4 min read
Understand the power of setting clear, meaningful goals for your dairy farm business and personal life. It starts with finding your focus areas, like health or pasture management, where you want to concentrate your efforts. Once you have these areas, you should set SMART goals - ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. To achieve your goals, you create an action plan with steps and activities. You can also use a planning wheel for a visual representation of your vision and goals. Don't forget to celebrate your successes and revise your goals as needed.
Everyone has hopes and dreams, when people set goals that excite and motivate them, they do whatever is necessary to turn their vision of the future, into reality.
Setting clearly defined goals is a powerful way to determine your ideal future and give you direction. Ask yourself:
Focus areas are key life areas we wish to focus on to achieve our vision. Determining key focus areas will help you fulfill your vision and create structure around how to achieve your farm business goals.
Focus areas are often called “areas of life” or “big rocks”. Goals and actions are developed for each focus area.
There are no rules around which focus areas you should choose. To help you create balance in your life, it is useful to consider selecting a balanced range of areas including:
Download a list of possible focus areas and determine yours.
Personal and business focus areas could include:
|Health and fitness||Networking
|Friends and social life||Leisure and fun||Building a herd or
|Farm systems skills or experience||Personal development||Staff management|
|Spiritual||Saving money||Industry contribution|
|Learning or building skills||Caring for the
and helping others
|Partner||Holidays and travel|
Dreams will stay dreams if you don't identify and achieve specific goals and actions. Writing down and putting intentional focus on achieving goals sets you up for success.
Develop SMART goals for each of your key focus areas.
Think about what is needed to get you from your current position, to your desired position. What does success look like?
To be effective and powerful, goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound, for example, instead of having "To own a farm" as a goal, it's more powerful to say "To own a farm by 31 December, 2025".
For each goal, think about what help or new information you may need. Ask yourself, will I need:
Use the SMART process to test the goals you write and to keep yourself accountable, if you don’t think your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic or it doesn’t have a time frame keep refining it.
Breaking down your goals into bite sized chunks and prioritising and sequencing the actions you need to take will help you to make sure you are working on the right things, measure your progress and feel a sense of control and achievement as you do it.
Your action plan should detail the steps and activities required to achieve each goal. Meaningful action plans keep you motivated and on track by breaking goals into bite-sized, manageable activities against which you can measure your progress.
Download and complete our action planner to prioritise actions, assign responsibility, allocate time frames, and assess your progress.
There are no rules about what you should or shouldn't include as actions in your action plan. Some people list each mini step, while others outline the key major steps.
When action planning
Decision making matrix
As you develop your action plans, at times you will need to choose between different options or approaches. Use our decision making matrix to decide which option will help you achieve your goals and best fit your vision and values.
Your planning wheel provides a visual representation of your vision, focus areas, and the goals and actions you need to achieve that vision. Use the planning wheel to measure and monitor your progress.
A planning wheel is central to your business plan, it helps you make decisions by considering whether different options align with, or work against, your goals.
Create your planning wheel
Transferring your vision, focus areas and goals and action plans is as simple as completing the planning wheel.
Make your planning wheel something that really motivates and inspires you every day and pin it somewhere you will see it; revisit it often to check you’re on track. Don’t be afraid to get creative with pictures and colour.
Unlike your vision, goals can change frequently. It’s important to monitor your progress and take pride in achieving your goals.
At least twice a year revisit your plan and your goals. Tick off goals you have achieved, and review and refresh any that might need to change and set yourself some new ones.
"We regularly review our goals... medium and long term. One of the principle reasons we farm is to have the ability to generate time for ourselves to invest in whatever we want, be that community projects, family, or sports."