Thoughts on New Year’s resolutions and accidental project planning (not that kind)

Well hello there! It has been some time, and I don’t have any sewing or craft to show for my five-month absence, but as is traditional at this time of year, I have been thinking about 2016 and what it might hold. Over the past week or so there have been loads of posts out there about bloggers’ best/worst makes of the year and you can bet that there’ll be similar posts about sewing resolutions for 2016. 

For the first time ever in 2015, I kept a New Year’s resolution. It wasn’t related to sewing; it was about using up all the moisturising cream I’ve been given over the past few Christmasses. For me, body cream was the forgotten component of the smellies gift pack. Yes, it smells nice, but ugh, what a chore! If you can’t put it on in the shower then what’s the point? I had accumulated loads of the stuff just sitting in the bathroom, unloved. I didn’t want it to go to waste, and to be fair my skin was quite dry, so I decided that I would give it a go. And I did it! I had used up the first pot by the end of January and it was downhill from there. Now, with a couple of days to go to the end of the year, I have about two weeks’ worth of the last bottle left – not bad, I think, and my skin is baby-soft 😃

I used it all! All of this stuff!

I’ve been thinking about this over the last few days (I’ve had time on my hands) and I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason the resolution worked was because it basically (and completely accidentally) followed the principles of SMART objectives. I certainly didn’t plan it that way and I’ve since come to the realisation that oh my lord, I HAVE ACTUALLY BECOME MY JOB. But it did work and no-one’s more surprised than me… 

It was just a simple promise to myself that I’d get something done, but it also happened to be: 

  • Specific – I just had to get through a certain amount of moisturiser determined by family and friends over previous Christmasses
  • Measurable -after reading an article on the By Hand London blog last year, I decided to track my progress too. I downloaded an app called Daily Goals, (number 10 on this list) which is billed as a simple habit tracker. You enter your habit, assign it a colour and set a daily reminder (or however often you want to do it). My reminder goes off a 7am every day and when I complete the day’s moisturising I tick it off. I love a good stat, and the app tells you how many days you’ve completed, longest streaks etc. So out of the last 365 days, I have moisturised on 310 (that’s about 85%) and my longest streak was 52 days. 
  • Achieveable – it was about getting into the habit of using it every day – just making a small change to my morning routine. 
  • Realistic – it’s daft to think that you can do something every day, without fail. I knew that I wouldn’t manage a perfect 365 days, so when I skipped a day (or a whole week when I was on holiday) I didn’t beat myself up about it, and importantly, I got back on it as soon as I could. 
  • Timebound – having a finite amount of cream slaps a time limit on the whole operation. This resolution would last as long as the supply of moisturiser. Light at the end of the tunnel. 

At the risk of sounding like a corporate robot, it’s an approach that clearly works (for me, at least). And as a direct result, my skin is hydrated, I feel smug, and I’ve managed to almost clear my supplies in time for stocks to be replenished this Christmas. True to form, this festive season I received enough smellies to keep Boots in business for the next year and today I even WENT OUT AND BOUGHT MORE (there was a 50% sale, and now that I use everything in the pack, that’s really good value)! Ready for me to do it all again in 2016, after all, I’m in the habit now. 

I made another resolution last year, and that was to join in a bit more with the sewing community. I sort of achieved it – I joined the Monthly Stitch site and participated in two challenges, I took part in Me Made May rather successfully and I’ve taken several classes where I’ve met some lovely fellow sewists. I’ve been a rubbish blogger though. It’s been an exceptionally busy year work-wise, what with completing the biggest project I’ve ever done and then starting a new job and setting things up from scratch. It’s left me feeling shattered at the weekends, and I honestly haven’t felt like sitting down at my sewing machine in a good few months. Classes do help, so I’ve booked myself in for the Vintage Shirt Dress class at Sew Over It in early January, and I hope to have something to show for it in a few weeks, including some new-found motivation!

If we’re following the SMART scheme, then my sewing resolution didn’t really fit and maybe that’s why it wasn’t the out and out success the moisturising resolution turned out to be. It was too vague for a start (what do I mean by joining in more etc), and I think my ambitions at the start of the year became less achievable and less realistic as things started to get more hectic at work and in life in general. But does all that really matter? I had fun doing what I did in 2015, I tried new things and to be honest, isn’t that what hobbies should be all about?

2016

So what about 2016? I’ve learned a lot over the last year, and I’d like to prove to myself that I can do it all over again, cos dammit, I feel so smug about this! 

On a personal level, I am going to build flossing into my daily routine. It’s generally a good idea to keep one’s teeth in good nick, and flossing can only please my dentist. As with the moisturising, I’m going to try for every day, but it’ll be before I go to bed and I’ll probably set myself reminders on the app.

At work, I’m going to try and bring my lunch in as much as possible. I buy my lunch a bit too much, and when it costs as much as £7 a day (damn you Pret and your delicious mushroom risotto soup!), it really does mount up. Chris and I are thinking about moving in 2016 and we’re going to need every penny, so my bank balance will thank me. This is going to take a bit of organisation, but as long as I build it into my evening routine and factor it into my weekly shop I should be ok. 

I’ve thought about my sewing resolution quite a bit. I thought about setting myself some goals about specific garments I’d like to sew – basically sewing up a capsule wardrobe, but I get easily distracted, and while I reckon that can be a good thing sometimes it’s not conducive to keeping a resolution. I like Sewaholic’s approach to setting a goal of three must-sew items per season, but that’s something I’ll maybe look at later in the year when I know what’s going on a bit more. 

In the end I settled on a stash diet. I have an extensive stash and it needs using up! I have an idea of what I’d like to make with most of it; I just need to get it done. Again, my bank balance will thank me, but I have given myself the caveat of being allowed to buy fabric for classes. I suppose it follows SMART principles (sort of?):

  • Specific – I have a fabric stash. It must go. Into my wardrobe. 
  • Measurable – I can measure it in that once it’s gone, it’s gone. If I wanted to be a complete nerd about it I could set up an inventory and go nuts over Excel sheets… Is that taking it too far, or is it sensible record keeping? 
  • Achievable and realistic – this is where it gets a bit iffy. Is it realistic for me to exercise such self-restraint? And knowing what I’m like when I see a pretty fabric, is a stash diet actually achievable? 
  • Time-bound – Again, once it’s gone, it’s gone. The sooner I clear the stash, the sooner I get to buy more fabric. 

I reckon in order for this to work, I’m going to have to engage some willpower, but also get off my rear and do some actual sewing, which involves getting my mojo back. Just like at work (seriously, what have I become?), I’m prob going to need a couple of strategic reviews. Let’s see how I’m getting on in a couple of months…

What about you? Do you make resolutions? Do you resolve never to make another resolution again? What do you want to achieve in 2016? 

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts on New Year’s resolutions and accidental project planning (not that kind)

  1. Lesley King says:

    Oh my. I work as an M&E consultant. Basically I design measurable systems. If you want to be a true nerd in measuring your progress you could include a baseline, measurable milestones and allocate % effort to each of your targets. Course I try not to take my work home with me so my home life is completely unorganised!

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