Writing homestead goals is one of the most important tasks you will do whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned homesteader. Well written goals will serve as the foundation for your homesteads future. As your homestead evolves and grows so will your goals.
Where do these goals come from? They come from the very dreams or thoughts you have when the concept of homesteading becomes a reality.
Writing Homestead Goals: Starting with Dreams
From Dreams to Writing Homestead Goals
Homesteaders envision what they want their homesteads to become long before the actual homestead forms. They foresee the ideas they want to accomplish in the future. These ideas are the very dreams they set goals for, in order to achieve them.
The best way to keep track of your dreams is to make a vision board. A vision board is a visual representation of your dreams on paper, mounted in a place to remind you of what it is you wish to achieve.
See Making a Vision Board for directions, examples, and resources on making one for your ideal homestead. Here is my current vision board.
Whether you use a vision board or not to show your dreams, it is important to somehow see and know what your dreams are before writing homestead goals.
How to Plan Your Homestead Goals
Once you know exactly what you want to achieve with your homestead you can start writing out your goals.
List each goal you wish to accomplish for your homestead. This is only a general list. You can write something like “Have chickens” or “Build a Barn”. Just list everything you want on paper.
Don’t limit yourself. At this point, all you are doing is getting everything on paper. You cannot work on all your goals at once, that’s why we are making a list. Later we will determine which goals will be worked towards and when. Once you have all the general goals down on paper the fun begins.
Here is an example of a starter list for you to reference.
Writing Homestead Goals
Once you have a general list of all your goals we can start being more specific about each goal. For goals to work they must be SMART.
- Specific: Should answer what, why, and how.
- Measurable: Provide a way to see if you are on track.
- Achievable: It is challenging but doable.
- Realistic: It is not impossible to achieve.
- Timely: Can be completed or achieved in a specific time frame.
Let’s use an example of a smart goal.
Goal: Build an 8ft x 8 ft chicken coop with an attached 8ft x 8ft run to house 12 chickens from the scrap plywood and roofing material left over from the old barn by August 15, 2017.
In the above example, “an 8 ft x 8 ft coop and run” answers the what. “to house 12 chickens” answers the why. “from the scrap plywood and roofing material” answers the how. The goal is measurable because it gives a date to stay accountable. The goal is doable and realistic. It is also timely.
Repeat this process with each goal you have and make sure each goal is a SMART goal.
Writing out Action Steps
Now that you have all of your goals written out you can start writing an Action Plan. An Action Plan is simply all the steps you need to take in order to accomplish each goal. These are your to-do’s. We can use the “chicken coop and run” goal as an example again.
Goal: Build an 8 ft x 8 ft chicken coop and an 8 ft x 8 ft run to house 12 chickens from the scrap plywood and roofing material left over from the old barn by August 15, 2017.
Let’s make a list of the steps needed to accomplish this goal:
- Clear an area for the coop and run along the fence line that is 16 ft x 16ft. Make sure it is level.
- Gather all posts and materials for coop. (Purchase any needed material)
- Build coop according to plans (assuming you have one).
- Put the roof on coop. Seal for weather.
- Install posts for the run.
- Install chicken wire on sides and top.
- Cut out a door from coop to run.
- Place straw bedding inside the coop.
- Install roosts and nesting boxes.
- Hang feeder and waterer.
- Check for correct ventilation.
Now we know exactly what needs to be done and in what order. Now, look at the steps that need to be completed. Make a materials list of items that may need to be purchased such as fencing or staples and nails for each step. Also, list any tools needed. Now you know what you need to do, where and how you need to do it and what you may need to purchase or gather to begin. Now we can plan for the time involved to complete each task.
Planning Your Action Steps
The best way to plan out your action steps is to use a planner of some sort. You can use Google calendar, your phone calendar or a paper planner. I purchased a “project planner” at Staples for $7.99 and I use it for every project I undertake on my homestead. Just figure out what is best for you and stick with it. Some people use Evernote or other online apps.
Taking the list of steps above, go through each one and figure out how long it will take you to complete it, and what needs to be done before starting each step or task.
Step 1 in the above example states that you need to clear an area for your chicken coop and run. Is this something you can do in a day? Or is it more complicated because you need to cut down a tree? Do you need to level the area? Once you have a general idea of how long it will take, plan it out in your planner.
On Monday you may write “clear space for the chicken coop and run” if it is as simple as cutting the grass and maybe picking up. You may plan it for 2 days, Monday and Tuesday if you need to clear out bushes or a small tree. Once step 1 is written in, go to step 2.
Repeat this process for each step, allowing enough time to complete each process. Remember to allow time for picking up supplies if needed before planning the actual task.
Here is a picture of a project and the action steps from my project book so you can see what mine looks like.
In my next post, I will explain exactly how to plan out these goals and steps into a paper planner and show you specifically how I use my planner.
Make sure you use the SMART steps to plan your goals. Be detailed. Write it all out and take your time doing so. If you want to learn how to start living like a homesteader without having a homestead yet, read this post.
Do you write out your goals for your homestead? Do you follow the SMART goals outlined above? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!