I know I'm a little behind the curve...I've been thinking about New Year's resolutions all week, and I've read many posts about them.
The thing is, I've never really been big on New Year's resolutions. I have lots of reasons for this. Chief among them:
- It seems like as soon as you make a New Year's resolution, you have permission to break it...it is so common and acceptable for people not to keep them, that they seem really pointless to me.
- I operate on the academic calendar, due to my job. So, although we're beginning a new semester right now, it's not a natural time for me to take stock of things. For me, summer is when I really take stock of things, and fall really begins the new year for me.
- Also, I believe in setting goals and working on them as the need arises; not just once a year and then forgetting about it.
Maybe this explains why everyone else has been writing about resolutions, and I just haven't gotten to it yet. Not high on my priority list. :-)
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all about goal setting and trying to improve yourself. In my line of work, I've looked at a lot of research on goal setting and self-management. There are many keys to success on these matters:
- Making your goal achievable, but something that causes you to stretch (too big a step and you'll get frustrated and quit; too small a step and the change isn't really meaningful)
- Clearly operationalizing your goal--that is, clearly defining what your target it is in measurable terms (you gotta know what your target is if you want to hit it)
- Regularly and systematically measuring progress toward your goal (this helps you see if you're making progress, and if the act of measuring progress also seems to serve a reinforcement purpose--if you see you're making progress that is reinforcement for your progress)l
- Publicly posting your progress on your goal seems to help a lot (probably for accountability purposes)
- Building in some sort of reward or reinforcer for reaching your goal or making incremental progress toward your goal (motivation is everything; contingencies are responsible for shaping and maintaining our behavior)
- Only make a few goals...really target the things you want to change. If you have too many goals, it's just too much and you'll lose focus.
I gave up on making weight loss goals. Do I need to do it and work on it? Yes. Will I do it? Most likely. Will I make it a New Year's resolution? Absolutely not. Because then I won't do it. Instead, I'm going to embark on "Project Hot Koochie Mama." I'm still formulating it, but basically I need to be healthier, and it's time to get serious about it now that Papa Pea is back with us and helping me out around the house again.
I tried to find an image on Google to include here. But they were all pretty inappropriate! If you want a good laugh, I'll let you Google it yourself. Here's a relatively tame image I found to give you the flavor...
A friend of mine wanted to lose some weight. He called it "Project Lard Ass." Forgive the language, but that's what he called it. I thought it was great. He just tried making small changes...riding his bike, trying to improve his eating habits slowly. Over a year, he lost a ton of weight. Fantastic.
When Sweet Pea was younger, Papa Pea taught her to say "Koochie Mama!" as a joke, and they sometimes call me Big Koochie Mama. Not as an insult or anything about my size (and I don't take it that way), it's just a name. It's funny. If I've been gone for a few days, when I come home, Sweet Pea will yell, "Big Koochie Mama's home!" when I walk in the door.
So, Hot Koochie Mama seems apropos. This is going to be a project, not a "resolution." To me, that means it's an ongoing thing, and I'll be picking different aspects to improve as time goes on. I'm still not quite at the point where it's operationalized yet. But I'm working on it. I am trying to figure out what I want my first action step to be. I'll keep you posted.
I once read in a quilt magazine that perhaps we should set New Year's resolutions that are actually FUN to work on. Wow, what a novel idea! For the past couple of years, I have done that.
For example, a couple of years ago, my goals were to (a) perfect my 1/4" seam, (b) do a BOM and actually keep up with it, and (c) make a quilt completely from fabric in my stash. It was awesome, and I achieved them all. I actually completed all these goals with the same project.
Here's my evidence.
I love how it turned out. It's my masterpiece so far. Still need to get it quilted. It took me an entire year to make, working on it faithfully every month. If you are interested in it, it was a BOM from The Quilt Show (I have more to say about them, but I'll save that for another day). You can buy the pattern now here: https://www.thequiltshowshoppe.com/?a=VC&id=53. The Quilt Show members got it free as part of their membership. Great deal!
I see a lot of people setting goals about completing UFOs. Good for you! I don't think I'll do that. It doesn't seem like a fun goal for me. Will I still try to complete some UFOs? Absolutely. But it won't be a goal, per se. It will be a project...or a series of projects.
Instead, my goals for this year are to:
- Make something that I designed myself, something that wasn't a pattern
- Complete some activities from the workbook portion of Jean Wells' book Intuitive Color & Design (I have loved seeing what Lynn has done from this book--click on the link and scroll down to see a finished product of what she created)
- Really get serious about starting my sketchbook...put in photos that inspire me, doodle, jot ideas (I already have the sketchbook and put something in it, so I've taken action)
Most of these ideas work in coordination with each other, which will help. Should be good and should stretch me as a quilter.
I have other aspirations....I really want to do a Schnibbles quilt, for example. But it's not a goal...we'll see if it happens. If it does, great. If it doesn't, it's okay. I really want to complete some UFOs. I know I will, but I'm not going to stress over it. It is what it is. I love the idea of the Stash Report, like Shelly does, where she keeps track of the amount of fabric she buys and uses. I would love to do that. But I think it's more work than I'm up for. I know right now, I wouldn't keep up with it.
Quilting should be fun. Not work. I don't want to make my UFOs feel like work, nor my Schnibbles patterns. I want them to be fun.
I also want to get control of my scraps one way or another (either cut them up into my bins as I showed a few days ago, or take them to a guild meeting and give them away and start cutting them up as I finish projects now). But I'm not making this a goal, because it's not "fun." I want to keep it "fun" when it comes to my goals. As one of my colleagues says, "It's only fun if it's fun." haha. I'll still work on this...it'll be a project...but I'm keeping my goals fun and things that will stretch me as a quilter. That is my reward....growing my quilting skills.
Well, that's about it. Sorry limited photos today. (I know...BORING.) I just wanted to get these thoughts out there.
I was inspired by Millie's post on UFO goals. I like the way she took photos of each UFO that she plans to work on this year. Now, I could never achieve the goal she's set...completing 12 UFOs this year, one per month. I could never keep up with that, and I wouldn't get to sew on anything else this year except UFOs. I know that for me, that's just not realistic.
I have a spreadsheet of my UFOs, but I've never posted photos of them. I really think taking stock of them publicly would help me, even if I'm not making it a goal to complete a whole bunch of them. I think it will just help me be motivated to target one and work on it as soon as Super Mario is done. If I target a UFO to work on as I'm working on other projects, that will really happen. So, tomorrow, I'll give you LOTS of quilty photos. Yes, I have LOTS of UFOs. Okay?
And one final thought that really struck me. My SIL, Linda, e-mailed me the other day and said she had to go out to the barn to feed her goats (some of which are expecting! maybe soon we'll get some baby photos!). It was snowing out...and cold. She went into the barn and observed that it was 50 degrees in the barn. Quite warm compared to the temperatures outside. She noted that some animals have life better than some people this winter. That really struck me. Wow. It has given me some food for thought and things to reflect on. Not sure what I'm going to do with that information, but it's rolling around in my head still. Just a little food for thought for you, too.
Happy new year. I wish you all the best, and I am so very grateful for your friendship and camaraderie!
Until next time,