||The diversity in farmers’ objectives and responses to external drivers is usually not considered in integrated assessment studies that investigate impacts and adaptation to climate and socio-economic change. Here, we present an approach to assess how farmers’ stated objectives relate to their currently implemented practices and to preferred adaptation options, and we discuss what this implies for assessments of future changes. We based our approach on a combination of multi-criteria decision-making methods. We consistently assessed the importance of farmers’ objectives and adaptation preferences from what farmers say (based on interviews), from what farmers actually do (by analysing current farm performance) and from what farmers want (through a selected alternative farm plan). Our study was performed for six arable farms in Flevoland, a province in the Netherlands. Based on interviews with farmers, we reduced the long list of possible objectives to the most important ones. The objectives we assessed included maximization of economic result and soil organic matter, and minimization of gross margin variance, working hours and nitrogen balance. In our sample, farmers’ stated preferences in objectives were often not fully reflected in realized farming practices. Adaptation preferences of farmers largely resembled their current performance, but generally involved a trend towards stated preferences. Our results suggest that in Flevoland, although farmers do have more objectives, in practical decision-making they focus on economic result maximization, while for strategic decision-making they account for objectives influencing long-term performance and indicators associated with sustainability, in this case soil organic matter.