The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Catch and release goals

Garden through a windowOnce you've figured out your shared long-term goals, it's much easier to break those goals into bite-size segments.  We like to choose ten big picture goals to work on each year, taking the top-ranked two or three goals out of each category.  You can see our 2009 and 2010 goals in past posts.

Now for the important part --- let your long term list do all of the worrying about goals not on this year's agenda.  If something didn't make it onto your list for this year, forget about it!  This rule will hold true for the other lists I'll discuss this week too.

Working in the gardenTen goals may not sound like much to put on your agenda for a solid year, but it's important to realize that life on a farm takes a lot of work just to stay afloat.  During the growing season, we spent almost no time working on long term goals, filling our days with weeding, harvesting, mowing, killing chickens, and so forth instead.  Even in the winter, splitting wood and cooking from scratch use up a considerable amount of time.  If anything, I would recommend that folks just getting started on the farm cut back to half a dozen long term goals for the first few years rather than expanding to a score, only to see your dreams dashed.

In fact, one of my biggest pieces of advice for type A homesteaders is --- always put only half as many projects on any list as you think you can complete in the slated period of Trees bare of leavestime.  You'll feel really, really good if you complete everything on your list and can work ahead, while you'll feel just as terrible if you only get a third of your list done.  Why not prime the pump of happiness rather than despair?

It also helps to lower your standards a bit and realize that it's not essential for your farm to look like the pictures in the glossy magazines, at least not at first.  The most fun part of farming is figuring it all out, so why rush through the early days in search of an elusive goal when you could be taking a process-oriented approach and experiencing bliss?

Invent your way to freedom with Microbusiness Independence.

This post is part of our Coping With Paradise lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Very good! Very good! I think this inspirational long-term planning how-to stuff -- maybe with more pics -- could be the stuff of your next e-book! Esp. if it's long-term planning how-to stuff specific to homesteading -- not many Stephen Coveys out there offering inspirational planning advice to this niche market!
Comment by J Wed Oct 27 14:04:40 2010
I'm glad you enjoyed it! If I get around to it, I might write another lunchtime series later giving more specifics about what I think our top 10 big picture farm goals should have been each year as we were getting established on the farm (as opposed to what they really were. :-) )
Comment by anna Wed Oct 27 14:20:35 2010

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.