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Farm Journal: Hello January! 2020

Definitely not January 🙂

Well, it’s 2020. For better or worse, here we go again. Believe it or not, I actually love the idea of a “new” year. In reality it can feel like nothing much has changed- we carry on with our daily routines and go about our business. But I always look at it as the possibility and opportunity for a fresh start. It’s an annual free pass to let things go, forgive yourself (and others!) for not being perfect and to move bravely and freely into the new year. I realize I have simplified things here, and life isn’t always (ok, it never is) that easy. A lot of us have deeper things happening in and around our lives that shouldn’t, and likely can’t, just be shrugged off with a “let’s move on”. But what I’m getting at here is that Jan 1st a day that you can allow yourself this feeling of acceptance of what is and readiness for what will be. So, here we go!!

As we move into 2020 we’re taking a serious look back at 2019. Now that we’ve had a couple weeks to take a breath and relax a bit, we’re ready to reflect on the season and make some decisions and find direction for the future. This is when we pull out the pen and paper and try to figure out what and where things went right or wrong. I was feeling really inspired after reading a post by Vermont farmer, Taylor Mendell of Footprint Farm. She recently started a blog and companion instagram account, called Habit Farming, with the goal of helping farmers learn to better manage their finances, their businesses and their lives. She explains in detail their process for reviewing the past year and figuring out how to go about tackling the huge project of planning the farm for the next season.

The first step in the process is to make two lists: on the first, you write down all the things that you would consider an achievement for the year and on the other you put down your disappointments. Once we really got into it, we both felt like this was a fun (yes, kinda geeky fun, but fun nonetheless) exercise. The disappointments will often dominate our thoughts or moods, but it felt really good when we starting jotting down all the achievements. We were on a roll and realized we had really taken those wins for granted. Then, as suggested, we looked at all the disappointments and then tried to categorize them by looking at how we would fix them. Was it a problem with our systems (or lack thereof) or did we need a new tool or some kind of infrastructure? Or was it that we just didn’t know what we were doing and needed to do more research on how to do it right? It was nice to look at all those things we had identified and then put them into little boxes. The list felt way more manageable when we were done and when we stepped back we were happy to see that many of issues from the past season could be solved by improving our systems and didn’t actually require huge expenditures. And now we had the a place to start for creating a road map for the upcoming year.

While we’re focused on our farm here, I think this process can be really useful for and applied to anyone or any business- whatever you’re doing. Even if you don’t go far beyond making the lists, it’s helpful to have a framework for looking back at the past year and planning for the next. Start writing down all the things that went well for you and I bet you’ll be surprised! Everything counts! Not messing something up, to me, counts as an achievement. They don’t have to be monumental in nature, because a whole pile of small things can become something great.

So as we enter into the new year and a new decade, I encourage you to step back and take stock. Consider making some lists to help you really look at your life or your business objectively. I know I always feel better after making lists! There’s something about putting things down on paper and actually acknowledging and organizing my thoughts that seems to magically free up some mental space and allows me to move ahead.

Ok, 2020, let’s do this!

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