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How to Keep Your Resolutions

How to Keep Your Resolutions

By Janelle Cahoon, Quiltcentric 

Making resolutions is easy. Keeping them is hard.

Most of us rely on willpower to make the life-changes we’re demanding of ourselves, and willpower alone tends to slip after a while – usually before the new behavior is a habit.

Think of your resolutions as if they were a diet plan:  Yes, you can give up all sweets for a time, but sooner or later you’re going to be faced with a chocolate truffle or a slice of cheesecake and succumb.  At that point, having already “failed” to keep the resolutions, most of us will give up on it entirely.

These techniques will help you succeed in your resolutions:

  • Make your resolutions reasonable and achievable.  Don’t resolve to buy no fabric at all this year.  Instead, set a reasonable monthly or yearly limit in either yards or dollar value.
  • Write your resolutions down, and put them where you’ll see them daily.  Whether that’s on the fridge, in your sewing room or on your desktop.  Frequent reminders will help you keep your attention on your goals.
  • Break big goals into smaller steps, with a reasonable timetable.  If you resolve to make 12 quilts this year, it’s too easy to let months go by without making real progress.  So divide it up.  Resolve to make one quilt a month instead and you won’t be faced with an insurmountable hurdle as year-end approaches.
  • Expect setbacks and slip-ups. We all slip up along the way. It’s just a slip, not a failure.  Expect it, acknowledge it, and move on.
  • Plan consequences for slip-ups.  I don’t do this myself, but some people find it useful.  Figure out in advance what the consequences for a slip-up will be and and then follow through.  If you’ve resolved to complete one project every quarter this year and March 31st is approaching, the consequences should be strong enough to inspire you to get busy.
  • Reward yourself for your successes.  If you stick to your fabric budget in spite of the temptations of a quilt-show vendor’s area, don’t reward yourself with more fabric, but maybe with a pattern book or even a non-quilting reward like a movie or a new bag.
  • Focus on the benefits or keeping your resolution.  Whether that’s more space in the scrap bins, more money in savings or some other benefit.  Keeping this benefit in mind will increase your chances of success.

By planning and implementing your resolutions this way, you’ll be more likely to stick with them long after the January calendar page has been turned!


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