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Switch up your goal-setting process for 2017

Goal-setting for the farm doesn’t have to be overwhelming

As we near the close of another year, it’s an opportunity for a fresh start. It’s also a time to reflect on the past year and to celebrate the wins that happened throughout it.

Weigh your wins

First, take some time to review the past year. Don’t do this only in terms of how the year went financially – although, of course, that’s important to do too. Consider the biggest wins your farm business had in 2016.

You might do this in light of your overall vision for your farm. What’s your long-term vision for your operation? What do you want your farm to become? Then ask yourself some of the ways that your vision was furthered this year. You might start by thinking about decisions where you intentionally took your vision into account and ways that your farm moved toward what you want it to be.

Celebrate your farm’s wins from 2016. Even if the overall year didn’t go exactly as you’d hoped, there may still be aspects that were ‘wins’ in themselves. Maybe you were very intentional in using your values and vision when making decisions for your farm. It could be a new process you created for your operation that’s going to help make planting season go more smoothly this coming spring.

Think big

Next, begin thinking about your biggest farm goals for 2017. Consider your vision and your values as you begin to lay out these major goals. Think as big as you can at this point, listing multiple possibilities.

You may find you create a list that seems very overwhelming or broad. Some of the goals may be very all-encompassing, even something like ‘Be financially successful in 2017.’ It’s tough to even know how to start achieving such a major goal, since there’s so much that impacts the financial success of a farm.

Break it down

The key is to start breaking down these big goals into smaller, more manageable chunks – so you can start taking concrete action. For example, for the goal of a financially successful year, you might break it down into action steps like reviewing your 2016 financials, creating a budget for 2017, getting a budget to actual review process in place and meeting with your lender.

Then, put those steps into a logical order you can execute. For a very large goal, you might take action on one of the steps each day. It can be empowering to know you’re working toward success on your biggest, most crucial goals through this action. You’ll see progress as you work through the steps.

With the right steps to take toward a big goal, suddenly that major goal might not seem quite so unmanageable or overwhelming anymore. It can also be helpful to have an advisor or ‘coach’ to help create those steps and then help you stay accountable to completing them. This winter, you might get in touch with our advisors, including our ag finance advisors, to help create plans to reach your 2017 goals.

Read the new winter issue of the Smart Series publication, bringing business ideas for today’s farm leader. This issue features tips on harnessing the power of your farm’s numbers, how to set up an employee strategy, and ideas on shielding your farm from unexpected events. Get your free online issue here.


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