I am a big fan of making New Year’s resolutions. Yes, naysayers, I hear you: I understand that many people break their resolutions a month or two into the year or give themselves unrealistic expectations in the name of goal-setting. The way I see it, though is that the beginning of a new year is a chance to step back, reevaluate your life, and decide if you’re where (or who) you want to be. For me, these moments of clarity and/or evaluation typically come on my birthday, the beginning of a new season, and the beginning of a new calendar year. There’s something revitalizing about taking honest stock of your hopes and dreams, and giving yourself the opportunity to make a fresh start if that’s what you need. Setting goals and makin’ moves: That’s what I want 2015 to be all about.

Accordingly, I chose January as the month to begin reading Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live on Purpose by Lara Casey. I’d heard good things, and more importantly, there was a stellar group of ladies meeting every month to check in and hold each other accountable for the readings. Plus, “making it happen,” whatever that meant for me, sounded like it could only be a good thing.

Fast forward a few months, and I’ve made my way through almost all of the book. If you’re a person with goals, hopes, dreams, or big ideas, I highly recommend it. There’s practical, useful advice, combined with inspiration and a story of someone who’s made the transition from a life lived by accident to one lived on purpose: something I knew I wanted to do.

Here are a few of my favorite nuggets from this journey to living intentionally. Lara shares some wise words and powerful thoughts that legitimately made me think closely and carefully about how, and why, I live my life.

“Your playing small does not serve the world. You never know how long you have left here on this earth to love others and change them for the better in that love. Taking bold action on what matters starts a powerful domino effect. The good you do today changes generations. Life is too short and too valuable to coast through, living by accident.”

“How can we live healthy, intentional hours and reach our fullest potential? We ask the question as if balance and success are opposites, warring against each other. As if there are only two options: find balance and be mediocre, or be successful and lose your time and relationships. But true success and balance are not opposites, they are the same.”

“Have you ever been in bed at night, unable to sleep because your wheels keep turning? Worries, fears, projects, and unsettled thoughts keep us awake. That stuff will follow you around until you do something about it and clear the clutter. We only have a finite amount of mental space and energy every day.”

“Life moves fast. So fast sometimes that we don’t slow down enough to take stock of how we are doing. We think, it doesn’t matter how I feel right now. I must keep striving toward success! I’ll feel things some other day. Left with what seems like no choice but to press on, we do. Pushing our feelings aside, we grasp at the nearest sources of comfort or inspiration– magazines, TV, the Internet– filling our minds and hearts with the world’s definition of what we should be, do, and think.”

“Living on purpose is a choice. Choosing purpose doesn’t mean our days will be perfect; it means they will be meaningful, no matter what comes our way. Even when stressful situations arise, staying focused on the bigger picture allows us to transcend challenging circumstances and stay focused on cultivating what matters. The challenges do not defeat us but push us to dig deeper into our faith.”