In a fascinating article on why New Year’s resolutions usually fail, authors Dan and Chip Heath give pointers on how to turn resolutions into goals.

What’s the difference between the two?  Goals get met.  Resolutions don’t.

As a practicing musician, you have the power to meet your goals–if you take the right steps to make the goals attainable.

One of these steps is to set up a specific time and place where you will complete the work needed to meet your goal.  You may have a practice space where you always do your playing.  If you don’t, you’ll need to decide exactly where you’ll do your practicing–perhaps in your bedroom or living room.

Beyond the location of your practice sessions is the exact time when you will complete your practicing.  This time may vary from day to day, but you should decide what that time will be.

Here’s an interesting quote from that article on resolutions and goals which shows the results of psychological studies:

“When people took the time to visualize exactly when and where they would do what they needed to do, they met their goals. People took their vitamins more regularly, college students exercised more, and knee replacement patients did their physical therapy more diligently.”

This sounds extremely encouraging for musicians!  The very act of creating a plan–including where and when the plan will be implemented–gets people to implement that plan.

We should all do this with our practicing.  We can’t let playing music become a random act in our lives.  Instead, give it the importance it deserves.  Put your practice time and location in your calendar like any other important activity in your life.

You’ll be keeping an appointment with yourself.  And, showing up for that appointment will move you closer to your musical goals.

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