My 2018 Word: Setting Goals that Stick | Ashley Varner
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My 2018 Word: Setting Goals that Stick

If you’re a goal-setter, then keep reading because I’m going to be sharing how to set goals that stick! If you are new here, I just want to introduce myself! I am Ashley Varner and I am so thankful and happy that you’re reading this or listening to the podcast and that you are really ready to let God take ahold of your life, that you’re ready to live a graceful life, and I’m just excited that you’re here!

If you’d rather listen to this post instead of read it, just click here!


At the beginning of the year, I shared about my love for goal-setting and how I wasn’t going to set goals this year. And I know it sounds crazy, it sounds like an oxymoron, but I wanted to share what I’ve been doing differently this year.

First off, I love goal-setting. I’ve set some big goals for myself, and I’ve been blessed to achieve some big goals, but I guarantee you that for every goal I’ve set there’s probably a hundred goals behind the scenes that I didn’t meet.

After I thought about it, one reason I didn’t always meet goals was because my goals had me running in a hundred different directions.

I had business goals.

I had health goals.

I had financial goals.

I had family goals.

And it seemed like I was running in every direction and not getting anywhere. I’d make some progress on one goal but then it seemed like if I was too focused on one goal, then everything else kind of went by the wayside.

Finding a Happy Medium

I didn’t want to give up on setting goals, but I needed a new method, so I did some research, and I found a method that was more focused and simple.

It wasn’t my idea, I’m guilty of Googling, but I decided to choose a word that would drive my year.

So I have a 2018 word, and the first word that came to my mind back in December was a word that came to my heart, and I just kept thinking about it over and over, and that word was “consistent”.

I wanted to have a Biblical basis behind my word, so after a lot of prayer and Bible study, I decided that my word for 2018 would be “faithful,” and the verse that I have been focusing on is Luke 16:10, and that says, “Whoever is faithful with little is faithful with much.”


2018 so far…

We’re a little over a third of the way through 2018, and I wanted to circle back to what faithful has looked like in my year and my goals so far.

You know, sometimes we set goals and we kind of forget about them after the first week in January. So I want to hold you guys accountable.

If you were with me back in January and you set a 2018 word, tell me how it’s going. Let me know in the Girl of Grace Facebook group. And I’m going to take a few moments and share what faithful has looked like for me so far.


Being faithful in business

Facebook Changes

At the beginning of the year, Facebook made some big changes that affected my reach. If you follow me on Facebook, you might wonder where I’ve been, I’ve still been there, but it’s because Facebook has made changes so you don’t see business pages as often. I don’t know 100% why they did that, probably for multiple reasons, but it is a way to require businesses to pay for ads, and I’m not really a super ad-type girl.

So if you want to see my posts, make sure that you go to the page and click on the button that says, “Following” and then “See these posts first,” and then you’ll always see them. I post motivational things or verses, and things that God has put on my heart.



I kind of got off track there…but when the Facebook algorithm changed, a lot of bloggers and a lot of podcasters were really beside themselves with worry.

I prayed about it, and instead of chasing after the new courses that promised to help you learn how to use Facebook better or spending tons of money on ads, I decided to just be faithful.

I went back to my word. I stopped looking obsessively at numbers and started really focusing on just being faithful, and for me that meant being faithful to recording The Graceful Life podcast. And I am so excited that we are now upping it to two episodes a week, so the podcast was definitely a place where I wanted to stay faithful.

You know, if I had set goals with numbers in my Facebook reach, I would have been really stressed and bogged down with worry about how my posts don’t reach as many ladies or how online media was changing, but instead I just decided to stay consistent with sharing my heart in the Girl of Grace group, and I just stuck with my one goal, to be faithful. And I know that God will do the rest.


The Graceful Life Podcast and the Girl of Grace Community

My first priority in business has been to share my heart with you on the podcast, giving you motivation to live out God’s best for your life, in a way that you can multitask while you’re cleaning or walking, and then being available to talk to in the Girl of Grace Facebook group. So those are two things that I stayed faithful with, and I believe that God will bless that and that He’ll do the rest. So He’ll let my posts reach the people that they need to reach.


The Graceful Life Academy

Another thing that happened business-wise so far this year was that the platform that I offer all my programs on wasn’t really working in the best possible way.

I had the choice to stay with the same problematic setup or switch all my programs to a different platform, which meant way more work for me. But at the end of the day, I knew I was called to reach women for Christ.

I knew that God had placed things on my heart that I needed to share, and I had to stay faithful to that calling. So yes, that meant switching everything over, and I’m happy to say that it’s definitely benefited my community so much.

If you’ve been on the fence about checking out one of my programs, now is the time to pick them up, because now they’re on a brand new platform. It has a great app, and it’s just way easier to use.

I want to be clear that being faithful doesn’t always mean doing the same thing.

Sometimes it means just doing what’s needed to move forward, even if that means more work on your part. So that’s kind of how faithful worked within my business.


Faithful in Prayer

Another way that I saw faithful being acted out in my life this year (so far) is that I was faithful in prayer.

2018 has brought up some circumstances in my life that I wish I could change, and I wanted to fix them my own way. I struggled a little bit with some mild depression at the end of last year and this year, and I’ll touch on that in a little bit, but I wanted certain things to change in certain ministries that I was part of.

Instead of trying to fix those things on my own, as much as I so SO wanted to, I decided to just wait, be faithful, and pray.

Ladies, if you know me at all, if you’ve been following me at all, you know this is not in my nature. I am a fixer, I am a doer, but in these instances being faithful meant trusting that God would act when the time was right. Some things have changed, some haven’t.

In some situations I had to act, and after praying about it, I knew that that was part of being faithful. No matter what, whether the circumstances have changed or not, I’ve been able to grow closer to the Lord through those struggles, instead of just trying to do my own thing (although I can’t promise I didn’t complain a little bit).

It’s important to realize that in our relationship with the Lord, He’s always going to be faithful, but we have a responsibility to stay faithful to Him. And that means trusting him, so in my spiritual life, faithful meant being trusting, trusting the Lord and knowing that He’s trustworthy.


Faithful in my Health

The last area that I  wanted to talk about, as far as being faithful, is in my health. When I came up with “faithful” as my word, I thought about my health, and I have to be honest, I definitely thought it would take me in a different direction.

I thought that faithful would mean that I would be faithful to exercise every day and that every piece of food that went into my mouth would be healthy, but it has definitely meant something different for me in the first part of this year.

For me it has meant staying faithful to figure out some health issues that have been part of my life.

I’m going to be honest with you and really tell you about what’s been happening with me health-wise and how I got to this point.

When I was nine years old, I went on my first diet. Now, in hindsight, I realize that it was triggered by a traumatic experience that I had around the same time, and so two decades later, I had looked at where diets had brought me.

Diets had taken me along a roller coaster, and they had really messed me up, to be honest. Even during my first pregnancy, I was so concerned with not gaining too much weight. It’s not healthy at all. I don’t recommend it. Please don’t do that.

Diets really backfired, and they made me rebel against any kind of restriction, so as soon as I told myself that I couldn’t have something, it was all I craved.

So about three years ago, I gave up diets. I experienced freedom from food that I never had experienced before.  I found the joy of the Lord again! It was such an incredible experience for me.

I actually created a 90 day online program called FAITH FOOD FREEDOM to help you do the same thing. It’s available in The Graceful Life Academy!

A little bit after that, I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease where the body reacts really violently and negatively to gluten. I was told that once you have one autoimmune disease, the chance of developing another is really likely.

So fast forward to last year I was diagnosed with another autoimmune disease called PCOS, and from the end of last year to the first part of this year I really struggled with some horrible symptoms, things like depression, insulin resistance, weight gain, stomach issues, adrenal fatigue.

You name it and I had it.

So for the first part of this year, faithful meant to me staying the course to figure out my health issues. I had to take my mind off of the scale and really stay focused on feeling better. I had to fight for my health. I had been seeing a doctor who kind of ignored my symptoms, so I had to choose to say no to her advice in regards to eating and medications.

Please hear my heart: I am not advocating ignoring doctors’ orders. Please don’t take this that way. And I’m not saying that I know more about my condition by Googling and researching, but what I am saying is that you have to be proactive to do what’s right for your body.

Doctors are human too, and they can make mistakes sometimes, so you have to be ready to be faithful to take care of the one body that God gave you. I want to be really clear whenever I say this, that the medications that she wanted me to use are not always recommended by other doctors. So please hear my heart in this.

I’m not advocating that you stop taking any medications or anything like that. By all means, work with your doctor, but what I am saying is you need to be faithful to be careful and take care of the one body that God gave you.

I’m so thankful that I didn’t set a weight goal this year, because I would definitely feel like a failure right now. But because I set a word for the year, I feel that I’m a success, because I’ve been faithful in that.

Once I got some answers and I started really doing some more research, things started to change for me. I started feeling better, my exercise routine picked back up, and my energy went back up.

So now staying faithful means taking the next step, and in the next few weeks I’ll be sharing what that next step means for me.



For me, being faithful in 2018 has meant:

  • not always sticking with the same routine, especially if it’s not working for you.
  • taking action SOMETIMES
  • sometimes it means waiting
  • being responsible for your own health.

I would love to hear what your 2018 word was and how it has impacted the first third of this year for you! Go to the Girl of Grace Facebook Group to join the conversation!

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