I currently can’t breathe when I walk outside…
That’s what below zero temps and crazy wind chills will do to ya.
Thankfully, even though the outside portions of our homestead are deep in hibernation at the moment, I have plenty to work on inside.
When I recently mentioned some of my favorite end-of-the-year rituals on Instagram, it prompted some interesting discussions around the things we do to set ourselves up for another 365-day stretch.
If you’ve ever struggled to set goals (that actually happen) for your homestead or future homestead, I made a video just for you.
We’ve been homesteading for almost a decade now, setting lots of goals, doing lots of projects, and have definitely figured out what does and doesn’t work. In this video, I’m sharing my best tips and practices that I use every single year to make sure our homestead goals turn into reality.
How to Set Homestead Goals You’ll Actually Achieve
(Keep scrolling if you prefer the written transcript version instead of the video!)
1. Keep Your Goal List Manageable (aka Don’t Go Crazy)
Don’t get me wrong: I love audacious goals, and dreams and big thinking, and we’ve been known to do some pretty crazy stuff, but I also know from personal experience that putting too many goals, or goals that are too big, on your list can not only cause you to feel scattered and overwhelmed, but can also cause you to feel really frustrated when you’ve been working your butt off, and then, only find yourself a quarter of the way through your list.
Make sure you have some quick wins built into your goal list so you can really feel that sense of accomplishment, which at least for me, is the very best motivator to keep going. The definition of manageable will really differ from person to person, but for us, I found it works best to break up our yearly goals into four different categories, and then, pick three to five specific goals, more than that in a minute, for each category. The specific categories that I like to set goals in are:
- Family and Personal
- Our Homestead
- Our Blog/Online Business
- Our doTERRA Business
The exact number of goals YOU set will depend on your situation, and it’s totally okay to go lighter in one area so you can focus elsewhere. We’ve done that many times.
Example: Last year I put way too many projects on our homesteading category of goals, and then come June when we were knee-deep in the middle of a huge yard remodel, and it was kicking our butt, and I realized it was gonna take the majority of our summer and the other things weren’t going to happen, I was really, really frustrated.
To remedy that from happening this year, I’m writing down a much more realistic list that I will be plugging into the calendar ahead of time so I know exactly how many months, or weeks, or whatever I have partitioned off for each homestead project.
2. Don’t Forget to Push Yourself (Great Things Never Came from Comfort Zones)
If a goal feels super safe, and comfortable, it’s probably not gonna be enough to really create the growth that you need. My rule of thumb is to keep expanding a goal until you feel a flutter of butterflies in your stomach. That’s usually a good sign that it’s enough to push me out of my comfort zone to get the development and growth that I’m looking for personally throughout that goal process.
3. Make Your Goals Specific and Measurable.
I’m guessing you’ve heard this one before, but it really is crucial– I promise. Vagueness in setting goals is not your friend. It might feel more comfortable at first to have a broad target to aim at, but what you’re really doing is giving your brain just a million ways to skirt around doing the work, and that will absolutely prevent you from taking a hold of that goal, and making it come alive.
Measurable just means that you’ll have a clear marker to know when that goal has been reached. It’s really easy to write something like cook more on your list, but what does that really mean? And, you need to break that down.
In order to set yourself up for the maximum success, clearly define each goal to make it attainable for your situation. Rather than putting “cook more this year” on your list, try putting down specific action items such as “bake a loaf of bread each week”, or “learn how to make homemade broth.”
Do you see how the first goal felt really lifeless and vague, but the second one felt more alive with purpose and meaning? That’s exactly the same sort of feel that you’ll want to create in your own homestead goals for this year.
4. Write, Date, and Tell!
Every time I say this, someone argues with me, and says, “I don’t like writing goals down. That’s not how my brain works. I like to go on spur of the moment. It feels just scary.”
I get it–promise! But if you’re really serious about making your goals a reality, you’ve gotta get serious enough to write them down and give them a due date. There is something just magical about putting something on paper. I don’t know what it is, but it works.
It’s crucial to assign a date to your goal, and it doesn’t have to be a super tight deadline, but the human brain takes action the best when there’s an element of urgency, or some sort of date attached. Also, when you speak your goals out loud, it gets it out there in the universe, and not only can the person you’re telling help to hold you accountable, but when it comes out of your lips, you tend to take it more seriously as well.
5. Break it Down, Then START.
Even if you set the very best goals in the world, and spend all sorts of time making them just right, none of them will work unless you put this next tip into action immediately. You gotta start, and yes, it’s usually the hardest, and I wish I could tell you some magical tool, or secret sauce that would make starting just as easy as pie, but guess what? If it was easy, then everyone would do it, and they don’t. Do they? But, you will.
My best tip here is to START FAST. Do it before your brain can talk you out of it, and have all those excuses bubbled to the surface. It is the hardest part, but once you get that momentum going I promise it gets easier and easier. I still struggle with this, a blank page, an empty piece of bare dirt, a barren garden plot.
They all tend to make me feel a little bit stressed, and a little bit paralyzed. It’s really normal. What I’ve learned to do is to never demand any sort of perfection from myself on Day One. The mission on the first day is to simply get something, anything started.
I might hammer some words out on paper without punctuation, or spelling just to get it out of my brain.
I might map the garden out on paper, and then, get my first round of seeds ordered.
I might research the materials I need for our next building project, and then, put them on a supply list, or maybe even call the building store, and get them shipped and coming my way.
(That time we ripped down a million old pheasant pens on our property)
The first step does not have to be epic, or magical, or special, or perfect. It just has to be something. If you do something on day one, when you come back on the subsequent days, you’ll find it gets easier and easier.
Lastly, remember: it’s okay to be flexible in your goals. Sometimes plans shift and change, and you gotta give yourself some grace. There has been many years where our epic list of projects just didn’t happen the way I wanted to, and I had to be okay with it. The only thing is, promise me that you’ll be honest with yourself, and know the difference between procrastination, and just flexibility, because there is a difference.
A Few of Our Personal Homestead Goals for 2019:
ONE: Redoing our pens and corrals. Our homestead theme for this year is refinement. We’ve done a lot of construction, a lot of building, a lot of creating, and some of those systems worked really good when we first put them in 8 or 10 years ago, but they’ve stopped being efficient and productive, and so, we’re going back into some of those places that we built awhile back, and making them better.
The first element of that is our pens and corrals. We have a cattle chute and a few alleyways, but when we built them, we didn’t understand how the cattle would best flow, or the most efficient way to work them. The plan is to redo all of our cattle handling facilities this year so they’re safer and more efficient.
TWO:Building a Milking Parlor
I’ve milked out in the open barn on the cement pad for a long time. It worked fine at the beginning, but I’m ready for a more efficient system. I’m tired of dealing with mud, or a big sloppy pile of manure, or the horses chasing the cow around every time I try to milk. It’s just not working anymore.
I’m ready for a designated milking area that I can keep more sanitary and organized. I need a place where I don’t to wrestle manure or the other animals, or whatever.
We have a few other areas of the homestead that we’re working on improving and refining this year, but we’re keeping things fairly simple as compared to some years in the past, since we have some other projects in the works that will benefit YOU…
…Like our very first cookbook which launches in April and makes me so giddy that I’m almost speechless. There will be many sneak peaks and LOTS of bonuses and freebies coming along with its official launch, but for now here’s a sneak peek of the cover.
Alrighty my friends: your turn! What homestead goal are you most excited for in the coming year?