Consistency: My Word for 2018

Posted on

consistencyMy guide word for 2018: Consistency.

I suppose you could call it a New Year’s resolution, but for me it’s more a reminder of what is important to me and the imperative to keep those things not just top of mind, but top of schedule as well.

I find, and perhaps you have noticed this too, that when I can create habits around the things that are truly important to me, everything feels easier. I believe that is because those habits create alignment between my desires and my actions. I’m acting on my goals, not just thinking about them. Consistency makes my goals sticky.

When I consistently implement the actions that will lead me to accomplish my goals, I find that I instinctively shed the distractions and detours that are the enemies of achievement.

Naturally, this applies to any area of life: relationships, physical health, spiritual growth, and of course – music.

In my experience, the musicians who succeed in reaching their goals are those who are the most consistent in their approach. They create strong habits around their practice, study and performing, not inflexible ones, but habits that serve as the foundation for accomplishment.

I invite you to consider your musical goals for this new year and how creating more consistency could help you realize them. If you need some encouragement, read on about three powerful effects of consistency.

Consistency Prevents Backsliding

We’ve all experienced this: you come back to the harp after a well-deserved vacation to find that your fingers are rusty and stiff and that the music you knew so well two weeks ago seems irritatingly unfamiliar. That’s to be expected after a break, of course. You do some technical rehab and review and you’re back on track in a few days.

Unfortunately, any break of a few days or a week – whether you were away or just plain swamped with work – wreaks the same havoc on your playing. If your practice schedule is on a “when I get around to it” basis, you are sabotaging your efforts.

To maintain your level of progress and prevent backsliding, you need to have a consistent, meaning more or less daily, practice schedule. If you have an extra hectic time, have a practice plan for that too, a sort of emergency practice plan that will see you through the time crunch.

Consistency Multiplies Progress

A consistent practice schedule doesn’t just keep you from losing ground. It actually multiplies your progress.

The results of practice reveal themselves over time. You might not notice a lot of improvement in a day or two, but a week or two should show you major growth.

So where inconsistency thwarts your progress, consistent practice reinforces and increases the results of your work. It’s the tortoise and the hare principle again; steady work will get you to the finish line faster than a sprint here and a nap there.

Consistency Strengthens Your Connection

This is the most overlooked benefit of consistency in my opinion. When you practice, take lessons and play on a consistent basis, you stay connected to your music in an active, positive way.

You stay interested and motivated; after all, progress begets more progress. The more consistent you are, the easier it is to see progress, which is in itself energizing and motivating. The more motivated you are, the stronger your motivation becomes. A circle, yes, but hardly a vicious one.

What stronger motivator could there be to practice than knowing that, having come so far on yesterday’s practice, you can go even further with today’s?

Tags: , , , , , , ,


  • Darlene

    Anne – this is the word I need – consistency. I lack progress. I can’t do the music I desire and I just can’t seem to progress. This makes me feel like I don’t really want to perform again. My lessons are also lacking and it takes me so long to even finish a piece. This is somewhat discouraging in starting a new year.

    Reply

    • Anne Post author

      Happy New Year, Darlene! And just think in small steps. When you take small steps on purpose, you are continually making progress and you can see it, which actually helps you make progress faster. If you try to bite off more than you can truly handle at once, you will always feel like you have failed. Another way to think of it – if you are looking too far down the road, you are likely to fall into the pothole right in front of you!

      Reply

  • Deborah

    Hi, Anne (and readers). Happy New Year!

    My word for this year is ‘freedom’. In terms of my harp practice, this means having the freedom to play pieces that I want (instead of ones that I think will improve my playing) and to try different styles and types of playing. I am hoping this will making playing the harp fun again, as sometimes it can feel a bit of a chore!

    I am applying ‘freedom’ as a concept in other areas of my life too, and I’m very excited to see how it all pans out.

    I look forward to receiving your emails in 2018. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Anne Post author

      Freedom is a wonderful word for the year, Deborah! Playing the harp should never feel like a chore. Granted, there is some element of “chore” in the technical work that will allow us to play the music we want in the way we want, but there should always be plenty of just “playing” and “playing for fun” time in the mix. Happy 2018!

      Reply

  • Tracy Sweet

    My word is EXPLORE, I want to explore other opportunities/venues, stages to play the harp,

    Reply

  • robert stone

    I agree Anne, consistency is also important for momentum, the sensation that you’re getting somewhere, going forward with your studying, not to mention satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment.

    Reply

  • Carol Ludwig

    I was thinking that discipline should be my word; however, consistency is better. While I was organizing my music today, putting the Christmas things away and placing the things I want to work on in my practice notebook, it occurred to me that there are hard things that I can play because I worked on them everyday, consistently sticking to my practice plan Other things that aren’t quite as hard are far from finished because my practice has been hit or miss. I worked really hard for several days and then didn’t work on them at all because I let other things get in the way. So, I’m adopting consistency. I will consistently practice and do the things that I know will lead to success!

    Reply

  • Carole Mask

    My word is Simplify. I need this for my harp playing and other life areas. I started on a program last year to declutter/organize and did not get as far as I would have liked. I plan to organize my harp music, find new opportunities for the scores that I know I will never use, work on keeping repertoire in my fingers – there are lots of hard pieces I would love to play, but will work on maybe one at a time, remembering Anne’s advice to play pieces at my level well and beautifully. I will work consistently at this, and at those other areas – Knitting/craft supplies, books, kitchen, paperwork, etc – where things have just collected. Wish me (I was going to say luck but it’s not that I need) Tenacity!!!

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Deborah Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *