Small changes can accomplish big goals


There are no good days or bad days, good years or bad years. It’s all in how we use the time and adapt to unforeseen events along the way.

Much of that comes down to planning, execution and attitude. Our lives are made up of moments and the many decisions they contain.

Some math whiz figured we make 35,000 “decisions” daily. Depending on the definition, that’s one every two seconds you’re awake. Every word you say (certainly every one you write) is a choice.

Many decisionsStay Focused

If you drive a vehicle, you know there are hundreds of decisions to be made in any trip, and thousands if you count minor steering adjustments.

When you got behind the wheel for the first time, or first learned to ride a bike, or to walk or crawl, each little part of the process took focus.

With practice, what were once decisions become automatic.

Still, we surely make more than a few decisions each day that require judgment or could have serious consequences. To other people, they reflect our values, who we are.

To ourselves, they should focus attention.

Time to review

At year’s end, we often take stock of our enterprises and complete financial statements to see if we are on track. We think about the year ahead, and maybe even what the next decade will bring.

Those are critically important management and administrative exercises, but sometimes we must also review our daily routines, because the long run is made up of many short runs.

You may be feeding hay every morning. Do you know its nutrient content? Are you feeding it to get the least waste? Are you feeding it in the best location for the herd and the land?

When to feed

Should you feed heifers in the evening instead of morning as they near a due date, to foster more daylight births?

Calving, and life for that matter, can be compared to football, said cattleman and former South Dakota State University athlete Brandon Peterson, at the 2016 Angus Convention.

“Each play matters, but you need to have a short memory.”

He first heard the advice from a coach, and games certainly contain metaphors for life. Making the best of the cards we’re dealt, we take our best shot in this game of inches.

Small steps

Winning a national championship or creating the most profitable cow herd in history both take a lot of on-track, small steps.

Maybe your first heifer loses her calf. Your goal with her was to “go 1-0,” to chalk up a victory. But that’s not the whole season, so you can’t dwell on any setback.

Your goal is to go 1-0 on each heifer and each cow. At the end of your calving window, your percentage will surely represent a winning season.

You probably won’t have video to review, but keeping notes can help you do better next year.

Make sure the next 10 things you do are on track and your day will be off to a good start.

Related Content


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.