New Year’s resolutions are a trending topic at the start of 2023. It is a great time to step back to evaluate and reflect on where you are at and where you aspire to be. So what is on your list this year? Maybe it’s to start a farm, start growing a new crop, increase revenue, or learn new management techniques to adopt on your current operation. Whatever the goal may be, creating a plan can help you achieve it. Goals provide focus and can help guide the decision making process for farm management. Each farm will have goals unique to their operation. All those involved in the farm should be included in the planning discussion – this can help everyone work together on common goals that they had a part in setting rather than working for a goal someone else has set for them.
To start out, you’ll want to understand what the farm has done in the past. Determine what is working and not working when it comes to the goals you have in mind. Assess the resources available and possible restrictions. Develop SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and have a set time frame.
Increase revenue from fresh market garden sales by $2,000 by year end by expanding production and utilizing direct marketing strategies.
Specific: The goal applies to fresh market garden sales, not any other enterprise on the farm. It also states how this will be achieved.
Measurable: The sales increase can be calculated.
Achievable: The scale of improvement is reasonable.
Relevant: The farm already cultivates market vegetables and increasing sales contributes to improving profits.
Time frame: The increase should be achieved by the end of the year.
Weigh the importance of each goal on your operation. Will your short-term goals aid in achieving long-term goals? Do these goals impact your personal wellbeing? Do any goals interfere with the ability to achieve another goal? Low priority goals should not be completely ignored while working towards high priority goals. Balancing your time to work on each of these can be tricky, but with proper planning it can be done.
It takes a little more than just creating SMART goals and setting priorities to be successful in achieving your goals. Implementation is where the challenge may be. You must invest time to map out how you will make it happen and then commit to effectively implement this plan. Share these goals with others, determine possible challenges, be proactive in addressing conflicts, and use the plan you’ve created. Too often, we create a plan, put it in the drawer and never actually use it to help guide us.
In my own goals, I’ve realized that the planning part was easy. The tough part is staying consistent in working towards the goals and evaluating the progress along the way. It’s important to check back in and adapt your plan to help you achieve that goal. Determine why it is important for you to achieve this goal and what can help motivate you to see it through. During the times you fall off track, remember why you started in the first place and push forward to get to where you want to be. If you stick with it, imagine how things will look next year while you evaluate your progress and set new goals.