By Michael scully- Ireland

NEW YEAR”S resolutions are a dangerous thing. Mostly made in haste, they generally rely on willpower alone and miracles are often expected within a few weeks.

Invariably, resolutions require change of some sort, but change cannot be implemented unless old bad habits are cut out, and new good habits are put in their place. Change and improvements are normally the result of many small incremental actions.

Like most others at our dinner table on New Year”s Eve, my main resolution was to loose some weight and lead a healthier lifestyle. Badly needed, particularly after the Christmas excess.

How many of us have a resolution to become a better farming business person in 2005? Is the plan to make it the most productive, profitable and technically proficient yet?

A good aspiration, but it probably will not happen unless changes are made in the way the business is run. For some this will involve major structural changes and a major rethink in the whole business approach. But this is the exception.

For most, it will be necessary to make small incremental changes, small improvements in healthcare, breeding, grassland management and general measurement.

It may sound obvious, but a change involving increased production at a breakeven price is useless when the overall goal is increased profitability. The important point is that these changes become ingrained habits automatically built into the system.

I have a number of New Year”s resolutions for the overall business. They involve many small changes and a number of reasonably large initiatives. The overall goal will be fostering an environment where day-to-day matters are dealt with in an efficient and productive manner without the need for large time commitments on my behalf.