Getting Ready to Rock the New Year ~ 12 December 2017
It's a busy time of year! Along with making sure everyone on my list has a beautiful present to open on Christmas, I've been carrying boxes and boxes of decorations down from the attic, cooking, baking and merry making with family and neighbors- there doesn't seem to be enough minutes in the day (not mentioning the time I spend in line at the post office- grrrr! ). And in the middle of it all, I made time to decide my plans for next year. This is my gift to myself.
Last year, several people emailed me to ask how I accomplish so much from one newsletter to the next. I felt a little embarrassed by the queries- my news letter is meant to share my excitement from the farm and to share some good ideas I stumble upon along the way. But it started me thinking, that maybe my "normal" isn't normal after all and maybe someone would benefit to hear how I organize my goals. I have so much fun doing what I do, I'm going to pass it along here. If it helps you have a better year, good! Or maybe you know someone who would benefit from these tips. Please feel free to share.
We each have ideas we consider to be fundamental truths. These are the groundwork for all our other beliefs. One of mine is "what you focus on expands". So when I have an idea I want to make a reality, I start thinking about it. I immerse myself in the planning, the how-to, the gathering of elements, getting the information on how to succeed. As anyone who knows me personally can tell you, I become obsessed!
Essentially, my goal setting breaks down into 3 parts.
I surround myself with supportive people. There's no doubt that this is a crucial factor in achieving my ambitions. Ideas can't live in a vacuum- they need to be shared. Ideas need encouragement. Talking about your plans gets the mojo going and I believe it starts to attract the help you need to put it in action.
There are times you may feel discouraged- the work, the sacrifice, the effort of will can all take a toll- and talking it over with someone who cares about you can relieve the burden so much. On regular days, a social network of people focused in the same field ( I have Pinterest boards for farming, home décor, cooking and gardening and subscribe to several DIY Facebook pages) can often spark a new idea which keeps you on track. Goal setting is a very personal determination and is very much inside yourself. But sharing the goal gets it outside yourself and allows it to be an entity. The dream starts to become itself.
I visualize short term goals. I want to expand my small farm. My total vision for the farm, as it stands now, is a five year plan (heading into year 3 now). Finances, physical strength and the time (or lack of it) that I spend at the farm are limiting factors as to why I don't think my whole plan can be accomplished in one season. But more-so, dreams evolve over time and some things I added in season 2, I hadn't even thought of when I started out. Curiosity and imagination take on a life of their own to a dreamer and space must be left to allow for modifications, additions and the inevitable adjustment of plans.
My annual plan is mapped out on a large bulletin board which sits at the back of my desk so I can see it easily and often. I don't call it a "dream board" as some folks do- this is a call for action!
In the past few weeks I took time to seriously contemplate what I wanted for the farm THIS year- not only what I thought was do-able but also things that would bring me shear delight. It sets up like a business plan. But even if your goals aren't toward a business, the categories translate to just about any endeavor. I think about finances, stuff I need, the actual physical manifestation, the revenue stream (where's the $$$ coming from?????) and projects.
Stuff We Need Every enterprise needs stuff to develop. Some things don't need to be new in order to be serviceable. The Stuff We Need list is a reminder to keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities to "acquire" things I need. So much "stuff" is thrown away, given away or upcycled from something else, I just need to be aware of what I need so I don't miss an opportunity. While my plan centers around fencing, tools and seed packets, you may need a suitcase, copy paper or fruit baskets to attain yours. A comprehensive list of ALL the items you need to be a success should be on the list.
Projects I love being inspired by things I see on the internet so I save a picture. By pinning the projects on the board, I keep my focus AND I start getting the materials I need to make them. Most times my projects are a mash-up of my inspiration photo and materials I have on hand- very seldom is my finished project a copy. From the board, you can see what catches my eye, but if you are inclined to write a book, maybe pictures of different scenery could inspire you. For a business start-up, your projects could include working on promotions or advertising.
Budget Financial planning is at the corner stone of any project. Unless you have a brilliant idea for a Go-Fund-Me page, you're probably going to need some financial input. It's a good idea to list the cost (or estimated cost) of what you need to get going with your goal. For me, farm expenses such as utilities, taxes and lawn mowing service are predictable and necessary. Farm expansion is a little more arbitrary but ALL the expansion I want to do is on the list. I actually have no idea where the $$$ will come from, but knowing what I want is the beginning of getting it.
Don't worry about the finances- just make the list. If you don't know the costs, go to your local stores and write it down. Get on the internet and price it out. In the coming weeks I'll be visiting my local stores to find out what my expansion costs are and write it on the board.
The hardest thing to do is to get comfortable and emotionally detached from the costs. MONEY IS NEVER A DETERRENT FOR ATTAINING A GOAL. But understanding the costs can prepare you for opportunities when they come along. Having a budget is like adding maturity to the magic- never a bad thing.
Revenue Stream It's a good idea to list all the possible sources of revenue you think can come your way in a year. And a better idea is to begin to develop revenue streams based on your talents- write an ebook, finesse a craft into an art, hold garage sales, tutor and generously give to support others who are on a mission. Opportunities for income will come to you in the most unlikely ways if you are committed to your goals and your mission is clear.
Layout This year I have BIG plans for the perma-culture plot I started last summer while I juggle plantings already established- organic vegetable patch, lavender beds, raspberries and perennial flower gardens. This is a plan for where I will be growing different herbs and flowers. I cut out the catalog pictures and put them on the plan. After the first of the year, I'll sort them out to find out which seeds can be direct seeded in the garden and which must be started before hand. Having a plan keeps me from buying too many seeds, buying the same seed twice (which happens when I get excited about something beautiful in another seed catalog) and the heights, habits and colors of the different plants. Whether you plan to re-decorate a room or start a new business, layouts are an excellent way to visualize your plan.
The Call To Action board is my daily reminder to keep on track and keep moving toward my goals. My board is big enough that I can add new pictures, increase my "stuff" list and modify the "budget" lists anytime.
Investing in the Goal is the third part to goal setting. Whether it's time or money, investment shows your commitment and if you're committed, the powers that be will invest in you, too. Lately, I invest some time on YouTube learning how to build a shed so I can build a little farm stand. If I see wood offered at Lowe's that I feel will work into a project, I buy it. Sometimes it's months- or years- before I use it, but I'm investing in the future I want for myself. Garage sales offer opportunities to invest in tools, craft components or other items that don't cost much, but are useful in materializing your goal.
More valuable than monetary investment is giving loving, excited energy to the planning, focus and vision of your ambition. A goal imbued with love is a powerful force and becomes a magnet to all that you need to manifest it. I do believe that if you can find joy in shoveling dirt to move a mountain, a bulldozer will come along just when you need it.
If you have plans for the new year, I'd love to hear about what you're planning. If you need a cheerleader, I'm your girl.
Best wishes for a Happy New Year ~ Sandy
I just can't wait to grow a gourd tunnel like this next year!
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