This article will be our last for a little while in our series on personal development, however while it may be the last, it is no less important than the others discussed (Goal Setting, Practice, Being Positive, Confidence, and Perseverance). While on the surface, Dedication may sound the same as Perseverance, it is different in some important ways.
Perseverance is the ability to overcome obstacles and see a task through to completion. Dedication is your commitment to someone or something through both good times and bad. We demonstrate dedication every day when we go to work regardless of how we feel. We demonstrate it when we take care of our children or others who are in need of help. Marriage is a lifelong dedication to someone very near and dear to us. Developing lifelong habits of healthy eating and exercise requires dedication. And as guitarists, we show dedication to our instrument.
When we dedicate ourselves to those that we care about and continue to grow and nurture our relationships with them, we enjoy ourselves even more when we are around them. Similarly, as a guitarist, we must dedicate a certain part of our day to practice. Through that dedication, we become better players and as a result of that dedication our enjoyment grows every time we pick it up.
So, how do we improve our dedication to something or someone especially in difficult times? That’s when we must tap into some of our other areas of personal development such as perseverance, being positive, and having the confidence that we can make it better – that we can remain dedicated. It’s also about developing good habits through practice that contribute to our dedication.
Throughout these articles, we have used diet and exercise as examples; let’s continue with that theme for this article. While we may set goals to lose weight, be healthy and exercise and eventually achieve those goals (excellent job by the way!), we must dedicate ourselves to maintaining the healthy habits that we used to achieve our goal. We must use practice to develop the healthy habits that we need to stay healthy. We must use confidence in knowing that we can stay healthy: we know that since we lost the weight in the first place, we therefore are confident that we can keep it off. When on the holidays, we must persevere and push that second slice of pumpkin pie away from us (I know this one is hard for me!). Above all, we must continue to develop and maintain a positive attitude about ourselves and our ability to be dedicated to a healthy lifestyle. Each of these areas of personal development go hand in hand with each other to make us the healthiest, happiest person we can be. If we dedicate ourselves to improving these life skills, we will find that life is more pleasurable, so get started – become dedicated to making yourself the best person you can be!
3 Easy dedication exercises:
1. Identify what is really important to you. Take a few minutes to sit down with paper and pencil and create a quick list of those things that are really important to you. If you are having trouble thinking of what to write down, set a timer for 2 minutes and force yourself in a stream-of-consciousness manner to write down whatever comes out. Frequently, the results of this method will be truer to what you care about than if you do it for 30 minutes. Then, take the results and prioritize them on what is most important to you. Then, when you set your daily list, make sure you include to top two or three in it. Dedicate yourself to these items on a daily basis.
2. Use a daily list. When you make your daily list on what needs to be done for the day, make sure you put in the items discussed in exercise 1 above. By putting these things on a daily list, this helps to develop the positive habit of dedicating yourself to what is really important to you.
3. Develop positive habits that make it easier for you to dedicate yourself to what you care about. In the case of guitar, set aside the same time every day for your practice time. After a while, you will develop that habit of practicing at this time and it makes dedication much easier. For a healthy lifestyle, develop the habit of exercising on a specific two or three days a week at a particular time and place. Don’t let anything interfere with this exercise time. Allow the habit of exercising to sink in and it will be much easier for you to dedicate yourself to a healthy lifestyle going forward.