Happy new year! Like every year I find myself saying, ” I can’t believe that 12 whole months went by! It feels like it was JUST January.” But then I stop and look back at everything that has happened this year and am amazed that it all FIT in one year!
When I lived in Florida and the weather was always the same, the new year never seemed like such a big turning point in the ebb and flow of my life. Now that we are back enjoying all four seasons, January just naturally feels like a good time for a new start. It’s a slightly slower time because we are stuck inside, hunting season is winding down, it’s too cold to do much in the garden, and it gets dark so early. Coming off relaxing and reflecting over the holidays, January feels like a time for planning and anticipating new adventures! The fact that we got six seed catalogues in the mail doesn’t help either.
Last year I was debating even writing down any sort of herbal goals for the new year, but being able to look back on them now, I am so glad that I actually did! I was pleased to note that I hit about 80% of them, which is what I was expecting because I am always overly ambitious. It is so true that when you don’t have anything to aim at, whatever you end up hitting can become the “good enough I meant to do that” target.
I don’t know if it is just me, but I find it much more fulfilling to have a plan and be able to work toward exciting new projects. It is totally worth it to put in the effort to think about what you hope to accomplish, set goals, and turn them into workable, reasonable steps that you can actually complete.
The Process I Use to Make Goals:
The process I used to develop my goals for this year included:
- praying about and determining my priorities,
- looking at what I already know is going to happen in this coming year,
- thinking about how herbs could improve those events/activities
- THEN thinking about what additional things it would be totally amazing to accomplish this year
- breaking everything into hopefully reasonable steps.
Obviously, priorities are the things that are most important to you.
Crystal Paine describes them as your “best things” in her book “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode”. My best things are without a doubt my relationship with the Lord, my husband, my children, my more extended family, and because this relates specifically to herbs, our health.
As a side note, after dealing with chronic illness for far too long, and seeing how it affects my family, I have finally convinced myself that it is not selfish to make your own health a priority because it affects everyone! (My husband and family have been awesome about encouraging me to take care of myself too!)
I need to be healthy to have energy to provide healthy food for my family, to have energy left to spend time with my husband after a long day, to be able to keep up with my kids, to have healthy pregnancies & give my babies a healthy start, to be able to nurse & feed my babies the best possible breastmilk I can, actually ENJOY LIFE, the list goes on.
Think about your “best things” so you can know that you are investing your most valuable asset, your time, in the best possible ways.
2. What’s Going On?
I want to be encouraging you to look ahead and think about what is happening in YOUR life this year, so I won’t bore you with the details of mine, but I will give you a couple broad ideas about what to look for that could be positively affected by your use of herbs. Consider . . .
- Any big changes in your life like starting a new job or school, marriage, moving. Using herbs to build your immune system can help your family successfully overcome stress and sickness often associated with big life changes.
- Any new additions to your family if you are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. Giving your body a healthy start can obviously make a huge difference in having a healthy pregnancy and nursing successfully. Keeping your family healthy so you and the baby don’t get sick is also important.
- Any health goals you have already set like lowering your blood pressure, losing weight, building bone density, improving your dental health, getting off a sleeping pill etc. Herbs are obviously your friend when it comes to improving your health!
- Any projects or goals you have for your property. Maybe you have plans for your garden that will bring you outside more & you need a natural tick spray or bug deterrent. Maybe you need to tackle some abandoned space that is overrun with poison ivy and you will need a skin lotion. My thoughts naturally run more toward what happens on a bigger property because that’s what we have, but think about what fits your life.
3. Setting Goals
Once you have your priorities listed and have thought about what this new year is bringing, you can begin to set some goals for the year. Don’t worry about breaking them down yet, or even whether or not you know how to accomplish them; the practical stuff can come later. Here are a few of my herbal goals for the year.
- Organize my herbal apothecary in my pantry so that both ingredients & remedies are easily accessible.
- Figure out how to use natural remedies to take care of my family as inexpensively as possible
- Grow herbs indoors successfully.
These goals are broad, vague, and could be interpreted a number of ways. When I actually make time to work toward them, I don’t really have anything concrete I can jump right into. And wasting valuable nap time hours on planning that could have been done earlier is a crime! So I . . .
4. Plan to take action!
Take the next step and break down goals into actions, definite things you can pencil into your planner/journal and actually accomplish! Here’s what a practical project list for the goals I’ve included would look like:
For my goal of organizing my supplies . . .
- Buy bins that fit in my pantry and organize bags of ingredients alphabetically with labels on the bins.
- Organize remedies for specific needs into boxes by category. I’ll have one category for immune support, one for baby related needs, one for first aid, maybe a quick grab box of the essentials if we go on a trip, etc.
For my goal of doing things inexpensively . . .
- Create a list of remedies/herbs I use or want to buy along with the best price on each one per ounce and the website where I purchase it.
- Unsubscribe from all email that I do not use and subscribe to the websites I buy from so I can catch sales on things that are already a good price.
- Grow as much as I can
For my goal of growing herbs indoors successfully . . .
- Make a more practical growing setup, especially one that catches extra water so I can water them more easily.
- get 2 of some plants I purchase and keep one in a pot,
- divide and pot some herbs from my garden early in the season (so frost doesn’t accidently kill them like this past year)
So these obviously are not all of my goals for this new year, but that isn’t the purpose of this blog post.
Rather I want to encourage you all to look at your life, figure out where you are going, and think carefully about how you can be working to naturally improve your health as you get there.
The rewards are great and looking back on a year spent purposefully and productively is incredible!