First Presbyterian Church Fort Dodge


Lessons from the Garden: Being Realistic

Posted by Sara Hill on

Lesson Number Two: BEING REALISTIC...

When Heather Peck and I dreamed up our garden last year, we had grand plans. Our original plan included 8 raised beds and multiple large pots for herbs. It included a composting bin made from wood and then also doing a composting-with-worms activity with the preschoolers. It included grow lights in an empty classroom in the church basement.

            There were the grand plans. And then, reality entered. I realized that I couldn’t manage all of that. I needed to start small and bite off a manageable chunk. I couldn’t manage worms with preschoolers. I couldn’t manage grow lights. Turns out, you can buy awesome composting bins- you don’t need to make your own! 256+ square feet of gardening space, when I hadn’t gardened a day in my life before- that wasn’t realistic. So, I tapered down my ideas to 4 raised beds, 6 pots for herbs, and store-bought compost bins (thank you, Hoppers, for purchasing them for us!).

            Often times we dream big dreams. We set big goals. I’ll give you 3 examples: Writing a book in this calendar year, building my business to a certain level in this calendar year, losing a certain amount of weight in this calendar year. Setting big goals is wonderful, but we need to also think realistically so we don’t set ourselves up for failure. In our 3 examples, we can taper these big dreams with some reality. Think about how many mornings you will spend writing, and how many words you can produce in that set amount of time. Adjust your goal accordingly.  Think about growing your business in light of your family schedule and how many hours each week you want to work. Adjust your goal accordingly. Realistically, one can only lose 1-2 pounds a week. Adjust your goal accordingly.

            Admit that you can’t get it all done. Admit your limits and give yourself grace to accept them as facts instead of failures. Don’t shame or belittle yourself for your human limits. Accept them without judgment. The property on which our garden sits could hold probably 20 raised garden beds, yet realistically, I began with 4. I don’t think of 4 raised beds as failure, but I accept that on this first summer of gardening, 4 beds are enough. 

            When setting goals, also be realistic without shaming yourself. Accept your limits, be realistic, and bite off manageable chunks. It’s ok if your book takes 2 years to write- at the end of the first year look back at your progress and feel proud. It’s ok if you didn’t meet your business’ growth goal, celebrate the growth you achieved. If your goal was to lose 100 pounds and you only lost 60, celebrate the 60 pound loss! 

            Do you have any goals or dreams in your life? Write them down? Think through how realistic they are, and taper them if necessary. Celebrate what you can do- don’t obsess on what you can’t. I’m celebrating my 4 garden beds today.