On Second Thought: A Case of the Februaries Might Not Need New Projects

I wrote a few days ago about how I’ve been hit by the February ennui that tackles me every year, and how I’d decided to just give in to every new project that flitted across my radar in an attempt to give myself some happy chemical boosts and weather out the rest of this gray month. I published my post, went off to continue working on the new Linen Stitch scarf, and as I was knitting away the day, my mind wandered and I remembered something I read about in the The Twelve Week Year called the “Emotional Cycle of Change,” which comes with a handy little visual in the book:

I recalled the first time I worked The Twelve Week Year system, way back in the summer of 2020, and how much impact that little image had on me because I absolutely identified with it. When I was putting in the work on that cycle’s goals, I hit that nasty wall of despair right around Week Five and it stuck with me for a good two or three weeks where all I wanted to do was give up, give up, give up. But, thankfully, I was aware of it, I had people to talk to about it who encouraged me to keep going, and yep, I kept at it and eventually pulled up and out of that funk because I didn’t give up and I didn’t shift my focus onto something else. I got to experience the high of sticking with that project until the end, even though I really wanted to just die for a few weeks whenever I thought about another stupid day of doing this.

And I think that’s what’s going on right now. I started the new year with the idea of doing good on crafty goals, and I’ve been going forward with all the energy and zeal of an optimistic goal-getter, and it’s now hitting really hard that progress isn’t an overnight thing and I am smack dab in the Boring Middle of it all. The answer isn’t to quit or switch focus, because when I get to the end of this twelve week cycle (in the last week of March), I don’t want to look back and regret that I stopped working on these goals. Honestly, it’s a bit of a weird goal cycle because I don’t have anything huge going on because I just couldn’t come up with anything except “take a break from striving all the time,” because I’ve been striving hard for eighteen months straight and just felt like I needed a break. So I’m only doing some low-key stuff to help prep me to do bigger things come April, but it is important to me to tie up a lot of these loose crafty ends, if only to “close the circuit” on these open/unfinished projects.

So the answer right now is that I’m having a normal reaction to change. I’ve been really good at showing up to work on these crafty goals; it’s become my routine and it’s no longer a new, exciting thing, and I’m jonesing for the high of a new project…but that’s what gets me into this mess of having eighty-seven UFOs cluttering up my craft room and driving me crazy all the time. The answer is to just keep showing up and doing the work, even if I need to grit my teeth somedays, and remind myself of how good it’s going to feel to get that pile of quilt tops completed. In a few weeks’ time I’ll start seeing the results of that consistency and I’ll start getting excited about the dash to the finish line, and the high of finishing a big goal is way bigger than the high of starting a new project. Lasts longer, too.

Another thing I might to watch out for is the impulse to indulge in retail therapy–it might be one of the first signs that I’m approaching Stage 2 or Stage 3 of this cycle. That being said, there is a still an ungodly amount of yarn currently making its way to me in the mail because…well, I didn’t figure this out until after I’d already ordered it. Guess I’ll be making a lot of socks and fingerless mittens for the foreseeable future, even though I know I’m only capable of about seven pairs a year, given my “comfortable knitting” calculations I just figured out.

How many skeins of sock yarn did I order? Nine. *sigh*

I’ll do better the next time.

One thought on “On Second Thought: A Case of the Februaries Might Not Need New Projects

  1. Tina Sellner says:

    I appreciate your suggestion of having squares of a future project on the side to sew together in between strips of a current project so you don’t have to cut off your thread. It’s working well with the lap quilts I’m making for the nursing home.
    As far as having 87 UFO’s, that’s the number I always use. 😁

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