If someone asked you what skill is essential for new homesteaders, how would you answer? Perhaps you’d say how to grow vegetables, raise livestock, sew, or work with wood. While those are important skills, you could homestead without knowing those things. However, the real key to success for new homesteaders is setting realistic goals. So read on to learn the why, how and what of setting goals you can achieve.
Why Setting Goals is a Must for New Homesteaders
Goals keep new homesteaders from becoming too overwhelmed. Without goals, it becomes tempting to try too many things at once. When people try to accomplish too much at once, it seems impossible, so they give up.
Setting goals also helps you prioritize your spending so you can stay within your budget. Goal setting also helps you prioritize and do the most important tasks first. Those first goals can set the stage for the success of all future goals to come.
How to Set Your Goals
Start with the big picture. Nearly every would-be homesteader has an overarching reason they want to start homesteading. Your big goal answers this question: Why do you want to homestead?
You can answer that question in many ways. There is no right or wrong response. Your answer is the right one for you. To inspire you, these are some big goals other homesteaders have set:
- Live a more sustainable lifestyle.
- Be more self-sufficient.
- Improve your family’s health.
- Teach homesteading skills to your children.
What Specific Goals to Set
After you’ve written your big goal, pick two or three smaller goals that would move you in that direction. These smaller goals should be things you can reasonably accomplish within a year. If you don’t have the skills, patience or means to reach your goals, pick a smaller goal that will take less time. It might be picking one homesteading skill to learn.
Here’s an example of what this process looks like. Your big goal is to be self-sufficient. To reach that goal, you plan to get a few hens to provide eggs for your family. Also, since you already have a garden, so you decide to make it larger to grow more food.
After You Have Set Your Goals
Break your goals into smaller, more digestible steps. If you want hens, start with the goal to learn all you can about them. After that, work on the next goal. It could be to prepare the henhouse and create a safe living area for your chickens. Continue to set and meet smaller goals until you reach the larger one of owning egg chickens.
Do the same with the garden expansion. The first goal could be to remove some of the fencing, if you have it, and till the area that you plan to expand into. Plan and plot out your garden, next. Gather seeds and plants to add. If it isn’t warm enough yet, look at seed catalogs and list what you want to grow.
You may also want to learn about freezing, canning and preserving your larger harvest. Other helpful skills are drying and saving seeds, as well as making a compost pile.
Success Leads to Confidence for New Homesteaders
Now you’ve laid the groundwork and decided what you want to accomplish during your first year of homesteading. It’s time to get busy. You may want to do this goal setting exercise again in a year.