Setting goals to
stay in control

20 June 2018


Heading into a new season is a great time to take stock and reflect on your broader business goals beyond the everyday to-do lists. DairyNZ farm business lead Carolyn Bushell explains how to become better-equipped to deal with unexpected challenges.

How do you gain control of your businesses so if the unexpected happens (such as extreme weather or a reduction in milk price), you’re ready to respond? It helps to have a good understanding of long-term goals, a plan to achieve them and a regular assessment of where you’re at so you can be prepared. Or if your goals are already clear, it’s useful to revisit them and measure progress.

A clear direction will help with decision-making, especially if tough calls need be made in response to an unexpected drop in income or change in circumstances. It’ll also provide the flexibility to focus on the things you want to do and love.

Questions which help create goals and direction include: ‘Where do you want to be? Where are you now? What will you do to get there?’.

Where do you want to be? Create the dream

Successful people and businesses have a clear vision of the future. Your values and vision help identify and prioritise day-to-day tasks. A successful vision is one which is truly meaningful to you and can be easily communicated to those you work with. 

DairyNZ has templates and tools to help: and

Where are you now? Assess your current situation

Knowing where you are in both your business and personal life allows you to identify areas to focus your efforts in. Benchmarking and tracking progress will help you to do this.

There are no rules around choosing focus areas and it’s important to consider all the parts of your farm system, as well as the ones we naturally enjoy or know we’re doing well. The DairyNZ Farm Gauge tool can help you to find out where your time and resources are best invested in your business. Visit

What will you do to get there? Build the plan 

Everyone has hopes and dreams and when people set goals that excite and motivate them, it can turn their vision of the future into reality. Setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) will help you do this. Writing down and putting intentional focus on achieving goals sets you up for success. Breaking down your goals into bite-sized chunks and prioritising the actions will help you to make sure you are working on the right things, measure your progress and feel a sense of control and achievement as you do it. 



Carolyn Bushell

Media inquiries:

Lee Cowan
Senior Engagement & Communications Manager
Phone 021 930 836

Vanessa Feaver
Senior Communications & Media Specialist
Phone 027 836 6295


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