Setting Realistic Goals

beginners landownership longterm management women landowners Jan 09, 2023

It's another new year and the mantra typically heard is "New Year, New Me!" or the "New Year, Better Me!"

And we set our resolutions of things we've neglected last year and "promised" to start right after we get that new calendar flipped over for the new year. 

And if you're like me, it probably looks something similar to this:

  • "Eat healthier!"
  • "Stay consistently on budget."
  • "Clean out that closet..."

Sound familiar yet?

And when it comes to your land it may look something like...

  • "Help Dave on the land more..."
  • "Manage the land this year."
  • "Sell timber and replant."
  • "Go out in nature more often..."

So, when it comes to these goals, we decide we're "really" actually ready to do this... this time ... *pinky promise*

There is something problematic with these goals though:

  1. Our goal is SO broad we never follow through with action and never know how to reach success...

                                        OR

  2. We make a bullet list so long even the CVS receipts would gasp. Which typically leads to analysis paralysis on where to begin so we don't...

These are true for me personally AND when it comes to making goals for our land. 

So here are some ways to set your goals where you can actually follow through on your land (and in your personal goals too if we're being honest.)

ONE.

Set ONE end of the year result you desire on your land.

This could range from desiring to have improved wildlife habitat, increase income stream profits, or have a clear succession plan... I recommend writing down everything you need or simply want to get done when it comes to your land. But for the 2023 year, pick ONE of them to follow-through with, without excuses. This will make your goal feel achievable and reduce the overwhelming mountain of obligation you feel needs to happen on your shoulder. 

TWO.

List 3 steps (or ways) that goal can be accomplished.

So whatever goal you picked in step one, list out at least 3 steps to get that goal completed. If your goal was to improve wildlife habitat, your steps might be to complete a prescribed burn, establish an acre food plot, thin your loblolly pine plantation, etc. If you want to increase income streams your steps may be to execute a timber sale, implement a hunting lease, and host an event on your land. For a succession plan your steps might be to have an updated management plan developed, have a will created, and commit to having a family conversation. No matter the goal, give yourself 3 steps to make sure it gets done.

THREE.

Now pick ONE of those steps you either desire/need more to get done or is most realistic to accomplish this year. 

Just because you have a list of actions you can do this year to reach your goal, doesn't mean you have to complete them all. Depending on whatever the action is, it most likely is a multi-step process. Even something such as establishing a food plot involves disking, planting, perhaps herbicide or supplemental plantings, all of which can take months from start to finish. Which leads to....

FOUR.

Take the step you just picked, and break THAT down into a series of 3-5 small steps to help you execute the work and/or achieve a better understanding. 

The steps needed to complete a task may require some initial education to get comfortable or competent to move forward. For example, before you implement a prescribed burn, you may want to watch some webinars or enroll into a one-day class/course to understand what the fire will do to your land, better communicate with the resources you're contracting with and fully understand the steps to keep you and your land safe. Perhaps you decide to enroll into our "Selling Your Timber: A-Z" course to fully understand the timber sale and feel confident in the process, call a consultant and mark the property boundaries. Breaking down the one step selected to reach the one goal you want to achieve will give you reasonable actions any landowner can grasp. This takes the 1-mile run, and breaks it down to four 400meter runs, which add up together to let you reach your actionable goal.

FIVE.

Set deadlines to complete your mini steps by.

I am the queen of procrastination, ask anybody that knows me. And if something doesn't have a clear deadline... a definitive date to be completed by, I will naturally keep postponing the step and let life put it on the backburner until I look up and realize I have neglected it for over 6 months! Now, life does happen... and certain activities can ONLY be performed at particular times. Make sure you know those time periods and give yourself enough, realistic time, to work within... but nevertheless put a date to your actions.

SIX.

Find an accountability partner.

I can find a million and one excuses of why "now isn't the time" or "I am too busy this week" or "I don't have ________". But that's where the accountability partner comes in... someone I've expressed my goals to, and someone who will encourage me to follow through. Life happens which causes postponement, but you want someone who will differentiate "life happening" and "making excuses", and then call you out if needed. This can be a friend, family member, or perhaps someone in the Land & Ladies community in a similar situation as you (keep each other accountable!)

SEVEN.

Just do it.

Follow-through on what you've set on paper. You've now taken an abstract goal, broke it down to actionable steps and transformed an uphill one-day battle to simple, small actionable wins. But it's up to you to make these a priority.

So, for the 2023 year let's make a pact together. Let's get determined to stay engaged with our land and resolute to take action on ONE goal. One step at a time. 

 

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