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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Great Expectations and Goal Planning


Another year.  Another chance to start over with a brand new page on a new calendar and another chance for most of the world to make those pesky New Years Resolutions.  I don't do New Years Resolutions because although I enjoy the clean-slate-fresh-start-excitement of it all I have failed too many times.  My resolutions tended to be short sighted and mostly wishful thinking that came after 2 weeks of parties and fun and not enough sleep!

That doesn't mean I don't have a plan but it took a lot longer than a few hours to put together and it's something we work on all year long - revising as we need to but always with the goal of moving forward and seeing progress.


Having a farm has increased the need for a long term plan dramatically and thankfully we learned a few lessons in the past that bare directly on this goal setting mission.

We lived in our home in town for just over 20 years. That's a long time to not have a real plan but we were so busy living our lives and raising our family that I didn't give much thought to long term planning at that point - I was just trying to survive until nap time!  

One of the greatest lessons we learned was about having a plan.  I'll call this one The Lesson of The Kitchen Floor.

When we moved in the floor was covered in alternating black and white tiles - we could have played people-sized-checkers on it.  It was not in terrible shape but it was our new home and we wanted to make it ours. The decorating bug overcame me and I wanted that floor GONE.  Ohhh - nice clean linoleum flooring - no cracks for crumbs to get in between - easy to mop up - this was going to make life easier for me-who-happened-to-be-8-months-pregnant.  All went well - we managed to lay the flooring.  It looked great - until we moved the fridge in and gouged a huge chunk of the flooring right in front of the main entrance to the kitchen.  OH NO!  We were too broke to redo it and there didn't seem to be anyway to fix it so we lived with it.  (and have you ever tried to keep a WHITE linoleum floor clean with little kids in the house??)  

Three years later - which nicely coincided with an equally pregnant-me - we decided to make the kitchen a little bigger which meant renovating the floor again - this time going for a more "country" look by replacing the floor with painted pine boards.  I loved my new floor and the best part was when I got tired of the colour I could paint the floor again and have a whole new look.  I must have done that 3 or 4 times - it was barn red for awhile, then it was sage green...

Fast forward several years and a total kitchen renovation was in the works.  We were putting in new kitchen cabinets so that was the end of my wooden floor as the huge gaps and the demolition finished it for good.  But on to better things - lets get ceramic tile!  Oh-so-clean and easy to care for (anyone who has tried to install ceramic tile in an old house is already shaking their heads at our naivety) but we ploughed ahead and had the floor installed - insert several naughty words here to get the full effect of the process. Of all the flooring this was by far the worst!  Momma Mia - it cracked, it split, it was cold - I HATED IT!  We sold the house with that floor and I wasn't sorry to leave it behind!

The moral of the story???  ...I think we exhausted all the possibilities - all on ONE tiny kitchen floor.  What a complete waste of time and money.  We could have saved ourselves lots of both if we had taken the time to make a long term plan for that kitchen.  We could have lived with the black and white tiles, made a more informed decision about our options and spent the money ONCE on a renovation that would have lasted more than a few years. 

That floor is in the  forefront of my mind when I think about renovations here at the farm - there is definitely work to be done inside and out but so far we haven't done much more than PLAN.  I do not want to repeat that scenario again.  Of course the plan doesn't always work.  We had a satellite dish installed for our internet a few weeks ago and afterwards realised it is not in the best place considering the placement of the soon-to-be-installed wood stove chimney.  Sigh.

Thankfully nothing here is so bad that we can't live with it.  When we moved here we thought we would rework the house in a certain way but after living here for 2 years we realised those plans were ill conceived for various reasons.  It's taken actually LIVING here to see what needed to be done.  The patience required is a little easier to come by at this age then it was 25 years ago.

I had someone come to visit us about a year ago and he was surprised that THIS was my dream home.  Not this house?  he asked repeatedly  (while I wanted to bonk him in the noggin) YES - THIS HOUSE!  I can see it as it WILL be although I love it - crooked walls, creaky doors and all but I have a PLAN to make it even better.  

Our lists of plans take up pages.  It's a constant work in progress and one that wouldn't get very far without constant attention. My husband and I have priority meetings regularly to stay on track.  It is probably the number one thing that keeps us getting things done on time and in order.  There's a common way to set goals using the SMART system. 

Make your goals:
Specific. 
Measurable.
Achievable.
Realistic.
Timely

This skill - and it is a learned skill - is something that carries over into other areas as well.  Planning food storage for example.  Write the plan first THEN proceed to purchasing food and or supplies. 

For practicality sake I use my favourite computer program OneNote to keep all the notes and lists.  Some people like paper copies but I do really well with notebooks made in the OneNote program.  There's a FREE program called Evernote that is similar if you're in to that kind of thing.


I have organizing and paring down my huge book collection, reorganizing my kitchen, and our annual eat-to-the-bottom-of-the-freezer-challenge on the list for January. Do you have any resolutions or goals for the year you would like to share?

Happy New Year!

1 comment:

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