The Self Reliance Challenge 2019: My Goals

Tomorrow is 2019; I really can’t believe it! 2018 flew by as we added Jolene to our family, Andrew changed work shifts, and I grew my freelance writing career to new heights. Wow! It was a great year.

Now, I’m looking forward to 2019. I love a new year. Everything is fresh, and you start off with a clean slate. I hate starting things in the middle of anything, even a year. Setting goals for my new year is a tradition I do every New Years Eve.

It seemed fitting that this year I’m joining the Self Reliance Challenge 2019. Other bloggers and I will take part in this challenge in the month of January. During the month of January, we will share posts to help readers on their self-reliance journey and record our steps as well. It’s a great opportunity to learn and grow.

Our 2019 Self-Reliance Goals

Our family needs to make changes in order to become more self-sufficient and to grow our homestead. So, that means I needed to create goals that would benefit our homestead plans and my business as well.

To reach our goal of becoming more self-sufficient, I had to do some soul-searching. How can I reach that overall goal? I came up with a few broad goals and broke those broad goals down into steps and narrower goals.

So, let’s take a look at our goals and then I’m going to break down how I plan to reach those goals!

  • Growing more food in our garden
  • Using more herbal and home remedies
  • Considering animals for our homestead
  • Striving to reduce waste and go more eco-friendly
  • Save money and living a frugal lifestyle
  • Living healthier as a family.

Goal 1 – Growing More Food

Persephone Days: How to Calculate Your Fall Garden

It’s no secret that I love to garden. That’s why over half of my articles on the blog are related to growing food.

In 2019, I want to grow more food than ever before. I want to fill our freezer and pantry more than I have in previous years, which will help to save money as well (another goal down the line).

So, how am I going to grow more food? Here are a few things I’m considering.

  • Expand our garden by three more garden beds
  • Have two compost bins instead of one
  • Add more fruit bushes and fix our strawberry patch
  • Try more square foot gardening techniques to increase our harvest
  • Learn more about fermentation and dehydration as preservation methods

Goal 2 – Use More Home Remedies

We’re a huge fan of home remedies, but I don’t use them as often as I want. Sometimes, it’s just easier to reach for that bottle of Tylenol.

Hey – just keeping it real!

This year, I want to dive more into home remedies than ever before. I’ve always found it a bit challenging to use herbal remedies for children, because we want to be sure it’s absolutely safe for our kids.

So, this year, a few ways I’m going to use more home remedies include:

  • Grow more herbs to make herbal remedies
  • Start making herbal tinctures
  • Purchase and read a few herbal remedy books
  • Study essential oils more and how to use them safely with kids
  • Make homemade herbal teas for ailments

Goal 3 – Animals for Our Homestead

For years, we had chickens, and then we had a predator – more than likely a raccoon – massacre our flock. It was frustrating and devastating, so we gave the remaining chickens to our friend. I couldn’t stomach more of my hens dying!

We live in the suburbs with neighbors on both sides. It’s a bit tricky to figure out how to have animals without disturbing the peace.

In 2019, we want to:

  • Get new chicks this spring
  • Redo our entire chicken coop and run
  • Look into raising bees on our homestead – is it possible?
  • Raise a few meat birds to harvest

Goal 4 – Reduce Waste on Our Homestead

Since we’re being real over here, our trash output has been way too high in the last few months. It’s rather disturbing. Not only do we have to pay for all of those trash bags going out, it’s adding to the ever-growing problem.

It’s time to put an end to that! To help reduce waste, a few steps I want to take include:

  • Start a recycling area in our house
  • Expand our composting
  • Be able to feed scraps to chickens
  • Buy more in bulk
  • Use up what we have more purchasing more
  • Committing to reducing our food waste by using it all up

Goal 5 – Saving Money and Living Frugally

2019 is the year when we pay off a huge portion of our debts. We have the plans set up and goals. Our first step is to make sure we are current with everything and get our emergency fund set up. We plan to follow Dave Ramsey.

Saving money and living frugally will help us ad more to our debt payoff and saving funds.

  • Plan budget-friendly meals
  • Stop eating fast food
  • Spend in cash with envelopes
  • Have a written budget
  • Commit to weekly no-spend days and the occasional no-spend month.

Goal 6 – Living Healthier

Last, I want to focus on living healthier overall as a family and as an individual. Losing some of this baby weight would be nice!

I want to set good examples for our kids and focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Compared to our families, I’m sure we’re doing good, but we can do even better.

  • Reduce fast food and junk food consumption
  • Go to weekly yoga classes
  • Make sure my kids get one hour or more of outside time
  • Eat more veggies!
  • Replace store-bought items one by one with homemade options

That’s our goals and how I want to work on them!

What are your goals for 2019? They don’t have to be self-reliance related! I still want to know what YOU are working on this year. Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Hi Bethany.
    You have some very important goals listed – I especially like the using more home remedies – many times they are just as effective if not more effective and much healthier for your body than OTC drugs. I also love the idea of reducing waste and just living healthier. I would like invite you to join our FB group Natural Living Bloggers Helping Each Other (that is where I meet Lisa) Check it out and if you are interested just fill out the form and I will approve it. We were closed over Christmas but will start back up tomorrow. Hope to see you there. Have a healthy, happy & blessed New Years!

  2. You’re off to a great start, Bethany! I think all of your goals are realistic and achievable. 🙂 You have a lovely family and I wish for the best for you this year!

    1. Thank you so much! I hope to exceed my goals, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself haha!

  3. Hey, Bethany! LOVE these goals! I especially like that you are planning to grow herbs for medicinal use on your homestead—SUCH a good idea. I’m creating an herbal course that hopefully will be out in the next two or three months! Let me know if you’d like to review! 🙂 Good luck with your goals this upcoming year, and congratulations on your new addition! 🙂

  4. Hi Bethany,

    This are great goals. Someday, not this year, I plan to start learning herbal medicines too. For now, all my herbs are used for cooking and canning.

    Love the ideas and enjoyed the article.

  5. Hi Bethany, what great goals! I really love how you broke this down and gave people bite size ideas they can easily implement. I am definitely going to be checking some of your other posts out! Good luck with your upcoming goals! I hope you accomplish them all!

    1. Thanks for checking them out! I know I’m a planner and all of my goals have mini-goals and steps to help me stay focused

  6. What great goals! I am going to try to do most of these things this year, too. I’m so looking forward to following along on your journey!

  7. I agree with your goals to grow more food and reduce waste. Both are goals for us, as well. Considering I love being in my garden, I don’t think that one will be too hard to accomplish!

  8. My favorite of your goals is to get your kids outdoors for an hour each day! It won’t be hard to do on a homestead, and it’s so good for them. Many of your other goals are on my list too. It will be fun to work towards these things together.

  9. sorry if this is repeat, not sure first one went though, lovely post, great goals and can not wait to see them get worked though in the coming year 🙂

  10. I love how you break down your larger goals into realistic projects that will get you there. I like your goal of replacing store-bought with homemade. That’s a big one for me this year as well.

    1. I feel like homemade is almost always healthier – fewer chemicals – and typically cheaper.
      Win win!

  11. Bethany,

    I enjoyed reading your homesteading goals for 2019. I live in Lowell, MA with a population of 105,000. While my 2-family condo borders the largest green space in the area, it is still urban country. I’ve been using the tenets of square foot gardening and permaculture guilds to increase the productivity of my little space. In 2017, I raised enough fruits and veges, that I bought almost nothing from mid-April til mid- October. In MASSACHUSETTS!

    Last year our yield wasn’t great due to weather and family issues, but I’m very optimistic about this year.
    I plan to dad to my gardening this spring . I will add 1 or 2 beehives (my neighbors ar in full support). Also, I will try raising some quail. Again, I checked with neighbors, but Lowell has ordinances precluding most “farm” animals, but did not list quail in the restrictions. I’m hoping to harvest some as meat birds, and retain a small cadre for egg and offspring continuation.

    I also raise my own tilapia, feeding them organically within a bio-sustainable pond augmented with garden waste. They are far superior to filets sold in the stores.

    I’m hoping to show what you can accomplish with a small space and love to give tours of my “show” garden to help encourage others to replace lawns and purely ornamental plants. In my edible landscape, I have 10 fruit trees, 10 blueberry bushes, 12 ft of raspberries, 8 ft of asparagus, over 30 types of herbs and edible flowers, in addition to grapes, strawberries, and a wide array of veges. Yet, our neighbor love to come sit in the shade garden because it reminds her of gardens in Europe.

    Plants of all kinds are beautiful. I love going out to collect things for dinner and can’t imagine not putting my kitchen waste into a compost system. I also do passive and active rain water collection to reduce my reliance on city water supplies for my crops.

    This year, I plan to track the inputs (hours and dollars) against the outputs (volumes and value). I’m hoping for a positive bottom line in addition to the superior quality and really “knowing” what goes into our food.q

    I wish you great results on your homestead this year. May you achive all your goal, and even surpass some.

    OBTW — I also married my high school sweetheart and we had 4 wonderful children. They are all grown and I dearly love to spend time with them when the fates allow. My youngest is the one who challenged me to do “more” with my small space. She was oh so right. My best to you and yours.


    1. Pat, I just loved reading about your plans and story! You are an inspiration for those who live in urban areas. Being able to grow anything substantial in small spaces is impressive and rewarding. It sounds like you have a great plan. I want to have fruit trees – it’s on my goals to have a small orchard – but my husband and I are looking for larger pieces of property further out into the country. I can’t wait to have a permanent orchard!

      I love having four kids, but I secretly cannot wait until they’re older and give me grandkids. They’re our joys throughout the day and seeing them grow is the most pleasurable experience in my life.

      Keep it up!! You have no idea how many people you have inspired with your efforts. Those neighbors may tell others about you and they try it as well. Urban homesteading is a movement and it needs people just like you. Have you considered rabbits? They are quite easy to raise for meat, and it can be done in small spaces. Also, many urban areas do allow chickens but exclude roosters. You might be able to have 2-3 hens. If not, I definitely encourage you to find other urban homesteaders in your area and try to see if you can get policy changes!

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