How I Use My PowerSheets

I like to consider myself one of the original recipients and users of PowerSheets when my friend Lara first released them into the world so many years ago. What a gracious gift to have received, a gift that now has become such a valuable tool in which I use to live out my very best days, weeks, months, milestones and life.

The first few years with PowerSheets in my possession, I came out of the gates strong each January, with my December prep work done and big goals mapped out. But then for one reason or another, and you know where I am going here, I would get caught up in life’s demands and monotony, and my poor (beautiful) PowerSheets would sit dormant in my office. How sad this now seems to me, that I ignored such a powerful tool for so long!

I decided last year to use my PowerSheets differently. We all want change but we don’t want to do the changing, right? I had just come out of an intense season of health challenges, we were trying to grow our family, and I was feeling an itch to explore some new personal and professional pursuits. In so many ways I was in a season of anticipation and I wanted to be smart with my strong feelings of motivation and eagerness. While PowerSheets (or anything really) are not ever the sole reason we succeed at our goals, I knew I didn’t have much to lose if I at least tried to use them to help carve out a solid year. Not a perfect year but one rich in the stuff that matters most.

I spent 12 months doing consistent, reflective, imperfect, intentional work in the pages of my PowerSheets. And perhaps this is why the Cultivate team is changing the lives of so many. I was able to put ideas to paper and utilize tools to help me map out realistic goals. I was able to hold myself accountable and celebrate successes (and failures!) month after month. I realized the very tangible truth in good things adding up little by little.

As a result it was a FULL full year. I nurtured the lifestyle facet of my company in a big way, deemed 2018 the year of The Joyful Conductor a feat that paid huge dividends in our family and home, and most notably, we received a big answer to prayer, in the form of a chunky smiling little boy named, Ev. I feel like my PowerSheets were a trusty steady, a friend that listened and guided and helped me pursue what matters most.

The Cultivate What Matters team recently asked me to answer some questions about how I use my PowerSheets and why they are so valuable in my life. I was honored to share more with them and then here with you too. Below are some of my favorite questions and answers but the entire interview can be found here.

Samantha James Photography took the beautiful photos of me here at home and yes! I do more than often set goals in my bedroom when the boys are at school, Zoe is by my side, and we are ON a white comforter! And yes! While the Cultivate message is a lot about embracing imperfection and getting messy, I use pencil in my PowerSheets because I like making my sheets beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing. Remember, goal setting is very much about going after your goals in a way that works for YOU and this is the way that works for me.

What have PowerSheets helped you accomplish in the first 90 days of this year?

One of my big goals this year was to seek peace in all I do. Last year my overarching goal was the be the Joyful Conductor of Our Lifegiving Home. And that I did in a bevy of wonderful ways! So piggybacking off of that and wanting to create an anthem for 2019, I decided to be in pursuit of peace within my blessed life. Some ways I’ve been getting after this? Limited social media use to help combat comparison or discontent, investing in a life coach to help process things better, marital counselling with my husband in light of both our parents recently going through divorces, and reading a lot of books to help refresh my perspectives/practices on mental health, parenting, work and pleasure.

Where do you want to be when you’re 80?

I’d like to be in Seaside, Florida on a porch swing with a book in my hand, the salty air blowing through my long gray hair. To my left will be my husband, probably not with a book in his hand, but he’ll have gray hair too. Coming in and out of the house with be our adult children and our grandchildren, giggling at they trek sand and toys through the house. In the oven will be chocolate chip cookies baking, vanilla ice cream in the freezer ready to make homemade treat sandwiches. Life will be slow and savored. And if you have ever been to Seaside you’ll know a lot of the homes there have names. We’re still on the fence about ours but I’m leaning towards, ‘How Sweet It Is’.

Why do you use PowerSheets?

I use PowerSheets for the accountability. It’s one thing to think and talk about a goal or a dream. But to write something down and stare at it in front of you creates a kind of accountability that’s hard to ignore! I also love the progress momentum that PowerSheets creates and helps build. As a recovering perfectionist I often feel like I’m always short on accomplishing anything. Until I look back at previous month’s tending lists and realize I’ve actually been WILDY productive, successful, and fulfilled!

How do you incorporate tending lists into your daily life?

I’m not great as using my weekly and daily tending lists and for a while I felt a lot of guilt about this. So instead I make my PowerSheets work for me and only put things in those areas that are MUST do’s or things that are very much habitual at this point (like taking my vitamins, praying over my boys, logging exercise for the day). My monthly tending tasks however, is where the good stuff is for me! I try to reference that section at least every other day so I am continually reminded of what I need to do that month or in the very least, work towards. I also try to always keep my PowerSheets flipped open to the current month page, with a pencil near by, so it’s impossible to ignore my goals. I’ve been known to cart around my PowerSheets from my office desk to the kitchen counter, to the bedroom and into the car even. Even just seeing them is powerful!

What are your 3 – 5 daily essentials?

1. A heart full of gratitude and low expectations. I’m in a season where I’m living out what I’ve prayed for but structure is hard to come by so gratitude and flexibility is key.

2. Being kind to myself: one of my 2019 goals was to love myself better. So this means taking vitamins, eating right, moving my body, and being cognizant of my wellness.

3. Music on Alexa: we LOVE music in our home! 1930’s music, Eminem, the Disney channel, Usher, the Jaws theme song haha we’re a pretty crazy bunch over here!

How do you feel with feelings of comparison when confronted with things you’ve chosen to say no to?

As someone who can be heavily influenced by others, both positively and negatively, I have to be really self-aware and honest with myself when feelings of comparison or FOMO (!) creep in. For example, my goal with social media in 2019 is to be online only once a week. This is not only to focus more on my kids, self, marriage, and work, but also to avoid feeling like I need new things, a better business, more this, more that. I’ve recognized that I’m simply wired to always strive for more so instead of trying to ‘fix’ myself and learn to want less X (money, things, free time, followers, chocolate cookies, whatever) I’ve tried to refocus that desirable energy elsewhere – to invest in the things, people, and opportunities that truly matter to me. Because those are usually in tangible, in real life, and not on my phone screen.

And I always come back to that vision of gray-hair Rhi sitting on ‘How Sweet It Is” porch one day. Will that Rhi be stuck in Instagram desiring X while her grandkids shout out that the cookies are done baking? I sure hope not.

You can read more of the interview here and shop more Cultivate products here! As always feel free to join in the conversation below, especially if you are a PowerSheets user, lover of goal-setting, or someone looking to infuse more intentionality into your life. I’d love to engage with you! Xo

How to Infuse Those Vacation Feelings into Everyday Life

We recently came home from our annual vacation in Seaside, Florida, which over the last few years is a place we’ve come to determine as ‘ours.’ I owe a lot of credit to my friend Lesley because without her I probably would have never made it to Seaside in 2016 when I was invited to speak at her Nourish Retreat hosted in Watercolor. Immediately we fell in love with the charming vibe of the beach town, almost always sunny and tropical climate, and way everything in Seaside makes you feel like you’re home. We knew we were hooked.

So despite my best efforts to feel differently, every time I come home from a trip, especially those to Seaside, I feel very melancholy. And while it’s expected to have vacation withdrawals when you’re thrown back into the groove of everyday life (and laundry, meal planning, work, etc), it was this recent trip that inspired an epiphany. While we were IN Seaside going about our more relaxed day to day happenings I realized there are probably a lot of things we love about our special place and our time there that can be duplicated at home in Michigan.

While the differences between a small town on the turquoise waters of the gulf and the Michigan city we call home are vast, maybe they don’t have to be. Here are my ideas for implementing more happy vacation feels into life in Grand Rapids, ideas I hope are especially helpful come winter when it gets a little dreary in the Midwest!

• Play music in our home with tropical summery undertones. This might include making a special playlist or maybe it includes playing a specific genre that we associate with our travels to Florida but music is an important way to inspire different feelings and trigger positive memories. For example, everytime I hear Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody‘ I think of the sleepy 4:00 am drive to the hospital to have Ev; that song was playing as Andy dropped me at triage and I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to have a baby today!’ following by, ‘And this will be the song we dance to at his wedding!’. Music is powerful!

• Go for as many walks outside as possible, especially ones that are slow in nature and require frequent comments on the landscape, weather, and life in general. Make sure to stop as often as possible to take in our surroundings and strike up conversations with neighbors, something that the Seaside architecture prompts and encourages.

• Infuse our meals at home with as many foods and treats that are like the ones we often enjoy in Florida; seasonal produce, fresh seafood, homemade squeezed juices, and the occasional Southern items that my husband can amazingly cook to perfection like fried green tomatoes! Like music, food can trigger strong emotions.

• Create an outdoor patio space that allows us to enjoy early mornings and slow afternoons outside. In Seaside home porches are mandatory as they allow people in passing to feel like they are able to strike up friendly conversation with residents. These porches are usually on the front of the home facing wherever foot traffic happens. Then side or back porches are meant for afternoon naps, quiet reading time, or even more private meals with loved ones. I love this sentiment and hope to turn our back porch into our own summer retreat (look out for my June goals where this will be my top item!)

• Wear outfits that I might usually save just for special trips. While I mostly look at clothing as a way to simply cover my body, and especially so in a transitional physical period right now, there’s something about a trip that encourages me to dress just a tinge fancier. I realized while we in Seaside that I felt a lot better about myself and had more confidence when I wore some less used clothing items that normally sit untouched in my closet. It sounds a bit trivial but already I’ve noticed a big difference in my mood each day when I take a little more time wear the stuff I normally reserve just for trips South.

• Sleep with the windows open and play ‘ocean sounds’ on our Alexa. You guys. This sounds silly, I know, but there’s something very peaceful about fresh air blowing through our bedroom as we snuggle into bed, the sound of the ocean’s waves crashing outside my window . . . (I mean, those waves playing from my husband’s nightstand, HA). Jokes aside though, this has been not only a great way for me to decompress at night and fall asleep better but it always reminds me of how it feels to be on vacation surrounded with peaceful noises.

• Bring scents into our home that remind us of our favorite place. This may mean using saltwater or beachy-scented candles and oils that subtly infuse our environment with a different type of sensory experience. I have an interesting relationship with candles these days because the scented ones I love most don’t burn clean but there are a few citrus oils that are toxin-free and seem to do the trick! Consider using beauty products that also inspire the same smells we associate with our favorite place; coconut, fresh fruits, and tropical floral scents top the list.

• And finally, have things in our home that are sweet reminders of our many past trips and the many we plan to take in the future. Every time we go to Seaside we schedule a professional photography session. We can’t think of a better way to capture the joy we feel in Seaside than to have this documented in timeless images. From travelling to Seaside when Lachlan was just learning to walk, returning with a baby Everett in my belly (when we announced my second pregnancy), and this year’s trip being our first as a family of four, we only hope to add to our cherished memory bank. This year’s session was captured beautifully by Lily & Sparrow and as per my May goals there are already two prints already framed in our home. I hope to share more of my favorites photos soon!

Does your family have a special destination you annually visit and if so where is it? What are your favorite elements of vacation and the things you most look forward to when you travel? I’d love to hear more below and encourage you to always join in the conversation and or share a link back to your own corner of the internet! Xo

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