication (See here). Need to get back on the querying bandwagon. 

5) Be a "fierce, fierce friend" by being hospitable, being there for others, and loving big. 

I started with this goal, and I realized--I am a good friend. So I didn't need to do too much work here! :)  So I deleted this goal and replaced it with:

Reimagine blog brand, mission, statement and purpose--did this in the spring! And I'll be taking a fresh look at it again in January. 

6)  Feed my creativity by drawing, knitting, sketching, languages, etc. 

How'd I do? Super well. I really love making time to do these things. They feed my soul! And I'm taking a watercolor class in January so I'll be continuing to improve in this area, too!

7) Simplify my spaces: Less stuff, MORE beauty and organization in order to increase peace, stability, and encourage hospitality. 

I re-phrased this in the summer to: Create a true, nourishing home by simplifying, decorating, and tidying (cleaning) to create beauty and calm. 

How'd I do? Well, as I write this, I've got Christmas baking dishes piled in the sink waiting for their turn in the dishwasher! So if you were at my house right now, you'd think, not! But I have made progress here, too. I did more book decluttering, more closet cleaning, and I've been making a point to keep spaces clear and only keep things I love and use around the house. 


Three Things I Learned:  

1) I CAN LOSE WEIGHT. This was HUGE for me. I've always thought that because of the prednisone that I will be on for the rest of my life that I'd never reach a healthy weight. AND I CAN! That's amazing to me. 

2) I WROTE A BOOK! After three years of work, Catholic 101 is a real book that real people can read. I am so thankful that I did this. HUGE goal for me, accomplished!

3) Lots of people feel the same way I do. I learned this at Making Things Happen. NO ONE has it all together. EVERYONE is nervous about stepping out and working on their dreams. Everyone! We are all in this together!!! 



MTH March 2017, courtesy Amy Nicole photography

MTH March 2017, courtesy Amy Nicole photography




Whoa! Writing this has REALLY inspired me to do great things in 2018! And there are more entries to come!


How about you? What was 2017 like for you? What did you accomplish? Are you afraid of chasing your goals? What good things did you learn? What do you want to bring into 2018?