Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goal Snowball

Despite the crappy weather it usually brings us here in New England, January has become one of my favorite times of year. After the whirlwind of family and holiday obligations it's nice to have some unstructured time to reconnect with friends and reflect on the general state of my life-- which, on the whole, is pretty darn good. We're on vacation this week, and I am ever so glad we decided to stay home, relax, and ease ourselves into 2011.

I don't feel a great need for drastic resolutions this year-- having achieved the ripe old age of 30, I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to keep myself happy and productive. This is not to say that I always DO what it takes... but I think I'm getting better at it. Starting 52 hats has been a huge step in the right direction-- I'm more organized, I'm finishing what I start, and I'm spending more time doing things that I love. It's exciting to start a new year with this kind of momentum!

I think what has made this project a success for me so far is that the goals are defined and manageable. My general goal for 2011 is to apply this approach to some other areas of my life-- I'm giving myself monthly, weekly, and daily goals to complement my intense knitting agenda.

Each month, I want to:
  • Complete one home improvement project. After the initial excitement of becoming homeowners in April 2010, we have gotten a bit lazy. First up: replace the temporary (now going-on-6-month-old) paper shades in our bedroom with something more attractive... that actually blocks the light.
  • Clear my out-box. I'm good at identifying objects that need to leave my life. As for actually getting rid of them... not so much. Every month, I will sell, freecycle, or donate anything that needs to go.
  • Add one item of clothing to my wardrobe. I did an extensive wardrobe purge before we moved and I really need to start rebuilding. There's a nice knee-length, a-line corduroy skirt that has been calling my name for some time now...
Besides knitting a hat, each week, I want to:
  • Go on an outdoor adventure with my husband. We got into a pretty good rhythm of hikes and nature walks before the holiday craziness set in, and I want to get it going again.
  • Learn one new photography trick. I cracked open my camera manual for the first time today and figured out how to shoot in "RAW" format. Doing so promises better image quality and more editing options, but also prevents me from using the AUTO exposure setting. Horrors!
  • Try one new healthy recipe. I eat a reasonably balanced diet, and I'm not trying to lose weight, but I seriously need to expand my repertoire.
  • Write down one old favorite in my recipe journals. I started overhauling my recipe collection in 2010, and came up with a nifty organization method: Each journal contains one category of recipes-- baking, soups, poultry, etc.-- and I'm slowly adding categories and recipes until all of my favorites are readily accessible, rather than stuck in my hopelessly outdated laptop or scribbled on loose paper.
That brings us to daily goals:
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise. I have been a regular exerciser for a long time, but I still have my ups and downs. Since I injured my feet in August, I haven't been as consistent as I want to be. I haven't yet looked up how many calories per hour you burn knitting... but I'm pretty sure it's not enough to compensate for the sedentary posture it generally requires.
  • Maintain basic standards of cleanliness in our home-- a mutual goal with my enlightened husband. Every day, we need to wash dishes, sweep, wipe down the stove & counters, and put essential items (keys, shoes, coats, mail, dirty laundry) in their designated places. These are small things, but they make life so much better.
  • Take at least 15 minutes per day to plan and organize my life. Despite being born into the digital age, I still do most of my planning on paper. I have about ten thousand little notebooks relentlessly shuffling around to different locations in my house and handbag. This drives me crazy. So, as of today, there's a new order:
One notepad for grocery lists, one for general note-taking, a calendar, and a notebook for more long-term planning and list-making

Along with a pen, it all fits rather nicely into this tacky green envelope. In theory, if I spend less time hunting for these items, I should have more time to think about what I need to get done. Whether I get more done as a result remains to be seen.
  • Finally, I would like to be better company to my husband every day-- and enjoy his company. Many days we have only a few minutes together between our opposite work schedules, and I want to be able to relax and enjoy it, instead of being a bundle of stress and demands. I think maintaining the habits I have outlined above-- along with a generous helping of knitting-- will go a long way toward making this happen.
Speaking of of knitting... my stash has definitely started 2011 on the right foot:

Since I'm already knee-deep in a year-long knitting project, I'm going to try to keep my knitting plans from getting any more lofty-- but I think I have some fairly realistic goals:
  • Continue 52 hats-- #5 is in the bag:
Finished with yarn to spare-- my swatches are safe!
  • Complete one self-designed hat every two months... and publish some patterns!
  • Knit myself a damn sweater. This has been hanging over my head for far too long-- I need a basic, wear-with-anything sweater. It's going to be a cream or oatmeal heather semi-fitted seamless raglan with a slightly scooped crew neck. And that's final. Sort of.
  • Write a bit about my knitting history and my reasons for starting the hat project.
That's probably quite enough for one year... and one post for that matter. If you have made it this far, thank you so much for taking the time to read.* If you feel like it, leave me a comment with your goals for the New Year-- or point me to your blog, so I can stalk you.

*Sarah, I know this kind of post is right up your alley-- hope it provides some compensation for the relentless knitting content.


  1. You sound super organized to me! Hat #5 is beautiful.
    Can't wait to see your hat designs and your sweater. : )

  2. why yes, yes it was. i nearly cried tears of joy when i saw your envelope!! and i LOOOOOOOOVE your recipe system. mwah!!!