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January 26, 2017

If not now.....when?

" It's not that some people don't have will power and some don't.  It's that some people are ready to change and other are not." ~ James Gordon, M.D.

2017 has begun and January is usually the time for resolutions.  I image that many have already broken those same resolutions by this time.  Many of them were destine to fall.  That's because behavioral change is very, very, very hard.  I long ago gave up making resolutions, but I do set goals and I do try to develop new habits that help me reach those goals.  Why are habits so important?  And what does this have to do with crafting?

I am fascinated by how we develop habits and how we can use them to make changes to our lives. Researchers tell us that nearly 50% of our daily lives are controlled by habits.  (I actually believe that number is probably higher....but that's just my .02 cents.)  That means that half of what we do each day, we do without even thinking about it.  In fact, the brain prefers this.  So if you want to eat healthy it is better to develop healthy habits, rather than trying to be consciously aware of each choice we make.  I am a HUGE believer that the fewer choices we make each day the less stress we experience.  So the more I can build healthy habits, the few choices I need to make each day.

Now what does this have to do with crafting?  In order to reach my goals I have to change my habits.  If your goal is to be more creative in 2017, you will have to build that into your daily or weekly routine.  Research also tells us that building off of existing habits makes us more likely to succeed.  For example, I have decided I want to a short ab workout each morning when I first get up.  I already have the habit of checking my phone every morning.  So now I place my phone on top of my exercise ball each night as a physical reminder.  After a few weeks it will become a habit I no longer think about.....I just do it.

Ok, now to the crafting part.  My goals for 2017 are:
  • Finish my unfinished projects.
  • Purchase only what I need.
  • Journal daily.
  • Create daily.
Let's break these down a bit too see how I plan to accomplish each of my goals.

Finish my Unfinished Projects
I will be honest, I have a large number of unfinished projects.  And they are driving me nuts!  My creative time is limited, so I want to focus much of it on completing these projects.  To that end I will not be add any new projects to 2017.  In the past I spent most of my time creating for the blog challenges, but rarely did I work on my own personal projects.  That will change this year and I excited to share my progress with you.

What habits to I need to build?  Once again I know I need to change my morning routine.  I need to be creative 1st thing in the morning or I will never get to it.  I also log onto to my computer each morning, so my plan is to put my current project in front of my computer each evening as a physical reminder.  I am hoping it will be the push I need to turn off the electronics and focus on something else.  I know this might not be enough of a push, but it is a good place to start.  

I also need to simplify my scrapbooking process.  I currently have far too many choices to make.  My goal has always been to create a yearly review album, but not as complicated as Project Life. In past years, I have printed off all of my photos and then tried to decide what stories to tell and what pictures to use.  Then the pictures would arrive and I would be instantly overwhelmed.  What do I do with them all?  How do I decide which ones to use?  What do I do with the extras?  Then nothing would get done.

Time for a new plan.  I will decide which stories I want to tell for each month and I will only print those pictures.  Whew....what I relief.  Still have no plan for my travel albums, but I will think about that later.  I will begin with my 2013 yearly review album and my 2014 holiday album.  Yes, I am really that far behind. :)

My mixed media and art journaling projects are way easier to plan and complete.  Less choices make these projects more fun.  I get to dive in and make messy goodness, plus I get to share new ideas, techniques and journeys with you. :)

Buying Only What I Need
This is part of a larger goal for 2017.  I want to know what it feels like to purchase only those things I truly need for one, whole year.  This is not because of financial difficulties or because I feel bad about the 'stuff' I have.  It is just a feeling that it all becomes overwhelming.  The shopping, the choices, deciding what to do with it all and then trying not to forget I have it.  So I wonder would it would feel like to remove those things from my life for one year.  Will I feel a sense of freedom or will I feel like I am lacking?  I venture to guess I will feel a huge feeling of freedom and relief.  It might even led me to clear out some of my unused stuff.  But that is another goal for another year.

Journal Daily
Journaling (either traditional or art journaling) is a major stress reducer for me.  Even the simple act of writing a quote in my journal forces me to slow down for just a moment.  And in that moment I can exhale.  Writing my thoughts and feelings helps ease my mind and my anxieties and improves my mood.  So you would like I would have been journaling for years.....but NO.  I don't seem to be able to make it a habit.  

This year I am going to change that.  So far I have done really well, but I am not yet up to daily.  As life calms a bit and I get into the swing of things I hope to start each day jotting down my thoughts.  I bought a wonderful new journal to inspire me.  I will be sharing more about it in coming posts.

Create Daily
This is the hardest habit to develop.  My days get so busy that it is easy to push this one aside.  But I will NEVER accomplish my goal of completing my unfinished tasks if I do not find a way to be creative every day.  I have not specific habits to achieve this goal, other than changing my morning routine.  I really hope that by simplifying my choices and process I can spend more time creating and less time staring at blank pages.  

Just so I can keep track of my progress, here is a list of my unfinished projects:
  • 2014 Summer Album
  • Yearly Review Albums: 2013-2016
  • Holiday Albums: 2014-2016
  • Week in the Life Albums: 2015 and 2016
  • Rockets Album
  • Black Belt Album
  • Travel Albums: Tahoe, D.C. and South Dakota
  • Christmas Printer's Tray
  • Quote of the Month-Mixed Media Project
  • Birthday Tags

Well that was a really long post.  I will admit I wrote it mostly for myself, as a reminder of all I want to do and the habits I want to build.  I have a sense of urgency this year.  I have a strong feeling that changes are coming my way and I want to be prepared.  Throughout the journey that is 2017 I will continue to share my experiences, my success and failures and everything in between.  

Your Turn
So what are your goals and resolutions for 2017?  And more importantly, how are you going to achieve them and how are you going to hold yourself accountable?  

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.  It means the world to me.

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