New Year - New Goals
Staying motivated for long amounts of time can be difficult for even the most determined makers. For many, January can be a month of making plans, writing goals, and looking forward to the future.
For quilters, it’s a great opportunity to take stock of what is piled in your sewing room (or corner or table or basement), take a peek inside those plastic bins, and examine what projects you’d like to finish in 2022.
As someone who prides herself on Marie Kondo-like organizational skills, I’d like to share some tips from other makers and organizational experts on how to set quilting goals, and then how to finish them.
I should make a note here, that while there is value in starting and finishing projects, there is also value in the journey. So, while finishing quilts, projects, and achieving goals is important, the journey of learning and growth is equally as vital.
To my quilty and creative friends, read these tips, pick a few that resonate, make some goals, follow through, and remember to give yourself some grace when life inevitably happens.
Tip #1: Figure out What is Most Important to You
Look around at your creative endeavors, what is it that brings you joy? Do you love the process of picking out colors? The excitement of finding new quilt patterns? Interacting with people that love your passion too? Try to identify what is it that brings meaning and purpose to your creative passions.
When it’s time to start a new project (and eventually finish it), you’ll need to reach down deep to understand why you started, and why it’s important that you finish. Prioritize the things that make you happy and start to make a plan on how to track it.
Tip #2: Decide on Clear Goals
I know this is starting to sound like a fitness blog – don’t worry, you won’t be doing pushups on your unfinished quilts. Setting goals is like putting your most important thoughts down in a visible place. Clear, visible goals can remind you of what is most important, and the promises that you’ve made to yourself.
Goals can sometimes feel overwhelming, the pressure to finish can be debilitating and ruin a creative edge. Quilting and making can be a way to relax... why burden yourself with pesky deadlines?! However, many studies have shown that setting meaningful goals and posting them in a visible place can increase commitment and resolve.
Here are some sample goals to get you thinking:
- Before starting a new quilt, I will finish one “work-in-progress” quilt
- I will learn how to write quilt patterns and write a pattern
- I will use up some scraps before starting a new quilt
- I will clean my quilting space every month
- I will use my stash fabrics for 50% of every quilt project this year
- I will reach out to quilters through social media and create meaningful friendships at least once a week
- I will choose to make one quilt pattern that utilizes a skill that I don’t know
Looking for more ideas? Lots of fun quilting goals are included in the American Patchwork & Quilting Bucket List.
Tip 3: Track Your Progress
After deciding on meaningful and specific goals, figure out a way to track your progress. If calendars and lists aren’t your thing, get creative! Use paper chains, sticky notes, an app or spreadsheet, polaroid pictures, posting to a social media account, or really anything that helps motivate you to keep going.
Quiltd Studios has conveniently made a goal tracker for you! Download it HERE and it BONUS it comes with a quilt project tracker!
Tracking your progress can also help you see where things often go awry. If you’re great at starting quilt projects but somewhere near the quilt sandwich drop off, tracking things can reveal where you may need to focus your efforts this year. It can also reveal projects that may need to be let go.
If you have projects that you’ve decided are not meaningful for you, find a way to let them go through donation, or as scrap for another project.
Tip 4: Set a Reward System
As adults, we like to think we’ve moved beyond the joy that comes from a teacher giving us a sticker for being an “top-notch student,” but in reality, aren’t we all still little kids? And giving ourselves some fantastic rewards for meeting goals is important for motivational purposes.
Rewards don’t have to be expensive, in fact some of my favorite rewards for meeting my quilting goals are free: watching my favorite show (it’s the Bachelor, I know, I can’t help it), baking a delicious treat, going to my favorite store and spending $20, buying a fun fabric bundle or pattern, or even putting stickers on my planner.
Tip 5: Get Some Help From Your Friends
Quilting can sometimes feel like a solo sport. You may spend a lot of time alone with your lovely fabrics and sewing machine that you’ve named (mine is named Plain Jane). Finding a community of friends to help you meet your goals and sustain you during the process is important.
Communities can be found in many places, you can try out social media (I live there, come find me!), a local quilting guild, sewing clubs, online chatrooms for quilters, etc. There are lots of ways to connect with people who can keep you accountable and cheer you up when things are difficult.
While these tips aren’t exhaustive, I want you to know that setting goals for your quilting adventures can help you achieve your most meaningful and creative desires. Goals can push you outside your comfortable bubble, force you to try something like EPP (Tula Pink would be proud), or learn how to make quilting reels on Instagram.
At the end of the day, goals are fantastic. But again, it’s the journey that matters, and your quilting journey is unique to you. Give yourself compassion, speak kindly to yourself, and remember that you’ve got this. 2022 will be your best year yet.
And don't forget to download your free goal tracker!