January 25, 2012

Afterglow resolutions – goal setting not new years resolutions

So, by this time you have generated your New Year’s Resolutions and maybe started using an inspiration board to develop goals for your personal growth for this year (or you are humoring me by not saying you haven’t). We’re in the afterglow of the Resolutions. All done, right?

Not by half – now the real work begins. Here in the afterglow we are close enough to forming our goals to forget that within a few weeks we will be in the hustle and bustle of daily living and will have all but forgotten them. We will have forgotten all our resolutions, not just the ones we developed for our harp life. By this time of January, most of us have already stopped going to the gym, begun buying our lunch instead of packing again, and not getting enough sleep, still.

So there are some strategies to help keep ourselves on track. Here are a few to try if they work for you:

Set an appointment with yourself. Once a week (or once a month depending on how dedicated and motivated you are), set an appointment with yourself to check your progress against your goals and see how you’re coming. This shouldn’t be a punitive time. If your goals are too aggressive - modify them. If you’re way ahead and your goals weren’t aggressive enough, modify those too!

Record yourself. Most of us set goals that are related to our performance – either learning, memorizing, improvising, performing, arranging, composing or some other facet of our playing. Record your work so you can hear it better. No matter how well you play or how well you have learned something (including what you’ve written) you will be better able to review it if you listen to a recording than if you listen while you’re playing.

Don’t be afraid to change things - including your goals. This is not the same as abandoning your goals as soon as things get tough. However, if you realize that you have set an inappropriate goal (a piece you have selected has only been arranged for pedal harp which you don’t have and has a zillion accidentals) - change it.  You should consider modifying a goal that just is not working. If you achieve a goal with relatively no effort (although you have passed your grade eight exam, you decided to work on learning Twinkle Twinkle) that goal may not have been as challenging as you had hoped and you could add a new one.

None of these is focused on punishing you into meeting your goals. The point of the exercise is to keep an eye on your goals and an eye on your progress to assure that you continue to be moving forward. Be positive and friendly with yourself - and you'll make it!

You just have to start.

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