goal setting planning for new year quilter's planner

Reflections & Goals for 2018

This time of year always results in the oddest collision of feelings–excitement for the family filled fun that comes during the holiday season, either stress over the projects I need to finish for the holidays or disappointed-letting-go of projects I will never complete in time, introspection and reflection on what goals I met (and didn’t meet) in the year behind me, eager anticipation and renewed inspiration for the possibilities that exist in the new year, gratitude for the gifts that I experience daily, and many more in between. As 2017 leads into 2018, these feelings seem to crash together like waves, one emerging strongly at one point only to be engulfed and buried by another the next moment. That odd transition from one year to the next, it’s really just the passing of a day like any other, so how does it hold such power? Does this happen for you, too? or is it just me?

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerEvery year, my dear friend Yvonne hosts a Planning Party on her blog Quilting Jetgirl, which really helps motivate me to sit down and sort through all of these feelings, reflections, dreams, and limitations, and try to determine my goals for the next year. I’ve decided to share my reflections on 2017 and goals for 2018 here, both to make a record of my intentions at this moment, and to maybe help inspire you to not only define your goals and determine steps to help you reach them, but also to be gentle with yourself when life doesn’t go as planned. Since honestly, when does life ever go as planned?

Reflection on 2017

Let’s start by looking at the goals I set for myself in January of this year. A few days ago when I read this over, I honestly laughed out loud.  I’ll give you a spoiler: I accomplished hardly any of these goals, but oh, I had such high hopes back in January! Here’s the list, with my comments in bold after each one.

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects. Here I intended to pick up my repurposed 100 blocks in 100 days project that used all upcycled garments, but that wasn’t meant to be. I did use repurposed textiles in my contribution to Mel from Mel in the Attic’s Woman’s Work, so I’ll give myself a 1. I also am realizing I never shared about that collaboration here!;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!) I definitely did that this year. I only bought fabric for specific projects, or Alison Glass fabric (my weakness!), and not much at that.  I consider this one met.;
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills. While I sketched out ideas for three (3) of these prompts, not a one made it into reality. I did not meet this goal.;
  • Use a purely green color palette (inspired by Patone’s color of the year, Greenery) on all bee and quilt along blocks to help create a visual statement on being “green” and to stretch my design skills by fitting them all together at the end. I did this!!! My Greenery quilt was really quite fun, and I did a fairly good job of making blocks from various bees here and there, until I had the idea for my Summer Adventure Quilt. Once my Summer Adventure Quilt began (see the most recent update here), Greenery took a backseat and has been sorely neglected. I do not have enough blocks for a full quilt yet and I’m still deciding what to do about it.;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description I did not meet this goal. Fear, or fear that I would not be able to dedicate the time needed to organize, piece, and follow through with this idea has stalled me. It’s still simmering, but has not been met.
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing I attended the Slow Fashion Retreat with A Gathering of Stitches in August and I very much am slowly wading into the Slow Fashion movement. I’ve made two tops–one of which I might actually wear!, and I’ve found a sewing buddy with whom I aim to sew 9 garments in 2018, so I did pretty well with this one!
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment. I did not hand stitch a garment, although I’ve mended 2 pairs of my jeans, a pair of my son’s shorts, and began repairs on my daughter’s jeans. Not what I meant by the goal, but hand stitched garments all the same!;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience. I did this! I did quilt photography for Carole Lyle Shaw’s newly released book Patriotic Modern, did product photography for two local artisans (including Spring Fed Farm), and I also completed the epic Quilter’s Planner photography project of 14 quilted items for the 2018 Planner. Combined with ongoing photography projects for the Quilter’s Planner, I consider this goal met and surpassed!;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things! Not yet! I am teaching at QuiltCon in Pasadena in February 2018, so that will be one (well, 4 courses and 1 lecture!). 
  • Use my Quilter’s Planner to set manageable goals and help myself feel successful and motivated–including building up to exercising 5 times per week! Sad to say the exercise habit hasn’t happened. I have built up to doing yoga 3ish times per week, and I did a LOT of hiking over the summer, but I consider this goal not met.
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!) I very nearly succeeded in this! Near the end of the summer, I got off track, but so far have stitched for each day, even if it’s not posted on the correct day. I have a couple week’s worth of stitches to update on Instagram, but it looks like I’m actually going to meet this goal! 
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!! Oh goodness. No goal met here. I finished Finn’s Milestone quilt, but that might be the only WIP from 2016 that I finished. Oops. Yikes. 

So clearly, I did not meet many of my goals from 2017. It really was a year of very few finishes. In looking back at what quilts or projects I’ve finished, the list is very short: Finn’s Milestone quilt, two quilts for Quilt Theory: Staggered and Into the Forest, and my Superbolt Mini Quilt. I may have missed one, but that very well may be the extent of my finishes for 2017. So much for the mantra of “Finish what I’ve started.”

summer adventure quilt progress
Photo from about midway through the summer. There are many more blocks than these!

So what did I do in 2017? I did a LOT of hiking! We hiked at least once per week pretty much every week from March through September.

great pond mountain hikePaired with making an improv tree block before every hike, as well as other blocks to represent other summer adventures, my summer was pretty much filled with the Summer Adventure Quilt and all of the family adventures that went with it. I call that a win.

2018 Quilters Planner and mini-hi resI also did a lot of work for the Quilter’s Planner. Between photographing all 15 projects (I really need to share a post on this soon!), taking photos of the 2017 and 2018 planner both for marketing and for posting on the Instagram feed, and working as the Social Media Manager heading off the Instagram feed, I spent a lot of my time helping inspire others and providing tips on how to plan, stay organized, and create a positive routine of productivity and inspiration. In 2018, I aim to practice what I preach! (laugh with me here!) Honestly, though, the Quilter’s Planner is such an amazing tool, jam packed full of inspiration. Working with Stephanie is really fulfilling and I really do love it.  As with any job, it takes time.

Finally, of course I’m also the full time mom of three amazing children, the wife of a fun-loving husband, and the keeper of a lovely home in rural Maine. That in and of itself is a full time job. All this to say, I’m not disappointed in what I accomplished in 2017. I do, however, hope to use this reflection to help me set more manageable goals for 2018.

Goals for 2018

Where to begin? Since my high aspirations were a bit too high for 2017, I decided to focus on self care, family time, and finding a good balance of time spent on work and fun (both quilting and otherwise!).

I pulled out my 2018 Quilter’s Planner and opened to the Yearly Goals page (this planner really is amazing… and that’s not just my bias talking) to help me brainstorm and get ideas down on paper.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerI chose 3 main goals, and then listed a few steps that would help me achieve each goal. Here they are:

1 – Sew for my family and me, and not just work

  • Finish Max’s Eye Spy quilt
  • Finish Moonstone pillow
  • Plan for 2-3 hours per week dedicated to me-makes
  • Finish Summer Adventure Quilt–finish making blocks, piece top, quilt, finish
  • Sew 9 garments for me!
    • Pick patterns
    • Find sewing buddy!

2 – Focus on Self Care and Family Time

  • Yoga-make it a routine at least 3x per week
  • Schedule and plan ahead more (using Planoly, scheduled blog posts, etc.) so that work isn’t constantly on my mind
  • Actually make goal #1 happen–finish the family quilts that have been on my WIP list for a year+
  • Say NO to some opportunities
  • Summer Adventure 2018?

3 – Continue to Grow and Maintain Night Quilter

  • Blog 3x per week
  • Newsletter 1x per month
  • Quilt & Product Photography – 2 jobs (Quilter’s Planner and ???)
  • Pattern Development:
    • Release 2-3 personal patterns
    • 1 submission to a magazine
    • Stretch: QAL
  • Teach – rock my QuiltCon classes and lecture and then evaluate direction from there–do I actively pursue teaching gigs, or focus on home and family time until my kids are older?
  • Take on no more than 4 outside sew-along, blog hop, or other pattern promoting projects unless it has a measurable impact to build my business.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerSo there you have it. My goals for 2018 are laid out and in public. They now are real, even if they are still written in pencil in my planner.

Any tips to sticking with your goals and making it happen? I’m going to begin by using my Quilter’s Planner in a more organized way. Right now, I absolutely can’t live without it, but I use it more of a to-do list brain dump and “if all stars align and everything is awesome” weekly and daily goals list, than a meticulous plan with actionable, measurable, and attainable steps to get me there. The brain-dump helps keep me sane, prevents me from missing appointments, and helps me feel like I accomplished something even on my craziest days. Now I think it’s time to step it up a notch and work on improving my routines to help me make better use of my time AND take better care of myself.

Here’s to an inspired, productive, and nurturing year ahead!

What are your goals for 2018?

2018 Planning Party

I’m linking up with Yvonne’s Planning Party 2018 over at Quilting Jetgirl.

18 thoughts on “Reflections & Goals for 2018”

  1. Tips to sticking with goals and making them happen? Break them down and use that awesome planner! I put the hard deadline in, then back up a month – can it all be done in a month? If Yes, layout what needs to happen each week. If no, what needs to be done in the final month week by week?. Then back up another month and repeat (if necessary). I personally really love the monthly pages for this kind of goal planning and the weekly pages for family stuff, but whatever works best for you! ❤ Thanks so much for being you, for your honesty, and for linking up. I'm excited to see how you, your family, and Night Quilter continue to grow. 🙂


  2. Wow. I am hoping that you have a full-time live-in nanny and a cook! Taking care of 3 children is a 24/7 job. Your schedule can change in a second by your children so sticking to goals can be tough and out if your control. At that stage in my life I started setting fewer goals and reevaluating in 3-4 mos. I also included things like have a little fun with each kid everyday:) Because its so easy to focus on what we need to do we don’t live in the moment and then its gone. I also found ways to more efficiently run the house so I had more time – buying groceries in bulk, freezing meals, saving errands for one day, etc. Its hard when you have kids in the house.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (I’m a new reader/follower of your blog.) Sounds like you have accomplished a lot, even if not exactly what was on your list. I doubt the things that “slipped” were very high priority, as we do tend to make time for the most important things.

    I need to go back and review my intentions for the year. Two I can think of right off: 1) re-engage with my local guild, which I’ve done in a big way (perhaps too big!); and 2) continue to improve my fitness, as I rehabbed from knee injuries in 2016. That also has been met, and I continue to work on my strength and endurance.

    Husband and I traveled A LOT this year, many road trips, totaling well more than two months away from home. Even with that, I’ve finished several challenging quilts, done a handful of guild presentations, and taught a 5-week class. Huh. No wonder it’s seemed like a busy year…

    Thanks for the post. Good luck with meeting your 2018 goals!


  4. Very manageable goals to start with, and you wrote them down in a place you can refer to often. I would say it will help if you start each week by looking at the monthly goals and evaluating where you are and remembering where you want to be going. It helps me to stay on the road around here!


  5. It’s funny, as you were enumerating your goals, I was looking for your hikes and Summer Adventure quilt — and realized those weren’t stated goals at all for you prior to the year starting, yet I’d say that you accomplished so much with those hikes with family and friends, photographing them, and commemorating them in blocks! I would say the value of working on something so fulfilling counts triple or quadruple, and you should get credit for it above and beyond your stated goals!


  6. Well you are not alone! It must be especially hard when you have young children (3) to do all the ‘other’ things that you want to do. Finding time is never easy or in abundance. While writing down and tracking goals work for many people, they never seem to for me! Good luck with yours! Focusing on family is the best one! Happy Holidays!


  7. I think any progress is great! Making a plan is good but life is always in motion. Being able to flex with the many changes is an accomplishment. I look at goals as being a hopeful plan, not a regimented dictate. Best wishes for a happy, productive 2018! 🙂


  8. I love your goals for this year. I like the say No to opportunities, its something I have had to work on too. I will see you in class at Quiltcon. Your class is the only one I am taking. See you in Feb


  9. Shew, you are busy!! But being busy with family fun is the best kind of busy, isn’t it? 😊 Good luck with your goals this coming year!


  10. The transition from one year to the next IS powerful. A time for reflection and a time for inspiration. It holds power over us as do other anniversaries. Some happy and others sad. Looking forward to the new year and all the possibilities. Thankful for the past and hoping to learn from it. So fun to watch your journey through the year…inspiring! Just ordered The Quilter’s Planner… Something new for this year for me. My one goal is to be work on a project every day!!! Too much? Maybe, we’ll see! Looking forward to following your new adventures and projects in 2018! Happy New Year!


  11. Happy New Year to you Kitty & your family, what a way to start 2018 with a fabulous look back at 2017 & more importantly a realistic & focussed plan for 2018 – might just have to get myself one of those planners!!! You have achieved an incredible amount so far & I am sure many more wondrous projects & adventures are in store for this year ! ps have loved seeing your 365 stitches, mine might just have to be a WIP for this upcoming year 🙂


  12. I am not even brave enough to set sewing goals for 2018. Like you, I do not feel like a finished much in 2017.
    My only tip to achieving your goals is not to try to juggle full-time work with part-time study AND a time-consuming hobby. 🙂


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