My favorite week of the entire year is upon us.
I don’t know why, but there’s something magical about the in-between time from after-Christmas to mid-January, when the world is in a cheese-and-sugar-induced-stupor. It always makes me giddy to plan for the upcoming year.
The air is thick with possibilities.
I’ve been camped out by the woodstove for the past few days ruminating, dreaming, and planning.
I have no interest in declaring the new year to be the “best year ever” but I am looking forward to the challenges, lessons, and projects to come.
I’m recording a podcast episode with details on my biggest wins and lessons of 2023, (that’ll publish on January 8th when the new season launches), but today I wanted to share some of my favorite homesteading planning rituals with you.
(I keep track of all these things in my Old-Fashioned on Purpose planner. And yes, they are still available!)
How I Map Out a New Year for the Homestead
1. Pick a Word for the Year.
I’m not big on resolutions, but I do love to set a theme. This year’s word is STREAMLINE. Last winter we pruned a LOT from our life (I talked about this here), but I’m feeling the call to take it to a new level… I’ll be sharing more about what these means in the upcoming months, but right now, I’m getting extremely focused and cutting out everything that’s not in line with our biggest targets.
For our homestead goals, this means focusing on the parts of our life that we enjoy and/or bring the most benefits to our family. I plan on doing more gardening (while also streamlining my garden plans to focus on the vegetables that we eat the most and are easy to grow). And hopefully more time focusing on the dairy cows (while giving up the dairy goats because we personally don’t like them as much).
2. Review What Worked and What Didn’t.
You can’t move forward unless you can be honest about your wins and losses.
For example, 2023 was good for me in a lot of ways (especially with publishing a new book) but it also meant my homestead production was lower than it’s been in a while:
- I had issues with growing potatoes, onions, and squash
- I didn’t milk the cow a lot
- I only raised just a handful of meat chickens
And that’s okay. Because homesteading is just a part of my life. But, there are things I’m doing now to prevent a Groundhog Day-style repeat of last year (more on that in a future post).
Consider making your own list of what went well and what did not go well. How can you continue the wins and what can you learn from the losses?
3. Determine Your Big Targets.
These are my non-negotiables— the things that I will be pouring the majority of my time and focus towards for the year. For example: Last year, one of my big targets was launching my book Old-Fashioned on Purpose. This year, I’m laser-focusing on systems and processes to help both my homestead and my businesses run more smoothly.
4. List Out “Maybes” for the Year.
This probably goes against what every goal-setting guru recommends, but there are certain ideas to which I don’t fully commit. Rather, I keep them simmering in the background and wait to see how they develop throughout the year.
I like to keep these ‘maybes’ separated from my do-or-die targets because I take the commitments I make to myself very seriously. If I declare I’m going to do something, I do it. And mixing the “maybes” into the “musts” has a way of muddying my focus and intentions.
So consider making yourself two lists, one that is focused on your big targets (the ‘musts’) and another list of your ‘maybes’ so you can have it on standby (but don’t let the ‘maybes’ get in the way of your main focuses for the year).
5. Decide the “Mores” and “Lesses.”
I’ve learned that pruning and saying no is just as important as creating goals and saying yes. Over the last year, I’ve become keenly aware of the cost of too much multi-tasking. Sometimes we make the biggest steps forward by removing things from our life. So I’m making a list of what I want MORE of in my life, and also what I want LESS of.
Some of my MORES include: more time riding horses and more time to write. Some of my LESSES include: less calls/interviews and less trips to town.
6. Start Immediately.
The biggest danger of having a pretty list of goals? That they stay in a pretty list. Immediate action is a must in order to get momentum flowing. Once I have my Big Target list, I immediately use the project planning pages of the Old-Fashioned on Purpose planner to break them down into action steps.
How I Use the Old-Fashioned on Purpose Planner:
Speaking of the Old-Fashioned on Purpose planner, here’s how I use it for beginning-of-the-year planning for my homestead:
- I use the blank pages in the back for the Word of the Year and goal/target lists
- I use the monthly project planners to break all Big Targets into tangible steps (depending on the month they’ll occur)
- Once I have my tangible steps, I plug them into the weekly spreads so they have a date/deadline
- Use the habit tracker for the reoccurring stuff: working out, drinking water, feeding the sourdough starter, remembering to water the garden, etc.
- Use the seed inventory pages as you order your seeds for the year (because now’s the time to do that!)
- Use the grid pages in the garden section to sketch out this year’s garden plan
Learn more about how to use a planner for the best homesteading year in my article here: How to Organize Your Homestead with a Planner.
I hope you’re able to spend some time reflecting and dreaming these next few weeks, my friend.
Here’s to a new year, rich with lessons and learning.
Happy New Year!