stopwatch1In a recent post aimed at helping musicians achieve goals and learn how to practice more effectively, I wrote about the SMART Goal system.

Today’s post focuses on the “T” in SMART.

T is for Time.

A goal without a time limit is just a dream.  You may have a desire to achieve something musically.  But, desire alone isn’t enough to propel most musicians to take action.  If you don’t decide when you want to acquire your goal, you probably never will.

Why is time so important in setting your goals?  Because a time limit gives you a sense of urgency in acquiring the goal.  Having this urgency is crucial to motivate you.

To see this urgency take shape, read through these three sets of goals:

1.  I will win an audition for a major orchestra.
I will win an audition for a major orchestra IN THE NEXT 6 MONTHS.

2.  If my rock band doesn’t get signed to a major label, I’ll have to go to law school.
If my rock band doesn’t get signed to a major label THIS YEAR, I’ll have to go to law school.

3.  I’m going to audition for Juilliard.
I’m going to audition for Juilliard IN 7 WEEKS.

The second version of each goal (the version with a deadline) feels totally different than the first version.  With the time element in place, a certain do-or-die determination kicks in.

Having a deadline makes you change your behavior by forcing you to take action right now.  Only by taking action do you have a shot at achieving your goals.

Time limits are crucial in setting your goals.  Put time limits on your long-term, near-term, and short-term goals.

Even daily goals benefit from time limits.  You will force yourself to work much more efficiently if you give yourself a specific amount of time to go over some music you must learn right away.

Time is the fifth element in the SMART Goals system.  I hope you include all five (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Risk, and Time) as you plan your musical future.

One Response to “Timed Goals Create a Sense of Urgency”  

  1. 1 Mike Saville

    🙂 The one area where I do recommend the use of time as a measure in practice!

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