I’ve been thinking a lot about goals lately.
I always get a little anxious this time of year. Winter provides a little break for us, since the ground is frozen and our outside activities are limited to caring for the animals. But its a bittersweet kinda break because winter is my least favorite season. So my mind quickly rushes to spring in order to mentally escape the gray skies and sub-zero wind chills that scrub the Iowa landscape of all its brilliance.
Thinking about spring, I can easily get swept away by all of the things we want to accomplish in the coming new year. The list is large, yo! Too large to ever be realistic. So we have to slice that list up into realistic, bite-sized pieces.
That’s where goal setting comes in handy.
I shared in my last post how we use SMART goals to create realistic initiatives and tactics on the homestead, and how we use a SIM (Strategies, Initiatives, Metrics) Plan to keep track of those goals. This has been incredibly helpful in building goals around our list of projects and measuring our progress. Once our 2019 SIM is complete, I’ll share it with you and walk you through the template itself and how you can implement it on your own farm or homestead.
For now, I wanted to share with you the goals that we are setting for 2019. Partly because what we’re working on may be the same thing you’re working on, and maybe we can learn from each other. Also partly because declaring our goals in public makes them a little more honest, and all of you can keep me accountable.
I should warn that it’s easy to get carried away with setting too many goals. Just like trying to tackle everything on the long list, having too many goals is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment and failure. What’s the point of going through the time of setting goals if you will never reach them? So we try to focus on a few large goals that will move the needle for us on the homestead. We may add a few smaller ones to supplement these. But if we accomplish these five I will count that as success when looking back at the end of the year.
Goal #1 – Take better animal, crop and project records across the farm
Better record keeping will allow us to understand exactly how much money goes into our animals, and if we are producing enough from our egg and pork to be profitable. Better records in the market garden will allow us to know not only the cost of seed, but which varieties worked well and which didn’t, weather events that may have affected things, and yields across each plant variety.
Goal #2 – Reduce personal debt by 50%
Our goal as a family is to be completely debt free. The closer we get to this goal, the more realistic our other long term homesteading goals come into view. We will be using the Dave Ramsey snowball method to reduce debt across the farm and homestead.
Goal #3 – Establish a rotational cover crop system in the market garden
We’ve experimented with cover crops, but haven’t really defined a solid and consistent method across all seasons.
Goal #4 – Scale down production in market garden to one acre
We have 3 acres of land dedicated to our market garden. I want to scale back our vegetable production to less than an acre and increase our fruit production. Growing more fruit will allow us to establish a more permanent crop and distinguish ourselves at the market from other growers. This will allow us to put in place a more intensive growing method, while giving us room to pasture our pigs and Cornish hens through summer.
Goal #5 – Develop consistent system to cut weeds in market garden by 50%
Weeds are the bane of my existence! Dealing with weeds in the market garden consumes at least 50% of our time, which is time we get no return on. It is our goal to spend time this year developing methods that will reduce weeds and give us more time to spend on productive activities as well as on other non-garden things.
Are you setting goals for your garden or homestead? Share them with me. Let’s keep each other accountable.