The Power of Big, Crafty Goals

on December 27 | in Sewing + Quilting Tips, Sewing Inspiration | by | with 8 Comments

It’s that time again when we reflect on the year and look forward to new goals and new beginnings! Tara Swiger joins us today to share some thoughts about how to propel your crafty dreams for 2014 into reality. Tara is an author, maker and Starship Captain. She leads online explorations into making your ideal creative business happen, where she helps you define what you really want and break down the steps to make it actually happen. You can start your exploration with her free How to Explore mini-course. Learn more about her Starship Adventure business here, and have some fun looking around Tara’s site. Tara has an upbeat, can-do approach to life and we love looking in to see that spirit in action. Tara helps you feel everything is possible…

Last March, I had a crazy idea. I had finished two quilts (Christmas gifts) in a little over a month and then made very little progress over the first three months of the New Year. I recognized that it was the craziness of the Quilts By Christmas deadline that got me quilting more. If I wanted more quilting in my daily life, I’d need to make another crazy, fun goal for myself. So I announced that I was going to attempt six quilts in the remaining nine months of 2013. That might not be a lot for some people, but considering I had only made a total of three quilts in my whole life, it was just big enough to be inspiring.

Now that we’re just a few days away from the end of the year, I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to meet my goal of six new quilts. But that’s OK, because I did finish a long-waiting collaborative quilt with my mom, started and finished a new quilt, started two more, joined a quilting bee and sketched out ideas for at least a half a dozen more.

All in all, my goal was a delightful success because it fulfilled its bigger purpose: bring more quilting into my life.

I love a good, crazy, year-long goal and I’ve spent the past few years experimenting (with my creative business guinea pigs/clients) to learn what makes any dream do-able.

Here’s what I’ve found makes big crafty goals a fun experience and a huge success:
(You can use this for your crafty goals or your craft business goals!)

Focus on what matters to you.
Do you want to get better at a specific skill?
Are you excited (obsessed!) with a new craft or project?
Are you looking to kickstart your mojo?
Do you want to have an entirely handmade holidays (next year!)?

Find what you really want, and shape your goal around that.

For example, I’m not much of a perfectionist, and I don’t have fun with fiddly instructions. Knowing this, I shouldn’t set a goal related to perfection, but one related to quantity or trying different kinds of projects.

Be flexible.
The joy in a big crafty goal is that no matter how close (or far) you come to it, you’ll have spent more time doing what you love. That extra time will translate into increased skill, confidence and enthusiasm, even if you don’t follow through.

There’s a balance here, between taking yourself and your goal seriously, and allowing that it might not all work out as planned. I find that regular review allows you to reassess where you are, how close you are, and what you can shift or change to either get closer to– or adjust– your goal.

Share it.
The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) reports that you are 85% more likely to complete a goal when you tell someone else. So don’t keep it to yourself! Join in with other crafters who are working on the very same goal. From free groups (like 365Project or a quilting finish-a-long), to paid courses that keep you on track (like the Organized Elf for a handmade holiday or my Solo Mission for your business goals), sharing makes it easier and more fun to stick with your plan!

What’s your new year project or goal?
How will you reassess it?
Who will you share it with?

Share in the comments!

All images are of my Christmas gift quilt from this year.

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8 Responses to The Power of Big, Crafty Goals

  1. What a fun post! Last year a friend of mine and I founded a women’s art/craft collective in Atlanta for women with young kids. We rent space in a church and run a cooperatively scheduled childcare in the nursery so we all get time to work on our creative projects. This inspired us all to set some creative goals for next year – and post them on our blog. It can feel overwhelming to get any projects done with young kids around, so it is nice to have some goals (even if they are on the small-ish side!) for the new year!

  2. Anne says:

    Wow, I really needed to see this, this post came at exactly the right time for me. I started a small business last August (painting birdhouses with plans for more crafts in the new year) and did two small craft shows. I did very poorly at the craft shows but experienced vendors told me the problem was no traffic at the shows, not my product. I’ll try blogging, joining a group for accountability, as you suggest in the post, and see where that takes me. Thanks!

  3. Fiona says:

    I did something very similar to you last year. I set myself the goal of reading 52 books in the year because I missed reading so much. Like you I didn’t get my target but I was more than happy because it made me read more. I got up to 44 books and I’m going to try again next year, and I love every hour I spent reading instead of working 🙂

    I made my public and blogged about my progress (here: and other people joined in too which made me even more accountable because there were several of us doing. I’ve already got over 20 reading along with me for 2014 and we’re hoping one of us might it it next year but even if not we’ll enjoy reading and sharing recommendations and the experience.

  4. Nancy M says:

    A private blog would be a great idea for me! I hadn’t thought of that. My problem isn’t setting goals or even reaching them… eventually. I get discouraged because I get sick so often and can’t sew for days or even weeks at a time so I feel I haven’t gotten anything done. Most of what I make I give away so I don’t see the progress I make and focus on my down time. A private blog would be a great reminder of all the work I have done and encourage me. I would see that I actually did get something done on my good days!
    Thanks Cheryl Jaeger and Elise

  5. Ingvild says:

    I was wondering if I should write down some crafting new years resolutions and share them on my blog, and after reading your blog post I have decided to do that. I just have to come up with some good ideas first! But one goal I have already: I’m going to sew my first quilted blanket. I have already found this gorgeous pattern from a Norwegian designer, so I’m sure that I’m going to finish my goal. Greetings from one of your readers in Norway 🙂

  6. What a perfectly timed, well-written post! Making quilts, learning new skills, and playing more with sewing are my overall goals. Breaking these goals down into specific objectives helps me. A photo-filled to-do list has also been helpful to me in the past, so I want to keep this going. I shared my to-do list on my blog, but since only one of my friends actually reads my blog…this visual to-do list is more for me to keep me focused. Maybe I should check out some other ways to share!

  7. I have several goals for 2014 which center on being more organized in order to be more creative.

  8. Jessica Hansen says:

    This is why I love QALs. They are big goals broken down into bite sized pieces, and it really feels like someone else is doing the work because the planning part is the work for me.
    My goals for the first quarter of this upcoming year include a QAL by Happy Quilting Melissa, starting in January, which I am super excited about, getting the actual quilting done on the last quilt I made via another of HQMs QALs in time for a silent auction, and getting my new house in order! That last part might not sound crafty to you but considering it involves putting order to the absolute chaos that is my craft room, at least part of it will be.

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