Polls show that 88 percent of Americans make at least one New Year’s resolution. While resolutions can be as unique as the individual, the most popular resolutions are to eat healthier (55 percent), exercise more (50 percent), and lose weight (38 percent). Although made with good intentions, most people fail to follow through in keeping their goals for the New Year. But that doesn't mean our farmers and ranchers can't be among the 20 percent of people who do actually achieve success with their resolutions.
• Slow down. Farmers are notorious for being in a rush — always too much to do and not enough time to get it done. I realize a farmers day doesn’t always go according to schedule, but if you can slow down you may save yourself time in the long run. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
• Get organized. Get a new notepad or calendar to keep track of breeding dates, birthing dates, and dates that vaccinations were given. Personal experience says the intent to just remember that tag number and write it down once in the house is often forgotten. A handy calendar in the pickup or barn will encourage those things to be written down immediately.
• Learn from past mistakes. I am guessing that many of us have something we wish we could change from the past year. Whether it be remembering a birthday or communicating to family or employees, try to avoid making the same mistake twice. Think about one decision you would change from the past year and make and create a plan to correct it for 2018.
• Create a marketing plan. This could be for either a crops or livestock operation. Will you be ready to price grain when you reach your price objective? Do you have a price objective? Can you market your cattle in a more efficient manner and gain more profits? If you have a plan, you will be more prepared when the markets change.
• Eat healthier. I am certainly not a nutritionist, but it doesn’t take one to tell you that can after can of soda is not healthy. Look for ways to eat healthier and drink plenty of water. You are a valuable resource to your farming operation and to your family.
• Change one thing. Surely there is something on your farm or ranch that you’ve intended to correct or fix. Maybe the fence is in need of drastic repair, or the driveway needs a new load of gravel. Either way, find that one thing that you’ve intended to do and get it done. Commit to having it accomplished by a specific date and stick to it.
• Spend time with family. Kids grow fast and whether you are a parent or grandparent you surely realize the most precious gift is time. As the kid of a farmer, I can tell you that spending any time with Dad is valuable. Give them a ride in the pickup on the way to the field or let them ride in the passenger seat of the tractor or combine. While you have some one-on-one time, talk to them and slow down enough to listen. This advice is good for your spouse too!
• Learn something new. Living in the technology age, there really isn’t a good excuse for not knowing what is going on in the world around you. If you haven’t figured out how to use the internet — ask someone to show you how. You will be amazed at the information and resources available to you.
Another year has passed, and here we are at the beginning of 2018. This is surely to be a year of many good memories and experiences. For me, I hope it is a year of Patience — my personal resolution to make me a better mom, wife, friend and co-worker. Happy New Year. £