I love talking about goals.
I know a lot of us set goals in January, but often they're too big (and most of the time they fail).
Instead, I've developed the habit of setting goals every month.
The reason for this is that I've found long term goals can get really overwhelming. But when we break them down into smaller monthly (or even weekly) goals -- it can feel like you’re making progress, and it’s much less daunting.
So how do you make goals that you can actually achieve?
By being S.M.A.R.T.
When you're setting a goal, it should be as specific as possible. For the piano that could mean playing a certain song or scale at a specific tempo.
Having specific goals will help you evaluate whether you have achieved them. Vague goals are hard to achieve if you don't know what success will look like.
And if your goal is specific, that means it will also be:
Having a measurable goal means that you will be able to tell if you are on the way towards achieving it. If your goal is not measurable, then how will you know if you're getting closer to it? How do you EVER achieve it?
For example, if your goal is to play the E major scale at 80bpm. You can track your progress towards achieving it.
You might start out at 60bpm, and after a couple of weeks be up to 70bpm.
That's measurable progress! You KNOW you're getting better and closer to the goal.
It's also a great way to stay motivated.
Speaking of motivation, this next point is super important, because it's probably the biggest reason why people fail:
Your goal has to be possible. It's as simple as that.
It can be challenging for sure, but it needs to be within reach.
I see too many people setting wildly unrealistic goals, which is just a recipe for disappointment, frustration, and ultimately failure.
And if you feel like a failure, you're not going to want to practice, which means you'll never achieve your goals.
This is a big one, and it's another thing I see people get wrong a lot of the time.
You should be making sure that everything you do on the piano is RELEVANT to your goals. Otherwise, it's just wasted time. Or worse -- it's time that actually pushes you further away.
I see this all the time with people's repertoire. If your goal is to play popular songs using chord charts and learn how to improvise and do fills, then spending days and weeks learning sight-reading and classical pieces is probably not the best use of your time.
I've heard so many people who quit the piano because they were forced to practice music they hated. Playing the piano should bring you joy, so what you practice should align with your end goals.
The final point. Your goals should have a time-limit attached to them. That means setting yearly, monthly, weekly and even daily goals.
It helps to break the daunting tasks down into manageable pieces, and it allows you to see progress much quicker.
These are not new concepts, but knowing something and doing it are different things.
Now is such a great time to take a step back, evaluate what your goals are, and then make a plan to achieve them.
And if you'd like help at any stage, just let me know.