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To read other Outdoors Stories, Click on the appropriate writer in the right hand colum.

The Roving Sportsman

By Jon Pries
Thoughts for the New Year
 
 

The ball has dropped. The New Year’s Eve parties are behind us. Hopefully, our heads have cleared up by now from the revelries of New Year’s Eve, and we can take time to focus on what lies ahead in the coming year. So, steep a pot of tea, or brew a jug of coffee, and let’s sit down and contemplate what the future may bring our way.
Goal setting is important. I have often found that the best way to accomplish a goal is to think it through, write down your plan, which includes a realistic timetable, and then review that plan from time to time to verify that progress is being made. Make a list of your goals, which should include a few short-term items as well as longer, more involved things that you must stretch to reach. Being able to cross off the short-term items once you have accomplished them will give you the encouragement to continue working on the long-term or more involved goals.
Time is one of our most precious assets. It is the one thing that “once it is gone, it is gone forever.” You can’t get it back. Thus, in setting your goals, you must define what goals you are setting are truly worth trading valuable time for in order to achieve them.
Include in your list of goals a realistic time at which you can reach each goal, and define the pay-back value of each goal — meaning, how your life will be made better by achieving each of the goals you finally decide upon. What are the obstacles you expect to encounter along the way?
Once your list of goals is complete, lay out your plans to achieve each of the items. Are you being realistic? Are you biting off more than you can chew? If you are satisfied that all of the goals are doable, it is time to write down your plans on the calendar and start NOW.
Start a daily diary. If you have one already, then, over the next month or so of chilling temperatures and falling snow, you can while away the time by reviewing what you saw, thought or accomplished in the past year. By keeping these records, you can more easily recall when turkeys began showing up in your hunting area in the spring when you were able to begin spring planting of food plots, when various hatches occurred on your favorite trout streams or when you observed several nice bucks running together before the archery season. All of these things help you better lay out your game plans for the upcoming seasons.
Promote your sport. Whether you are a biker, a hiker, a hunter or fisherman, it is important to the continuation of your chosen sports to do your part in making sure these activities are around for generations to come. Consider joining a few of the conservation groups that support and promote your interests. Take time to introduce someone to your sport — whether it is a youth or even an adult who has never had the opportunities that you have had. Increasing interest and participation in your sports of choice will help raise needed dollars and aid in awareness of issues when support is needed for proposed legislation.
Habitat improvement is a win-win. Projects to develop food plots, plant mast-bearing trees or plants for cover, create brush piles or clear logging roads and trails can be added to your list of goals. Whether it is on acreage that you own, at a hunting club you belong to or at a farm or woodlot that you have permission to hunt, doing habitat improvement work provides great exercise, adds to wildlife food and cover sources and can help cement a good relationship between yourself and a landowner.
Over the next several weeks, spend time relaxing, reflecting and rejuvenating. Focus on what really matters in your life and how you can improve upon that which you already have. Take time to set your goals for the New Year, develop your plans to accomplish those goals and then take action to reach them. The feeling of accomplishment you get as you cross off the goals once achieved will drive you on to achieve the others as well.



 
 
 
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