June 30, 2021

Setting Strong Goals When You Know You’re Not in Control of Tomorrow

The R.O.O.T.E.D. Goal Setting System helps you to identify and reverse-engineer essentialist goals that bridge the gap between the future you want and the life you’re living right now.

Sustainable, Life-Giving Goals Are:

How Can You Set Strong Goals When You Know You’re Not in Control of Tomorrow?

You want to get organized around your goals and chase them with abandon.

But then reality crashes in to your plans, making you question whether goal-setting is all it’s cracked up to be. Perhaps passages like James 4:13-16 or Proverbs 16:9 even thunder into your heart, making you wonder if it’s even Biblically right to invest so much in to goal-setting.

Start digging into productivity and goal-setting literature, throw a stone in any direction, and you’ll hit a quote about how we can (and should) be masters of our own fate and designers of our own destiny. I think this spooks Christians—and for good reason. It spooked me too for a long time.

But there’s a difference between attempting to control tomorrow (spoiler alert: it’ll never happen), and taking personal responsibility for your choices, recognizing that they’ll have a significant impact on the future.

The Bible doesn’t pit God’s sovereignty against man’s responsibility. It’s not an either/or, it’s a both-and.

In fact, in the classic James 4 passage that reminds us to make all of our plans with a “Lord-willing” attitude, verse 17 expounds on James’s purpose for even reminding people that their lives and plans are but a vapor in the bigger picture of God’s eternal purposes and reign over history:

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

What’s the “therefore” there for? James’s reminder that we’re not in charge of the future is supposed to compel us to have strong priorities.

This entire series on the ROOTED Goal Setting System has been written with this heart:

  • God is in control of our personal histories.
  • He put us in the historical and cultural context that He did for a reason.
  • He made us in His Image for the purpose of stewarding His earth and building Godly communities (starting with our own homes).
  • He’s given us each talents (resources such as time, money, and influence) that we are called to maximize in loving service to Him and others during our lifetimes.
  • God is sovereign, and yet we have freedom of will. The dynamics of this go beyond what we could logically comprehend because we are limited creatures. While He is orchestrating all things together for His glory and the good of His people, we are also fully responsible for the decisions we make and the fruit those decisions bear.

The Scriptures (especially Proverbs) are chock full of practical wisdom about how the sowing and reaping principle plays out quite predictably in the lives of people. And yet forces such as injustice, the brokenness of a fallen world, valid expectations from others, game-changing information (and other disruptions that are allowed by God’s Providence in our personal histories) come in and interplay with that universal sowing and reaping principle in unpredictable ways.

So how do we embrace personal responsibility while still respecting God’s place as, well, God?

The Mindset Shift That Make Sense of Everything

Productivity literature acknowledges the fact that life rarely goes exactly as we imagine it—even if we can invest tons of time, money, and energy into making our plans work out. Books like John C. Maxwell’s Failing Forward lead an entire sub-genre of books helping people cope with the setbacks, the “acts of God” (which we know are actually acts of the intimately involved God), and the personal and societal failures that coalesce to make any significant achievement a serious uphill climb.

So how do you, as a Christian, look at (and even embrace failures and setbacks) in a way that empowers you to keep moving forward on your most important goals?

You need to adopt what’s called a “growth-mindset” that is founded on these two principles:

  1. God gives you the personal responsibility to make plans and choices based on His revealed will (Scripture), the wisdom He’s given you through experience, and the godly desires He’s placed in your heart.
  2. God will develop your goals through the revelation of His Providences, and will give you more light as you walk forward, committing to be faithful even with the little you do know right now.

​You may not know the future, but GOD DOES. He gives you the responsibilities and priorities that He wants to shape your focus. James uses the reality of God’s Providence for tomorrow to urge us to embrace our responsibilities, and do what is right starting today.

When Corrie’s Life Didn’t Go As Planned

Corrie Ten Boom hoped, like many women, to marry and have a family. But when the love of her life buckled under the pressure t0 marry based on status instead of love and commitment, Corrie knew in her heart that she would never marry.

When Corrie’s older sister Betsie became bedridden with illness for a short period of time, a serious vacancy was left in the family business. Corrie rose to the challenge, taking on all of Betsie’s duties at the family watch shop. She found that she loved helping to run the business, and began to develop a system of bookkeeping. This was important because her father was so obsessed with his work as a craftsman that he often forgot to charge his clients! She also loved working with her father at the bench, and in 1922, she became the first woman to be licensed as a watchmaker in The Netherlands.

Corrie also taught Sunday school and Bible classes in the public schools, started a special weekly Bible study for young people with learning difficulties, fostered children, sought out the poorest of the poor, led summer camps, and founded a club for teen girls that would pave the way for a European equivalent to the Girl Scouts. She was known for her powerful executive skills and organization. Even before the refugee camps, Corrie Ten Boom walked in the footsteps of the Proverbs 31 woman, setting strong goals, making profits, and generously sharing her gains with the most vulnerable in her community.

Corrie is an incredible example of taking personal responsibility and maximizing the resources God gives for Kingdom purpose.

But even prudent Corrie couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.

In the early summer of 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Soon, Corrie’s beloved home and place of business, de Béjé, would become a hiding place for hunted Jews and one of the organizational outposts for the Dutch resistance. In 1944, Corrie and her entire family were arrested and shipped to concentration camps. Corrie and Betsie were mercifully able to stay together, and began running significant ministry operations within the concentration camp. Corrie watched Betsie die a horrible death, but continued on with the ministry work until God miraculously rescued her from her scheduled execution and delivered Corrie from the concentration camp.

Corrie would go on to bring Betsie’s vision of developing a mercy ministry for ex-Nazis once the war was over, and teaching widely about Christ’s forgiveness. Even as a very elderly woman, Corrie traveled the world as a public speaker, bringing the Gospel of Christ to millions from the stage and through the books she published. She was even granted access to dark, dangerous, and forgotten prison cells, and invited to bring the Gospel to hard-to-reach people behind the Iron Curtain in the USSR, in Red China, and in communist Cuba.

Corrie was an ordinary Christian woman. Raised in a Christian home, slighted by love, enthused by business, motivated in ministry, and a celebrated spiritual and active warrior in the resistance to Nazi genocide. God’s hand in her life led her through profound depths and heights—even pushing her past any reasonable limits of human suffering, yet equipping her with Christ’s strength—and then gave her a massive platform of influence. In reflecting through all of this, Corrie reveals the key to her hopeful, progress-oriented mindset:

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
― Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

This is what it means to make plans and live responsibly in the light of God’s Providence.

When we get laser-focused on the things that matter most to us (as defined by God’s priorities becoming our own, a work that the Spirit does in our hearts we go deeper and deeper with Christ)—and we walk forward in hope, being faithful with little, God will work His will on our lives, bringing us more light, and showing us how to pivot into greater and greater alignment with His goals for us in His Kingdom economy.

We Walk Forward; God Gives Light​

But we can’t get to the future part where we’re learning God’s secret will, until we take those steps of faith and obedience to God’s revealed will in our presentAnd that’s why we make sure our goals are “Rooted in our core calling,” “Organically growing out of our context,” and “Tailored to our lifestyle.” That’s why this goal-setting system is so unlike anything else out there.

The starting point is God’s Providence, but our path forward is lit by what He’s revealed to us today. Who are the people He’s given us to serve, what are the pressures He’s Providentially allowing to capture our attention, and what problems has He given us to solve by leveraging the resources He’s given us?

A goal-setting system like this reminds us that the Kingdom of God does not rise and fall by our efforts—but we do have the responsibility to do our part, exercise our influence, and steward our resources for Christ. This takes a great deal of personal maturity, and getting organized around our goals is an exercise of that same maturity.

So let’s lean into today—into this week—with fresh perspective.​

Living intentionally is all about taking personal responsibility, and setting strong goals for the development of the resources God’s given us. And putting on a mature, Christian growth-mindset means that we’ll be posturing ourselves to embrace all of the ways God develops our goals through the revealing of His will in the days head.


You need a strong planning habit & the right tools in order to fully dive into the ROOTED Goals goal setting mindset. We created the Evergreen Planner System to support this mindset in a way that is entirely customizable. It can be used in so many ways to support the goals & dreams you are chasing, while also crafting sustainable life rhythms. The Getting Started Kit is the perfect way to try two of our core products – the Annual and the Monthly. Don’t wait until we launch our next subscription box – get the tools you need today!

June 23, 2021

Etching Your Goals Into Your Memory

The R.O.O.T.E.D. Goal Setting System helps you to identify and reverse-engineer essentialist goals that bridge the gap between the future you want and the life you’re living right now.

Sustainable, Life-Giving Goals Are:

92% of people don’t accomplish their New Years Resolutions. The world gets super pumped about goal-setting on New Years day, vows flying left and right that we’ll cut refined sugar, increase our incomes, or start reading to our kids every day. But then, around January 17th (which has been officially dubbed as ‘Ditch Your Resolution Day’), goals begin dropping like flies.

Why is this?

Life picks up steam, the obstacles start mounting, and the habits start slipping. After a few days of falling off the bandwagon, many people honestly just begin to question why their goals mattered to them so much in the first place. And after a few weeks of lapsing, their goals are left in the dust of the first quarter, forgotten.

You don’t want this, and we don’t want this for you. This is why Evergreen Planner exists—it’s a hub for you to get organized around your goals, and keep them top of mind.

Let’s dive into a proven blueprint for etching your goals into your memory so they remain strongly relevant to your daily choices.

Write It Down

Studies show that “vividly” writing down your goals makes you 42% more likely to achieve them.

By imagining your goal, and then putting in the cognitive effort to describe them in written format, you experience what’s called the “generation effect”—a double-processing effort that helps to deeply etch your goal into your memory.

Vividly is an important word as well. You want your goal to be so clearly fleshed out that you could show it to someone else and they would understand what you want to do and how you aim to get there. Think pictures, timeframes, sketches—something you can sink your mind into.

The mental exercise of expounding on your goals and processing through details as you reverse-engineer them creates an obvious pathway that your brain can latch itself onto and begin building networks around.

With Pen and Paper

Studies have also shown that students learn material better when they use a pen and paper to take notes rather than a laptop.

The cognitive processes for writing by hand versus typing are different, and the handwriting processes engage your brain at a deeper level. The slowness of writing by hand is actually a positive thing, inviting your brain to really digest, comprehend, and retain what you’re writing about.

This same principle applies to follow-through on your goals. This brain-to-hand processing connection will help optimize your results—giving your brain time to get ahold of the details you’re outlining, see how everything interacts, and make it easier to remember the appointments you made with yourself to take specific steps forward on your objectives.

Somewhere You’ll See It Consistently

The out-of-sight-out-of-mind adage fully applies to your goals.

Writing down your goals by hand is powerful—but keeping your goals somewhere you’ll see them regularly will add the benefits of having a regular visual cue that will launch your goal back to the forefront of your mind.

The more you trigger the memory of your goal, and ruminate over what this goal means for your life, the more your goal for the future will feel relevant to the choices you make today.

Our favorite places to store our major goals to ensure we see them daily in the context of our real life schedules are:

  • the first pages of the Annual
  • the flex page opposite of the month calendar in the Annual
  • the flex page opposite of the week grid in the Monthly
  • the flex space that shows in the right-hand dutchdoor window just above the habit tracker in the Monthly

& Then Take It To the Next Level

We took all of this research and launched everything to the next level. If writing your goals down by hand and looking at them every day increased your chances follow-through, what would writing them down every day and remembering your “why” do?

I (Shelby) tested this out for several months and found that it daily cultivated in me a sharp awareness of whether or not my daily lifestyle decisions were aligning with my ultimate goals. Taking time to write down why each goal mattered to me made me consistently grapple with reality: either I needed to intentionally pivot these enormously purposeful goals, or I needed to adjust my lifestyle until it fueled them.

I’ve been writing my top three goals for the quarter in my planner every day, coming at them from new and different angles that connect with the other details of my life at that point.

This exercise has powerfully shaped my lifestyle in incredibly meaningful directions. It has been so significant that I found myself halting progress on our Monthly going to press back at the beginning of 2020 so that we could reformat the Monthly to include it in the daily pages for all of you. Now, in the Evergreen Planner, each daily page has a space for you to write down your top “seasonal goals” and “remember your why” for each one.

By completing this daily exercise, you’re leveraging the magic of your God-given neuroplasticity. Handwriting your goals in the Evergreen Planner builds new neural pathways every single day, literally building up your brain—and cultivating a robust and dynamic working memory—around the things that matter most to you.


You need a strong planning habit & the right tools in order to fully dive into the ROOTED Goals goal setting mindset. We created the Evergreen Planner System to support this mindset in a way that is entirely customizable. It can be used in so many ways to support the goals & dreams you are chasing, while also crafting sustainable life rhythms. The Getting Started Kit is the perfect way to try two of our core products – the Annual and the Monthly. Don’t wait until we launch our next subscription box – get the tools you need today!

June 16, 2021

How to Make Your Goals Work with Your Lifestyle

The R.O.O.T.E.D. Goal Setting System helps you to identify and reverse-engineer essentialist goals that bridge the gap between the future you want and the life you’re living right now.

Sustainable, Life-Giving Goals Are:

Story time.

When I was seven months pregnant with my first, I decided I wanted to be a work-at-home mom. My husband and I had been discussing all of our options, and I had been dabbling in the family business for a few months. While I’d always imagined that I wouldn’t take on any serious income-earning projects until my kids were totally self-sufficient (like in high school, or something), certain life events combining with my studies of Scripture had me looking at things from another angle. My husband and I started charting out financial goals for our family. I looked over them with excitement because I was starting to believe that I would be able to help us reach our goals through grit, determination, and good old fashioned hard work.

At the time, designing my own planner was nowhere on my radar. I had a complex system of todo lists and digital calendars that honestly makes my head spin to think back on. But what was worse than my lack of a cohesive system of organization, was my total lack of understanding about the concept of trade-offs.

That’s why, at seven months pregnant with my first baby, I signed the biggest freelancing contract I’d ever seen. Without fully realizing what I was doing, with one digital stroke of the pen, I had committed the next two years of my life to the completion of a very rigorous and mentally straining project that would teach me the concept of trade-offs through experience.

Looking back now—even with seeing how my lack of personal time-management skills mixed with such an intense project to create a chemical reaction of overwhelm that bubbled over into every area of my life for years—I have to admit that I am thankful for that project. It was such good work (a dream project, really), and I learned SO, SO much from it. I’m saying this without a hint of bitter irony. I learned so much from the material I was working with (it had to do with book publishing). I was also forced to learn excellent personal time management skills, how to help a baby learn a gentle schedule, and how to work with a team.

But one of the most powerful skills that I learned through this crucible was the skill of learning when and how to say “no.”

Learning to Say No: More Than a Cliché

I quickly learned during my first years as a work-at-home mom that trade-offs are unavoidable, and that No is a responsible word. And even though a complex of mom-guilt followed me like a shadow, lying to me and telling me that I should’ve said a big fat NO! to trying to do any work projects while also being a mom, those lies do not align with the conclusions I’ve reached over these five years learning the ropes of entrepreneurship + motherhood.

“No” does not have to be a big, nasty, hairy slamming-of-the-door on your hopes and dreams. It’s actually a word that we’re called to use with maturity, thoughtfulness, and precision. It’s also a word that we don’t really know how to use properly until we’ve gotten some experience under our belts in whatever area of life needs pruning. Without a growth mindset, “No” is a scary and painful word.

But combined with a growth-mindset, “No” is a power tool that you can use to optimize any area of life (work, home, school, ministry, anything). When a strong “Yes!” and a precise set of “No’s” are mixed together, you have lifestyle crafting magic sauce. Again, this is all within the context of that “Lord willing” attitude. But God has given us agency, and the instruction to move forward in improving our stewardship of the resources He’s given us.

So how do we use “no” as a power tool to optimize our goals and our lifestyle so that there’s a lot less toxic stress and a whole lot more synergy?

Tailoring Your Goal To Your Lifestyle

Here’s a sneak peek of page in the Tailored to Your Lifestyle section in the Goals Workbook we’re developing:


Saying “No” with thoughtfulness and precision is included in “giving yourself permission to develop creative solutions that make sense for your particular circumstances.”​

I like to use dressmaking as a mental illustration. While I’m not a seamstress, I’ve taken enough sewing classes to learn that you want your interfacing (the lining inside of the garment) to be a flexible structure that properly supports and matches your outward facing material (the part of the dress you want to see).​

This is analogous to how your lifestyle (your daily and weekly rhythms, margin, deep work intervals, and other life-giving habits) should be a flexible structure that properly supports and matches the goals you want to be living out. This means that your lifestyle must be trimmed so that it provides an attractive shape for your goals to follow, instead of tugging and pulling your goals out of shape.​

Your goals also need to be neat and trim. It doesn’t do to have excess amounts of your outward facing material ballooning everywhere, un-trimmed and un-hemmed because you just love the fabric so much that you can’t bring yourself to use scissors on it. You want your goal to make sense and fit you as a person (just like a dress should), and you can’t let FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) prevent you from being realistic about the kind of goal that fits the size of your life and the needs of your lifestyle while still being compelling to you. You need to embrace that you, with your particular life, will necessarily infused a unique flavor into how your goals are actually accomplished.

The way a homeschooling mother of eight gets a book written will produce a different flavor than the way a professional single guy who can sit at a quiet desk for eight hours a day would. The flavors of her timeframes for completion, the scope of her book’s content, and the book’s reception in the marketplace will likely be somewhat different too. But, honestly, that difference of flavor will likely be what makes her book so powerful. Whether there are other homeschooling moms who need the words she’s writing, or there are non-homeschooling-moms who need the particular perspectives, insights, and data that only she can share, God gave her her circumstances and put the book in her heart and head, and He wanted it that way for a reason.​

But for that busy mama to get her book to press, she’ll certainly have to snip away at the excess of both her goal and her lifestyle if she wants the garment of her vision to actually come to life, fit comfortably, and be functional.

So learning to say “No” isn’t about automatically declining every hard thing that comes your way. You would stagnate, be miserable, and waste the resources God gave you to steward with that attitude. Learning to say “No” is about snipping away at the excess of both your goal and your lifestyle so you can have the garment of your vision to actually come to life, fit comfortably, and be functional.

Optimizing Within Beautiful Limits

Let’s take a second and talk about this phrase, “Beautiful Limits.”​

Looking at the tangled overwhelm in certain areas of your life would probably not feel like a “beautiful limit” to you. Your kids are loud and impossible to concentrate around, or your boss won’t allow you to pursue a certain avenue, or you have a personal issue that low-key nibbles at the fringes of your emotions, margin, and motivation.

Whatever your limits are, you may struggle to call them “beautiful.”

I hear you. I feel you. But just like a skilled seamstress can work magic with fabrics and folds to play off of and bring out the beauty of any figure, you can become a goal-and-life-crafting artisan in your own right. It starts with seeing the beauty in your life, embracing it, and building off of the frameworks you’ve chosen and been given. Yes, there are big changes that can be made to improve any life (just like big changes could be made to improve any figure). But oftentimes, those changes are complex and difficult to puzzle out, and/or they take time.​

But remember this: improving your skills of tailoring goals to your lifestyle (and tailoring your lifestyle to support your goalsis how you begin to tackle the logistics of making those big changes.

Just like a dress that is neatly trimmed is more beautiful than one that’s bulging excess material in all the wrong places, BEAUTIFUL THINGS happen when you embrace your limits, trimming both goal and lifestyle so that they match and mutually support each other.

How All Of This Helped Me As a Work-From-Home Mom

When it came to working from home, there was so much excess to trim from both my goals and my lifestyle.

How I had to tailor my working-from-home goals:
  • I had to get deeply in touch with my “why” for working from home. Helping to capitalize and stabilize our family and our long-term business and ministry projects was at the heart of my “why.” And since my “why” centered on deeply connecting with and providing for my family and our common goals, that meant that my work would need to facilitate both deep connection and adequate income.
  • I had to embrace my unique “how.” I have small children to homeschool, a husband who works full-time while freelancing on the side, and issues with chronic illness. My “how” for getting work done will not look like getting into my office at 9am and having “make the needle move forward in my business” as my permanent top target until I go home at 5pm. In my life, I have to fit my work in around my mothering. I had to design solutions for my limited emotional, mental, attentional, and decision-making bandwidth. I ended up even helping to invent the perfect planner to act as a hub for my brain, so I could stop losing track of important details in the flurry of doing life alongside two small children.
  • I had to trim my “what.” This was the most practical, results-driven part of my goal-tailoring journey. I had to get still, get real, and get focused on what mattered most to me in my career. I wanted to be a fully present mama, but I also wanted to be excellent in my work and serve others deeply through my efforts. So I had to become a ruthless editor of what I considered important when I was sitting at my desk. Excess social media (even if it was the “working” kind) and unnecessary time in my email inbox were the first things to go. I had to become honest that my trajectory as a freelancer did not align with my goals as a present mama, so I had to find and train someone to replace me there. Chasing every single shiny new idea wasn’t fruitful: I had to find the small, vital few things that only I could do to really serve others in the marketplace. I had to learn how to stop procrastinating on my most wildly important tasks with busy-work. I had to figure out what was truly valuable by learning about the people I was called to serve, and focus on delivering those things. I just didn’t have time to waste on pretending like I was working. I had to zero in on the things that would really move the needle forward on my work goals, every single time I sat down at my desk, because time was limited.
How I had to tailor my lifestyle to support my work goals:
  • I had to create daily and weekly rhythms. I had to create time-blocks for my hours and themes for my days, turning my chunks of time into buckets that would make organizing my tasks a lot easier. I had to automate as much as I possibly could, turning the mundane everyday things I needed to get done into automatic habits (so that not only would I stay on top of things, but so I could also free up a ton of emotional and decision-making energy for my work). I had to proactively make provisions for time with my kids, time to clean my home, time for working, and time for my community so that I could allow myself to be totally present for whatever I had scheduled instead of feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing something else (because I knew that the time to do those things would come.)
  • I had to anchor my pivots. I had to know when it was time to transition from one thing to another. To anchor these transitions so that they could become a framework a sustainable lifestyle. I had to know what time was best to get up in the morning or go to bed at night, know when to transition into homeschooling or “room-time,” know when we’d be eating meals, and know when I had to wrap up my work in order to show up for my family. After experimenting and figuring these things out in one’s life, knowing is half the battle. Visualizing the consequences of not sticking to those anchor points is usually the final kick-in-the-pants you need to pause one task and pick up another one, knowing that because of your rhythms, you’ve provided time to keep the ball rolling in every area.
  • I had to schedule deep work intervals. Probably the most stressful seasons in my working life (outside of agreeing to insane deadlines) have happened because of my attempt to do work that needs 80% of my focus in the middle of a ton of distractions. Carving out time for deep work means making space for legitimate progress. This is time when I’m not on full-out-mom-duty (because the kids are sleeping or being cared for by Daddy), I’m not letting my phone distract me, and I’m not just pulling random work tasks out of an invisible hat. Deep work time is time spent fully focused on getting to a specific milestone of a wildly important project. Crafting a lifestyle that makes space for me to have at least 2 hours of deep work per day (and at least 4-6 hours on the weekend) has meant that I can make tangible daily progress in my work, and keep vocational commitments, even with a very busy household.
  • I had to create supportive habits. Morning and evening rhythms, proper self-care habits, healthy boundaries around technology, regularly talking positively about my work with my daughter (so she could become passionate about it too—which she has), good communication habits with my husband, techniques for sorting out my priorities and choosing what I allow to go on my schedule, and, of course, a strong habit of decluttering my brain and getting organized around my goals by leveraging my planner.
  • I had to make sure I had margin to breathe. I had to embrace that every choice came with a trade-off. I didn’t need to try to squeeze ten things into a space where only one thing should go, and I realized that my perspective would determine whether the trade-offs I faced were really such a bad thing. God only gave me a limited amount of time—and it was enough time to get the really important things doneBut in order to get the really important things done with that limited time, I would have to prioritize. And I would have to support my energy, bandwidth, and sanity with MARGIN. A small e-book about margin by Michael Hyatt was actually my first experience with life-changing productivity literature. Michael Hyatt proved in that book how MARGIN is necessary to have the time, flexibility, and wherewithal to actually make progress on the things that matter most. You can’t sustain a breakneck and packed schedule for long. Margin is the oil that keeps your gears from stripping, and allows you to actually enjoy your family and your work, instead of only ever feeling stressed and drained by them.

How to Get Started

How do you begin optimizing your goals and lifestyle? Start by asking what’s doable in both. By asking what’s doable, you get your first glimpse of the lines you need to draw and excess you need to trim in your expectations.

In the Goals Workbook we’re developing, I’ve included two worksheets that will help you begin to wrap your mind around what’s doable in your lifestyle, so that you can craft compelling goals that are both sustainable and supportive of the kind of growth you most want to see in your life. Working through these exercises is a great place to start.


You need a strong planning habit & the right tools in order to fully dive into the ROOTED Goals goal setting mindset. We created the Evergreen Planner System to support this mindset in a way that is entirely customizable. It can be used in so many ways to support the goals & dreams you are chasing, while also crafting sustainable life rhythms. The Getting Started Kit is the perfect way to try two of our core products – the Annual and the Monthly. Don’t wait until we launch our next subscription box – get the tools you need today!

June 9, 2021

How to Reverse-Engineer Your Goals

The R.O.O.T.E.D. Goal Setting System helps you to identify and reverse-engineer essentialist goals that bridge the gap between the future you want and the life you’re living right now.

Sustainable, Life-Giving Goals Are:

Last week, we talked about why clarity is QUEEN if you want to set a strong goal, and discussed how to get more clarity about what you want.

This week, we’ll be diving into the mechanics of reverse-engineering.

What is Reverse-Engineering?

“Reverse-Engineering” means to take apart an existing product or piece of technology, dissect it, and study it, so you can learn how to duplicate or enhance it for your own purposes. When you “reverse-engineer” a goal, you move past your vague theories about what it will take to make your goal happen and research until you have concrete and actionable understanding.

This can be an emotionally tough part of goal setting, but it’s vital to becoming realistic about your goals. By becoming a sort of expert on what you are wanting to do, you can make the decisions necessary to support your goal with confidence and understanding.

You can conduct this research in a number of ways:

  • You can talk to someone who has done what you want to do, and ask them to walk you through the steps. (People often hire coaches for this purpose.)
  • You can read a book or how-to article about your goal. (This can be inexpensive and effective, if you commit yourself to taking real action on what you learn.)
  • You can take an e-course and/or join an online membership. (This deep dive can be a convenient and effective way to become very knowledgable about your goal, and the monetary investment helps foster motivation to follow through.)

As you conduct your research, it is important to remember that you’re not just trying to gather any and every bit of random data you can about your goal. Your objectives are specific. You’re trying to identify someone to whom you can relate who has succeeded with the goal you want to accomplish, get a big picture look at their story so you can find where it overlaps with yours, and then zero-in on the action steps that you could take in order to get the results that fulfill your motivating “why.”

You’re looking at someone’s “finished product” (their success), and then reverse-engineering: taking it apart bit-by-bit, to understand how cause-and-effect played out in their journey so that you can mine effective action-steps like gold from the wisdom of their hindsight.

You also need to take care not to get into an endless research rut. It’ll be tempting to do so, but you have to keep your eye on the prize: taking effective (and often messy) action as quickly and decisively as possible.

Here’s a page from the Goals Workbook that we’re developing. It’ll help you organize your research so that you can really nail down what it’ll take to make your goal a reality.


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