Goal Setting

The volume of tasks required to maintain a successful farming business can be significant. Maintaining your own health and wellbeing—equally, if not more important—can also be challenging. During tough times this can seem overwhelming. Setting goals can make things more achievable. Form a clear picture of what could improve your life. Set SMART goals to help achieve this:

Specific: Make a concrete goal focusing on behaviour and results (for example: For the next 4 weeks, I will spend one hour each morning working through the farm paperwork).
Measurable: Make a goal so that you easily assess your progress (for example: I will walk for 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning).
Agreed: Ask others to help you achieve your goal (for example: I will ask for assistance from my accountant/the Rural Financial Counselling Service to better manage the farm finances).
Realistic: Make goals that are challenging but achievable (for example: I will walk 1km every day but take Sunday off to have a game of golf).
Time specific: Set a deadline for achieving your goal and keep track of progress in a visible way (for example: Over the next month, I will walk 4 days a week and I will make a mark on the calendar for each day I achieve this).

Sometimes ‘letting go’ is even more important than ‘taking action’. Let go of unhealthy behaviours and unnecessary activities. Learning to say ‘no’ can be an important goal.

Break down large goals into smaller, manageable steps. Record each of these steps and how you will achieve them using the SMART approach. Don’t be afraid to adapt your goals if circumstances change or you come across new information.

Acknowledge your progress when achieving even small goals or small steps to achieving a larger goal. This may be as simple as ticking something off a list that you have on your fridge. A visual representation of your achievements can be good motivation to keep going.

Find out more about setting goals for physical activity at Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

More information:


Locke’s Goal-Setting Theory: Setting Meaningful, Challenging Goals

Better Health Channel

Physical activity – setting yourself goals

Research & reviews:

American Psychologist

Building a practical useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey

Locke, E.A. and Latham, G.P. (Eds.) (2013). New developments in goal setting and task performance. New York: Routledge.

Health Psychology

Self-regulation of health behaviour: Social psychological approaches to goal setting and goal striving

Agronomy for Sustainable Development

Processes of adaption in farm decision-making models. A review

Fast facts:

Goal setting

  • Being able to manage tasks is important for achieving business and wellbeing goals
  • Set SMART goals to help you achieve what is important to you

Last updated: 14th December 2016