June 13, 2006

Goal Setting Phenomenon

Does this happen to you? If you've been reading my blog, you know I set a bunch of stitching, reading and knitting goals for myself for this summer. Well, I'm into the 2nd week of June and I find myself totally stressed out by the imagined deadlines these goals represent. As I was knitting on my sock this morning, I kept thinking I should be knitting faster if I'm to have any hope of finishing more than one pair of socks per month this summer. Lost in the drive to achieve my goal is the pleasure I find in the actual knitting. Instead of focusing on my pleasure in the fantastic yarn I'm working with and the satisfaction that comes from seeing the finished result of my time and effort is a frantic feeling that I need to work faster. This is the same with my reading goals - I've yet to start one of the books on my summer reading list and that's stressing me out! The only place I'm ahead is with stitching.

While I know there is satisfaction in checking off a goal achieved, the self induced stress of achieving them is sapping my enjoyment in the tasks. I've decided to slow down and enjoy the summer - as brief as it is - and be happy with whatever I have accomplished by the beginning of September. To take the time to savor my pleasure in the art of knitting, the rhythmic flow of yarn through my fingers and the feel of the needles in my hand. To enjoy the pull of thread through fabric and the developing design that results as I poke my needle in and out of the linen. The pleasure that comes with opening a new book and reading that first word and the anticipation of turning that next page, falling deeper under the spell of the author's words.

Note to self: Life is often too short - slow down and savor the simple pleasures and gifts that it brings each day. Won't you join me?

I leave you with the magnificent progress that is my first sock of June. I hope the giftee will eventually take as much pleasure in it as the gifter is having in creating it!

PS: I just came in from sitting out on my porch with Cowboy, enjoying the great breeze and warm weather and knitting on my sock! :-)

8 comments:

Joanie said...

You've hit the nail right on the head, Patti. Our obsession with fabric and fiber should be enjoyed not made into a task or a race to see how much we've accomplished in a given time period. Even though I live by lists and am all for deadlines, I've come to realize that some things are meant to take time and in that slow passing of the minutes, to be savored. I have to constantly remind myself, it's not the finish but the journey that takes me there!

Here's to you, girlfriend, for an eloquent post to take time to enjoy the moment!

Von said...

Joanie is right Patti. Life is to be savored, especially the hobbies that we love. We spend a lot of time and money on our wonderful fibers and fabric, we should not race through the creative process just so we can get to the next one.
Housework is to be done as quickly as possible, however! :D

KarenV said...

That is exactly the reason why I gave up setting monthly goals for my stitching. Once I posted them, I felt I *had* to fulfill them and it was just too stressful. Now I stitch what I want (or don't stitch, if I don't feel like it) and I enjoy it a lot more.

Patti said...

Thank you ladies for your comments! I am in 100% agreement with Von on rushing through the housework part - that is if it absolutely has to be done! LOL

Melissa said...

A while back I gave up on setting goals. As soon as I said something "outloud" it was the death of that project. I hate goals. They seem to just suck the joy out of a project. Even the little offhand goal, like, "I think I'll be able to finish this this afternoon" is a curse on anything I'm working on. So now I'm an unplanned, unscheduled crafty girl. I find a lot more joy in my stitching now.

lobstah said...

I definitely agree--crafting is a hobby and for it to be enjoyable there can't be any goals, time schedules, etc! I think one of my problems is seeing all the amazing projects on blogs, and wanting to do them all! Now that I've been knitting for a few years, I've come to the realization that I'm NEVER going to do all the projects I like and I might as well just enjoy what I'm working on.

Barbara said...

Yes, I do this all the time. Drives me crazy. You'd think I'd learn...

Tracy Baby said...

I find goal setting and my stitching are not compatible lol I begin to stress about not getting everyhting finished and then it begins to spill over into other things like not going somewhere or doing something because I have to catch up on stitching ,it becomes to much like another job.