When you decided to take on the farm, you knew it was a lifestyle choice. Early mornings, and long days outside. Demanding physical work, hats and dusty boots. The sun, the rain, the freedom to be your own person. Independence, ingenuity and isolation – no rat race for you or your family. You live by your own skills and reap the rewards. Satisfaction. Sundowners after a hard day’s work. Dinner around the kitchen table – weather-worn but loved and still solid. Still going strong, living the life you chose.
Questioning your Lifestyle Goals
Some people have the presence of mind to think about and even list their lifestyle goals. Most of us probably do not. Some people take life as it comes, content to let life shape them. But to others, life is something to be forged and moulded. But does farming allow you to define and pursue lifestyle goals outside of the day to day?
Depends on the list and depends on what you mean by goal. Some stated lifestyle goals are too broad to be meaningful – be happy, healthy, wealthy – that sort of thing. As very generic goals they are fine, but to be useful, it would probably be better to be more specific. So whereas a goal may be seen as a general statement of aim or purpose, an objective would be a more precise statement or quantification of a goal. As an example, a goal may be to lose weight, but an objective might be to lose 5kgs by 1 November.
Ok, so let’s see a few examples of lifestyle goals/objectives:
- Be debt free by age 65;
- Have secure and adequate retirement income;
- Send the children to the school of your choice;
- Have a holiday every year;
- Have close relationships with your children;
- Contribute to your local community;
- Have a comfortable roof over your head;
- Pass on your knowledge of farming to your children; and keep the family farm in the family.
Now these may or may not be your objectives, but here’s the point: think about them, talk about them with your spouse and other family members and write them down. Part of your life plan. Give some thought to the strategies you need to put in place to achieve your objectives. And be prepared to measure your success periodically.
The Flexible Life Plan
Whatever stage of life you find yourself at, you will benefit from doing some personal planning. The plan needs to be measurable, but flexible enough to accommodate you and your family as you plough through life. It’s an exciting process and a rewarding one.
At the end of the day its your life!