For me this is the golden time to plan what next year will look like. What do I want to fix or change? What new project do I want to start? What should my theme be for the new year?
Before the holiday performances take over, and leave me no time to breathe, let alone think and plan, I am taking a half-hour long mini-retreat to get my thoughts for next year organized.
I encourage you to do the same thing. You will find this especially helpful if you feel like you would like to stretch yourself, learn new music, improve some aspect of your playing, or just make big strides next year. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know if you get there? And I have a three-step “GPS” system to help you start the planning process.
Before you start the GPS, block out a half hour in a place where you can be undisturbed and have the space to dream and imagine. Make sure you will have no interruptions: no cell phone, no children, no computer. Make your favorite cup of coffee or tea, get comfortable, and let’s begin to make next year great.
G is for Goals. Sometimes we don’t set goals because they sound pretentious, or too business-like, not creative enough. But without a goal, you can’t really accomplish anything. Maybe “goal” isn’t the right word for you. Try calling them “Gold Stars.” Whatever your word is, list as many things as you can think of that would make next year a real success for you. Don’t stop at 2 or 3. See if you can think of 20 gold star things you would like to accomplish. (They don’t all have to be about music!) Don’t let the number scare you; you will choosing only 2 or 3 from this list.
P is for Plan. How will you make your gold stars happen? Will you need a new practice routine, more lessons? Will you need to brush up on your technique or learn new repertoire? Write down all the things you will need for each goal. As you do this, you will see that some of the goals will require more steps than others. That will be one factor in the next step…
S is for Select. It’s time to choose, to pick 2 or 3 (not more than 3!) goals to concentrate on for next year. First, go through your entire list, and pick the top 5 or 6 goals that most appeal to you, either because they are intriguing and sound fun, or because they would make the biggest impact in your life and happiness. Then look only at those 5 or 6 and consider the steps need to accomplish each. Are there any that just seem too overwhelming? Cross those off. Are there any requiring steps that are truly impossible for you to take, for instance, something that would require you to move to another country? Cross those off too. From those that are left on your list, choose one or two goals that seem possible for you, and one that would require you to stretch and grow.
You now have your plan! Start lining up the things you need now, so that you can put your plan into action right after the holidays.
Extra bonus tip: tell a mentor or friend about your goals. This will help hold you accountable throughout the year, and you will be surprised how people will be happy to help keep you on track.
Here’s one of my goals for next year: I will present six Harp Mastery workshops around the country. I have my plans in place, ready to launch!