Friday, January 1, 2010

The 28 Days Project

There was an article in the paper yesterday about New Year's Resolutions. About how New Year's Day is sort of an artificial construct, and how people put too much pressure and stress on themselves to change things on THAT day, when there's nothing saying that they can't choose a random day in March to do exactly the same thing. On one hand, I agree with that; people stress out about it and seem less likely to carry out their plans when there's so much at stake. On the other hand, it just feeds into the rationalization I have for putting off until tomorrow (or next week, or six months from now) what I intend to do today. So I had in my mind that January 1st would be THE DAY to start my new endeavors, and after I read that article, for a split second, I thought, "Well, maybe I can wait..."

But NO! That would be continuing the very same behaviors that have been dragging me into a hole for the past few months. So today I begin THE 28 DAYS PROJECT.

Nothing big and fancy, really. In a nutshell, the plan is this: I have a Rubbermaid tub of half-finished craft and sewing projects in the dining room. It looks like this:

The box contains cut-out patterns, fabric that I've been meaning to turn into something specific, materials to make projects I've had in my head, things that just need to be mended...basically, all sorts of projects in all stages of being done and undone. Many are even neatly encased in Ziploc freezer bags, with all of the little parts stored together, to make me feel more organized about the entire mess. Sometimes I start something and hit a rough patch or don't understand the directions for it or just lose enthusiasm for it, and it ends up in this box. I should call it the Good Intentions box, because I really DO mean to finish everything in it. Well, this is the month. By the end of the month, the box will be empty. Or nearly empty. And I will post a completed project every day for 28 days. I will have 28 completed projects (maybe even a head start on some gifts for occasions throughout the year), a clean conscience, and a bunch of stuff to keep me busy in the dark, cold month of January. Plus, a little more room in the dining room. Win-win.

Why 28 days? I understand that January really has 31 days. But I figure that by giving myself three days of leeway, I'm less likely to get discouraged and quit the project entirely. There's bound to be at least one day in the month when I don't feel like doing anything. Or some project in there that takes more than one day to complete. I don't want to miss a day and have an excuse to throw up my hands and just say, "OK, I've failed, I'm done." Plus, 28 Days just sounds cool. Like 500 Days of Summer. It's a specific time frame. There are boundaries. There are limits. I like that, and it makes me feel like there are rules, which always makes me feel better. And, speaking of movie titles (which I was), 28 Days is a movie, too. It all fits together.

And I'm not even behind. I did complete a project today, but it was dark before I finished and I couldn't take it outside to get a good after photo in natural light, so I'll post it tomorrow, instead. So I'm 1 for 1. That's a good feeling on New Year's Day, artificial holiday or not.

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