Happy New Year from our barns to yours!

Dwayne Faber is a writer, speaker and dairy farmer. He and his family operate farms in Oregon. To...

New Year is always a good time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming one. Most of my New Year’s resolutions end up aging like fine milk in the back of a car in Phoenix, Arizona, through 100-degree heat.

One thing I have done is keep a note in my phone of my ambitions for the year. Like most people, I start the year with ambitious physical fitness goals. By ambitious, I mean donating $600 to a gym for a yearlong gym membership. In fact, the sign-up is more about being able to let people know that I “go” to the gym and walk around confidently with a clip on my key chain that attests to my commitment to let people know of my disciplined life.

A close friend made a commitment to give up sugar for the year, and while I admire him, we also need to retain some joy in life.

This is also a great time to reflect on our interpersonal relationships. How can we be better husbands, better wives, better parents or better kids? Our goals can dive into the time we invest into each of our familial relationships, and it can be an opportunity to let others know about how they have failed you. A late Festivus if you will, which would make Frank Costanza beam with pride. It is easy to get caught up in the goings-on on the farm and not put as much effort as we should into our spouses and kids. There is always a computer report to be generated or calves to vaccinate.


I went through the list of the most common New Year’s resolutions in America. After physical fitness, the next several were: reduce stress, eat better, quit smoking and quit drinking, which has a host of irony in it because it’s a little hard to reduce stress by getting excited about running marathons. It wouldn’t be crazy to venture that the antidote for many Americans dealing with stress is to eat their feelings and smoke and drink. Millions of Americans make a commitment every year to have a sober January, where they don’t drink at all. While I’m not a voracious consumer of alcohol, it has been healthy to take a month of making a committed effort to not imbibe and evaluate my relationship with alcohol.

The other common resolutions are learning something new and reading more. There was a shocking study that said 50% of Americans haven’t read a book in the last year. There is a startling trend where young people just wait for the latest TikTok or video to be uploaded and don’t know the joys of reading. Give yourself a pat on the back for reading this and not waiting for the TikTok version. Although truth be told, your balding, chubby author probably doesn’t have the looks to be in front of the camera.

Learning something new is something that we should all strive for. There is a quote from the late, great Charlie Munger where he says, “Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.” Reading is how we open our minds to new ideas and explore new worlds.

Finally, the last resolution was to engage in more self-care. Now, the term self-care sounds a little bit like a millennial, hippie term for being lazy when you are a grizzled old farmer. However, self-care is something that we engage in to keep our wits about us when dealing with massive amounts of stress. Self-care can be things such as cheeseburgers, alcohol and nicotine. I jest. It’s my hope that I’ve inspired you to take a moment to reflect on your past year, review what your goals are for the current year and write them down. 'Til next time ...