I began quilting when I was 6 months pregnant. And stopped quilting at 6 months and one week. Yes, I’m a quitter. I was so disciplined during my first week of my quilting stint. I worked full-time, so I generally had about two hours to work on my quilt in the evening after I cooked supper, put away dishes and spent time with my husband. (For those of you with children…oh my gosh! What the heck did I do with all my free time?! I would not trade my two precious boys for all the time in the world. I realize now just how much time I must have wasted!!)
Because the quilt was intended for my firstborn, I knew I had a limited amount of time to get it done. I was so excited to get behind my sewing machine every night. But then my project stalled. I was exhausted! It took everything I had to move my limbs. Supper? Sorry, honey. Sandwiches tonight.
Then you know how you get that burst of energy and feel the need to nest? I decided the quilt had to be done before Jack’s arrival! I made a plan. I would work a little each night until the quilt was complete. It took two full months, but Jack was welcomed home with a handmade quilt in his crib. The crib that he never slept in. But, that’s another story.
How did I get back on track after being derailed? Two steps.
// Eliminate Distractions//
While there was no Pinterest eight years ago, there were plenty of other things vying for my attention. “Do I need to begin now pureeing and freezing baby food? What does a baby need? Diapers, I know. But, onesies, washcloths, high chair, car seat…Yikes!” It was overwhelming as a first-timer!
Stay on task. Enjoy yourself, stay in the moment. It is a good practice even if you are not working on a project! Believe me…this is where I struggle. I sometimes begin creating a product and think I need to Google some inspiration. An hour later I’m trapped in the interwebs and my project is at a standstill. We all fall prey to instant gratification. Just reserve it for time you decide. Set aside time every week for that purpose. You will enjoy web-surfing more when you give yourself permission!
//Make the plan. Work the plan.//
Be accountable to yourself…start in 15 minute increments. Schedule your plan. Stick to it. No matter what.
I read once that humans are incapable of motivating themselves. It is a matter of just doing it…or not. Thank you, Nike. That was the answer all along. Except that it is really difficult to keep a new habit going day in and day out.
Jerry Seinfeld has been credited with an ingenious but simple system of implementing a new routine. He hung a wall calendar and placed a big red “X” in every day he met his writing goal. After a few weeks, he was staring at an unbroken chain of “X”’s. Not unlike the chore charts we have used before with our children, seeing the progress you have made seems to propel you forward.
The little tasks grow exponentially when stacked together. According to the advice offered by Seinfield, your only task becomes not breaking the chain. You can use this method for any large project…DIY or otherwise. Try it when learning a new language, adopting a healthier lifestyle, or building your next business.
Are you pumped? Get going! Download your habit tracker below. Then tell me in the comments below…what project will you attack using this method?