181: Making Goals, Changing Goals
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As I write this, we are 25 days into a new year. A month ago we were choosing our focus words of the year , making goals and resolutions, and looking at 2022 with wide eyes, dreaming of all that we wanted to do.
And now, 25 days into the new year, some of us have already forgotten what word we chose. Some of us have already scrapped the resolutions. Some of us have already completely trashed all the goals we made.
And I want to talk about that today because while completely trashing your goals isn’t a great idea—especially if it’s just because you’re frustrated, or second guessing everything in a who thought I could do this kind of way—sometimes changing your goals IS a good idea.
Why goals can and should change
Goals can and should change when:
- you dig into stuff and it’s not what you thought it was going to be.
- you get started with something and start to question the path you’re headed down.
- you have to back up and ask about the intentions behind what you’re doing and where exactly you want to end up. Is the path you’re on and the goals you’ve set going to get you there or somewhere else?
Goals often change because you were presented with new information you didn’t have when you originally made the goal. And there is nothing wrong with taking notice of that new information and adjusting your goals because of that.
Maybe you decided you wanted to do a market garden this year, but in your research into the selling side of things, you’re not so sure you want to deal with everything that entails. Maybe you found out your local farmers market is full of drama. Maybe you found out it’s dying off. Maybe you found out there isn’t a really big market locally for what you want to sell. Maybe you realized that the selling side of growing and raising food requires an extra chunk of time that you just aren’t going to have, or aren’t willing to spend away from your farm.
Maybe a 2022 goal of yours was to sell chicken eggs. And in talking to your neighbors about possibly getting eggs from you, they tell you that Jimmy John a mile away and his cousin Amanda that lives on the other side of the river, well, they are gonna sell chicken eggs this year too. And you know what? I think Greg and his kids were gonna start a homeschool project selling chicken eggs and they’re just right down the road…
Maybe a 2022 goal of yours was to raise 100% of the food your family consumes. Maybe you made a food diary and realized that you can’t grow some of your favorite things like coffee or bananas. Or in your quest to provide all your family’s dairy products, you realized you don’t really want a cow or a goat.
I’ve been thinking about this goal topic because I started 2022 with some big goals for making videos for A Farmish Kind of Life. My computer was upgraded and suddenly making videos (which I love to do) was easy again because my technology could keep up with what I wanted to do. So I started off with a crazy goal the first couple weeks of having a new video publish five days a week, Monday through Friday.
And that worked pretty well, but I was presented with some new information and I realized a few things.
- I talked to some YouTube creators who are much bigger than me who advised me to not do what I was doing—for various reasons.
- I started noticing some weird things that YouTube does that don’t make sense to me.
- I looked at my actual goals in making videos and wondered… am I on the right path here?
To dig into each of those points a little bit:
Talking with YouTube creators: While they understood what I was trying to do—figure out what types of videos my audience liked best in a short amount of time so I could move forward in making the right type of videos—they suggested I take a much “longer game” approach to it. Not only to avoid burnout, but to play a nice long game with the almighty algorithm.
Weird things YouTube does: YouTube offers options like livestreaming so you can interact with your audience, right? However, many people that I’ve talked to who make regular videos and also do livestreaming have seen their channels take a negative hit. This is also true of people who upload their podcasts (audio files) to YouTube. While these things will technically increase your watch hours, they also seem to affect your channels negatively. And this got me thinking about what my actual goal is with making videos.
My actual goal: Everyone is all about monetization on YouTube, or getting paid for the content that you’re putting out there for people. Getting monetized means you need a certain number of subscribers and a certain number of watch hours in the last 365 days. And while I started out with monetization as my main goal, I don’t know if it actually is. Because when I look at getting to 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours and finally getting monetized, will I have enough traffic sustained to make the monetization worth it? Will I have done all the work and continue to do all the work to gain a questionable income—especially when there are some creators who maintain they aren’t making the money they used to on YouTube. In other words, as my friend Tom from Small Scale Life always says, “is the juice worth the squeeze?”
And if being monetized means I can’t livestream if I wanted to, at the risk it would hurt my channel, or if I have to then be careful about what I say or make videos about… I mean, what is my goal? What does the end game look like when you’re finally there?
Side note: Next week’s podcast/blog post is going to be about being a content creator and the frustrations of wanting to get your work out there, but also not wanting to sell your soul to do it or have to be involved in platforms that you don’t necessarily agree with in order to reach the masses. Because when we’re talking business—and content that pays your bills—it’s not as easy as just saying “well leave that platform and we will support you elsewhere!” Or is it? We’re going to talk about the realities of that. What you’re a part of here in this blog post and next week’s is me working through an issue in real time. I don’t have this figured out, I am thinking out loud, and you get to listen in.
It’s okay if your goals are not other people’s goals.
Sometimes we make goals because those are the goals that people in our circle are supposed to make. Whether you’re a content creator or a homesteader or a homeschooler or a single mom of five or a business owner, I feel like sometimes there is a progression of goals that we are supposed to make. But other people’s goals don’t have to be your goals.
If you move to a farm, do you have to sell things that you grow and raise? Does the farm have to provide an income for you? Does the ultimate goal of the farm have to be that you quit your day job and live off the money the farm is making you?
Does making videos on YouTube have to have the almighty end goal of monetization? What if you just want to make videos on YouTube to show people how to do stuff? Or to build community? Or to have a way to reach your audience visually? What if having an audience on YouTube is another way for people to learn about you and the things you’re doing that have nothing to do with YouTube?
What does the end game look like?
When you look ahead to having reached your goal way out there, what is the work that people won’t see? What is the work that you probably don’t see (yet)? What are the negatives and the positives of the end game?
If you want to sell your wares at a farmers market, do you understand what that means for your schedule, not only for growing and harvesting but making the commitment to sell?
If you want to pack up and leave your apartment in the city and move to the country farmhouse, have you considered all the pros and cons? Have you thought about the tradeoffs?
If I want to make YouTube a significant part of my life, what does that actually look like? A certain expectation for my content? Following my family around with a camera 24 hours a day so I can make sure to get enough footage of our life on the homestead? Making decisions about what happens on the homestead because of what it can provide for the YouTube channel? Do I want to do that?
Change your goal to fit your life, or change your life to fit your goal?
When you realize you’ve set a goal that is gonna take you down a path you weren’t expecting or is going to drop you into an endgame that you really didn’t think about, you’ve got two choices: change your goal to fit your life, or change your life to fit your goal.
Selling things at a farmers market: maybe your goal was to do a market every night of the week all summer long. Maybe you don’t do it every night of the week. Or maybe you hire someone or barter with someone to sit at your stand for you. Or maybe you restructure your summers so you can do the farmers markets every night.
Moving to the country: maybe you don’t move to the country, maybe you move to a little house in the suburbs. Maybe just not being in an apartment is the answer right now. Maybe having a little yard to take care of is enough. Home ownership in and of itself is a huge step, so maybe going from an apartment to an 1875 farmhouse that needs a lot of work isn’t the answer. Or maybe it is. But if it is, you have to understand what other changes in your life need to happen to make that farmhouse a reality and not a mistake that overwhelms you.
Selling chicken eggs: maybe your goal was to have a little chicken egg business and then you found out your neighbors all plan to do the same thing or your local market is flooded. How can you make your chicken egg business different? Free range organic? Different colors? Competitive price? An egg recipe with your order every week. Maybe you drive further to sell your eggs to where the market isn’t as flooded? Or maybe you do duck eggs instead?
Making YouTube videos: Maybe it’s not an income stream. Maybe you just use YouTube for what you use it for and you don’t get tied up in the rules or the algorithm. Maybe you make videos because you like to make them and instead of being a slave to OMG I need to get monetized, you’re using YouTube as a way to drive traffic to something else that provides income for you… like a snail mail newsletter. 😉
Goals can (and sometimes should) change
When we look at goals, it’s important to realize that goals can change, and sometimes they should change. Holding on to a goal for the sake of, “I made this goal and by god I’m sticking with it” isn’t always the most productive choice. I think it’s important to keep your eyes open, always looking around you, and always looking down the road to see if things are lining up and whether or not things need to be adjusted. Because as we go through life we are presented with information—sometimes things we didn’t know, sometimes things that changed—and it’s a good idea to set that new information up against the goals we’ve set and see how it stacks up.
Goals should move you forward, so don’t be afraid to reevaluate yours and change those goals if necessary.
— Amy Dingmann 1-25-22
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1 thought on “181: Making Goals, Changing Goals”
Way-back-when on the farm in Kansas, Grandma Melba called the following meals as such:
Breakfast (light-heavy), Dinner (midday meal – light), Lunch (afternoon snack- light), Supper (evening meal – heavy)
As a summertime teemage farm-hand driving tractors & trucks with Grandpa Virgil at the helm on the combine in the wheat fields, I quickly realized the rhyme & reason of these meal schemes . . .
I had a goal about 7 years ago as being a YT reviewer in the prepper/survival genre. However, we don’t have many gear suppliers out here, and Amazon didn’t ship intl much back then. Plus I didn’really want to monetize my content anyway, and I had always built community throug face-to-face relationships.
In the end, I changed gears and focused on in-person workshops & training, and brought on local gear suppliers as sponsors instead. Through that route, we were able to reach more people that wanted/needed the knowledge and give them more quality content while building self-reliance.
On plans/goals , nowadays they have been changing quite a bit. My wife has been taking care of unwell older/elderly family members lately (non-COVAIDS related illnesses) down in the big city, while I hold down the fort up in the country highlands.