Let’s just nip this whole idea of New Years' resolutions in the bud before it gets too far, shall we? Nip it, nip it, nip it, in the bud. It’s a false bud that will never fully bloom. Resolutions will only produce disappointment and heavy sighs about how once again, we’ve fallen short.
If you want to get results, really achieve something in 2008, or anytime, set goals instead.
And for gardening goals, I’ve come up with P.L.A.N.T.S to help you remember how to set some goals that you will actually achieve.
Good gardening goals are:
P – Pleasing to you. Set goals that please you. If you are going to do all that hard work to achieve your goals, make the goal something that pleases you. If you are ambivalent about having a backyard pond, for example, don’t make digging one your goal.
L – Listed. Write down your goal. There is something about putting a goal in writing that makes it more real to you. And once it is written down, it is easier to share with others, including friends and family and fellow bloggers who can encourage you as you work toward achieving your goal.
A – Achievable. Start out with goals that are achievable given the resources you have. The more you achieve, the more you will want to do. When you get used to achieving goals, goal-setting becomes almost addictive and you will want to set even bigger goals.
N – Nature friendly. Set gardening goals that are in harmony with nature. You will be more pleased with your garden in the long run when you have rich healthy soil and lots of birds and beneficial insects and other non-plant eating wildlife taking up residence.
T – Time bound. Goals should have a beginning and an end. You want to give yourself a time frame so you’ll get to it and not keep waiting for tomorrow. Tomorrow is always later. Plus, when you have a time frame, you know when you’ve achieved your goal and you can celebrate it.
S – Specific. Be specific about your goals. A non-specific goal seems more like a resolution, and you know that no one keeps resolutions very long.
“I will have a better (insert-type-of-garden-here) garden this summer.” Of course you will! Who doesn’t want a better garden every year? But this is not a very well formed goal at all.
A better goal might be, “This year I will extend the harvest of my vegetable garden by planting spring crops, summer crops and fall crops without pesticides.”
“I’m going to keep my garden weed free.” Yes, you are! I believe you, really I do. (Snort.) Well, actually, I don’t believe you at all because no garden is ever completely weed free, unless you have hired help, and lots of it.
How about instead you have a goal like this, “I will divide my garden into weedable sections and spend some time each week from spring until fall getting as far as I can, section at a time, to keep my garden reasonably weed free. When I’ve gotten through all the sections, I will start back again from the beginning. If I miss a week, I won’t give up, I’ll just start again the next week.”
How about this goal? “I’m going to join in with the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club this year.” No! Though well-intentioned, this is more of a resolution, a vague commitment.
Instead your goal should be “I’m going to get the book, Dear Friend and Gardener by Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd (if you don’t have it already), read it by January 21st and then post about it on my blog before January 31st.”
So how about it? Are you ready to skip those worthless resolultions and set some pleasing, listed, achievable, nature-friendly, time-bound, specific P.L.A.N.T.S goals for your gardening year instead? Yes? Good!