In simple terms it's a visual representation of what you want, your goals. It's reminder that you can glance at every day of what your deepest goals and desires are. It helps you to stay focused and motivated on what you really want/need/desire in your life and on your homestead.
I find that pulling together images for a vision board helps me to really narrow down our goals for the year by focusing on what I'm really passionate about and really want for our lives at that time. How I want to feel, and what I want to see everyday on our homestead.
"Create a vision for the life you really want and then work relentlessly towards making it a reality"
Roy T. Bennet
It's a much bigger, broader view of our goals than a specific list, although it helps us to create that specific list so we can prioritize projects that year on the farm.
Of course, there will be some 'must-do' items and obvious maintenance and expansion tasks that will automatically be on our list, but this helps build the rest of it.
I see a vision board as the big dream, the deep desire, the things you truly love, and the goals list as some of the steps to get there, or to get closer to where you want to be.
Don't get caught in the trap of just dreaming about what you want, take the next step: write down actionable things you can do to help you achieve those big goals, then get off your butt and do them! (More about crafting that specific list below).
"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world"
Joel A. Barker
Making Your Vision Board
Honestly, I think Pinterest has turned into the ultimate vision board, some people even create a specific board on the site for that. I like to create my vision boards in Canva (free) and print it out, that way I can glance at it every day for inspiration and motivation.
Don't get me wrong, I looooove Pinterest, I use it all the time, but I prefer to see my vision board all in one shot - on a cork board, poster board, or like I do now, printed out and framed (here's ours from this year below):
Check out this post I came across on using Pinterest to create a vision board if you think that would be more your style.
Setting Your Annual Goals
Setting goals can be as easy as writing down what you want to accomplish for that year. However, doing it in a way that makes it realistic to achieve and gives you specific steps to complete each goal, or each part of an overall goal, in my opinion, lessens the stress of an annual "to-do" list (more on this below and a free worksheet to help).
Why even set goals? I find myself getting overwhelmed at the thought of all the projects we both need, and want, to do each year. So writing everything out, then narrowing it down to an achievable list (even if you don't get through the whole list in a year) really helps to focus my energy on the things that matter that year.
How to choose your goals for the year:
Think about your "big picture" (your 5 or 10-year plan), what you really want for yourself, your family, and your homestead/farm (the things that would be on your vision board). Then narrow that big picture into smaller, realistic steps.
How?? keep scrolling!
How? By using SMART goals!
SMART is a mnemonic that originated in the business world (its use goes back to the 1980s) and has been used and adapted for almost every industry/situation, from personal to professional life.
Specific: what does your goal mean? Use numbers, if applicable, your goal here is to eliminate vagueness so you really know what you're working toward. Narrow your big goal into something not open to interpretation as to what the goal actually means.
Measurable: how will you measure success or achievement of this goal, or progress toward it? How will you stay on track? Give yourself something specific to "check off" that you did in working toward your goal.
Achievable: here's where you narrow your goals into something you can actually, realistically achieve in the timeframe you choose (typically a year). Don't set yourself up for failure by being too ambitious.
Relevant: this reminds you to make sure your annual goals are in line with your overall vision for where you're going and where you want to be next year.
Time-sensitive: give yourself a realistic timeframe to complete the one (or many) steps it may take to achieve this goal.
How to narrow downBROAD goals into SMART goals
(an example from our farm):
Here's an example from one of my "big" goals, narrowed down using the SMART method:
Goal: I want to start to offset some costs on our farm.
1. Specific: I will acquire two outlets to sell our extra produce this year.
2. Measurable: I will apply to sell at one local farmer's market, I will reach out to 3-5 local chefs about buying some of our produce.
3. Achievable: I will obtain liability insurance first, then I will review our records from last year and calculate how much "extra" produce we had and adjust our seeding and planting plans to account for additional produce, if needed. I will promote our business through: online marketing, word-of-mouth and local networking.
4. Relevant: finding outlets to sell some of our produce will allow us to bring in more income and off-set some of our annual costs, meanwhile, we are still doing what we love: farming/gardening.
5. Time-sensitive: I will obtain liability insurance within 4 weeks, I will finish our farms Facebook page within 2 weeks and I will start email and social media marketing when the Facebook page is live. I will reach out to the local farmers market and 3 local chefs within 4 weeks.
"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway"
Here's a free worksheet I use to create our goals each year: