Posts tagged goal setting
How to tackle THE thing you've always wanted: a post on big goals

You've probably noticed, but just in case, 2015 is almost over! After the Star Wars premier, the final office Christmas parties, and the big celebrations of Hanukkah and Christmas conclude, we'll be left with those lingering, last days of the year.

And on those days, I get the itch and the urge to make resolutions and pull out my bucket list. The possibilities of a fresh, new year get my adrenaline pumping! And yet, even in my most determined years, I've rarely kept up with the deliberate work toward those goals. My energy wanes after a few weeks.

This year I'm going a different way. I'm putting my goal out there to the big world, gathering companions to hold me accountable, and carving time out every day to work toward the one thing that I want to accomplish.

Join in the journey to write a book by following the hashtag #100daysproject_writeabook

Join in the journey to write a book by following the hashtag #100daysproject_writeabook

1. name your goal and share it:

What is THE thing that I've been hoping to accomplish and putting it on the back burner, over and over? We all have at least one of those things, don't we? Being brave and communicating your goal to others helps solidify it. Yes, public embarrassment is possible, but so is total success with a team of cheerleaders supporting you along the way.

So, I'm laying it out there, universe, I'm writing a book. In 2016, I'm writing a book. And I'm taking you along for the journey. 

Just so we're all on the same page, I've never written a book and I have no book deal in the works. However, I know that I have a book in me - a useful, high-quality, unique book - and I'm going to get it out! And just maybe a publisher or book agent might see it in the works and jump on it. And if they don't, I'm ready to self-publish and share!

Beginning in early January, I'll be sharing my voyage with you over 100 days. Have you tried a 100-days project? I've challenged myself to 30-day goals, but not yet 100, and I'm scared and pumped to make this book happen. Follow @parscaeli on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #100daysproject_writeabook to see all my steps along the way.

2. Gather a team to support you:

This is a new step for me. Though I love my friends and community, I rarely ask people to help me achieve my goals. So, I'm turning myself inside out, and pulling together a team of goal-driven folks I'm calling The Finders. We are all working toward some goal over the 100 days. Some of us are wanting to commit to daily exercise over 100 days and others are taking incremental steps to build our own businesses or open an online shop.

We are connecting to hold one another accountable, to offer honest feedback, and to help us be kinder to ourselves than we might be on our own. It's the most loving kick in the pants that we've each been needing.

Research on reaching your goals and getting closer to your dreams.

Research on reaching your goals and getting closer to your dreams.

3. Acknowledge and sit with challenges but do not be deterred:

This one speaks for itself, but I've been schooling myself on all the failure wisdom I can prior to beginning this journey. I'm not doing so because I believe I'll fail but, rather, to see how I can work with my own missteps, road blocks, and mistakes because they will happen. They always do. I want to learn how to wrap myself around the challenge and take it as part of the journey. I suspect some of my greatest learning might happen this way.

Before you embark on your journey, be ready to weave your challenges into your story rather than let them stand in your way.

Failure should be our teacher.

Failure should be our teacher.

4. Carving out time every day:

I thrive in routine, but I also rebel against it. Oh, the paradox. My plan is to have a designated time every day to write and to photograph for the book. Typically I am a late night worker, but for this, I think I will need a fresh mind so I'm planning to wake before the house does to have some quite time to myself. I've heard from so many other moms that this is the key to success! So, I'm going to give it a try.

Consider when is the best time for you to make your goal happen. Can you make it a consistent time every day?

Your goals for 2016? Which ones are you willing to go for?

Your goals for 2016? Which ones are you willing to go for?

So, what is it you want to do in 2016? Is there one actionable goal that you can take real steps toward in a daily and deliberate way??

Join the party! If you'd like to be a part of The Finders group as we challenge and encourage one another, send me an email with your goal at But, don't hesitate, I'll be closing off the group on December 31st as we launch our 100 days January 5. And, remember, you can follow my big goal to write a book using the hashtag #100daysproject_writeabook! Make your own hashtag for your goal and share it in the comments so we can follow and throw love your way!

Let's do this thing.

xoxo, MJ

Advice on creating your vision
We've almost come to the close of another year, and the new year is awaiting us with possibilities. I have the pleasure of welcoming Monique Malcolm of Keep Chasing the Stars to the blog today. She has really unique insights to share on how we can best achieve our big dreams... my favorite bit of wisdom is at the very end!
How do we achieve the big goals we set out there for the new year?

How do we achieve the big goals we set out there for the new year?

How did you get started as a coach?

It happened organically. I spent a few years teaching middle school so the desire to educate and help people figure things out was already there. Coaching felt like the most logical next step for me.


What do you find most of us struggle with in terms of setting goals?

The dreaming and planning phases are easy but when it comes to execution, that's where things stall out. There are a variety of reasons why this happens. The three most common reasons that I find are the motivation fizzles, life happens or the fear of having to step up and get it done takes over.


What's the game changer to achieve our goals?

You have to be clear about the work that's required to get what you want. It's a really straightforward thing to do, but most people skip over this step. This is exactly why New Year's resolutions fail. Achieving your goals takes work. There will be days where the work is easy and other days it will just suck, but you still have to do it. We don't spend enough time considering the amount of effort we will have to put out to get what we want. Once you reconcile with the work required and commit to doing it, your progress will be explosive.


Tell us about the Visionary Journal and what you hope people might get out of it.

I was really intentional not to make the Visionary Journal revolve around to-do lists. Planning around your to-do list is ineffective because it doesn't reflect your goals.

The Visionary Journal was designed to be actionable and to force you to plan ahead. There are very few goals that can be achieved being short sighted and planning day-to- day. You really need to be thinking about the big picture and how everything (especially your goals) fits together. I hadn't found a paper planning system that reflected that philosophy so I created it. My goal with the Visionary Journal is to help big dreamers become even bigger doers

If you're intentional about the actions you take on a daily basis I promise you the payoff will be ten times greater.

Monique Malcolm of Keep Chasing the Stars talks about her Visionary Journal.

Monique Malcolm of Keep Chasing the Stars talks about her Visionary Journal.

Are you making any New year's resolutions? What do you recommend to clients?

No, I don't have any New Year's Resolutions. The things that I want to improve about myself, life and business I've already started working on now. I know the excitement of a clean slate at the beginning of the year prompts people to want to make huge life changes, but you don't have to wait until some opportune time. It's a New Year, yes, but you get a clean slate every minute of your life. Don't wait. Make the change now so that it will be a habit by the New Year.

Goals for 2015

Hiya friends,

My magical two-week break has come to an end, and I'm delighted to report that it was filled with togetherness, laughter, crafting and creating, rest, and ample movie watching (have you seen the new Annie?). I sunk into my home and blissfully forgot what day it was or what had to be done by when, and I enjoyed my husband and my children and my extended family and good friends. This was just the kind of recharge that I needed after a busy, awesome year on Pars Caeli and elsewhere.

I opened up this space to give myself the freedom to create and the accountability to make projects, big and small, happen and offer others help as much as I could along the way. 2015 marks the third birthday of Pars Caeli, and we hit a few significant growth marks this year:


Attended and assisted with a major blog conference: 2014 took me and three of my pals to Salt Lake City, Utah, and to a design conference known as Alt Summit. My role was as an Alt Rep, and I was able to connect with numerous, wonderful creative people and speakers. One of my goals in going to Alt was to begin to monetize Pars Caeli. I have a wonderful full-time job, and I want this space to support that and my family. So ...


Connected with brands and networks that I admire and wanted to partner alongside: I joined Pollinate Media, which enabled me to get my creative juices flowing for specific brands like: Office Depot, Wet Ones and Elmer's Glue, Wet-Nap, and All You magazine. I became a Wayfair Homemaker, and I've guest posted for them as well as hosted a Housewarming Party here. I've worked with the wonderful folks at Minted to show Valentines, business cards, and Christmas greetings that are great art pieces.

(Thanks for bearing with me on this list... it's going to get exciting soon!)


Collaborated with makers I admire and respect: like my ladies of the Endless Summer Projects series and the party for Ali and the NYE Bash. Sheri, Joy, and I cooked up a six-part series for kids in the kitchen entitled Mini Cooks. Created for the Cricut Design Space Star challenge and collaborated with a new and awesome group of artists over a serious of four challenges.


Contributed to sites that have inspired me: I'm so grateful to Jen and Steph for letting me join their teams. With Jen, I've focused on that you can do to create special moments with your children. And our homemade daffodil wreath was one of her top posts from 2014! It warms my heart.

With Steph over on Modern Parents, Messy Kids, I've created a collection of printables for boredom busting, summer reading, organization, and more! I've grown while putting my graphic design muscles out there to help parents and kids alike.

And the biggest one for me:


I started my own business. It's been a super secret goal of mine for a very long time. The title entrepreneur is exhilarating, and I'm owning it! Pars Caeli, LLC, opened officially at the end of October with a giant employee roll of one. I kind of still can't believe it, but I'm so grateful, a wonderful blessing of 2014 for me.


All of these check marks have been very good for me as a mother, wife, professional, and human. In 2014, I was able to shush my inner critic, that mean girl who has often kept me from jumping on the trampoline of possibility. I crafted a lot of ideas and put my tenacity to the test. I showed my children that they can be recognized for their creations, their thoughts, and, moreover, they can lead and they can influence. We have conversations now that start something like, "When I grow up, I'm going to start a business that ..." I'm not signing any of them up for business school yet, but I love that their minds are moving in new directions.

Unlike some of my favorite people on the interwebs (whose angst I understand and whose energy will be missed), I'm not tired of social media or of blogs. Indeed, I've grown deeper in love. Friends, we have so much potential for collaboration and sincere learning through these communication tools, and I am here, and invested.

And I thank you for joining in the party.

So, what's up, what's up for 2015?

It's boiling down to my one little word for the year: GOODNESS. I'm working this year first to foster my own goodness. To take care of myself with sleep and nutrition. To see, like really see, the avenues where I can assist others in powerful ways. To find new possibilities for this mouthpiece, Pars Caeli, to echo the goodness all around us. And to remind you and re-remind me when we go wayward that we are richly blessed. I even want to find NEW ways to help you have watershed moments of goodness - through shared story and new knowledge - and times when you see in new ways the incredible power you have to make goodness happen wherever you are.

And what does that mean in a business sense?


1. REIMAGINE THE LOOK OF THIS SPACE: I've made updates to Pars Caeli through the years, but I'd like to pare down to the essentials and bring forth what you really want to see. Simplify and clarify, which means some behind-the-scenes work on my part to get this blog design to the sweet spot of beauty and ease of use.

2. ASK YOU MORE: I'm hiding my eyes on this one, but I've never done a reader survey! I know. I know. I want to know what you think. What keeps you coming back? What should we multiply in 2015 and leave behind for 2014? Keep your eyes open for the happiest, simplest survey you ever did see.

3. COLLABORATE: Blogging would mean so much less to me if I had to do it all alone. I love working with other artists and makers to brainstorm and to learn the process. I want 2015 to include more and on new topics. I want to continue to embrace the right brand partners to bring you bigger and better projects - and even a few giveaways, because, you know you deserve it.

4. CONNECT: Keep it real with you. I tried five posts a week, and I've gone down to one. Three a week is just right for my full-time work and parenting schedule. I want Pars Caeli to add to my life and not detract so let's agree to be all-in three times a week (or for an hour on Saturday or Sunday like so many of you fabulous people do!). I also want to continue to share my life and reflections in ways that are fair to the privacy of my loved ones and to be open and honest with all of you. It's getting trickier as my children get older, but we can do it. Pinky promise.

5.PRODUCE: I have an AMAZING something happening with the good people at The Land of Nod that will be coming your way in the spring. And it's a real live product. EEK! And I have a few other products in the works that I can't wait to share with you. In 2015, I want to add a SHOP menu to Pars Caeli. This is another super secret dream of mine that I've had since I was a preschooler pretending with my stuffed animals (what, you didn't do that?), and this is the year we put it to use.


I'm holding it at five because I get overwhelmed easily. :)

Have you set goals for this year? I'll admit that this is my first time sharing big goals, and it's more than a little scary. I mean, what if they don't really happen? Or if I fail? I'm going to hold on tight, and try to be good to myself if one of these goals leads me in a direction that does not make sense for the rest of my life - family, health, work. And, you know, let's all hug and forgive if we bump and fall along the way.

xoxo, MJ


Writing down big girl goals did not come so easily to me so I thank these brilliants who helped me in formal and informal ways in the prioritization process.

Inspired by: Kelly of Studio DIY, Amy of Mom Advice and her M Challenge, Brittany's list on The House that Lars Built, Melanie Biehle's word, Kate's tactical list of four, Amy's insight at the beginning of 2015 on This Heart of Mine.

P.S. In case you're still up for more, here are our top 4 posts of 2014:

#1: 6 Fun Water Balloon Games: Endless Summer Projects

#2: The Under $10 Fix to School Paper Clutter and Chaos

#3: Paper Christmas Trees

#4: A Family Objective