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.