Do you have homestead goals? Homestead goal setting is important!
This is a huge mistake!
Working towards a goal that is not well thought through, or not planned for, can mean a lot of wasted time, money, and energy.
On the flip side, dreaming and planning are great, but without action, your goals will never be realized. (I don’t know this from experience or anything…)
In this post, I’ll show you how I both plan for maximum productivity, and how I put that plan into action on the homestead.
Homestead Goal Setting: Brainstorm Your Goals
The first thing to do is to figure out what your goals are.
What are my values? There’s no point in pursuing a goal that doesn’t fit within your values, but most likely you will intuitively choose goals that do.
The more important thing to note here is that writing down, or at least actively thinking through, your values will help you to come up with goal ideas that are most relevant to you.
What are my priorities? Maybe you have a new baby in the house, or maybe you just started working a new, more demanding job. Those things may be priorities right now but bringing a new farm animal to the homestead may not be.
Or perhaps beginning to raise your own meat has become a huge priority because you don’t want to eat sub-par meat anymore. Whatever it is for you, take it into consideration.
What will it look like when I can say I “arrived”? Imagine what life will look like when you have achieved many of your dreams and are really “living the life”. What goals must you achieve first to get there?
Now write out those ideas. Don’t hold back! Let your deepest desires flow onto your paper (or computer screen) without self-editing.
Also keep in mind that many parts of your life will overlap so you may want to brainstorm all of your life goals here too.
Having a balanced and fulfilling life is what will create the most happiness, not being laser focused on one area. Each area of your life influences others and they all must work together.
Homestead Goal Setting: Create a 1, 3, 5, and 10-year Plan
Consider which goals are shorter-term and which ones are long term. Make a list of goals for your first year (3, 5, and 10 years too if you want).
Some ideas for first year homesteading are:
- Building a compost bin (or vermicomposting)
- Getting chickens
- Starting a garden
- Planting fruit trees or bushes
Of course, if you’re not new to homesteading and are trying to plan for your 2nd or 3rd or 10th year, your goals will look different than these. Maybe you want to:
- Make an income from your homestead
- Add ducks or other non-chicken fowl
- Get organized with a homestead management system
- Raise your own meat
Choose 2-3 goals to begin working on and record them in your homestead goals spreadsheet.
Get a Free Goal Setting Spreadsheet!
If you want to start setting goals quickly, I have something perfect for you. I created a simple goal setting spreadsheet that I have used for years to set and track my goals. Want a copy?
Homestead Goal Setting: Make Your Goals S.M.A.R.T.
You’ve likely heard of SMART goals before. Basically it’s a system for making sure that your goals are reached.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic (or relevant), and Timely. Once you make goals in this way for a while it starts to just come naturally. But if you’re new to smart goals be sure that your goals fit these guidelines:
Your goal needs to be as specific as possible for you to have the best chance of being successful. For example, a goal to “get 12 laying hens in the spring” is a more specific and more achievable goal than the vague goal to “get animals”.
Progress towards your goal should be measurable. For example, if my goal was to grow half of my own food I might measure progress based on how big of a space I was able to cultivate for a garden, seeds I was able to buy, etc.
Of course your goal needs to be attainable. Having a goal to have a 20 acre homestead by the end of the year when you’re flat broke and in debt may not be attainable.
But a goal to pay down debt and save for land may be attainable depending on your income and situation. Bonus: thinking about the attainability of your goals will also show you that more things are attainable than you would have believed.
Another thing that may be useful for you is this: I tend to plan especially ambitious goals because I get lazy if I reach a goal early. So if I end up falling a bit short of my goal, I count that as a win since the goal was challenging to begin with.
Someone else might get discouraged by barely missing a goal and might do better with a less lofty goal–something more realistically attainable.
A goal should be a real reflection of you. It should not be what your mom or your boss or your dog wants from you, it should be what you want from you. Goals can only be realistically achieved if they are based in passion. Ask yourself: doesn’t this make sense for me? right now? And does it align with my other goals?
I think this is the most important part of goal setting. After deciding on a goal, you have to build an action plan that is timely. The way I do it is to track my progress in the homestead goals spreadsheet.
I’ll use the example of getting a flock of chickens. My goal might be to get a flock of chickens by July. I would then decide what I would need to do monthly to meet that goal (for instance, build a coop, decide on what breed, how many, etc.).
Then I would break it down again by week. For this example I might first decide on breed and how many chickens I want. Then I would decide on what kind of coop I need and whether I had time/skills to build it or whether I would buy one.
By breaking down goals this way you can achieve something big (getting a flock of chickens) by doing something small (researching breeds, buying building materials).
If you struggle with time management, check out my tips that helped me find time to homestead (while working and caring for a family)
Homestead Goal Setting: Plan
Choose 2-3 goals to begin working on and record them in your homestead goals spreadsheet (grab your free copy at the link above).
Start with your big goals and backwards plan smaller goals until you have them broken down into manageable chunks. Assign those pieces a deadline and create a tentative schedule for the year.
For example: If you have a goal of buying property in 3 years, think about what you need to accomplish before actually purchasing the house.
You likely need a down payment and in order to do that you have to save, and in order to save you may need to change your budget or make more money.
Homestead Goal Setting: Review
Revisit your goals on a monthly and weekly basis. Schedule your week according to what you planned on getting done that month.
Track your progress and make changes where needed. What is working and what isn’t? Are you reaching your goals too easily or not at all? Have your goals changed?
Homestead Goal Setting: Name It
If you’re starting your goal setting at the beginning of the year you may want to choose a word or theme for your year. If you’re starting in the middle of the year you can still pick a word or theme but consider what you’ve already achieved. What kind of a year do you want to have? What do you hope to achieve?
Maybe this year is a year of “financial freedom” or “building knowledge”. Perhaps it’s the year for “expansion” or “growth”.
Sometimes the yearly theme won’t come to you until a little ways in and other times it changes halfway through. It’s nice though, to have a word or phrase that can keep you focused.