About a year ago I came to a startling revelation, I had only finsihed 1 quilt a year for the previous 3 years. In 2005, I finished 4 quilts in that year alone. I also noted that not only was I not finishing quilts, I wasn't starting any new projects either. After looking at my "data" (sorry day job jargon) which consisted of my journal of completed quilts and my newly completed list of UFO's, I came to a couple of conclusions:
1. I had a lot of UFO's just sitting in the closet
2. I hadn't taken a quilting class in almost 3 years
Obviously I needed some "stretch" goals (again day job jargon). The UFO's were the easiest to deal with. I had just joined "Karen's UFO Quilt Along" at Connecting Threads "Quilt With Us" community. Picked up a lot of tips on how to deal with all my UFO's, plus joined their monthly challenge where we had to commit to what we were going to work on each month. My commitment was to work on a UFO for the first 15 minutes of any sewing session. I finished 2 UFO's by the end of the year.
Starting new projects was a bit harder. There were only a couple of occassions where I started a project on my own, most of my quilts were the direct result of a class. Why wasn't I taking classes? Well we moved in 2006 from a community with a quilt shop that had a lot of evening and Saturday classes to a community with a quilt shop that didn't offer many evening or Saturday classes. My goal was to find an alternative to the quilt shop classes. I ended up finding an on-line shop that offered a mystery quilt program. I also signed up for one of the quilt shop's few Saturday class, but the class didn't make so they canceled it. So I just pretended that Saturday the class was at my house and started the quilt on my own. I didn't finish either of the new projects till this year, but I at least was feeding the project pipeline (there's that job jargon again).
I ended up with 3 finished quilts for 2009. Which was 2 more than the previous few years. That was when I realized the value of goals for my quilting life. If I didn't think and plan what I wanted to get done, I wasn't going to find the time to do anything. So on January 1st this year, I wrote up my quilting goals for the year. Does it make a difference? Well to date for 2010, I've finished 6 quilts (5 of those were UFO's), have one quilt that just needs to be bound, just shipped off a completed top to be quilted, and have 3 active projects on my design wall. So for me it made a big difference.
Do goals work for you? If not, how do you motivate yourself to finish UFO's and start projects for you own pipeline?