One Goal for 2016 - Cultivate What Matters

Anyone else thankful the holidays are over? As much as I enjoy Christmas and family get-togethers and gift exchanges, I've realized that I do not do well without my normal routines. Last week on New Year's Eve, I woke up with a raging strep throat infection and spent the following four days in bed, completely fatigued. I blame it on the holidays (of course), wearing down my immune system. Today is the first day I haven't crawled back into bed directly after breakfast.

Fortunately, a lot of my planning for 2016 had already been done before New Year's Day. Over the past few weeks, I've slowly worked my way through my Powersheets goal setting workbook and filled out my new planner. And a phrase from the Powersheets stuck in my head -

Cultivate what matters.

Being the word nerd I am, I had to look up the definition of cultivate. It means (when not talking about plants): "to foster the growth of; to improve by labor, care, or study; to further or encourage" (

When I think of cultivating, I think of small, daily actions that are sometimes tedious or unglamorous, but that lead to growth and improvement. And I recognize that is what I need to do in 2016. It's so easy to waste my time on aimless pursuits that don't matter. But I want to nurture what is most important to me in life: my relationships with Jesus, my family, and the community around me. I want to invest in my own creativity and skills. I want to cultivate gratitude and contentment, not jealousy or pride. 

Cultivating means cutting off whatever isn't bearing fruit in my life, which can be painful. Jesus spoke about that necessity in John 15:2, stating that pruning weak or dead branches can lead to increased fruitfulness. 

What are some dead branches I want to cut off this year? Negative words. Discontentment. Self-centered decision making. Gossip. Striving. Lack of discipline and morning routines. Using social media as an escape instead of a tool for encouragement and celebration.

And in their places, I hope to see new fruit growing - thankfulness. Love. Peace. Contentment. Words of life. Rest. 

So despite its inauspicious beginnings, I'm hoping that 2016 will be a year of deep growth for me. The result may not appear for a long time, but little by little, change will happen for the best.

I'd love to hear in the comments if you have goals or one word for 2016. What would you like to see happen this year?