Detail from the left sleeve of my jacket.

Detail from the left sleeve of my jacket.

My apologies for being absent Friday.  I was feeling a bit under the weather.  The good news though is that I’m fairly certain it had more to do something I ate than any seasonal bug and after taking some time this weekend to rest I’m feeling much better. 

While I was resting up this weekend I spent some time working on several of my current projects.  I finished my wool hood and got in some good work on my jacket.  If I can just stay on schedule I should have the left sleeve and the gores done by the end of the month. 

This jacket is probably the most long term project I have ever worked on.  I’ve estimated it will take around 1000 hours to complete and so far I’m only a little over half way through the first sleeve.  While it’s my first major long term project (500-1000 hrs) I’m sure it will not be my last (I already know I want to do at least one other jacket…I know, it’s crazy) and I’ve been learn quite a lot about how to keep focused and motivated and stave off those pesky feelings of being overwhelmed. 

Big dreams have lots of parts 

At 1000 hours the jacket is a huge project and it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re looking at the whole thing.  But every big project can be easily broken down into parts.  The jacket itself is made up of 11 pieces (2 sleeves, 1 right front, 1 right back, 1 left front, 1 left back, and 5 gores) and each of those pieces can be broken down further into outlining, fill stitches, and spangles before we even begin to consider assembly.  Just focus on breaking your project down into its individual pieces and set smaller goals for each of those pieces.  The smaller goals will help keep you motivated and by breaking it down into smaller more manageable pieces you are less likely to become overwhelmed but the larger project. 

Sometimes you just need a break 

It’s true.  No matter how focused you are on your project or how motivated you are to finish sometimes you may just need a break.  And that’s ok!  Take a day or too off.  Relax.  Work on something else if you want to.  Read a book.  No matter what you do just take some time for you.  You’ll be able to come back to your project renewed and ready to finish. 

Finishing a small project can keep you going 

Sometimes just finishing a small project can up your motivation.  A few weeks ago a friend of mine suggested reorganizing my project list for my PerCoFiMo so that I would finish my shortest projects first.  The idea is that by getting shorter projects finished you feel more accomplished and boost motivation for larger projects.  And you know what…it works!  I felt much more accomplished and motivated after finishing my hood than I did when I was just powering through the jacket.  Finishing it gave me a little boost and helped keep me excited about my other projects. 

Sometimes you really just have to sit down and do it 

Oftentimes the hardest part of doing something is just getting started.  It’s been a couple days (or a couple weeks) since you last worked on your project and you find that your motivation and momentum have waned.  That’s ok.  Sometimes all we need to get going is to just get started again.  Maybe you don’t have a lot of time and all you can spare is 15 min.  That’s great.  If you spend those 15 min working on your project you’ll be 15 min closer to being done.  You also might find that after spending 15 min working on your project you’ve once again found your groove.

 

Large, long term projects can be hard to complete just based on the amount of time they take.  It’s hard to stay motivated and focused for that long.  But with a few simple tricks and maybe a break or two you’ll be on you way to finishing.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately talking about my sewing and embroidery projects and very little time talking about my fighting. Truthfully since Golden Rose (which was in June, right?) I have seriously lacked inspiration. I’m still going to fighter practice most Thursdays and have even started trying to make it to Tuesday practices about every other week but I’m having trouble setting my next goal. And it’s not just my fighting. I’m having the same trouble with my work outs too. I’m more than a little suspicious that it’s related.

When I first started coming back out to practice seriously in February setting a goal was easy. Get my bum back out on the field. Knock off the rust that I had let accumulate as baroness. Then a couple of months later I was asked to join a team for Golden Rose and inspiration and a goal once again came pretty easy. I was in the gym regularly working on my cardio and endurance. I was at practice, focused and serious, every week. I took walks at lunch to acclimate myself as best I could to NC summers. And I felt like it paid off. I made a good showing. I noted improvements I wanted to make but I was not displeased with my performance.

Now I find myself having trouble setting my next training goal. I think part of it is that we have a lot of melee coming up in the next couple of months and I am just not as motivated by melee as I am by tournaments. I can’t let that distract me from my training though so I have to find a way around it. I’ve gone back and reread my notes from Golden Rose. I’ve looked back through my workout logs over the past. Right now I’m assessing where I am, where I want to go, what has given me the best results in the past, and what if anything I need to change about that to get the results I want for the future. While it would be easier to motivate myself with a tournament in the future that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to motivate myself without one. And before you all suggest it, Ymir is too far away to elicit those “OMG!!!!111!!! Must train now!!11!!elventy!!!” feelings. :) That’s more of a November thing but I don’t want to be sitting on my bum between now and November losing the gains I have made just because I couldn’t get myself motivated.

So as I sit here and think about what goal I want to set next and how I’m going to accomplish it I’m curious to know how you all set your goals. What motivates you the most? It is the tournament? Melee? An individual that you are determined to beat? A personal ranking system?