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4 Lessons I Learned From Goal-Setting “Failure” in 2013

benefits of setting goals on blackboard

2013 wasn’t a banner goal-setting year for me. I did manage to cross 13 goals off my list of 25 goals, but I spent the last half of the year feeling frustrated that I wasn’t making more progress in the goal-setting department.

As a person who thrives on productivity, feeling like you’re not making headway can be really discouraging. However, I’m trying to practice what I preach when it comes to giving myself grace, so I refused to beat myself up over the lack of progress.

Instead, stepped back and evaluated what needed to be changed for the coming year. After some thought and discussion with Jesse, I came up with four things that hampered my goal-setting success in 2013:

1. I need to set fewer goals.

I bit off more than I could chew last year in setting 25 goals. I got excited and pumped up when I was doing my goal-setting and didn’t think truly realistically — even though I really tried to.

This, in turn, set me up for failure in some of my goals. The goals themselves weren’t bad, there were just too many of them.

This year, I’m only setting 12 goals. When I look at my goals list, it feels so much more manageable!

2. I need to make my goals more specific and actionable.

Last year, I made the mistake of putting some goals on my list that weren’t specific enough or actionable enough. For instance, one of my goals was: “Wake up by 6 a.m. and exercise, shower, and dress by 8 a.m. every day.”

While this was somewhat specific, it was sort of one of those goals that was just “out there” — with no concrete ending. If I had said something like: “Wake up by 6 a.m. and exercise, shower, and dress by 8 a.m. every day for 21 days” that would have been much more doable, specific, and actionable.

This year, I tried to have every single goal on my list have a specific time frame or number assigned to it. For instance, instead of saying, “Write more content pieces for my blog” I said, Write 150 content pieces for the blog.”

This goal has a very specific action point attached to it enabling me to track exactly how I’m doing. Plus, this allows me to break it down into bite-sized pieces (i.e. I’m shooting to write at least 3 content pieces on my blog every week. If I do this, I’ll easily hit the 150 mark by the end of the year.)


3. I need to account more for the expected.

In January of 2013, I knew I was writing a book and doing more speaking/traveling, but I didn’t seem to account for that in my goal-setting. I forgot how much time and effort book-writing and editing and marketing requires and didn’t allow time for that when considering goals.

In 2014, I’m thinking very carefully about what I already know my life is probably going to look like. There will be a lot of book marketing stuff happening in early 2014, I have a full spring travel/speaking schedule, we have a BIG thing happening as a family in April which is going to require time and transition (more on that sometime soon), and we have plans to produce a few more products in 2014.

Plus, then there’s just the daily life stuff of homeschooling and activities for our children, nurturing our marriage, being intentional in my friendships, and other ministry opportunities. So, knowing all of this, I am being much more careful about what goals I’m setting realizing that my plate is already pretty full.

4. I need to account more for the unexpected.

This was my biggest downfall in 2013.

There were some wonderfully unexpected things that happened — namely, the business exploded (our traffic/unique visitors doubled in 2013!). As a result, we had to change a lot of our processes, switch to a new hosting company, and bring on new team members to take over many of my previous responsibilities of running and managing the business so that I could focus on what I do best.

This was all very exciting, but it also meant that there was a 3-4 month period where I spent every spare moment I had available answering questions from new team members, having business meetings and conferences calls, brainstorming new processes, training new team members, and tweaking and experimenting with the new processes. Needless to say, this meant that a lot of other things had to be put on hold in the mean time while we made this transition.

The growing pains were hard, but so very worth it! And I am very grateful for the amazing team! Each person on the team is incredible and they’ve willingly taken over so many behind-the-scenes details so that I can now focus most all of my business and blogging time on writing, brainstorming, overseeing, and speaking — the things I love most!

In an effort to prepare for the unexpected in 2014, I’m leaving some breathing room in the goals I set. And it feels so good to know that while my goals are going to stretch and push me, they hopefully won’t overwhelm me when curve balls are thrown my way.

Want to learn more from my goal-setting failures and successes? Be sure to pre-order a copy of my brand-new book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, where I share about the lessons I’ve learned when it comes to goal-setting. If you’re longing to live a more fulfilled and purposeful life, I think you’ll be blessed, encouraged, and inspired by it. Get your copy here.

My 12 Goals for 2014 (and come share yours, too!)


I learned a lot about myself and goal-setting this past year. With these lessons in mind, I’ve simplified goal-setting even more for 2014 (more on that in a post I’ll be sharing later tonight).

Jesse and I spent time really discussing what my focuses should be for 2014 and we nailed down four areas that are my priorities for this year:

  • Marriage: to continue to invest time and energy to strengthen and nurture our marriage and make it one of the greatest priorities
  • Mothering: to continue to invest in our children with the goal of teaching them character, life skills, and raising them to be responsible adults
  • Myself: to make my health a priority and to invest in my personal growth as a Christian, business owner, writer, speaker, and leader
  • to invest time into blogging — not just overseeing the business and my team, but making writing content pieces one of my top blogging priorities

Having these specific areas determined at the beginning of the year will really help me to prioritize throughout the year and will give me much clearer direction on when, where, and what to say no to over the next 12 months.

With these focus areas in mind, here are my 12 goals for 2014:

Marriage Goals

1. Read 6 marriage books.
2. Write 50 love notes to Jesse.

Mothering Goals

3. Read 40 books aloud to the kids.
4. Finish memorizing Romans 1 together.
5. Go through a cooking course with the kids. (Anyone have a recommendation?)

Personal Goals

6. Read through the Bible.
7. Memorize Romans 2.
8. Run a 5K race and go through P90X again.
9. Read 150 books/ebooks.

Blogging Goals

10. Write 150 substantive content pieces for the blog.
11. Write 50 DIY/Recipe posts for the blog.
12. Blog about/participate in the 12 Months to a Healthier You Challenge (more on this tomorrow!)

Did you set goals for 2014 yet?

If you’ve posted goals for 2014, I’d love for you to share your link in the comments. Or, if you don’t have a blog, feel free to just leave a comment with a list of your goals. I’ll post an update at the end of each month sharing how I’m doing on my goals.Let’s encourage one another to live lives of intention and purpose!

If you’re brand-new to goal-setting, be sure to read my post on How to Change Your Life By Setting Goals.

photo credit

Swagbucks Paid for Everything!

Today’s Swagbucks success story is from Sri:

Swagbucks is one of the best things I have come across on internet. In the last three years, I’ve earned more than $600 in Amazon, Walmart, and Target gift cards — which helped me purchase so many things that I can now joyously say my home is filled with items purchased with Swagbucks.

Just a few things I purchased using Swagbucks:

  • Klean canteen stainless steel water bottle
  • Thermos Nissan insulated bottle
  • Jeans, Books and lunch bag(for my husband)
  • Chicago cutlery knives
  • Crayons, coloring books and toys(to make gift boxes for our township kids)
  • Loads of Vita coco coconut water
  • Cuisinart stick blender
  • Oster citrus juicer
  • Aroma Stainless steel rice cooker
  • Low flow faucet aerators
  • Drying rack for clothes
  • Brita filters, Cereal boxes, groceries, toiletries

I can go on and on..and I only hope the list continues to be endless in future too.

My favorite ways to earn Swagbucks are:

  • Special offers: I get most Swagbucks from here. These include signing up for websites, doing surveys, watching short videos, trial offers, and many more. I have gotten some big bucks from trial offers. But we have to make sure to cancel before the trial period ends.
  • Inbox offers: Watch out for offers in your Swagbucks inbox. I recently had an offer for 2500 Swagbucks if I spend at least $25 at I purchased a down alternative comforter for $25 and it turned out to be “better than free” as I used the Swagbucks to redeem five $5 Amazon gift cards (and still had Swagbucks left over).
  • Trusted surveys: I qualify for very few surveys but for the ones I do I feel that I am rewarded well. As an added bonus, I have received some products to try out as a follow up of the surveys.
  • Searches and Swagcodes: These give me at least 15 Swagbucks everyday.

Referrals are a definite bonus but I have never had the success. Even with out referrals it is possible to make $20 – $25 each month. Just explore all the ways of earning and in a few days you will understand which ones work for you.

Thank you, Swagbucks!

My interview with Chris LoCurto: How I got started blogging, made some major mistakes, and learned along the way

Podcast with Chris LoCurto

Recently, I was honored to get to hang out and record a podcast with my friend, Chris LoCurto. Chris has been a huge inspiration to us and is a wealth of wisdom on business leadership, personal development, and entrepreneurialism.

We first learned about Chris when we attended EntreLeadership a few years back. We then became big fans of the EntreLeadership podcast that he hosted while working with Dave Ramsey.

Chris and I connected on Twitter awhile back and have become great friends. The thing I love most about Chris is that he’s the exact same person on stage and on a podcast as he is in real-life.

We’ve spent time at his home with he and his wife Debbie and they are the real deal. So caring, inspiring, giving, and encouraging (not to mention, Chris is an amazing chef — we still talk about the mouth-watering lamb chops he made for us when they had us over for dinner!)

When we were in Nashville a few weeks ago, Chris asked if he could have me on his podcast — which I was more than thrilled to do! If you’re interested in the story behind or the lessons I’ve learned as a blogger and business owner, you’ll want to check out the podcast.

In this podcast, we talk about:

  • How I got started blogging and how much (er, little) money I made in the first few years
  • How I tried to be like another business owner and ended up failing royally as a result
  • Why I first started MoneySavingMom,com and how it has changed and grown over the years
  • How I choose team members and what I look for when considering hiring someone
  • How anyone can grow their platform using Pinterest
  • The various strategies and tactics we employ to create a high-level of engagement on our Facebook Page

Listen to the full podcast here.