It's already a week into the New Year–have you set yourself any goals for 2013?
Many people declare, "I refuse to make New Year's resolutions because they never happen anyway!" To me, the notion of a New Year's resolution is almost the same as setting oneself a goal. Do you feel differently when asked "What are your goals for the year?" instead of "Did you make any resolutions?" Some people prefer to avoid the term 'resolution' because it has a connotation of unrealistic or impossible expectations. Do you feel the same way?
Why do some people have a lot of success in achieving their goals while others struggle? There are skills and principles that everyone can learn to improve success. They can be applied to reaching goals in all sorts of areas in life, not just crochet or craft; e.g., family, financial, career, anything that is important to you.
The first step: effective goal setting.
This is more than just writing a "wish list". A wish* is a desire. When a wish is expressed it rarely offers guidance as to how one might make it come true; I think of the phrase, "Wish upon a star..." and to me it implies relinquishing control of the outcome to some outside force, in this case a star or the heavens, no effort required; e.g., "I wish I could crochet", "I wish it would rain".
A resolution* is a better start. It means that you have made a firm decision to achieve something but it still doesn't define how it might be achieved; e.g., "I resolve to be nicer to my siblings", "I resolve to be healthier".
Compare a goal* which is defined as "that towards which effort is directed". It implies action in order to reach it and suggests that one has some control (and thus responsibility) over the outcome.
Here is a 'SMART' method for setting goals. To be effective, goals must be:
Specific. "I want to learn to crochet" is too general. When the goal is too broad, is it any wonder that one feels overwhelmed or that it is unattainable. Instead specify the exact skill or outcome; e.g., learn to crochet a beanie, make a swatch in double crochet, knit socks, buy a hairpin loom, make birthday presents.
Measurable. How will you know when you have reached your goal? You will know if you can see or measure the outcome; e.g., crochet 1 beanie, a swatch in double crochet that is 6 inches square, 2 pairs of socks, a hairpin loom that is 3 inches wide, make 4 birthday presents.
Achievable. It is important to choose goals which have a chance of success. With success comes the confidence to try new challenges. The sense of achievement alone can do wonders for inner happiness and self-esteem; "Good for you! Well done! Be Proud!"
Realistic & Relevant. Be realistic about what can be achieved. If you are a complete beginner and still coming to terms with basic stitches, don't decide to make a large, elaborate project with complicated colour work, shaping and advanced construction techniques or you will get discouraged. You won't enjoy it and what's the point in that? Crochet these days should not be a chore.
Break large, long-term goals into smaller, manageable short-term ones. If you know you only have 8 hours of crochet time, don't embark on a blanket that will take twenty hours! You might like to adjust the goal to completing 12 squares towards it instead.
If you are inspired by the beautiful but elaborate project, set it as a long-term goal and break up the skills required into medium-term, short-term and/or daily goals. Link your smaller goals to the big one. As you complete each smaller task, you will be making steady progress towards achieving your long-term goal(s).
Timely. Make a deadline or timeline for when you want to reach your goal; e.g., by the end of the year, attend the workshop in May, completed in time for the wedding, in two months' time, next week, by lunchtime, etc.
So what about my goal setting?
I have been taking my time to set goals, working through the steps outlined in Happy New Year and being mindful of the SMART method. The first quarter of 2013 is already going to be very busy. I am having difficulty seeing past Easter!
I had 2 WIPs (works in progress) at 1 January, both of which are summer tops. I was hoping to finish 'Top A' before the end of summer so I can wear it this year–especially since I started it in the previous summer! So much for that idea–it is the height of summer now! Top A is constructed with simple motifs and very portable; Top B is still only a swatch.
The third WIP is a commissioned work that I have taken on–a small project which should only take me a week to complete if circumstances are favourable. Therefore with my health issues, I will allow three weeks for the project.
On the calendar there are two birthdays (one of them an 18th) and an engagement party in February, plus a wedding on the Easter weekend which involves travel. I will be involved in organising the 18th birthday, limiting my energy further so I will skip gifts for the February events and focus on the wedding.
I've rearranged the 'queue' of things to crochet. Last year I spent a lot of energy on crocheting for others. This year I will try to finish off overdue projects for my home.
For charity, I wish to support my daughter's school and raise funds for special trips for the students.
Community involvement can include the school fundraising, getting involved in the 'blogosphere' and attending local crafting events.
My Ten Crochet Goals for 2013
- Take Top A with me and work on it when I am out and about.
- Put Top B aside until I have completed Top A, then re-assess whether to continue.
- Complete the commissioned work by the 25 January.
- Make a small but very personal wedding gift by 15 March.
- Create crocheted inserts to spruce up two older bath towels before the end of the year.
- Crochet tea towel tops for every tea towel in the stack in my gift box and get them done before the end of the year.
- Raffle off a project that is school-related by 30 June.
- Decide upon the next fundraising project by 30 June.
- Maintain a blog by posting at least once a fortnight, preferably once a week, for the entire year.
- Attend the annual craft fair in my city in November.
What strategies do you use when setting and reaching your goals? Please share your tips as comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope these ideas have been helpful. Wishing you the best of luck and success in 2013!
*Definitions sourced from The Macquarie Dictionary Third Edition, Macquarie University NSW Australia, 1997.
determine: (verb) to settle or decide by an authoritative decision.
goal: (noun) that towards which effort is directed.
resolution: (noun) a determination; the act of resolving or determining as to action etc.
resolve: (verb) to fix or to settle on by deliberate choice and will.
wish: (noun) a desire, felt or expressed.