New Year - New (Puzzle) Resolutions
Whether you stayed at home puzzling or went out with friends, I hope you had a safe and happy time ringing in 2024. Like many I use this time of year for both reflection and planning for my upcoming year. I thought I would use this blog for exactly that purpose. Now, I know New Year Resolutions aren’t for everyone. Researchers suggest only 9% of Americans complete them and 23% of people quit within their first week. For me, there’s just something about the ritual that gets me excited for the upcoming season of life.
There are several ways to go about resolutions. You can set maybe have one or two smart goals that you will gradually complete throughout the year. There is also having a more relaxed approach by maybe just going by your word of the year. Or you can do what I do, have a ginormous number of things on a goal list and try to finish at least a couple of them….
Okay so my approach may seem quite ridiculous but hear me out. It started back in 2019 when I thought it would be fun to have 19 goals for the year. Then in 2020, I moved it up to 20 goals, and so on. Now when I say goals, some are a one and done type of thing I’d like to do in the year. Example: in 2023 one of my goals was to go camping (which I’ll show in a picture below) and another was to join a community band. Other goals are larger full year achievements such as wanting to read 100 books. Now, did I complete all 23 goals for the year?? Absolutely not, unexpected things happen (looking at you 2020) and sometimes your goals change throughout the year. However, even though I don’t complete every goal I set out to do, I try to complete at least 70% of then. For me, that would mean I did a lot of fun and interesting things throughout the year and maybe had a little self-improvement.
Now, I will not go through all 24 goals for 2024 in this blog, but I did want to reflect on my puzzle goals from last year and share some of my resolutions for this year. Puzzle goals is something I started back in 2021 when I started my YouTube channel. It was a way for me to grow as a puzzler and stretch my comfort zone. I understand if you do not want your puzzle hobby to become something you dread because you are working towards a goal. However, I hope this inspires you to try something new. Now that we’ve gone through this way too long of an intro, lets go over my puzzle goals from 2023 and the new goals I have for 2024.
Let’s start this off with some goals I did complete.. Not to be a downer right off the gate but I do want to be real with you. Sometimes I am over ambitious. (Yeah, I know 24 goals for the year…) I had big plans to complete some larger piece counts this year. Now, I am typically doing 300 to 500 piece puzzles with maybe one to two 1000 piece puzzles each month. So, I thought doing a 1500+ piece puzzle each month was a doable goal, including completing my 6000-piece puzzle, Downtown by Clementoni. This puzzle image is gorgeous to look at and I was so impressed to read Gail’s blog about the puzzle. However, a few things stopped me from jumping into this one. First up, we were busy moving for half of the year. The second reason, ummmm...6000 pieces?? I think I needed to take some baby steps to achieve this one.
As someone who had only completed maybe two 2,000-piece puzzles in her life, jumping to 6,000 was a big leap. Now I am happy to report that I did complete a handful of larger piece counts this year including Moon Cycle by Buffalo Games. I also had a fantastic time doing the 2000-piece puzzle My Favorite Stamps by Ravensburger. Even though it was the largest puzzle I had completed in recent memory, it was a very doable puzzle. There were so many elements and characters to work from and the somewhat collage made the puzzle easy to work with. It also helps that the quality is top notch. So, did a I do a 1500+ puzzle each month? Eh – that’s a no. However, I did do six puzzles over 1,000 pieces and am starting a 3,000 piece puzzle this week. So, you know, baby steps work towards that 6,000 piece. Maybe this will be the year!
One goal that I have been successful at for the past three years was my puzzle count. Each year I have raised the number of puzzles I wanted to complete, and each year I have kept careful track of every puzzle I completed. In 2023 I wanted to complete 120 Puzzles with a stretch goal of 150. When I created this goal, I did not take into account how many pieces for each type of puzzle but I did want it to be puzzles at least 300 pieces.
As I’m writing this my total puzzle count is 155, not including the 40 puzzles that was below that minimum piece count. I did so many incredible puzzles last year. One of my stand outs was Cat Balloon Race by Buffalo Games. This one I completed in one sitting and I cannot express how much I enjoyed this image. Between the hot air balloons and the Victorian dressed cats, it was so much fun! I also fell in love with the Cozy Series by Ravensburger. I think I did three from this line and each one has been incredible.
This year I think I will keep my 120 puzzles goal. I have tried to increase the amount of puzzles each year, but I think for 2024 I want to focus on completing higher piece counts from my collection. As much as I enjoy my 300–500-piece puzzles, and will of course still complete them this year, I’m realizing so much of my collection is being ignored. 120 puzzles will be a tough goal since I will be doing puzzles that are more time consuming.
2023 was the first year I had a goal for piece count and boy was it a hard one - 100,000 Pieces! Holy smokes this was a hard one. I knew if I did roughly 8,000 pieces a month, I could reach this goal. There were only a couple things that made this kind of tricky. One, we had a substantial move at the beginning of the year and two some months were full of travel. However, I am happy to report, that I was successful! As I’m writing this, with still two weeks left of the year, I have done 103,590 pieces!! To be honest, I was a little bit worried about hitting this one for a bit because some months I was very behind. However, once I had signed up to go to the National Jigsaw Puzzle Convention for 2024, I really put it into high gear. Within a couple days I had completed several 500 piece Ravensburger puzzles, including Tropical Waters. This puzzle was so much fun and I was able to beat my puzzle time! This image had so much to work from and even with all of the water, was very quick to do. This year I think I will increase my piece count by just a bit to 120,000.
The final goal I had from last year was to try some new brands. This was not a well thought out SMART goal, just something I wanted to do. One thing I love about this hobby is discovering new hidden gems and trying new brands. This goal was something, I did not track. I wasn’t really paying attention of how many new brands I had tried. It was more, “oh this looks fun” and trying something new. Although, I would call this resolution successful. Out the eighty brands I had down, 46 brands were ones that were new to me. This year I finally got around to trying Anatolian and there is no way I could forget when I did Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Workman Publishing. I LOVED that puzzle and really enjoyed listening to the audiobook while working on it.
This year I want to continue this trend. Again, this isn’t something that I am meticulous about, but I would love to try more brands that I am unfamiliar with. Some brands that come to mind is HART Puzzles. While putting together the blog about the Ambassadors Favorites of the Year, I had at least three of the ambassadors say how impressed they were with the quality and I must say my curiosity is buzzing. The good thing is I do already own Wine Trail and it has quickly rose to the top of my to-do pile.
I could probably add about 20 other brands from Puzzle Warehouse that I am interested in, or in some cases already own. I bought Oceans by Lucky puzzles exactly a year ago and unfortunately it has been hidden in my collection. It is such a shame because the images they carry are right up my alley. Another brand, Heritage Puzzles, has some incredible landscape designs including Smokey Mountain Twilight. As a VERY loose goal, I do think it would be fun to just go over to the Brands Page and just try all the ones I have never done before. Just curious, which brands have you been eyeing and itching to try??
Finally let’s move into new goals I am adding to the list. First up, I want to complete a minimum of four 1,000 piece puzzles a month. This will be a tough but achievable goal. As I mentioned earlier, I have some incredible puzzles in my collection that are going untouched. I often look over my 1,000-piece puzzles because I may not have the time or patience. However, the cool thing about puzzles is I don’t have to complete them in one sitting. This year I would love to do Gloomy Carnival by Ravensburger that I just had to have, now a year and a half later and it’s still sealed on my shelf.
One amazing thing about puzzles, is that they are works of art. Someone actual drew, painted, or created the image that I am putting together. This is something I often don’t take note on when I’m puzzling and I think it is such a missed opportunity. When I was at a puzzle event, I was able to listen to a puzzle artist and it was incredible to hear about their decisions making, inspiration and how they adapt their vision to become good puzzles. It was such an interesting master class. This year I really want to research and discover puzzle artist. When I was browsing the PW website, I noticed a style of image that I was really drawn to. Turns out they were images by Uta Krogmann. The images are collages but they aren’t too busy and are so bright, colorful, and eye catching, like this one called New York City Life by eeBoo
Josie Lewis is another artist I have been loving. I enjoy unique gradient rainbow puzzles and all her images are lovely. One of her pieces is Diamond Dahlias by Buffalo Games. For this goal, I’m doing it to discover which artist’s I enjoy and to recognize different styles of imagery.
So, there you have them, my puzzle goals for 2024! Some are quite hefty, and some are a bit on the relaxed side. However, I think setting these types of goals helps me with my content and grow as a puzzler. Like, who would have guessed I‘d consider speed puzzling?? I suppose, I’ll add my speed puzzling goal to be under an hour for a 500 piece… Only 19 minutes shy of that one. So - I’ve got some work to do!!
Happy Puzzling Friends!!
Emilee Frost @thecasualpuzzler
Good luck with your goals! Very detailed and interesting blog.
I loved reading about your puzzle goals for last year and for this one as well. I really enjoy puzzling, although I don't do anywhere near the amount you do! I didn't puzzle for several months this year due to a move and a divorce, so I only completed 12 puzzles. I'm going to try to at least double that number in 2024.
All I can say is amazing! Enjoyed the read but really made me tired just thining of all those puzzles.
I enjoy your blogs. Thank you for sharing your goals and accomplishments. I haven't made formal puzzling goals, but I do for some other hobbies, such as going to the movies. I like your idea of doing more new brands. I made a large order with Puzzledly last year with brands I didn't already own. I ordered Puzzledly, Soonness, Fred, Laurence King Publishing, BlueKazoo, and other brands. I look forward to completing these in 2024.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your puzzle goals, and, well, all your goals. It inspires me to set some of my own. First of which is to find a larger piece count puzzle to fall in love with (so many to choose from) but one that I know would be doable while still challenging to me. Larger piece to me is 1500. Secondly, would be to complete a few of what I consider to be "intimidating to me" puzzles in my stash. Thirdly is to explore more brands. Love your blog, keep inspiring us!
Good luck with your 2024 goals!
I had not thought of setting some puzzling goals. I just completed an Alice in Wonderland one that was only 1,000 pieces but really took all of my brain. :-)
Excellent goals and a good attitude to them
Love the puzzle goals. I'm sure you can do one 1000 piece puzzle per week. My goal is to focus on my writing but puzzles are delightfully distracting!
I enjoyed reading about your puzzle goals. I set similar goals. I would like to do higher piece counts(1500-3000) this year. Have a great 2024!
I’m so excited to see you hopefully complete your puzzle goals. My puzzle goals look a little different this year since I am pregnant and due in March. So I am not quite sure how much time I will have for puzzling this year.
I recently found your YouTube channel and now these blog posts and really enjoy them. My goal for 2024 is to complete more puzzles than I buy. I barely managed to do that in 2023, and I'm already in the hole for 2024.
I love your approach to goals, I do something similar. I like to think of it as a list of things I want to do vs a list of things I should do.
Over 100,000 pieces in one year is AMAZING! I really enjoyed reading your blog and can't wait to read more. Can't wait to see how many pieces you can do this year. I also love that you try new puzzle companies.
Over 100,000 pieces in one year! I really enjoyed reading your posts and about some of your goals for 2024.
I love this approach to puzzle goals. I think this could help me get through a lot of the puzzles in my stash that have been constantly overlooked!
Good luck with your 2024 goals! A few brands I'd love to try are Djeco, Playful Pastimes and Heye. They have some beautiful images.
I don't do resolutions, not for my personal life nor for my puzzle hobby. I believe that changes in your life has to come from your heart, you have to WANT to change for you to actually do the change. If you do it just becuase it's a new year, most likely it won't happen. As the statistics show. And when it comes to my puzzle hobby, I just don't want it to become a chore. I do puzzles I want to do and then I explore new puzzles and ways to puzzle as I feel like it.