For those that have followed along since we first started our OWG farm project in 2011 – you know that our annual “Goals and To-Do List” we create for each new year is a big part of our life.

2015 goals
Our 2015 Goals List for the farm – you can click to enlarge

Quite honestly, the list has played an invaluable role in keeping us on track as we create the farm and live out our dream of a more self-sufficient and simple life.

The procedure has remained the same every year since creating our first list back in 2011. We each create an independent set of 24 goals for the coming year, (2 for each month) – and then attach a number to rank the significance of each goal.

The next step is to read them to each other out loud. Usually – we will both have a good 15 to 20 goals that are similar – but there are always a few that each of us write down the other did not. So it’s then that the fun begins – as we work together to take the best 24 possible.

Finally, when the list is complete – we print it off and stick it smack dab in the middle of the fridge for us to see every day of the year, checking off each item throughout the year as we complete the task. It’s amazing what the power of seeing your goals every day can mean to actually accomplishing them!

The Successes..

This years list!
The list from 2013 – which included getting bees to the farm and building our new chicken coop!

Looking back on those early lists  – it’s easy to see how far we have come by checking off those goals one by one. From the first goals of planting a small orchard of apple and fruit trees – to putting in grapes and creating a little vineyard – to building everything from our barn, chicken coop, pergola and fire pit – crossing off each goal has always meant seeing one more part of the farm and our dream come true.

The Changes

At the same time – it’s also easy to see that although goals are a great way to develop a plan for success – that they can move and change as time goes by. It’s important to realize that a goal not met is not in and of itself a “failure”.  In fact – sometimes realizing that a goal was not the right goal in the first place is more of an actual success.  Crazy to say – but oh so true.

More chicks will be coming to the farm this year!
More chicks will be coming to the farm this year!

Case in point – the cabin project of 2014. One of our big goals last year was to build a cabin – but that was with the thought of not building our house for another 3 to 5 years.  However, as we realized that it was becoming possible to build the house in the coming 18 months – it suddenly seemed crazy to waste resources and time on the cabin project – and off the list it went!  Now – it might still come back someday – but for now  – the house will take precedent.

In the past 3 years, of the 78 major goals we set (we set 30 the first year, 24 each year since) we have been able to accomplish 67. 4 of the open goals have been carried on to this year’s list to hopefully finally be checked off. The other 7 are goals that have simply been eliminated as priorities have changed.  It’s one more reason we love the list – it gives us both a chance to really think them through every day that we see them.

On to the 2015 Goals…

The inspiration for the design of our future house came from viewing this one from
The inspiration for the design of our future house came from viewing this one from

Of the most exciting goals for this year – we both put building the garage and workshop along with finalizing the house plans at the top of our list. The garage and workshop will be the first complete part of the final house plan to be put into motion. The garage and shop will obviously play a big role in helping us to build and store things as the house goes up.

The garage should go up sometime between late July and mid-August – and we hope to have our final house plans completed and approved for building by the year’s end.  That of course means that number one on next years list will hopefully be building the house in the Spring of 2016!

My personal favorite on the list will be to create our first batch of wine from our own grapes – as our grapes finally should be able to give us enough juice for some test wine!

Hosintg a farm to table event liket his one (photo courtesy of
Hosintg a farm to table event liket his one (photo courtesy of

Hosting the farm to table dinner this year comes in as Mary’s favorite. Each year for our local high school’s auction – we have created something for sale.  One year it was a pergola, and last year, one of our large barn-wood wine racks.  But for this year – we have decided to donate a full-fledged outdoor farm to table meal for up to 16 – it should make for a fun evening!

No matter what the goals – the real key is to work at it a little day – something we refer to as our “15 minute a day philosophy” (See: Accomplishing Goals 15 Minutes A Day). Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither was our farm – but with a concentrated focus on what is important – and a little effort every day – it all begins to come together.

OWG Wine
Hopefully we can bottle our own wine this year – for now – at least we had some made for us by our friends at Buckeye Winery.

Last – it goes without mentioning that for us –  there are 3 unwritten goals that above all – always trump everything. That is to keep it simple, keep it fun – and not to worry about what you can’t control.  A happy life is learning to love what you have – work happily towards what you would like – and accept that there will always be things out of your control – and to roll with it.

Here is to hoping each and every one of you realize all of your dreams and goals for the coming year – and have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2015!

Happy Goal Setting! – Jim and Mary

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The “Top 24” Goals – Setting The To-Do List For 2015
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