Have you made any resolutions for the 2017? If so, congratulations--according to psychologist professor and researcher John Norcross the New York Times, you are TEN TIMES more likely to achieve your goal over time than a "non-resolver" with the identical goal and comparable motivation to change. In a University of Scranton study 64% of resolvers were still keeping their resolutions by the end of January, and after six months 44% were still successful. while only 4% of the non-resolvers with identical goals had changed their behavior.
That's good news for people who make resolutions, but the news gets better. There are some simple steps you can take to dramatically increase your chances of achieving any goal.
1. Don't Rely On Willpower. Pre-commit yourself to make it easier to keep your goal. If you want to not use your credit card, cut it up! If you don't want to snack on junk food at home, don't bring it into the house! To practice more, put your guitar out where you can see it--or sign up for a class to make yourself play regularly. For two years I met a friend to run on Thursday mornings at 6:15am. I liked to brag about running in the cold and dark, but the truth is, on days when I knew he couldn't make it, I sometimes slept in! It is the structure of meeting a friend that helped me get up so early, not willpower!
2. Make A Plan. In his chapter on Motivation in the book "59 Seconds", Richard Wiseman says "Break your overall goal into a maximum of five smaller steps." Make sure that each step is "concrete, measurable, realistic" and that you have a time-line for doing it!
3. Tell Your Friends And Family. Wiseman says that in a study of over 5,000 goal setters, "successful participants were far more likely than others to tell their friends, family and colleagues about their goals." The goal setting website stickK.com found that in an analysis of 125,000 goals over several years, people who had a "referee" to monitor their progress were over twice as successful as those who tried to do it alone.
4. Forgive Yourself. Understand that setbacks are normal and don't allow them to be catastrophic. Don't be the person who says "well, I smoked one cigarette, so I might as well smoke for the rest of the year" or "I missed this class this week, now I'm too far behind to go back." Successful goal-setters are resilient, and get back on track after a temporary failure.
5. Track Your Success and Reward Yourself! Keep track of how you are doing, and remember to do something nice to do for yourself when you achieve one of your sub-goals!
Could these techniques be adapted to your guitar playing? Heck yeah! Have a wonderful year! Thank you for being part of the NYC Guitar School community, and I wish you massive success in all aspects of your life, musical and otherwise!
Founder, NYC Guitar School