New Year’s resolutions are hard. Turns out, I cannot make big promises that last an entire year. So, instead I’m breaking it down into little decisions each month.
I’ve come up with 20 things to do in 2020 to benefit my home and farm. Feel free to duplicate or just use it as a template to spur you along in planning for this year.
1. Make a will. When it comes to planning for our demise, my husband and I have done the basics of “transfer on death” for vehicles and bank accounts and a beneficiary deed on file at the courthouse, but not a will. I know, right? Time for all of us to get one done.
2. Create financial calendar. We all have big needs or wants in a year. Looking at a yearly view of finances can help decide when is the best time to pull the trigger on those purchases.
3. Establish a two-week budget. We’ve lived by bimonthly budgets for a while, but a wedding, travel and holidays last year took us off track. Time to stick to the budget.
4. Get a hearing test. When your kids repeat a question from a waiter who is standing right next to you, it is time to get your hearing checked. Hearing loss may be because of loud farm equipment or age, but it’s time to assess damage and search options.
5. Haul off farm junk. Scrap metal places pay for junk. The only thing holding me back is my energy. Time to load up the truck and trailer and clean up my farmstead.
6. Tackle weeds. They are the bane of my existence. This year, we’re getting rid of weeds in the pasture and yard. MU Extension will like that we are “starting clean.”
7. Ready spring equipment. I can’t remember the last time I cleaned the mower before the first clipping. I know farmers inspect spring planting equipment, but don’t skip the small stuff.
8. Seed pasture and yard. New grass here we come. Fingers crossed my husband buys a pull-behind seeder. It may make the January financial calendar.
Off. We all need time off from decisions. Here’s hoping this year, this month, we are all busy with planting.
9. Tend to the trees. We planted chestnut trees in 2019. This year, it’s time for drip line irrigation. My arms are tired of dragging the hose.
10. Create a farmscape. For years, we’ve invested money in livestock and kids. I’ve paid little attention to the landscape around my farm. New year, new do-it-yourself possibilities.
11. Financial checkup. Halfway through the year, how am I doing on my financial goals?
12. Attend a fair. The highlight of our kids’ summer was traveling to local fairs showing sheep. Make memories. Sit ringside just once this summer.
13. Spruce up siding. Get out the power washer and clean the siding both on the house and the barn.
14. Donate to a charity. While giving is a part of our family budget, it is important for us to go above and beyond in helping others. Plan philanthropic efforts.
15. Regrade driveway. Wear and tear by cars, trucks, livestock trailers and snowblowers take a toll on a farm drive. After 11 years with no new gravel, the drive needs an upgrade.
16. Attend a fall festival. Most of the fall festivals I visit, I’m searching for a story. This year, I will go to one just for fun.
17. Winterize equipment. Winterizing often is put on the back burner at our house as summer runs right into winter. I should know that preparing now means less hassle in spring.
18. Travel to see family. If you have kids who don’t live nearby, offer to drive to them. From someone who lived away from home for 10 years, it is fun to have visitors and not have to travel home every holiday.
19. Buy Thanksgiving flowers for a friend (not family). Find someone in your church, community or neighborhood who needs a little joy during the holidays and send flowers. Give.
20. Assess “20 things in 20." It’s good to look back and see progress. But I’m not going to sweat it, and neither should you, if we didn’t get all 20 things accomplished. There’s always “21 things in 21.”
Happy New Year’s resolution planning.