A few weeks ago I asked my personal trainer if she could help me define some fitness goals. I’ve already achieved my daily functionality goals (YAY!!) Beyond basic health needs, and being able to quilt with physical ease, I want to have strength and endurance for the day hikes Jim and I enjoy. I’d like a clearer sense of what training program I need, what markers at the gym I need to meet to achieve that goal.
Note that goals or commitments are not the same as challenges. The goal is the end point, while the challenge is a barrier to reaching the end. Opportunities are creative pathways to breaching the barriers. With the example above, a goal is to be able to hike with enjoyment. The challenges and opportunities are offered by my personal limitations and the physical training to get there. I wrote about challenges and opportunities here.
I’m also thinking about my goals in quilting. Lori at the Inbox Jaunt just asked
Imagine it’s the year 2117--and a family member has just inherited a trunk of your quilts.
What will YOUR quilts say about YOU?
Do they say what YOU want them to say?
Another way to think about goals is to ask, if you knew you only had one more year to make quilts, which quilts would you choose to make? Would they be gifts for family members, or donation quilts, or quilts to challenge your skills? Would your goal be to finish UFOs rather than to begin (and hopefully finish) new ones? Or would you want to spend your quilting time working with friends, regardless of finishes?
And even if you have a goal, it’s SO easy to get sidetracked, isn’t it? A friend just posted in Facebook:
Cleaning up bedroom, realize you need a pair of scissors. Go to kitchen to get scissors. Notice the floor is sticky, wipe up spill. Get coffee, go back to bedroom. Realize you forgot scissors. Go to kitchen to get scissors, past washer & dryer. Realize you need to start laundry. Take out clothes in dryer, put them in the bedroom. Realize you forgot scissors. Go to kitchen to get scissors, carry them to bedroom. Realize you forgot why you wanted scissors.
And quilting is just like that! Finish an important project; realize you have a deadline coming up for a guild project; look for fabrics to begin that; pull a favorite fabric you’ve intended to use for something else, as well as eight more pieces to go with it and the pattern; head to the kitchen for coffee; sit down at the computer for a few minutes; get distracted by someone’s Instagram post and decide that’s the thing you want to make next!
How will you spend your time? How will I spend my time? I want to focus on what is most important to me, on things to which I’m emotionally committed.
Sometimes it is easiest to start with the negative. What I am NOT committed to?
1) Making quilts for family.
2) Using scraps for the sake of emptying the scrap drawer.
3) Finishing projects in which I’ve lost interest.
What am I committed to?
1) Making projects that create puzzles for me to solve.
2) Teaching, both in person and on the blog, especially about medallion quilts.
3) Working with my local guild on quilts and other projects.
4) Building relationships with my small group.
These do describe how I want to use my time, but are they goals? Maybe not. They’re certainly not well-defined. A lot of sources on goal-setting recommend developing specific, realistic, measurable goals, and setting deadlines for attainment. ::sigh:: I guess this is why people fail at New Year’s resolutions.
But honestly, while I did this small exercise, I clarified for myself that “using scraps” for its own sake is NOT one of my goals. I don’t need to clean up piles of cuttings by making more quilts deliberately from them.
Okay. Goals. I have a goal related to commitment #4. One of my small group members developed a mystery quilt project for us, and I will participate. It is a specific project, it is realistic and measurable, and has a rather nebulous time frame of some time early this year. I actually can use scraps in it 🙂 though most of my cutting will be new. It will help forge the camaraderie of our group. And as a mystery quilt, it also suits commitment #1. I have my new project.
Have you developed goals for your quilting? How successful are you in meeting them? Is your current project lined up with those goals? I’d love to hear in comments.