Ok, give me the truth friends, are the same gardening goals/ projects reappearing on your to do list this year during your garden planning? We have all been there. Perhaps it's because gardeners get so many wonderful ideas. They are wonderful but what can we do differently this year to get these ideas off of our to do lists and into our gardens. I have 5 SMART steps that are going to help you (and me) make that happen!
5 Smart Steps to Reach Your Gardening Goals
Let's look back at some of the goals and projects we have set out to accomplish in the past. Was it a clearly defined goal? Did you give yourself a time limit? Was it reasonable in your given circumstances? Perhaps it's how we are setting our goals that is causing us problems.
Have you ever heard of SMART Goals? It is a way of focusing your efforts on clearly defined goals that you can reasonable accomplish with your given resources and time. The five steps follow the acronym SMART.
In this years Ultimate Garden Planner and Journal I've added a SMART Garden Goals worksheet as well as project pages to help us focus our attention and resources. Garden planning is the perfect time to map out our goals and projects for the year. The worksheet from the planner will be what I am following through this blog post. Here is a look at it so you can follow along. I've also added a Projects and Projects Planning page to help us keep track of and plan our projects. If you would like to follow along with worksheet of your own, scroll down for a link to the instant download for the Ultimate Garden Planner and Journal.
Let's take a look at each step with an example. Remember the steps follow the acronym S-M-A-R-T.
Make sure that when you are setting your goals that you are specific. We don't want to see anything vague like "produce more food for storage." How much more food do you want to produce. 10% more? 100 lbs. more? Clearly state what it is that you want to accomplish and why it is important and worthy of your time and efforts. It is very motivating to have the why outlined.
Let's look at the example above. It is one thing to want to grow 100 more lbs of food for winter storage/ preservation. It is another thing to want to grow 100 more lbs of food so that you and your family are eating more vegetables and cutting down on the food bill. This goal is more clearly defined with a much stronger why behind it. That why gives us more incentive.
We kind of already did this in the example above. I guess that's an easy example as long as you know how much produce you preserved the year before. Keep records my friends! But be sure that whatever your goal or project is you clearly define the finished product. Do you want make 6 new raised beds and have them ready for next years planting with finished paths inbetween the beds? Or do you want to just have the raised beds built? You want to be able to say that you completed the entire goal not just part of it.
Sometimes, even though it might seem a bit ridiculous, breaking the goal down into little mini steps makes the goal much more achievable. We might look at our project and think "I just don't have that much time today." Then the next week you look at it again only to realize that once again you don't have enough time to get it all done. Obviously you are not going to grow 100lbs of food in an afternoon the way you can tackle other projects but let's stick with that example and break it down into smaller action steps that can be made over a longer period of time.
Action #1 - Make a list of the specific food you want to produce more of and decide how you are going to preserve each one- drying, canning, freezing...
Action #2 Look over the recipes or direction for each of the preservations methods you plan on using and make a list of all the supplies you need. Purchase any needed supplies.
Action #3 Plan 1 afternoon a week to tackle 1 or more of the crops on your list. Or you may commit to harvesting more than you need for dinner and blanching some while you prepare dinner. Or wash it and put it in the dehydrator...
How can a break this goal down?
Now that you have clearly defined your goal you can assess if it is realistic for you to accomplish it with your given resources. This may seem like an obvious step but we don't want to set ourselves up for failure cause that, well, that's just discouraging!
Set a date or time to be finished. This fine tunes your focus as you work toward finishing your goal by the given date/time. Every goal should be time bound to hold yourself accountable. We can be very good at justifying why we are unable to get to a project. Let's give that habit a the boot and set a time frame for each of our goals.
Taking the time to clearly define our goals, write them down, and how we are going to accomplish them brings everything into focus lighting the path to the finish line. You have to write it all down!
This is not the first time you have heard me say that keeping good records brings more success in the garden. Write down your goals in notebook or planner. If you want a planner specific to gardening that includes worksheet for SMART goals and project planning then take a look at this years Ultimate Garden Planner and Journal. It rocks! And it has everything you need to keep accurate records for anything pertaining to your garden along with many other helpful gardening worksheets, guides, and trackers.
What are you doing this year to make your garden successful? Do you have any projects planned? I always love hearing what's going on in your garden world. If your goal is to start composting or grow a pollinator garden be sure to check out my free guides and printables page for some great resources.
Happy garden planning! May your gardens be blessed!
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Hello, I'm Jaci. I look forward to sharing my gardening and homestead adventures to help you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!