Photo by Sue Weaver
In 2012, Mopple gets to learn to pull a cart as part of Mom’s New Year’s resolution.
In December of 2010, the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, a survey research center at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., asked people if they make and keep New Year’s resolutions, and 44 percent of them said they do. According to the survey, younger people are more likely to make resolutions than folks Mom’s age; 58 percent of people under age 45 vowed to improve their lives in 2011 while only 34 percent of respondents over 45 did. Researchers asked the same people if they kept the resolutions they made for 2010; 60 percent said they kept their resolutions for at least part of the year, while 40 percent did not.
Mom always makes resolutions, and she sometimes keeps them. This year she resolves to write a freebie eBook about raising a pet dairy goat wether and give it to anyone who wants one. She also wants to finally teach Mopple, the sheep-geep, to pull a wagon.
The trick to New Year’s resolutions and making them work is to select just a few goals like Mom did, plan ahead and break each goal down into doable tasks. If you’re making resolutions this year, here are some tips you could follow:
Make SMART goals
SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.”
- Specific means you’ll hone in on the essence of each goal. Instead of saying, “I’m going to grow more food on my farm this year,” say, “I’m going to grow an organic garden full of yummy vegetables.” (Be sure to grow extra for your goats—yum!) Or you could say, “I’m going to research heritage chickens, pick a dual-purpose or layer chicken breed, build chicken housing and raise some chicks.”
- Measurable means you can tell when you’ve reached your goal (i.e., you’re eating homegrown vegetables or eggs).
- Attainable means the goal is reasonably doable. If you’ve never ridden a horse, resolving to buy your own horse and take some lessons is a better goal than saying you’ll place in western pleasure at the Quarter Horse Congress this year.
- Relevant means the goal meshes with your interests and lifestyle; it’s not something someone else wants you to do.
- Time-bound means you’ll say exactly when you’ll attain your goal. “I’ll serve my family homegrown eggs from my very own chickens by October.”
Don’t necessarily start living your resolution on Jan. 1.
Just figure it out, and write it down. Then start when the time’s just right. For instance, starting a diet or vigorous exercise plan on Jan. 1 during the rush and bustle of the holiday season usually leads to disaster.
Break your goals into increments.
Establish milestones, and reward yourself along the way. Instead of saying, “I’ll lose 20 pounds this year,” try “I’ll lose a pound a week until I’ve lost 20 pounds.” Then reward yourself with a good book or some other treat once a month.
What are your resolutions this year? Leave a comment—Uzzi and I want to know!