I didn’t picture my life looking like this.
My tax filing system is a plastic grocery bag I dump all our receipts into. I have random paper lists of things I need to get done scattered everywhere. I feel like my house is a dumping ground for “all the things” instead of an actual functioning space. And there are so many homesteading projects that have to get done and yet I don’t have one system in place to make sure they do.
And 2020 has only made things worse. Anxiety, fear, uncertainty, stress…those feelings don’t exactly go hand in hand with getting your life together. And, P.S., my decision to stock up on chocolate instead of toilet paper didn’t turn out to be the best. Shocker! It turns out you can eat an unlimited amount of chocolate during a pandemic.
So, in the hopes that “the disease who must not be named” (COVID-19 feels like saying Voldemort in Harry Potter) is going to wind down as the first vaccines are being doled out, I feel a glimmer of hope.
First, I must confess that although I have set many goals in the past (52 homesteading skills in one year), I don’t normally set homesteading resolutions. But this year I have admitted to myself that I have to get organized if I want to be a more productive homesteader. Not because I want to run around being productive every single minute of the day. Absolutely not! In fact, I want the opposite. I want to feel relaxed and have more energy. I would like to get more done with less effort. I’d like to know that what I happen to be doing at any moment is what I’m supposed to be doing and that I shouldn’t be off picking up more chicken feed or getting our taxes done.
So, I know what you’re thinking. Sounds wonderful, Kimberlee. In fact, it sounds kinda like an unrealistic dream? Yeah, I know. I’ll be frank. I haven’t figured it out, but I have a stack of productivity and organizational books with a tonne of ideas that I’m going to test out.
What’s the point of New Year’s Resolutions?
It may seem pointless to set a goal because once you achieve it, you just set a new one. And if you don’t achieve it, you feel like a failure. But if you don’t set any homesteading resolutions there is a good chance you stay exactly where you are right now without learning anything new, improving your life, or having any new experiences.
Yes, I think we should be grateful for what we have and where we are right now but I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting a few goals in the attempt to grow and improve ourselves. Do you agree?
Why your Homesteading Resolutions Fail
YOU SET TOO MANY GOALS
Did you know there is actually a limit to what you can do and that you are only supposed to choose to work on ONE goal at a time? ONE!
Apparently, this is a well-known fact because it says so in almost all the books I have read so far. Studies show that people who try to accomplish more than one goal are less likely to succeed than those who focus on a single goal. (Here is a great post on the subject from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits.)
Insert long pause. I don’t like this advice. So, after much arguing and shouting at the productivity experts, I’ve come to a compromise. I’m going to have one main homesteading resolution and two mini “nice to have” goals that are not all-encompassing. I’m also going to be following the advice from the book “The 12 Week Year” and divide up the year into four. Sounds doable, right? Still with me?
YOU DON’T PRIORITIZE
If you’re like me, there are probably a tonne of things you could focus on that would improve your homesteading life, but I’m told you should choose to prioritize the goal that would make all your other goals easier to achieve and for me, that is simply getting organized so I can be more productive.
For you, that may be finding new ways to save money around the homestead or ways to make more money. Perhaps you want to grow more of your own food? Or maybe you want to learn a new skill? Or simply get up earlier in the morning?
Brainstorm away while asking yourself: What is the one thing that would most improve your life right now or help make all your other goals easier to achieve?
YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR “WHY”
It’s hard to get motivated or even be successful if you don’t know the purpose of what you are trying to achieve, according to David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done. So, take a few moments and ask yourself:
- Why do I want to achieve this goal? What is the purpose? Do you have a strong reason behind what you want to do?
- How do you want to feel next year? You may want to add more livestock to your homestead but you may also want to feel calmer and more at peace in 2021? Will adding more responsibilities help you feel that way?
- What would your life look like one year from now if you achieved this goal?
- What would your life look like one year from now if you didn’t make any changes?
YOUR GOAL ISN’T ACHIEVEABLE
Is your goal actually achievable? For example, I may want to grow and eat all of my own tomatoes, but I have no control over the weather or pests. A more realistic goal may be to “plant X number of tomatoes”.
Or, I may want to increase the number of subscribers to my homesteading blog, but I have no control over how many people sign up. A better goal may be to “post once a week”.
YOUR GOAL ISN’T SPECIFIC
“I always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.”– Lily Tomlin
My goal of simply “getting organized” is way too wishy-washy. My goal is to instead first read three books about getting organized and then to come up with a plan based on what I’ve read. I will need to break “getting organized” down into specific organizing projects and then action steps for each one, which brings me to our next point.
YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL
Make sure you have clearly identified the next steps you need to take. You will be much less likely to procrastinate if your to-dos are clear, according to David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.
For example, I want to grow all my own salad greens. Great! What’s the next action step? Maybe it’s to calculate how much our family eats and then find out how much we’d need to plant. Write out ALL the steps.
If you need some inspiration, here are my homesteading resolutions for the first 12 weeks of the year:
My Homesteading Resolutions – 12 Week Goals:
My One Big Goal
I tried to think of the ONE thing I could do that would make all my other goals easier and this is it – Become more productive so I can slow down and do LESS, not more. There are so many things to do as a homesteader. I need a better system to help manage it all. HELP! Does anyone else feel this way?
I have several productivity books on my reading list but, sadly, Tim Ferriss hasn’t written “The Four Hour Homesteader”. Hey! This could be our next experiment. Grow and preserve all your food in only four hours a week. Are you with me? I can see my next book now…”The Happy Homesteader” – 52 Productivity Hacks so You Can Homestead AND Have Fun”.
The first step of this plan is to read and take a copious amount of notes from “The 12 Week Year” and “Make Time“. I have already finished “Getting Things Done” and am excited to try out David Allen’s methods. Once I have all the information gathered, I will update you with my projects and next action steps.
Mini Goal #1 – Grow All Our Leafy Greens Year Round
When thinking about my homesteading resolutions, I spent a lot of time considering what makes the most sense for us to grow based not only on cost and time but what we eat most of and I think I figured it out.
The chickens provide us with all the eggs we need for breakfast. For lunch, we eat salad. I dish my salad up in a large serving bowl that you would bring to a party. It includes over 9 cups of greens. With the addition of chicken or turkey, this monster salad keeps me full until supper. So, I could potentially grow half the food I eat (minus the meat) just by growing our own salad greens (along with a few sprouts, herbs, and cucumbers) year-round.
Why didn’t I realize this before? This is a no-brainer and yet I’ve never done this ALL YEAR LONG. I’ve already done the calculations as to how much and what we need to plant.
My next step is to get set up with planters and lights. We have already begun to build a shelf similar to the one you see below (but larger) for the kitchen.
Note: Previously, I tried growing microgreens in our bedroom. I’m sure you are very surprised to hear that that didn’t work out as well as I hoped. The bedroom was just too far away from where I was prepping food.
I would also like a long planter for our kitchen table:
And a hanging shelf for our herbs:
Stay tuned for part one of this series.
Mini Goal #2 – Preserve Something New Every Month
I want to get better at preserving foods and stop buying expensive probiotic pills and fancy (pricey) bottles of kombucha. This is why I’ve decided to challenge myself to ferment something new every month. Thank you for holding me accountable. Although I have good intentions (don’t we all!) sometimes I need a little push to try new things. I’ve already begun this challenge. If you missed the first post, here it is.
So, what are your homesteading resolutions for 2021? Are you planning to learn something new? Do you have a list of the skills you want to tackle? Do you have a list of books you want to read? Let me know in the comments.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
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