If you don’t normally bother with setting any goals via New Year’s Resolutions, or have set them and completely forgotten about them or simply just that you set your expectations too low or too high then try this system of goal setting to help you with both short and long term gains.
Goal Setting – Electronic or pen and paper?
There are a number of pieces of fantastic software that can help you with goal setting and achieving your aims, including:
- Opus Domini (Lite and full version)
There are so many more that are available either free of charge or for a small charge via the apps store on your Mac or the Play Store on your PC that it is possible to easily find something that works for you.
If you do decide to use a computerised version for goal setting and targets, this is great in terms of layout, formatting and storage but I will share with you the best piece of advice I have been given about this. Print out a copy of your goals and targets along the way to reaching those goals and have it somewhere that you will be able to see it regularly. Not only will this remind you of what you are aiming toward, but it also gives you the chance to cross out those tasks and goals that you have reached. There seems to be, in my mind anyway, nothing quite as satisfying as putting a thick line through a task that you have achieved!
I currently use a mixture of computerisation and pen/paper as described above. Through experimentation, find the way that works for you and go with it.
Start with the end in mind and set yourself some big musical goals. Consider things like:
- What do you want to be able to play that you can’t play already?
- What groups would you like to play with that you don’t currently?
- What technique would you like to improve and what should it feel, sound and be like?
- What pieces of music would you like to be able to perform confidently and by when?
Once you have set your big musical goal, consider how you are going to get there. This is the point where you can consider what short term targets you need to set yourself to reach those bigger goals.
Make all of your targets SMART targets and ensure that they are:
- Time bound
This is very important for each individual target and it is really the only way of providing yourself with the motivation and accountability to reach your main aim or goal. Make sure that each target is specifically linked to your bigger goal and that every task you complete takes you one step closer to that main aim. Setting dates for each of the targets will give a real sense of accountability and will help to keep things on track.
When you plan your targets remember to include regular rewards. Plan these in advance so that you can make sure that the rewards are in place. This will ensure that you know what you are aiming for both in terms of a goal and also what you might get as a reward for reaching a goal.
This provides some motivation, but also a real sense of accountability. Some of the shorter term targets that you set in order to reach your bigger goal may well not be the most enjoyable of tasks, and it is really useful to have something that will be really enjoyable to look forward to.
So, what first?
Follow these simple steps to help get things in place as soon as you can:
- Decide on three big goals
- Write them down and set a date for each of them. (If you are storing this electronically make sure you print it out!)
- Take each goal individually and think about what small steps you need to take to achieve each one. Try and keep each single target attainable and realistic, and if possible aim to let each target build on the previous one.
- Remember that each target should be a SMART target.
- Set a reward for each target – something to really look forward to!
- Set deadlines for each target and reward
- Print these out for each target and put them somewhere that you will see them regularly.
- Go for it and make sure you cross each target off when you have completed them.
Good luck, share your thoughts and ideas by commenting below.