Goal Setting

In this week’s article, I’d like to address goal setting. Goal setting is not only something that is important to us as guitarists but it is also important to us as people in general. Without goals, it is hard, if not impossible, to achieve anything significant in life. On the large scale, could you imagine the Apollo missions to the moon ever having success without sequential goals being set and met? Or on a more personal level when we go to purchase something large such as a house or a car or have to turn in a big book report for school, all of these items have an end goal with incremental steps that have to be met along the way. If you apply the same basic techniques to how you approach guitar or anything you want in life, you can achieve virtually anything. All you need is a written down plan with clear set goals, a positive attitude, and a will to achieve the goal.

Here are two great exercises that I’ve learned from the book, “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” by Brian Tracy. All you need for these two exercises is a pen and paper!

Life Changing Exercise
1. Make a list of 10 goals you want to accomplish in the next year.
Write them as though a year has already passed and these goals are now a reality. Use the present tense when writing them. Use "I" and "me", etc...
Examples: "I earn $X a year", "I weigh X pounds", “I can play X on guitar”.
There is no order to them at this point. Just write them down. If you’re having trouble thinking of what to write down, set a timer for 2 minutes. It’s amazing on what you can write down when forced to do it in a limited amount of time and the results are truer to the mark as you are not second guessing yourself.

2. Now, review the goal list and select the one goal that if you achieved it, would have the greatest positive impact on your life.

3. Now take 30 minutes and do the following. These 30 minutes could be the most valuable use of your time in quite a while:
• Write that one goal on a separate sheet of paper.
• Set a realistic deadline for it.  Set sub-deadlines as necessary
• Make a plan.
          Make a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve that goal.
          Keep updating and building your list until it is complete.
          Organize it by priority and sequence
• Take action on the plan.
• Do something every single day that moves you towards that goal.
Make Daily Lists
Make making lists a habit. Many of us frequently make lists of what we need to do for the day: grocery shop, take the kids to an after school program, things that need to be done for a project at work, things that we need for a certain class in school. These are examples of typical lists. However, we need to start including items that need to be completed in order to achieve our goals in these lists.
If you don’t make lists – Start. Lists are key to getting you what you want in life. If you are already in the habit of making lists, great – now just make sure that you include your personal goals in it every day and prioritize them. Make sure you always take care of the biggest most important items first and see them to completion. Resist the temptation to take care of small things first. If you do the small things first, it will take you forever to get the truly important things done.
On the first of every month, make a monthly list of the things that you need to do for your goal, then once a week make a weekly list of the things you need to get done for that week and then every night before you go to bed, make a list of what you need to get done for tomorrow. The couple of minutes that you spend here every night will help you accomplish so much more than the average person will do who does not have clear written down goals and lists spelling out what needs to be done.

One last item on goals: be patient and positive! Confucius once said, “The journey of a thousand leagues begins with one step.” Take one step towards your goal every day and you’ll be amazed at where you’ll be in the weeks, months and years ahead!

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