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adore your granny square

Daily Practice: How to Stop Procrastinating and Build a New Crochet Habit

If you’re struggling to stay motivated on your current WIP, (work in progress) or perhaps you have several UFO’s (unfinished objects) languishing around the house, this post is especially for you.

It was inspired by the work of Todd Herman and Rangan Chatterjee who have both researched and written extensively on behavioural science, and how to create  lasting new habits.

Seeing any craft project through to the end requires tenacity, motivation and some form of habitual practice.You may want to work on your current project but find it so difficult to make time.  Or perhaps you’re easily distracted and scrolling through social media, seeing other peoples beautiful work, simply paralyses you with envy and awe.

If you’re working on a project that’s beginning to feel insummountable the key thing is to stop looking at the big picture.

crochet habits

Stop thinking about the finished product and the number of weeks and months that it’s going to a take.

Just think about the first few steps you need to make.

It’s easy to think that if you’ve neglected your work for a few days, (weeks, months….etc) then that’s it, you’ve failed and it’s just more evidence that you can’t stick to a project.

Give yourself a break.

Many of us lead very busy, and stressful, lives and it’s not always easy to find time for crafting.

We might like to think we can find an hour a day to devote to our craft project, but often the reality is that by the end of the day we’re tired and unmotivated and spend the remaining part of the day feeling guilty about our failure to take action.

Maybe you’ve watched the videos, you’ve downloaded the PDF’s, you’ve sorted your colours and you’re feeling inspired and you’ve promised yourself that tomorrow you’ll do an hour of crochet.

That’s a whole hour of complete ‘me time’.

Then tomorrow comes and that hour is hijacked by a domestic problem, or a last minute work commitment, or the sudden impulse to tidy the sock drawer, and then that hour, with the promise of some beautiful crafting has now gone forever.

Or perhaps none of that happened, you were simply paralysed by inertia, or spent an hour gathering inspiration on Pinterest, and now that hour’s gone and you’re left feeling even more rubbish than you did yesterday.

It’s just not always easy to find a spare hour in a busy life, or to know how to fill it when it’s there.

So here’s an idea. Look for an easier option.

Stop looking for an hour a day, and look for just ten minutes.

  • How long do you spend having a tea break? And how many times a day?
  • How long do you spend on the phone to your mother/children/ best friend?
  • How long do you spend each day listening to or watching the news?
  • How long do you spend each day on the bus/train/waiting in the car at school pick-up?

These are all things you might do regularly without thinking too deeply about. You probably don’t have an internal conversation with yourself about whether to put the kettle on or not. You just decide it’s time and do it.

These are the potential hooks we can hang our new crochet habit on.

  • Take a ten minute tea break and do ten minutes of crochet.
  • Put the phone on loudspeaker and use that conversation as valuable crochet time.
  • Crochet on the train and enjoy, rather than endure the journey.

crochet time

By hanging this small activity onto an unnegotiable existing one you’ll develop a new habit through association, and small things add up.

Ten minutes, regularly, is all you need. If you combined all your tea breaks into a weekly 5 hour tea drinking and biscuit eating binge how  would that make you feel about tea and biscuits?

Perhaps your daily crochet activity needs to be equally short and sweet. Just ten minutes of crochet is infinitely more rewarding and enjoyable than dutifully ploughing through the work and trying to make up for lost time.

Which brings me to my next point:

Habits are all about Feelings

We tend to believe that if we repeat something enough times, we’ll get into the habit of doing it. But studies show that this simply isn’t the case.

Our habitual activities are the result of emotional responses and associations rather than the result of repetition, so it’s really important that you attach feel good emotions to your crocheting. And the best way to do this is to celebrate every granny square you make.

Every small granny deserves to be admired, valued and adored!

Every time you complete a square celebrate it – enjoy it and give yourself some praise.

Take the time to congratulate yourself each time you complete a square and your subconscious will soon learn that crochet triggers a feel good response in you.

happy crochet

Every single granny square  is an individual success story

Track Your Progress

You might also find it helpful to have a visual measure of your progress. Ticking things off, or counting them up one by one as you make them reinforces the concept of progress and success.

Consider making yourself a simple visual measure of your progress and as your new activity becomes habitual you’ll find your identity shifts as you adjust the way you think about yourself and your productivity. You’ll begin to feel like someone that get things done and that’s  the right road for success.

track your progress

And finally;

Press the Buzzer

This method is not for everyone – but it definitely works for me.

I don’t mind telling you that I struggle with motivation and seeing things through to the end.

Procrastination and inaction are my own personal demons like everyone else, but I’ve learnt a trick. When I want to make something happen I just press the buzzer  – this means I speak up and say something. I announce my intentions to the world. Not the imaginary Universe – the real world. People I know, people online, everyone and this makes me accountable for my actions. It’s harder to fail in front of an audience – so I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I don’t!

press the buzzer

Also, by telling people what your intentions are it gives them the opportunity to help, support and encourage you to achieve your intentions.

So don’t worry; every day is a new chance to create a new habit. Start small, enjoy the process, and congratulate yourself on the beauty of each unique object you bring into the world.

adore your granny square


This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Thank you , I needed to hear this this week. I love each flower, leaf , join, but just cant seem to help myself contemplating the long view. you have made me get perspective again, which means I’ll pick it up again willingly, 10 minutes at a time.

    1. Hi Dette, yes – sometimes it’s best not to look at the big picture but concentrate on the small stuff. Small things add up! x

  2. Thank you Sue. This resonates deeply with me. It aligns with what I understand from the science, but more importantly it aligns with my own experience. Crochet has become a treat I can give myself in those small moments, a little dose of joy that is all the more precious as the daylight gets shorter. Thank you for the inspiration!!!

    1. Hi Niki, I’m so glad this ‘spoke to you’. Little treats are so much more enjoyable than overindulgence!

  3. I don’t often go into the blog posts but this stuck a chord with me. It’s nearly a year now since I did any serious crocheting as my motivation for everything deserted me. Even in the awful lockdown 1 I wasn’t motivated to crochet or knit and now, having just moved house again within a year, I have looked at my two big UFO’s and felt overwhelmed by the enormity of it. One was put on the dining room table and I have looked at it every day and said maybe tomorrow. This has made me determined to carry on again bit by bit and believe I will get there. Thank you Sue.

    1. Hi Sue! I’m delighted that you enjoyed this post and have found it helpful – I really hope you do find the motivation to pick up your crochet again Sue. Keep me posted on it’s progress. Sending you my very best wishes, Sue x

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