Sometimes when we set ourselves a task we really WANT to do it. We have a strong WHY. But sometimes, we want to do something, but aren’t really motivated. This is because we have a weak WHY. 

Being able to change your WHY from weak to strong will help you complete any task. Here’s how I do it in my sewing…


The situation

There’s been a small project on my bedside table. It’s the flower UFO that I want to hand stitch the binding onto. My little tupperware tub with my hand stitching notions is beside it. It’s pinned and ready to go. 

photo of my small flower UFO that is pinned and ready to have the binding stitched on. This is the one I don't have a strong WHY for.

At first, I thought, I’ll do it tonight. Then the next night. But it’s been nearly a week now. 

When something sits for over a week that usually tells me something is up with it. 

Unless I coach myself and take action, it’s going to sit there forever. It will merge into my selective vision.

Much like the bananas on my counter that are just begging to become banana bread. yellowish brown bunch of bananas in a bowl on a kitchen counter


My thoughts 

When I pulled out my notebook to do a quick thought journal, here’s what I came up with: 

  • I don’t have a strong why to finish my UFOs. 
  • I’m not confident I can. 
  • When I do one I’ll need to do another one. 
  • Hand stitching is just not my thing. 
  • I don’t know where to put it once it’s done. 
  • I don’t feel confident. 
  • It’s not perfect. 
  • Wondering how I’ll feel when I’m finishing it: didn’t love how the flower doesn’t look perfect. 
  • I keep thinking “I can do it later”. 
  • I keep thinking “I can do it”. 

Hmmm, notice how some of these thoughts are contradictory? That’s actually very common. There’s usually a lot of brain chatter in our heads, and it doesn’t always make sense. 


Which thought to work on?

When I was working on learning to love ironing, I picked out all the guilt and shame and lack of confidence thoughts. I worked with those to improve them.

But now, there’s one thought here that really jumps out at me. I’ve seen it before when I’ve put things off. Especially when I put things off without an under-riding feeling of guilt. 

It’s this one. “I can do it”. It’s a thought. But my brain is treating it as a fact. It’s 100% true. I can hand stitch. My thread is picked out. I’m an adequate hand stitcher. I can do it. So what? 

Here’s how it plays out in a model…. 

C I can do it

T “Yeah, I know, so what?”

F ambivalent

A Look at it, tell myself I can do it, feel good about knowing I can do it, and not actually do it.

R I continue to keep it in that state of “I know I can do it. 

So why do I want to do it? 

Just to have it finished so that I can kick another one of my UFOs off the list. 

Because completing all 30 of my UFOs (or even half of them) feels irrelevant. Not a big deal. At least that’s what my brain is telling my today. 

But for many of you, completing all or even half of your UFOs would be a big deal. 


Wanting to do it – but not seeing the impact 

I know I want to do it. 

I just don’t feel really strongly about it. In theory, I do. But when I got to take the potential actions, it just doesn’t happen. 

I’ve hit the same “lack of motivation” moment that I did in this post here with the jigsaw puzzle, but for a whole different reason.

I know I can do it. 

But I don’t care about doing it. Because I’m not seeing the impact of doing it. 

The impact of doing this is 1 UFO finished. 

And do this 30 times, and I’ll have all 30 UFOs finished. 

I just don’t have a strong WHY. It’s probably a 2/10. 


Creating a strong WHY

To get motivated here I want to really BLOW UP the impact of getting all 30 UFOs finished. Here’s the four I’m working on right now: four small quilting projects laid out on a bed: a small flower, a white textured piece, a green sun dyed art quilt and a small purple floral diamond table runner.

What would that mean? 

Getting real with myself to figure it out. 

  • I would have done it. 
  • I will learn exactly how to manage my mind to get it done.
  • You can come along on the journey with me. 
  • There has to be at least one of you that would give anything to get your UFOs done. 
  • To feel the accomplishment I’m feeling. 
  • You just don’t know how. Yet. 
  • Being part of that for you would make me incredibly proud and grateful. 
  • When my UFOs are done, I get clear headspace to create new projects. 
  • To do more of my own designs. That would be amazing. 
  • I’ll have the evidence to prove my thought of “I can complete any project.” 

Okay, just going to read that back out loud for a second. 

Wait, what? WOW! 

My WHY to complete these 30 UFOs is now at a 10! Through the roof! 

A quick model first to check… 

C stitching binding down on my flower UFO

T I’m 100% committed to getting this done. 

F Amazing 

A 1. Thread needle, tie knot, stitch around it, celebrate it being done. 

R It’s done. I’ve created evidence that I can knock off another UFO! 

Wow, I wrote that so fast I can barely read my own writing I’m so excited. 

Where’s my needle and thread? 

[stitching in progress]

Tunes – I added some music here to keep my motivation up. One of my favorite bands as a teenager. 

[still in progress] 

Nearly done, last stiches….


Project complete! 

YES! small art quilt of orange flower, with the binding now stitched on, all finished because I created a strong why

All done! 

That’s 2 more UFOs done and only 28 more to go.


The skills I gained in creating a strong WHY

I’m so proud of finishing this. And prouder still of all the growth it took to not just finish it, but to know that I can use this same technique to more quickly and easily finish the next ones: 

  • Taking stock
  • Understanding feelings 
  • Allowing shame
  • Being creative
  • Choosing to change my thoughts
  • Learning new things
  • Having compassion for myself 
  • Deliberately building motivation 

All skills that I will now carry forward in my sewing and in my life. 

Now I can’t wait to put binding on the other 3. Then choose another UFO from the tub to love, learn and grow from. 

See you soon, 

email signature that says "love Shelly"

PS If you just found me and want to read on…. Click the blog post on the right. 

If you want to start the UFO journey at the start – click here Gathering UFOs