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Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound and turn into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years. – James Clear

I began the needlepoint project, pictured above, in October. It is entitled Hedgerow, from Elizabeth Bradley’s Natural History Collection. After I started working on it, I realized that it would take me about a year to complete due to the size of the canvas, the number of color changes (24 different colors of tapestry wool!), and the amount of time I had to devote to it – typically on a catch-as-catch-can approach. It usually takes me about three months to finish a needlepoint, so this one was a bit daunting by comparison. I knew I had to just get on with it. The needlepoint wasn’t going to get done by itself, but I wasn’t sure how to speed up the process.

However, last month I read James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, after which I decided to make some changes to my morning routine. I now get up an hour earlier every morning to work on my needlepoint. The needlepoint canvas and wool are laid out on the sofa ready for me to pick up in the morning so I am able to start working right away – no set-up time is required. This activity may or may not be accompanied by a podcast or new music stream or just thinking about how I am going to structure my day to get the tasks done on my to do list.

Although it is still early with my new habit formation, I have to report that I am thrilled with my progress! I only complete a tiny square of stitches each day but I can see that over the last few weeks these tiny squares are accumulating nicely and the textile will, indeed, be completed by the summer – probably four months earlier than my projected finish date! Yay! (I will still have to sew it into a pillow, but that is another story.)

I have so many textile, studio art, and home improvement projects in the works that I have been somewhat frustrated (more like overwhelmed) wondering how I am going to get them all done. This needlepoint project is only one positive data point, but I plan to apply this process to the other projects and I am looking forward to the results!