This year I decided to get a giant white pasteboard and get after it. I felt like I needed a newer, bigger sense of clarity for 2016. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a mama now and things are a little bit more scattered in my thinking, maybe it’s that 2016 marks the start of my 30th year, maybe I just needed something new this time around. But I will tell you this: it was the best $2 I spent. Sometimes all you need is a sharpie and some white space.

First, I wrote the most important categories of my life:

– Spiritual
– Family
– Work (NRP)
– Finances
– Physical
– Intellectual
– Social

Then, I began dreaming. In each of these areas, I began dreaming of all the things I would love to do in 2016.


I liked to use this phrase as I filled the white space:
“If money or time weren’t holding me back and I could do anything, what would I do in 2016?”

When setting those initial goals, it is NOT the time to think small. Just let go of all limitations and write. Sometimes we say “it’s just not practical for me,” and sometimes that’s true. (This past year held many limitations for me as I had my first baby, so I totally get that!) Most of the time though, I find that the biggest obstacle between where I am and where I want to be isn’t money or time or my circumstances or my season.

Most of the time, it me.

I am my biggest limitation. It’s the fact that I don’t believe I can actually do it, so I don’t write it down. But what is the point of letting those self-doubts win? Who does that really serve? As Marianne Williamson said,

“You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”


So I wrote without limitations. I stayed realistic, but I dreamt BIG. For example, I didn’t write down “make 1 million dollars this year!” That’s simply not realistic. But when the Lord dropped the number $30,000 in my head, I got scared but I knew it was doable with His help. When I thought of re-reading my 12 most life changing books and hosting an online book club, it scared me because it seems like so much with a baby. Let me repeat: that seems like SO MUCH with a baby. But with the Lord’s help, when I wrote it out on and it stared back at me in black and white, I knew it was good. When I thought about sharing knowledge and teaching through an online store, I had so many thoughts like, “What’s the point? Others are already doing that. Why do I need to add my voice to the others?” Then the Lord reminded me that no one else has my story, my voice, my path, my knowledge. So, I’m gonna do it. Even if it just helps a few people, it’s better than staying quiet.


After brainstorming, I came up with this list of goals for my 30th year:

2016 Goals

– Launch the Nancy Ray Online Shop this spring
– Re-read my 12 most life-changing books
– Read 4 new books
– Host the Nancy Ray Book Club
– Run a 10K
– Run a Half Marathon (hopefully with my sister and the NRP team!)
– Have weekly family Sabbaths
– Have family dinners twice a week
– Raise $30,000 for ministry (More on this to come)
– Implement 12 “Duty Days” in 2016 – 1 per month (thanks Katelyn for this helpful blogpost!)
– Save $30,000 for a new home
– 12 month marketing plan
– Write Contentment Challenge E-book
– Memorize monthly Bible verse (write on our chalk wall)
– Take my team members to lunch each quarter
– Finish Milly’s Baby book by her 1st birthday
– Hire a Nanny
– Create new promo films for NRP
– Revise business mission + policies
– Revisit family photography
– Celebrate my 30th birthday by doing something fun
– Attend 6 C12 Groups
– Continue church Connect Group involvement
– Join the Worship Team
– 1 Sugar fast each quarter
– Implement Pay for Performance Sheets
– Complete another Contentment Challenge
– Introduce accountability aspect to Weekly NRP Team Meetings
– Plan a family vacation


I must say, I was pretty tempted to just stop this blogpost there. But if I’m serious about actually doing these things, I can’t stop there – I have to break them down into Monthly Goals, then write them all in my calendar each week! So here are this month’s goals to keep me on track.

January Goals

– Block off family dinner nights and Sabbath days in my calendar
– Block off 1 Duty Day for business budgeting, tracking mileage, and misc. business maintenance
– Have a 12-month marketing planning day
– Read How to Win Friends and Influence People
– Read 70 pages of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
– Choose Online Shop Format
– Sign up for Half Marathon


Can I be honest with you for a second? I’ve put a lot of goals on this list. I’m pumped for 2016 and terrified of it at the same time. I honestly feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew. I mean, this is a big list for pre-baby Nancy! Now that I’m mama Nancy, and I don’t have a nanny yet, and I can barely run a mile, and I have read 1 book in the past 7 months, and I’m terrible at resting and meal planning (see Sabbaths and family dinners), and I know nothing about online shops… I feel like this is a LOT. I’m all excited, but I feel like a very realistic possibility is that the 2016 comes and goes and I’ve MAYBE accomplished half of what’s on my list. Maybe. So I risk sounding stupid and being a public failure by putting all of this out there for you to read.

But SO WHAT! What if I fail? I’ll move on with my life and try again. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all, am I right?!

So here’s to 2016 and scary goals! Who’s with me!?

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[…] going to begin this post by recapping my 2016 goals, and then I’m going to give you the two MOST important steps you can take in preparing your […]

[…] When I wrote down “raise 30,000 for a ministry” last December as I was planning for my 2016 goals, I freaked out a little bit. It seemed to big, and it still seems to big. But something inside me just knew I couldn’t scratch it out and run from it – it was written down in sharpie on my giant white poster board, staring back at me. It was the goal I was more scared of than any other, and I knew I had to do it. […]

I love this post and the honesty and authenticity you bring to the goals. It is so inspiring, encouraging and motivating! Good luck with your goals this year, I can’t wait to see what you accomplish!

Loving your goals

[…] strong in what I desperately need help with, and vice versa. We got really inspired when we saw Nancy Ray whip out her big poster board, so we decided to get creative and think outside just a few sheets of […]

Nancy, I love that you’re shooting for these goals even if they’re a stretch! Wouldn’t it still be so awesome even if you only achieved them partially? I think so! :)

I shared my January goals here! :)

[…] a fresh start, and an opportunity to dream again. When I wrote down all my goals I was inspired by Nancy Ray and her blog so I decided to make goals from the most important areas of my […]

I have always loved ready your monthly goals, and it has been a huge inspiration in encouraging me! In architecture school, we were forced to always draw with sharpies, and it was terrifying. My professor explained that too often we make little lines, then erase, searching for something better. In reality, we should embrace the mistakes, own them, and make them into something better. Love that you embraced this idea with your goals! I am looking forward to a year investing in the people around us by inviting friends, new and old, into our home.

Oh wow. I love this about the sharpie. Good word!

This is GREAT! I just had my first baby in April so I feel you! I am so inspired by your list- I’m going to make my own for sure. Thanks for being so brave and sharing!

At what point and how do you incorporate Lara Casey’s Powersheets into your personal goal setting process?

Love this!! I’m not usually a goal setting / book readin gal but you have totally inspired me!! I’m SO excited for your shop and I think it’s definitely needed! I so admire your business and I think a lot of people will learn from you! Cheers!

This is my favorite post every year! :) You’ve got this, Nancy! Love your intentionality and purpose behind your goals! I know God will use you in big ways this year! I posted our recap and goals today too! :) Happy 2016!

I got around to posting my January goals and I am so excited for what the Lord has in store for us all this year! I followed your example of considering the wheel of life in working through my 2016 goals and it has been very helpful :)

So inspiring, Nancy! Thanks for sharing. I’m working through my Powersheets now and love how you broke your goals down into the different categories.

I noticed that you mentioned you were “terrible” at meal planning. It used to be such a daunting task for me. I thought I’d share with you a service that I have found to be incredibly helpful. It’s called Cook Smarts ( – for a nominal fee they send you a weekly menu with 4 meals. You have the option to choose the original version, a gluten free, paleo, or vegetarian version of each of the recipes. You can choose the number of servings for each one. It also gives you meal prep suggestions, videos on various cooking techniques, and the nutritional info for each recipe. It also emails you a grocery list. This has taken HOURS off my meal planning time. I love it so much that I tell everyone I know about it. Maybe some thing like that would help your meal planning stress and allow you to ease into those family dinners and Sabbaths.

Keep us posted!

[…] using a free tool like Evernote. I really felt inspired to be creative this year when I saw Nancy Ray whip out the big poster board, so this week my best friend who is also a photographer is driving up […]

You go girl! I love your intentionality and thought behind the goals. Through HIS grace I know you’ll get done the best things. We serve an amazing God and His ways are so so good. I have been praying Proverbs 19:21 over my goals this year! May His purpose prevail through it all! Love you girl and cheering you on!!

I second Kristi’s comment!! You have helped me immensely. I found you on Pinterest when researching “how to get out of debt”. I continually go to your debt free series and scream on Dave Ramsey to motivate me to do the same – pay off our home early!! God is using you in big, big, big ways my dear!

You’re so motivating! Thank you so much for this amazing post :)

I’ve always admired how you break things down by monthly goals. Any advice on picking a starting point for big adjustments ? I agree that indeed I’m the one holding myself back in lots of goals.

I totally agree with your “So What?” comment. Even if you accomplish half of the goals, YOU HAVE ACHIEVED HALF OF THE GOALS!! That will be a celebration in itself. . I love how brave you are….putting it out there for all to read. Go Nancy!! With God, nothing is impossible!!!

I will be joining your book club and I am looking forward to it so much! Thank you for doing it!!

Nancy- in regards to only helping a few people, can I just tell you, you have helped me in ways you dont even know, because you dont know me! But I found your instagram back when you did a guest post on Emily Ley’s blog and have been following you ever since. Your monthly goals inspired me to set monthly goals (that I’ve been doing for a year now!) You inspired me to start our debt free journey and also to simplify and organize. Your voice is important, even if other people are doing it, because, like myself, people might stumble onto your instagram or blog at a point in their life when they need a little guidance and your voice might be the first one they hear that inspires the start of their journey!

I’m with you Nancy!!!
This is amazing! You always inspire me to go for my goals and I appreciate your vulnerability!
Thank you so much for sharing!!

Go Nancy go! I’m finishing up my PowerSheets prep this weekend and am excited to set big goals that can only be accomplished with God’s help :)

I love this! :) I ran a half-marathon in 2013, and it was incredible. I was never a runner, and training gave me so much confidence. You can totally do it! It’s really more mind over body. Happy New Year!

This is my favorite post every year! I have my cup of coffee and settle down to get all kinds of inspired by your passion to do amazing things. I can’t wait to follow along and am so looking forward to the book club and online shop- good luck!!

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