I must admit, I haven’t been practicing the piano very much lately. Well, not at all actually. It’s easy to let every-day activities get in the way of progressing towards our goals. So as part of my February resolutions I have added a new goal: To practice the piano for at least 15 minutes a day, 4 days a week for the month of February. I like making monthly resolutions rather than yearly. With monthly goals, you can keep re-committing yourself without losing too much steam. Also, you can continuously re-prioritize your goals, because things that are important to you today may not be important tomorrow. Think of it, every month will be like a new beginning!
Of course, saying you are going to do something is one thing; doing it is the hard part. So how can you make sure you keep on track? I have a few tips for you. Some of them the standard ones you will find when you google “How to achieve goals”, some of them are directly from my brain. (Be afraid, be very afraid.)
1. Make sure your goal is measurable. For example, your goal shouldn’t be something like “practice the piano more”. A goal should be something that you can accomplish, that is clearly achievable and measurable. I’ll give you a few examples of goals that are not measurable:
- Go to bed earlier
- Don’t pig out as much
- Get fit
Rather, you could modify those goals to make them more clear:
- Go to bed before 11pm from Monday to Friday for a month
- Eat under 1800 calories a day for the next week
- Go to bootcamp twice a week for a month
See the difference? The more specific your goals are, the easier it is to create a plan of action. Once your goals have been completed you can re-evaluate and re-commit yourself. But more on that later.
2. Make sure your goal is realistic. It is important that you consider all of your current time commitments. How much time can you dedicate to accomplishing your goal? My goal to play the piano for 15 minutes a day, 4 days a week may not seem like a lot. But I know 15 minutes is a realistic number for me at this point in my life given my other activities and responsibilities.
3. Enjoy the journey. As cliche as it may seem, life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Focus on the good feelings that you get while working to achieve your goal. By focusing on these feelings, you will find that motivating yourself will get easier. For example, if your goal involves working out, you can focus on the feelings of accomplishment that you may have after lifting heavier weights, or you could focus on the energy boost that you have after a workout. Focus on the good feelings rather than the bad and you will find yourself looking forward to working on your goal.
4. Re-evaluate and re-commit! You may have noticed that the goals I listed above had are time-constrained. Once they end, it doesn’t mean you stop working toward your goal. It means you reflect on your experiences over the last period of time, figure out what was working for you and what wasn’t working, and then modify your plan as you find appropriate. For example, after February, I may find that I actually have time to dedicate 20 minutes a day to practicing the piano rather than 15. At the beginning of March I will make a new set of goals to reflect this discovery.
Re-committing yourself every month is a great way to stay on track for the long run. In fact, the more often you can re-commit yourself to your goal, the better!
OK, that’s enough of the fluffy stuff. Next post will be back to the grind, with melodic minor scales. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging.