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Setting Realistic Goals for the New Year, Plus a Challenge

Self-reliance challenge

Last year I was over-ambitious and made too many goals. It was too much to keep up with and I finished less than half of them. That's embarrassing. This year I'm being more intentional about my goals, setting fewer of them, planning the steps to accomplish them AND scheduling those steps in my planner.

Those unfinished goals from last year have been examined carefully and either tossed out or reworked, broken down into smaller steps and projects. Or maybe I'll work on a goal from a different angle. Either way, I had to decide if it was still a worthy goal or if I should just chuck it.

Here are some of my homestead goals for this year. Have you set your goals yet?

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The Self Reliance Challenge

During the month of January I'm participating in a Self-Reliance Challenge with a group of other bloggers, challenging myself to be more self-reliant. And I'm challenging you, too.

The other bloggers and I will be writing about being a producer instead of a consumer, saving money and energy, why we raise livestock and chickens, gardening, preserving and cooking the food we produce, foraging, preparing for emergencies and more.

Join me in the self-reliance challenge, January 2019

So I'm challenging you to pick a goal and work on it during the month of January. Tell me what your goal is, using the form at the end of this post. We'll all work on our goals together, and at the end of the month I hope you'll let me know how you did!

You can read more about the challenge here and see who else is participating in it - I'm sure you're familiar with at least some of the bloggers, such as Nancy on the Homefront who is one of our weekly blog hop cohosts.

Keep reading to find out what I'll be working on this year, including my primary self-reliance goal for 2019 and my big scary personal goal.

This year's homestead goals

Garden Expansion - One goal that I did work on last year was the ongoing project of expanding the garden. Three years ago I thought I could accomplish this in just one summer, but I'm still working on it. An important part of that project was to do it for as-close-to-zero dollars as possible. It's taken awhile to acquire the materials I need and for that reason, I'm not yet finished. But the end goal is very important to me so it's still on my list.

Growing onions in a raised garden bed.

I've added raised beds each year but I still have plans and space to add more. I've finished fencing three-and-a-half sides of the area, but still have about 25' of fencing to replace.

The current fencing in that last spot is field fence, with holes that are large enough for a rabbit to hop through. I'll move the fence about six feet to make the garden wider and replace it with welded wire fencing that has 2"x4" spaces - perfect to keep rabbits out. The t-posts are already in place, we already have a big roll of fencing and it's a one-day job that I just need to get busy and do.

So I'll continue to add raised beds to this area - I'm always acquiring "new" lumber as we tear down old sheds and so on - and I'll get the fence finished.

One of the raised beds will hold flowers this year. I've decided that I can spare some space to feed my soul as well as our stomachs. But it isn't entirely frivolous, some of those flowers will be medicinal or edible, some will help repel garden pests, and some will be chosen because butterflies and bees love them.

Borage repels tomato hornworms and attracts bees.

The Chicken Coop - One of the projects I didn't finish last year was to move the small chicken coop from the barnyard to the garden. It's the first step in a larger project - well, maybe the second step because I'm still trying to level out the ground it will be set on. Moving the coop will require at least two people and hubby wasn't up to it last year. The actual moving of the coop is just one part of the expanded and revamped garden project. I really hope to get this "recycled goal" finished this spring.

Ironically, we had a violent thunderstorm a few days ago that knocked the coop over and moved it about eight feet of where it had been the day before. The roof was badly damaged, but I'd already planned to replace it. I hope the storm didn't do any more damage than that, but I don't know for sure yet. Today it looks like this...

The Bees - If my bees survive the winter, I plan to split the colony into two hives. I've already bought and prepared the new wooden hive, but it needs to be set up in the bee yard. If my hive doesn't survive the winter (and maybe even if it does because they'd probably be my own bees splitting into two colonies anyway), I want to put out a swarm trap and hopefully catch a swarm.

I'm excited to be growing my own sweetener, just another way that I'm trying to be a producer rather than a consumer. Plus the bees help to pollinate my garden. You can read more about my two-year-old beehive here.

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Some other things on my to-do list this year - I also need to sell one of my horses and rehome my entire Muscovy duck flock. I'm trying to simplify and downsize a bit. My rule has always been that our animals must serve a purpose and I have to accept the fact that these are no longer earning their keep.

My big scary personal goal

I have a big scary goal this year: to participate in a 5K run/walk in late spring. But I'll be walking, not running! I might be the last person to finish but that's okay, my goal is to make it across the finish line. Five kilometers equals 3.1 miles.  According to my Fitbit that's almost 8,000 steps for a person of my height; I do achieve that goal on occasion, but now I'll be striving to reach that step goal more regularly, and all at once instead of spread throughout my day. I'll be using these tips to prepare for the big event.

My big scary goal: exercise!

The scariest part about that goal is that I've told you about it, so now I have to do it. There is no backing out. Because you'll hold me to it, right?

My theory about walking - or any other physical activity - is "do it or lose it." In other words, keep moving, and this is even more important to me as I get older. After my mother passed away, my grandmother sat down in Mom's wheelchair and never got up again. I am fighting to stay active and I refuse to give in. And I'm a stubborn woman. Just ask hubby. 

My main self-reliance goal for 2019

My year-long self-reliance goal for 2019 is to increase our food storage. We let it get a bit low last year for various reasons; that's ok, it served us well when we needed it. Now I plan to get it back up to that former level - and beyond. I'll be talking more about this later in January as part of the Self Reliance Challenge I mentioned earlier.

Food storage goals

Will you join me in the challenge? Choose a goal that's important to you, whether it's to start a garden or increase the size of the one you have, learn how to use a pressure-canner, bake bread, pay off a debt or something entirely different. Use the form below to tell me what your goal is. If you're not sure how to get started, ask me - maybe it's something I know how to do.

You might have a one-month-long goal, a one-year goal or one that's even bigger than that, but at the end of the month, I hope you'll let me know about your progress!

Here's that handy form I mentioned, or you can leave a comment on this post if you prefer. (It sometimes takes a few extra seconds for the form to show up; I appreciate your patience.)

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You might enjoy these posts on self-reliance too!
How to make your own vinegar for pennies (free download)
Why I grow comfrey, and why you should too
Canning tips and tricks

Setting homestead goals

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  1. Hi Kathi~
    It's wonderful that you are being so active and joining in the 5K walk! Since I recovered from hip replacement I've been working to get back into a regular walking regimen. Hubby and I are up to 2 miles almost every gets in the way sometimes.

    You are so right about thinking carefully about our goals and setting up a plan for achieving them! I missed a few of my goals this past year too and I reworked the list for this year to be a little more flexible. :)

    Best wishes with you list this year!

    1. Lisa, I think you're doing GREAT by walking two miles daily after hip replacement! Good for you!

  2. farmgal (val)8:09 AM

    Hi Kathi,

    What a lovely post to read. Congrats on figuring out what you needed to trim out and what you kept even if it becomes a multi-year program, I feel the same way with my never ending changing gardens and food forests. Wow that must have been quite the storm to move that in such a way.

    Best of luck on the 5 k walk, I am working towards a goal of being able to do a lot more hiking this spring and I really want to work up to a my 5 or 10 mile rides on my horse.. but it will be a slow build as we are both out of shape :) We will start by hand walking on the road to get both of us back into riding shape.

    1. It was quite a storm! The house shook and the windows rattled and it was *noisy*.

      My horse and I are both out of shape too. :-) The longest ride we've done in the past is 4 miles, so I'm in awe of your goal!

  3. This challenge is wonderful and I am learning so much from all the different women taking part. It all begins with planning and goals.

    1. Planning is everything, isn't it?

  4. Hi Kathy, I'll admit you are not alone when all your goals from last year were not accomplished. I had several I had to admit to as well. It's difficult to get the "big" goals that require help done since my husband is rarely home due to his job.

    I just keep hanging onto them. Things like a garden shed, green house, and barn built. All needed I feel like before I can move more forward. But, it's ok. Its the stage that we are in at this time in our lives and I am thankful for being able to get done what I do.

    Thanks for sharing, I love reading your posts. Always so helpful.

    1. Those projects that require more than one person are the hardest, aren't they, Dianne?

  5. Hi Kathi,
    I think we are all guilty at times of setting unrealistic goals with good intentions. Sometimes life gets in the way and other we just have meet the goals at little later than we planned or change them to fit the situation. I try to keep my goals realistic but sometimes I don't always meet them due to many other circumstances. I think its wonderful that your planning on participating the walk - what a great goal and setting up for a bigger food supply for the coming year is also a great goal and very smart thing to do. Have a healthy, happy & blessed New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you too, Marla!

  6. Great goals! Look forward to going through this challenge with you! I think just writing down our goals is a big step toward accomplishing them1

    1. Thank you Nancy. You're right, writing down our goals really helps us reach them.

  7. I'm an expert at setting unrealistic goals. One of my goals for 2019 is to be kinder to myself by not setting myself up to fail. I'll make it through January just fine but making it through the busy summer is where I'll really have to control myself.

    Best wishes on your goals, in 2019 and on the homestead!

    1. That's a good point, Robin. I have to remember that I'll be busy during spring and not as able to work on other things.

  8. Oh my gosh, you CAN do a 5k! You can do anything you want! Rock those goals!

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Bethany! :-)

  9. Hey Kathi! Great goals! I got a Fitbit for Christmas from my kids, so I've got to get going on some step goals myself! I trained a bit last year for a 5K--it was fun, but my knees didn't think so! Good luck on your goals!

    1. Hi Kristi - as long as I'm walking and not jogging/running my knees are ok. Good luck with your step goals too!

  10. Amazing article, Kathi. Thank you for the information.


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