The Year of the Goal

I have decided that 2014 is The Year of The Goal.

Several of my blogger friends -- including HerKentucky's own Sarah and Lydia -- participate in the One Little Word project by Ali Edwards. It's pretty self-explanatory: you choose a word to serve as your guide for the year -- a word that embodies the things you hope to accomplish, or how you want your life to look in the upcoming year. (You can read about Sarah's word here and Lydia's word here.)

As I think of the year ahead, I am filled with so many ideas that I don't know where to start. I recently moved to a new home  in a city that, while familiar, has changed enough since I left to seem new and exciting. My beau and I have greeted some wonderful new opportunities, both personally and professionally. To be honest, I'm so bombarded with ideas for "what's next" that I'm a little overwhelmed. I can't do it all. 

Jessie Spano, y'all.
Maybe I can't do it all, but I can do most of it with some careful planning and even more carefully set goals.  That's why 2014 will be, at least for me, the Year of the Goal. Resolutions are easy to make. Dreams are easy to conceive. But goals? Goals are something that you plan to accomplish. Goals require action and accountability. Goals mean that you're going to get something done.

So, as 2014 came around, I asked myself "What do you want to accomplish this year?" I took those ideas and turned them into something concrete, with plenty of room to reassess, revise, and reestablish goals. I'm looking for long-term happiness and success, not crossing something off a to-do list just because I said I would.

I started January with three ideas. I want to publish my writing in more outlets, I want to exercise more frequently, and I want to start knitting again. I turned each idea into a goal: "I will publish in forums x, y, and z by the end of the year"; "I will complete another half-marathon this spring"; and "I will knit a scarf in January." See how my aspirations were turned to declarations? Goals are something you will accomplish. 

Knitting was an easy skill to re-learn. Today is January 8th, and I'm nearly finished with a dark grey wool scarf for my beau. That one was almost too easy. 

Country Music 1/2 Marathon, 2008

As for the 1/2 Marathon, I don't know if it's the right goal. Of course, I'd need to start a training program right about now to get myself up to 13 miles in the spring. But, I've been fighting a back injury for several months, and I worry that this isn't the most attainable goal. Getting fit might be a better goal for my long-term health and fitness. I'm consulting with a doctor and logging my mileage. I'm not giving up just yet, though. There are exactly 100 days until the Derby Mini. A lot can be accomplished by then.

Promising Prose.
And then there's writing. I've devoted a lot of time to brainstorming ways to make various articles and essays better fit their intended audience. I've studied the submission guidelines for the publications in which I want to be published. But, I don't know any surgeons or lawyers or any other professionals who got to be great just by brainstorming and studying. They succeeded by practicing their trade. So, in 2014, I will reach my publication goals by writing more. It's easy to call oneself a writer. But, as Holly Golightly famously asked her neighbor Paul, "Do you write every day? Did you write today?" I hope to write something every day in 2014, even if it's just a character sketch or a well-planned Facebook status. I nearly allowed this goal to be derailed because our new computer, ordered just before last year's end, was delayed in shipping. If you think about it, though, the list of great works that were not composed using OS Maverick is infinitely longer than its cutting-edge counterpart. Writing simply takes an idea and a means for recording. A goal shouldn't be abandoned due to a mere technicality.

Limping to the finish line. I didn't run it all, but I did finish the thing!!

I figure I'll add goals as I mark others as complete. But, I want to embrace this year as the year I get things done.

2014 is The Year of the Goal.  (Click to Tweet.) What are your goals for 2014?

The Sky Scarf - September 2012

What was it Robert Burns wrote about "the best laid schemes of mice and men...?" I think that it was something about how everything can go crazy in a short time! September was that time for me! I would suspect that, with back-to-school routines ramping up in so many families, I am not alone.

My Husband and I started the month of September in Costa Rica under beautiful, bright blue skies. Everything there, from the palm fronds to the butterflies to the fruits, was brilliantly colored. I diligently took pictures that included the sky so that I would remember the shade for The Sky Scarf.

When we returned, my situation at work got a little crazy and the first rows of my Sky Scarf never got started. 

However, I've kept notes each day on the shade of my sky. Being the super nerd that I am, I've organized them on a special Google Calendar!

I bought my yarn before our trip, and I love all the shades I found. 

Sky Scarf Yarn

Things look promising for this Sunday to be my "catch up on September's rows" day.

How are your sky scarves coming along?

The HerKentucky Sky Scarf Challenge

Early last year, I taught myself to knit. This was attempt number eleventy billion to learn. I'm not sure what made it happen, but one day, the actions associated with knit one, purl two just clicked in my brain and off I went with the clicking and clacking of needles never far behind me. Then came summer. Hot, hot, hot summertime. Who wants to think about woolen hats and scarves when your brain melts just stepping outside? Not me.

With our recent cooler temperatures and nights of sleeping with the windows open, I've been thinking more and more about picking up my needles again. The imminent football season is also good impetus to start pinning new projects to my Ravelry to-make list and my Pinterest knitting board. Nothing helps you feel better about being lazy and watching a whole day (or a whole weekend) of football than having a newly-knitted scarf or two to show for it!

This week, I happened across a pin on the HerKentucky Craft Ideas Pinterest board. (If you aren't following us over there, you really should! These women have good taste!) That pin led me to a post on whipup.net (one of my favorite craft sites) by Lea Redmond and her idea for Conceptual Knitting - a Sky Scarf. The basic premise is this - you observe the sky each day, then choose a yarn to match the color of your sky, and knit one row each day. At the end of one year, you'll have a pretty amazing scarf with a cool story behind it.


Source: whipup.net via Her on Pinterest

I like this idea because it ties two of my goals for life into one thing - 1) to live, observe and document my life in interesting ways and 2) to craft and create beautiful things that are useful.

The HerKentucky Sky Scarf Challenge
The challenge couldn't be simpler! Today, I'd like to challenge you to gather up your favorite blue, gray, and white yarns. Beginning September 1, knit one row of a scarf based on what the sky looks like that day - where you are. Monthly, I'll share my progress with you here on the blog. Please share your progress with us, too - via Facebook, Twitter or in the comments of each month's Sky Scarf post!

 What's that? You don't know how to knit?

If I can learn, you can, I promise. I taught myself with some good diagrams and by watching Youtube videos. I suggest that you find a friend/aunt/grandmother who knits and ask them to show you. I was mystified by someone else trying to teach me, but you may learn that way in two shakes. We're all different, and that's the best!

 Variations on a Theme

As I read the comments on the original whipup entry, I saw lots of variations on the Sky Scarf idea. Some people thought that observing the sky at sunrise or sunset could produce interesting results. Some people might like the idea of assigning a color to each mood and producing a row a day based on how they feel on that particular day. Of course, Heather and I brainstormed that we could make a scarf that corresponds with the UK basketball season – five rows of blue for a win, five rows of white for a loss. Everyone wants a solid blue scarf, right?

Join Us!

Mention in the comments if you'd like to accept this challenge. Then, go forth and buy yarn!

Here are some of our favorite local knitting shops:

  • With Ewe In Mind - 800 Jefferson Street, Paducah, Kentucky
  • ReBelle - 225 Rosemont Garden, Lexington, Kentucky
  • The Woolery - 315 St. Clair, Frankfort, Kentucky (with an amazing online shop)