Homesteading is all about the experience.
We all come to homesteading for different reasons. But in the end, what we really crave is a different approach to life. An experience that transcends the meaningless grind that has become the norm in modern day living.
For our family, it was a hunger for a simpler, more authentic way of living. A life rooted less in consumerism and more in meaning.
But if I’m honest, the homesteading journey isn’t always a positive experience. It’s hard work, it’s often lonely and if we are not careful we can quickly find ourselves in over our heads.
Finding balance to everything we do is key. Intentionally avoiding the things that will sabotage our progress is extremely important to keep moving forward, and to find the quality of life that we’re pursuing.
Here are four things that will ruin the homesteading journey and how to avoid them.
Car payments. Mortgage. Credit cards. Student loans. These things will erode your ability to get on top of necessary home improvement projects, garden plans or whatever else is needed for the homestead.
I wish I could say that we started this journey completely debt free. But we didn’t take the time to carefully plan our steps. Instead we leaped from our former life right into this one without abandon. There are things we’d like to do that other obligations keep us from doing. So we wait patiently for the right timing.
Debt can quickly steal the joy out of the homesteading experience. When you’re too stressed to feel blessed it’s time to start making some changes.
Solution: If you have debt, make it your priority to pay it off. Put everything you’ve got toward it. Use Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball Method. Freedom is within reach and you’ll be happier when you reach your goal. Whether you’re just thinking about homesteading or right in the middle of it, it’s never too late to start. You can do it!
The thing about homesteading is you’ve got to be willing to do things you’re not comfortable doing. It’s kinda the point. Learning new skills. Becoming self-sufficient. Fear only gets in the way.
I think the biggest fear to overcome is of failure, and that fear will keep so many of us from trying new things. I often feel like an impostor, and much of the time I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I just dig in and learn as I go. We learn from our mistakes. Whether it’s bringing pigs to the homestead for the first time or building a deck, we have to be willing to be vulnerable in our abilities in order to discover what we’re really capable of.
Solution: Each week attempt to try something new. It can be big or it can be small. But make it a point to stretch yourself. Go easy on yourself when you fail. Seek advice from others who have mastered what you’re attempting to do. Keep going until you’ve completed whatever you’re working on. Then move on to the next thing with confidence.
Trying to do everything.
Letting unfinished projects stack up can be stressful. I’ve been there. This usually happens when we try to take on too many things at once. I know that all the things need to be done. But there’s only so much time and money available to each of us. Remember, this is a journey not a sprint.
Solution: Make a plan. Set short term and long term goals for projects on the homestead, and then prioritize them. Don’t start too many projects at the same time, and stick to the project you’re working on until it’s completed.
A spouse that isn’t bought in.
This one is big. If you desire to start homesteading, but your spouse isn’t bought in on the idea, it can create some unpleasant friction in the home.
But it doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream!
Solution: Start small. You may not be able to convince your spouse to buy an acreage in the country yet, but you can start homesteading right where you are. Have the discussion with your spouse and share with them your heart. Identify their strengths and interests and find ways to include them in the homesteading adventure. Whatever you do, don’t give up your dream. Instead, find ways to bring homesteading into your relationship that will bless you both.
There are many, many ways to start homesteading. But the key to being successful is remembering why you started in the first place. Let that be your compass. When it feels like you’ve lost direction, shifting your focus back to why you started the adventure in the first place will often help you find your way.
Find inspiration in others. Don’t ever stop learning. Remember to find balance in all that you do. These things will help keep your homesteading journey positive and fruitful.