In your Musician’s Practice Planner, in addition to the weekly practice plan, it’s important for music students to write down their reward and their risk for meeting the practice goals for the week.  This is an excellent way to create motivation and forward momentum in achieving goals for music lessons and performances.

Here’s how it works:

First, set up a Reward for meeting your weekly goals.  The reward can be anything positive that you’ll get for following through with your plan.  The reward can be big or small, but it should be something you want.

Next, create a Risk for NOT meeting your practice goals.  Your risk is your anti-reward.  It is something you will give up or lose if you do not carry out your weekly plan.

Using risk as an incentive is one of the great secrets of motivation experts.  If you create a plan for achieving goals, ask yourself this question:

What am I risking if I do not meet my plan?

If you risk nothing, what is your incentive to carry out the plan?  Risk is an essential component of the SMART Goals system, which says that your goal itself should have some element of risk in it.  This usually means that your goal is something new that will take you slightly out of your comfort zone.

Using risk as an anti-reward is another wise use of the concept, and this type of risk will make you hungry to achieve your goals.

Be sure to put both your Reward and your Risk in writing.  And, let other people know what you have chosen as your incentives.  These people can help hold you accountable and encourage you to meet your goals.  They will want you to earn your reward, not suffer from your anti-reward!

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