Simply Sather

Instagram Challenge | Set a SMART Goal

Okay, I know this title could sound like some nonsense and shenanigans for a 30-day social media activity, but this is important.

Remember, at some point, this Instagram Challenge intrigued you. It was something that made you think it would be of benefit to you and/or your people. But if it’s just that, you won’t last. You’ll quit (hello, let me tell you about it) and I don’t want that to happen to you.

Instagram Challenge
setting a SMART Goal in my car

So rather than just saying you’re gonna participate but then be a silent observer, I’d like you to consider setting a SMART Goal for this month’s Instagram Challenge to move you to action (and success!) that works for you.

SMART – specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based

I’m not trying to be bossy, but remember that my background is in education + leadership development. I’ve worked with a lot of people who wanted the thing they desired and were open to trying a new thing to get after it. Only those who do the work, reap the benefits. I’m becoming that person and wanna help you do it too.

To help set you up for success, I’ve done some of the work for you!


S | I will complete this many of the #soultendingSeptember prompts

There is one action for each day in September designed to help you pay closer attention to what’s happening inside your soul (aka “soul tending”). How many of these would you like to complete to help you get closer to your WHY? Your deep reason for wanting to do this in the first place. If you didn’t get to, jump back over here to delve more into your desired outcome before moving on to the next goal setting step.

M | I will measure my progress in a method that helps me visually see how close I am to reaching my Instagram Challenge goal

If you’re going to post to your feed (what I’ll be doing + what I encourage you to do) then you can save your own photo and track your completion of the task for the day. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #soultendingSeptember”.

If you’re not going to do it that way (which is completely fine) how will you measure your goal?

Will you create a calendar that you can post on your fridge and put an X through each prompt you complete? Will you use an app on your phone to mark completion? Will you hop on the phone and text or call your accountability partner?

It’s up to you! How will you measure the completion of your goal?

A | How am I agreeing to opt-in to this experience?

I’ve recently learned and been putting into practice the importance of entering agreements with people rather than placing expectations on them. I am so excited that this goal is set up this way.

Rather than place a bunch of expectations on you, I’m sharing an opportunity to learn and grow in this area, making my thoughts available to you in prompt form on the Instagram platform and will be engaging with each and every person that posts with the hashtag or tags me in their photos while doing their soul tending work.

What are you agreeing to? I’m here to help and encourage but if your goal extends beyond what I’ve agreed to above, don’t be surprised at my lack of response. This challenge is designed to motivate, encourage and teach a little, but it is not the platform to expect coaching or lengthy 1-1 conversations about your experience.

So, how will you opt-in?

Will you post on your feed (this would be my first choice!!! go big!!!)? Will you share in your stories, do a weekly live video on your experiences tending to your soul? Will you comment here on the blog – there will be plenty of opportunities throughout the month – or will you simply journal in your soul care spot? Maybe you’ll Marco Polo or Voxer your friend who is also doing it with you from another state?

However you agree to show up in this challenge, do it.

R | What CAN you do? 

Be real with yourself.

Are you a high level officer in a volunteer organization? Do you have a full course-load this term? Are you transitioning into a new job, home, relationship, city or diet during September? Do you have three children under the age of three that you are responsible for keeping alive each day?

What is “realistic” to you is realistic to you. This challenged is designed to stretch you, not break you.

Pray about it. Ask the friend or your spouse who’s doing the challenge with you for their input.

You may not be able to do all 30 days or the days that require a lot of time on your feet.

It’s okay.

Breathe. Read that again…

It truly is o-k-a-y.

I do want you to choose something that seems realistic, but not too comfortable here. Say realistic for you is 80% of the prompts. But if you do all of the things in that 80% consider swapping out a couple of easy ones (things you already do) for ones that may stretch you a bit.

T | In the month of September, how many hours can I give to reaching my goal?

I will be actively engaging folks the final week of August – I want all the people tending to their souls y’all – and then everyday in September with my personal breaks from Insta on Sundays until after dinner; I need to be able to sustain myself throughout the challenge to better serve each of you.

Maybe you can do the bulk of the challenge, but not on the days that they are matched with. For example, you can hug 3 people, but you can’t do it on day 24 when the rest of us are prompted to be hugging (because your people are traveling and you have the house to yourself – Hallelujah! Squeeze their necks when they return.)  If you can do this prompt over three days or on the 21st instead of the 24th, go ahead – do it, post it and do another prompt as it suits you. Be flexible and extend yourself all the grace.

It’s better to consider how much time some of this will take now, so you can be sure you have the margin for it – which is tomorrow’s preparation post.

Maybe you can’t participate with us for the month of September as we know it. The hashtag will remain available when the calendar flips to the coming months, but my responses will cease on 02 October. This is not to deter you from doing what you can when you can. I just want to give you a heads up ahead of time so you’re better prepared to manage what your time and energy for success.


Look. I know that many of you know about SMART Goals. And as soon as some of you saw the post, you may have caught a side-eye towards me and this post.

Please know, that it’s not my goal or intent to be condescending or rude in breaking down the way that I think. If you’re feeling that, try making it less about my delivery and ask yourself why you may be feeling that way. If there is a part of this preparation post that you liked and you think would work for you, take it, if there were other parts that were not for you, simply leave it.

I know so many folks use this strategy in the workplace, but oftentimes it does not get transferred into our personal lives and I think that is to our detriment. So go grab a 5×7 notecard, turn to a page in your journal or open the Notes App on your phone and jot down your SMART Goal for this Instagram Challenge. Post it someplace where you can refer to it daily or almost daily and get excited.

If you’re willing go ahead and post it (or what you feel comfortable sharing) in the comments below or on your Instagram Stories/Feed. Your vulnerability is welcome, your work is important.

We’re only three more days away and you’re already doing great Soul Tender!



Simply Sather

Instagram Challenge | Start with the End in Mind

I know, I know…

I’ve been posting about this Instagram Challenge a lot! Talking about it, telling stories, doing live videos on Instagram and guess what? I’M STILL EXCITED!!!

Instagram Challenge
my eyes, my eyes… but that view, that view – Columbia River, Washington State

You may have this kind of look on your face right now.

You know what I’m talking about…

That look when you’re squinting into the sun because you can’t really see but are still trying to smile and look cute in the general direction of the camera? Perhaps you’re even thinking, “what have I done?” or in this case, “what am I doing?” getting into this Instagram Challenge. You’re maybe having second thoughts or already figuring out why it won’t work for you or your schedule.

I get it.

And that’s why I’ll be sending you bits of encouragement and direction in your email in box these next five days, to help you leave anxiety and overwhelm behind. This challenge is not intended to invite any of that negative stuff, but is to help you stretch toward the good.

One way to get your mind and soul ready for this challenge is to start with the end in mind.

I was introduced to this concept for the first time when we were being taught the concept of Understanding by Design in my master’s degree program in education (2011).

This is my favorite definition:

Understanding by Design, or UbD, is an educational planning approach. UbD is an example of backward design, the practice of looking at the outcomes in order to design curriculum units, performance assessments, and classroom instruction.[1] UbD focuses on teaching to achieve understanding. It is advocated by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins in their Understanding by Design(1998), published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.[2][3] Understanding by Design and UbD are registered trademarks of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). | Wikepedia

What I appreciate most is that starting with the end in mind – “the practice of looking at the outcomes” – is not what most of us do on a regular basis and our results reflect it. It’s an unusual way of approaching things for many of us and it can be a bit tricky; it was for me.

I think we think we do this when we say we want to be this size before beach season or to purchase that thing if my hard-earned bonus comes. Whatever it is we want, we may not spend as much time considering the outcome and the impact on our soul to get there.

And while this may seem like just an Instagram Challenge and I really do want us all to have fun, if there is any part of you that wants to have any kind of success doing this, this is where I believe we need to start.

I knew the desired outcomes that would come from my facilitating this challenge before I put the prompts together. I have four of them.

The biggest one, my most important why, is to help people learn to pay closer attention to what is happening (or not happening) in their souls. The stuff below the surface, beneath the small talk and masks we barely know we’re wearing.

I’ve shared my biggest desired outcome, now it’s your turn.


Get someplace quiet for a few minutes and allow yourself to think about waking up on the first day of October.

Take a moment to even think about where this place might be.

While you’re in that space for 5 minutes or longer – nope, it is not selfish to take 5 whole minutes to yourself – close your eyes, if that helps, and think about what might be different on that day. Push yourself friend. What would you desire to be different as a result of your tending to your soul in September?

Be honest with yourself.

If this is your first time doing something like this, grab hold of whatever nugget, thought, or glimpse your soul may be longing for. Write it down on a post-it note, in your journal or leave yourself a voice note on your smartphone. However you can retain that seed, do it.

If you’ve done something like this before and know how it works for you to best determine what your desired end result is, do that. It hit me a bunch of years ago that I’d paid big money to learn this concept – thank you to Anna, my very patient group mate, for breaking it way down many times in multiple ways – and that I’ve used it more often in my personal life than I ever did in the classrooms.

The reason? Because my soul needed a place that I could dream and desire what I wanted separately from the schools I worked in or the companies I worked for. Strip away what you do – no matter how you feel about and dig a little deeper…

This is important y’all. And it’s another way of getting to your why.

Why would you participate in this? Become a part of this community? Call yourself a “Soul Tender”?

I get excited when I think about engaging with you via all of the avenues Instagram has to offer everyday in September. (Well, almost everyday – review Day 15.) I get pumped about having the opportunity to cheer you on, encourage you, help you question some things and seeing your creative, beautiful ideas in our hashtag – #soultendingSeptember – community. And I get most eager when I think of you digging into the why that helps you better understand your soul and what you’re tending to.

This the most important first step in preparing for this challenge. So go ahead, give your self permission to take 5 minutes or 30 if you can so we can do the work of tending to your soul and do it well.





Simply Sather

It’s officially, official!

I’m so excited to publicly share this post today!

Instagram Challenge Live!
I’m so excited y’all! #soultendingSeptember

Not because of the Instagram Challenge in and of itself – which you can get the details about over here – but because I did it.


I’ve started the things and quit the things and felt like a big pile of poo for it. But, here’s the thing, no matter how this thing turns out, I took the step. A step of faith.

A step that I believe will help others and hopefully encourage them to grow in an area or way that they might not have leaned into before, but absolutely need. I am confident that those who really delve in, at whatever level of success they define, will feel the benefit of doing the work in their soul and those they influence will too. It’s time for us to all take more intentional breaks away from stress, stuck + overwhelm in favor of margin, rest and freedom. 

Next week, I’ll be coming to this space with daily encouragement about how to “win” at this. And friend, I really, really want you to win.

So if you’ve not already, click the “Follow for SoulCare” button at the top right of the website and enter your email so that every post comes right into your email in box to be read at your convenience.

I’m so excited you’re here Soul Tender!