Compared to last year, these seem a lot less varied – almost entirely simple living stuff. I think it’s partly because for many, it’ll mean they’re easier to accomplish so I can actually feel some achievement (unlike last year’s disappointing 2 out of 10 hit rate) and partly because this is where my interests are at the moment. No point making goals that I know in my heart of heart I have no interest in achieving!

1. Increase the food output from our garden and make a meal only using stuff I’ve grown/foraged/caught/killed which can be cooked off-grid
The driving goal of last year will be the main one for 2011 too – I want to dramatically increase the amount of food we produce in our garden this year. This means using our limited growing space in smarter ways (intercropping & continual use) and creating more growing space (more containers, baskets & wall planters etc).

I’m not sure how to measure this yet – a lot of people measure by weight but I think that underplays the value of light things – like salad, herb & chillis etc – and I don’t want to just grow heavy things in order to meet an arbitrary goal.

The second bit extends last year’s goal a little. The “cooked off-grid” bit will hopefully encourage me to make a rocket stove and/or solar oven — both things that have been on my vague to-do list for a while.

2. Learn how to successfully take and propagate cuttings from every applicable type of perennial plant/shrub in the house/garden
I save seeds where I can but that’s not always appropriate/possible – I’d like to learn more about taking and propagating cuttings to decrease my reliance on garden centres etc for certain types of plants. (Eventually, I’d hope this would include tree grafting but this won’t be in 2011.)

3. Create my own font – possibly of my handwriting
This is a bit of a nerdy one but something I’ve thought about doing for a while. I use a lot of handwriting fonts for personal projects and it would be nice to use my handwriting (such as it is) for a change.

4. Make a piece of furniture for the house (woodworking)
I’ve very much enjoyed making bits for the garden and want to continue doing that. But as I get better, I’d like to make something for the house to force me to learn and refine actual skills.

5. Make an entire outfit (to include conquering sewing patterns)
One brought over from 2010 – something I’d still very much like to do. I think I might need to attend a class or find a mentor to teach me about making stuff from patterns before I can really get going.

6. Go fishing in the North Sea
Another brought over from 2010 because I’m disorganised and didn’t get it booked in in time.

7. Learn how to screenprint
I increasingly find myself wanting to do art projects that would be much better and easier if I knew how to screenprint.

8. Buy no more than 12 items of clothing across the year
This is one of my big goals that I’ve talked about more on The Really Good Life. It’s more about reducing consumption than saving money – I might end up spending a similar amount because I buy better quality items.

9. Finish a developed piece of fiction writing
A bit of a vague one but I want to keep my options open – it might be a short story, it might be a one-act play, it might be a graphic novel, it might be a full length play or it might be a novel – I’ve got ideas for all five in my mind right now. I start a lot of things but I haven’t seen anything right the way through to the end of a while – and I’d like to get back into the habit of that.

10. Specific food makery and/or eatery (because if I did them all separately it would take up half the list):

a) Bake at least once a week
I really enjoy the process and the output but I don’t always make the time for it I should. I’m probably not far off this anyway but I’m going to add it to my recurring to-do list prompter to make sure I make time for it regularly in the future.

b) Grow a sourdough starter and make bread from it
I’ve tried growing starters a few times but not managed to get them lively enough to bake a loaf from them (or they’ve got too lively – with bad rather than good yeasts). I want to crack this!

c) Make a hard cheese
I went on a cheesemaking course last September and I loved it – but have yet to put into practise the things I learned. This year, I want to change that. I want to make proper soft cheese and a hard cheese too.

d) Try ten vegetables (or veggie wild foods) that I’ve not tried before
I know people that have goals to eat as many different kinds of animal as possible – but while I do enjoy many meats, I fancy having a veggie/wild food goal instead. I’m going to keep a track of the types of veg/veggie wild foods I eat so I can see how (un)varied my diet is – and force myself to try new stuff.

e) Build a cold smoking cabinet, try cold smoking more stuff & try hot smoking too
We loved the cheese I cold smoked last summer and I want to extend my smoking range. Since my last smoker cabinet got damp & fell apart (it was made from a cardboard box), I’ve been wanting to make a new one. I also want to try smoking meats and/or fish, as well as more cheese, chillis, eggs and other things.

11. Participate more in the real world – engage more with our local community and meet some internet people in real life
The goal is from last year but with a different suffix (last year was about organising an event). The first part isn’t a SMART goal because it’s not very specific or measurable – I might try to pin it down further as the year goes on. The second part is easier to measure and something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

I’ll be adding some more not-quite-goals on The Really Good Life soon too.