I have lately felt the need to come up with a kind of a mission statement to organize my activities. I believe more and more in living deliberately not just instinctively, because sometimes my instincts can be a little off. Im making changes to live better, I know somewhat what I'm trying to accomplish but worry a bit about distracting myself with things that are more in the category of "shoulds" which of course is not a real concept. Does anybody out there as a homesteader have a mission statement? What you are trying to achieve, the principles that you are living by, your core goals? Id be curious, it would be very helpful to me. Thanks. M
I don't know, it sounds like such a formal thing. My mission statement, if I have one, is only expressed in my actions, with a sharpened shovel in my hand and a vision for what a patch of land could become. The soil richer and deeper, pollinators many and strong, grace and inspiration to those who visit, and good food to anyone who hungers. It's mostly that simple.
Michael Littlejohn wrote:I have lately felt the need to come up with a kind of a mission statement to organize my activities. I believe more and more in living deliberately not just instinctively, because sometimes my instincts can be a little off. Im making changes to live better, I know somewhat what I'm trying to accomplish but worry a bit about distracting myself with things that are more in the category of "shoulds" which of course is not a real concept.
I definitely understand this. It's very easy to get sidetracked or so overloaded as to become frustrated. I haven't thought of it as a specific mission statement, rather, I tend to think in terms of goals. For example, my husband's and my primary goal is simply to become as self-reliant as we are able. To accomplish that, we started by chosing specific areas in which we can work toward self-sufficiency: food (subdivided into food for us and food for our critters), water, and energy. From there we were able to make project lists and prioritize the various projects on them. After we'd been at it for awhile, we added "resources" to our self-reliance categories because we want to primarily use what we produce on our homestead, rather than always having to buy everything. We have a lot of trees, for example, and so invested in a sawmill and a chipper. We've been able to carefully manage our woodlot and mill most of our own lumber for building projects, as well as chip our own mulch.
Any new ideas or projects that present themselves have to help us toward our primary goal. We've also learned to ask how well an idea fits into our busy workflow. How much new work will a project add? Is it enough to justify implementing it? At first, we were very project oriented, but now we tend to think more seasonally because these things have to be done at the appropriate season: planting, harvesting, food preservation, for example. So seasonal chores have to come first. One of our mottos is "food first." Anything related to food self-sufficiency has to come before, say, maintenance chores.
Periodically, we review and evaluate our goals and our progress. We have seasonal and weekly planning meetings, where we make a lot of lists. Sometimes things just don't work out as we planned. Some things end up requiring more money or energy than will they will help. Oftentimes, we learn something new that changes our direction. Like how we manage our soil. As we've come to understand the soil as an ecosystem, it's changed how we view it and how we manage our garden and pastures.
Once a year we take a look back at what we've accomplished. It's so easy to see only what isn't done, rather than what we've accomplished. I keep a blog for that purpose, but a good photo album would do the same. It's a real boost to look back and see how much you've actually done.
I think this is what's helped us stay on track: goals, lists, plenty of patience, and a large dose of flexibility.