We are three weeks into the new year.  Into our resolutions, goals, promises and lists.  Which means that many people, myself included, have likely reached the feeling of discomfort that occurs from venturing into unknown territory and not feeling great about the results.  Suddenly we wonder if the goal was silly, or if we are not good enough, or if we have wasted our time.  And very often, we slink away to lick our wounds, letting the new goal slide off the table, no harm done.  But why do we feel uncomfortable?  And how do we build that bridge between old familiar skills and new desired expertise?

I have so far been essentially meeting the weekly goals I have set for myself, with some minor deadline tweaking, and with hints of the aforementioned disappointment.  For example, since one of my goals is to learn to bake bread, I am working to accomplish it by baking one loaf per week.  The first loaf I made went mostly according to the recipe and I was tickled when the dough actually rose, just as the recipe suggested it would.  I did, however, forget to add salt.  So, it looked nice, but tasted less than fabulous.  Then last week, I made the dough on time, but it turned out that there was no time to finish the baking process until today.  Since I'm within one day, I will still count it for last week's loaf.  And I am still required to make one this week.  So...progress, but definitely no artisanal bread just yet.  Obviously.  What we forget is that in the beginning, everything feels hard.  We have adult, gourmet expectations, but our skills always begin as elementary.  Time and patience are required.  This is not surprising, but it is easier said than managed.

I have successfully engaged in the expansion of my cooking repertoire by trying at least one new recipe per week, as planned .  The two standout recipes so far are one for tsasiki, and one for homemade (no box, real cheese) mac 'n' cheese.  

So things are proceeding nicely in the food department.  However, I'm disappointed with my performance in the craft, fashion and sewing department.  I loved the illustration class that I took last spring.  I was originally intimidated by the notion of drawing, but as it turned out, I was a strong student and benefited from the teaching of an excellent instructor.  Doing the work that he taught made me feel more confident and more creative.  

For that reason, this year I set the goal of creating one new illustration per week, to also include one new garment per week.  My intentions with regard to this goal are to build my skills, gauge my enjoyment of the process and also to explore my potential as a designer who can move beyond creating occasional and individual garments, into the realm of one who can imagine cohesive looks for collections.

I describe all of this in order to explain my frustration that while this feels like it should be the most important goal on the list for me, since it affects other short and long-term plans, it is the goal with which I am struggling the most.  Which brings me back to this conundrum of how hard it is to get ourselves to do new things that feel fuzzy or uncomfortable.  I have been giving it some thought over the last couple of weeks, and have concluded that it is easier to get myself to cook because I already have strong comfort with cooking basics.  Plus, ever few hours, we have to eat.  Since eating cannot be avoided, it's easier to get started in a timely way, and must be frequently repeated.

So here I am today, with last week's drawings not yet complete, this week's looming ahead, plus this weekend's dough rising ungoverned on the counter.  I'm not employed by anyone else, and yet I'm somehow way behind schedule.  It feels shameful.

My suspicion is that this is how new goals fall off of lists and are forgotten.  In the process of trying to improve the quality of our lives, we can end up feeling inadequate and unsure of ourselves.  It's tempting to pull back and to forget the resolutions, which actually means that this is exactly the moment to keep going, and not throw in the towel.  In spite of a missed deadline, or an inadequate loaf, the goals can still be met.  More importantly, the process of chasing them will still improve the quality of our lives.

In conclusion, it's time to stop writing in order to finish the baking and double down on drawing before another evening sneaks up on me.