S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals and Habits

S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals and habits for your best needlepoint year ever!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I used to… but not anymore! Instead, I make S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals – and this year, I’m committing to changing some of my habits, too. Wondering what the heck S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals are?

S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals are…

SPECIFIC: not too broad or general
MEASURABLE: includes an objective criterion by which your progress can be evaluated
ACTIONABLE: begins with a verb
RISKY: set high enough to demand your best effort
TIME-KEYED: assign dates (but not the same date) to each goal
EXCITING: not boring
RELEVANT: in alignment with the season of life you’re in right now

Click here to read more about them (and to grab your Goal Setting QuickStart Guide!).

In addition to making S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals this year, I’m adding something new…

I’m committing to changing some of my habits.

You see, it’s those pesky not-so-good habits that can get between you and your goals – even when they’re S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals.

How so? Well, they simply derail you. For example, if you have a habit of checking social media in the morning before you even climb out of bed, that can put you behind on starting your day. (Ask me how I know?!)

When you start the day in a deficit, you spend the rest of the day trying to catch up. (Been there and done that!)

And that’s just one measly little habit –

but imagine how it might wreak havoc on your whole life!

If you spend your life on the run, you’re not doing your health any favors. (Ahem – busted!)

You see, a little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. And that was after years of having readings that were on the low side. So, what gives?

Well, I’ll be honest – I was sitting waaaay more than I’d ever “sat” before in my life! Working in my brick and mortar store kept me plenty active. Heck – I was on my feet for 8 – 9 hours almost every day of the week. But after I closed the shop and began my new online adventure, the sitting commenced.

Hours and hours and hours of sitting…

And when my doctor said I needed to take medicine to get my blood pressure down, that’s when I knew that I had to take action.

As much as I dislike “exercise”, I now walk 5 days out of every week for 30 minutes at a time. And I’ve been doing it since October 2018.

So, what does any of this have to do with changing habits?

Well, my walking “habit” began with the one tiny action of stepping onto the treadmill – and that was more than a year ago.

I’m also reading a fascinating book right now called Atomic Habits. It’s helping me see all kinds of possibilities, both personally and professionally. In the introduction, the author, James Clear, states that “changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years.” (Kinda’ like my walking habit began in 2018 – a habit that’s now a part of my daily routine.)

Imagine applying Clear’s simple principle to your needlepoint hobby.

If you decide to create some terrific new habits to replace your not-so-good old habits, you could be achieving all kinds of stitch-y goodness a lot more quickly. (Don’t let the part about “sticking with the new habits for years” deter you. I’m here to help. I’ve got your back!)

Now, whaddya’ say we take a stab at making a couple of S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals – and let’s add some spectacular new habits to the mix, too!

Instead of setting a New Year’s Resolution of “stitch more”, let’s switch it up and turn that into two S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals by stating that…

  • I will stitch on my needlepoint canvases for 15 minutes five days a week all year long so I can finish some of my PIPs. 
    That goal is specific, measurable, actionable, risky, time-keyed, exciting, and relevant! How so? Well, you’re committing to stitch (actionable) on your needlepoint canvas (specific) for 15 minutes (measurable) five days a week (time-keyed) all year long (risky) so I can finish some of my PIPs (exciting and relevant).
  • I will master 12 new decorative stitches in 2020 and I will use them on a project that I will finish before December 31, 2020.
    This goal is also S.M.A.R.T.E.R. because you’re going to master (actionable) 12 new decorative stitches (specific) in 2020 (time-keyed) and use them (actionable) on a project (specific and measurable) that you will finish (risky and exciting) in 2020 (relevant).

Cheers to 2020!

And speaking of finishing projects by the end of 2020, that beauty up above – by Thorn Alexander – is part of my #ndlpt20in20 challenge collection. 😉

How can you establish some terrific new habits that will help you achieve these S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals?

Begin by thinking about what you DO want in your life instead of what you don’t want.

For example, instead of telling yourself  “I’m not creative enough to choose stitches and threads for my projects”, focus on the positive…

  • And create an inspiring new habit of employing one new-to-you decorative stitch in every needlepoint project.
  • Or establish a fun new practice of using one never-used thread on every needlepoint canvas.

Circling back to Atomic Habits, remember – “changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years.” Those two itty bitty habits above might seem insignificant right now, but I promise you, they’ll help you make monumental progress over the course of time.

And if you can’t imagine how this will ever help you become more creative, consider this…

Using just one new-to-you decorative stitch or thread in every project will expand your stitch repertoire into previously uncharted territory and it’ll give you the courage to use threads in new and exciting ways that you’ve never tried before.

Still think you don’t have it in you to be creative?

Let me assure you – YOU DO!

Click here to read an article about how expressing your own unique creativity can completely change your life. (Hint: Creativity is not what you think it is.)

So, what’ll it be?

Are you with me? Will you commit to creating S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals and spectacular new habits in 2020? I guarantee that if you do, 2020 will be your best needlepoint year yet!

Until next week, happy stitching…

Stitch with a smile!




PS: Boy-oh-boy, do I ever have some F-U-N things in store for you for 2020!

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2 thoughts on “S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals and Habits”

  1. Hi Ellen , as we start the New year off with needlepoint projects . I decided to revisit un finished canvas , identify the why I didn’t finished .. after quickly pulling out ares that just don’t work ,or just not right . Recently I found a thread I’m enjoying the look for foliage on a Christmas tree or wreath .. nothing other interesting places for BOUCLE thread … I notice the back of my canvas is bunched up and more plush , along with what needle to use … could you with your kind hits and tips pass some on to me . I’m enjoying the look and hope to use more . One other note it dose offer a raised look , what to do on an a joining area that now looks very flat? Hope I have not asked Too much in this post …
    I’m looking forward to the next Facebook chats … Thankyou Cassandra

    • Hi Cassandra!
      Thank you for your note. You have some terrific questions. Boucle thread can be a challenge to work with, so I’ll gather some tips and share them on a future episode of Needlepoint TV.
      Have a marvelous Monday!


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Serendipity Needleworks

Hi, I’m Ellen. A needlepoint teacher and author dedicated to helping motivated but overwhelmed stitchers at every stage find exactly what they need to stitch with confidence. Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the needlepoint world or you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, I’ve fine-tuned a learning experience just for you.

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