• jennyburrow

What's Cross-Stitch Got To Do With It?

Updated: May 7, 2021

It took the combination of a third lockdown (otherwise known as Tier 4) and more than a week off over Christmas, for me to finally properly start this cross-stitch, which I bought five years ago thinking it would be a great match to the colour scheme in my newly purchased flat (I’ve since sold the flat!).

So why am I telling you this? Bear with me. The reason I never really got started with this cross-stitch over the years is because it’s way bigger than any I’ve ever attempted before, and every time I sat down to start it I got overwhelmed almost immediately so hid it back in the drawer!

But, one day over Christmas I was really at a loss for what to do (the weather was too miserable to go for another walk), so I got the cross stitch out and told myself I’d just have a go for half an hour and if I didn’t get into it I could put it away again. So I did a little bit, then found myself coming back to it the next day and doing a little bit more, and a little bit more, and suddenly I could see some progress! This made me feel motivated to do a bit more, and I really started to get into it.

So what’s my point? Well this got me thinking about goals, and how sometimes we can have a goal or a project that we definitely want to complete, but it feels massive and overwhelming, so we procrastinate and put off getting started. But, if we can just identify a small chunk to get started on, this can quickly lead to doing a little bit more, and a little bit more, and suddenly we feel like we’re getting somewhere!

Now I probably didn’t start my cross-stitch in the place where an “expert” would, and I’m probably not doing it in the most tidy or efficient way (I just picked a bit I liked the look of, then when I finished that bit I picked another bit close by which I fancied doing…), but to me that doesn’t matter, because I’m doing it! I can see the progress I’m making and am starting to see how it will look when it’s finished and that’s really giving me the motivation to keep going.

I’ve made lots of mistakes, but that doesn’t matter. Each time I realise I’ve gone a little bit “off pattern”, I can choose to either take a breath and gently unpick a few stitches, or just leave it and carry on, knowing that I’m the only one who will ever notice it!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still going to take me ages to finish it (not even sure I’ll manage it by the end of this lockdown), and there will be some boring and frustrating bits, but now I’m actually enjoying doing it, and am actively choosing to spend time on it. Enjoying the process is so important in any pursuit, and is as important as achieving the end goal in my opinion. Getting started is often the hardest part.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

So what project or goal have you been putting off for a long time because it feels too big and overwhelming? What small bit could you choose to just get started with? How about a step or task that looks fun or interesting, rather than the step/task that you feel you should start with, or that other people keep telling you is the best or only place to start?


If you’d like some help with beating procrastination, breaking down your goals into manageable chunks and really making progress towards them, and would like to know how I could support you with that, please send me a message, I’d love to chat!

And if you haven't downloaded my FREE guide: "Four Secrets to Creating Work You Love!" yet, grab your free copy here!

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