By Karen Johnson, U of M Extension
The holiday season is upon us. I love receiving cards with letters in the mail recapping our friends’ and families’ 2018 year. Now is the time to recap 2018 for your farming operations and establish some goals to accomplish in 2019!
When you think through all the things that you accomplished on your farm in 2018, what went particularly well? Are there ways to maintain or improve this success for 2019? On the flip side, what farm activities didn’t go quite as planned? What can we learn from those experiences and how can we do it better for next year? This method of reflecting on the past to improve the future of your farming operation will prove to be helpful especially in tight financial years.
Now that we have reflected on the past, we need to look toward the future and establish some goals for the New Year. When contemplating your goals and future that pertain to a business, it is a good idea to sit down with your spouse, family or others involved to get their input. This will allow those parties to add their ideas and, in turn, everyone will be aware of the goals and the steps needed to achieve them. As you are writing your goals, remember to make them SMART goals:
S-Specific – To be specific when developing goals, answer the six “W” questions. Who is involved? What do I want to accomplish? Where is it going to take place? When will it happen? Which requirements or constraints do I need to be aware of? Why is the goal important?
M-Measurable – Goals need to be measurable to ensure that progress is being made to complete them. To determine if a goal is measurable ask questions such as… How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
A-Attainable – Do you have the necessary attitude, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach your goal? If not, can you develop or obtain these attributes to make your dream come true?
R-Realistic – Goals need to be based on an object that you are willing and able to work for. Goals are realistic if you truly believe that you can accomplish them.
T-Timely – Goals should have a firm time frame or deadline for completion. This provides the goals with a sense of urgency that helps you attain them in a timely manner.
Now is the time to make your list and check it twice! Remember that goals can be powerful motivators to advance your personal well-being or business. Put a pen to paper and make your goals visible to make it easier for you to accomplish each goal in your everyday activities.