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Brett McCarronIt's the New Year
It's never to late to make your resolutions!

By Brett McCarron

The new year is a great time to think about your resolutions, both personal and for your musical act. Have you taken a moment to jot them down?

It only takes a moment, yet the results will bear fruit throughout the year. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your New Year's resolutions.

  1. Write them down. A short sentence for each resolution is all you need. It just needs to be long enough to get the message across to you.

  2. Envision yourself reaching the goal. Motivational experts suggest writing them in the first person, to help you succeed. Examples such as "I will perform 12 times throughout the year," or "The band will sign a new recording contract," help you envision the resolution better than "I want to gig more" or more generally, "The band better do better or I'll quit."

  3. Post your list of resolutions where you can see them. Put a copy of your list on the refrigerator. Or by your alarm clock. Or on a Post-It® note stuck to you bathroom mirror. The more times you see the list, the more you will be motivated to make decisions to work toward meeting your resolution.

    Whether or not you should post a copy at the workplace is a two-edged sword. True, it will be seen by you during the day. But it may also be seen by jealous coworkers (or your boss) and stand in the way of future promotions if they think you'renot serious about your job.

  4. Visual aids are encouraged. Cut out photos from magazines, catalogs, or print out pictures from the web that help to visualize your resolution. A photo of an amplifier, a guitar, a performer singing into a microphone, an armored car full of cash -- make it meaningful to you. This can help you attain your goal by further enforcing it, as what you see can be a powerful motivator.

  5. Break it down into manageable pieces. If your goal seems impossible, see if you can break it down into more easily attainable steps. Before you can get a recording contract, you need a great band, an identity that sets you apart, a strong direction, a killer set list, several original songs, a local following, one or more showcase performances, and an agreement among your bandmates that this is something you all are working towards together.

  6. Don't mention your list too often. Your resolution should be personal. It's okay to mention it from time to time, but if it's all you ever talk about, it makes you out to be a dreamer. You should tell the band that you've made a list of resolutions, and you can suggest they do the same. But from then on, it's a private matter for you to reflect on.

  7. Reward yourself when a resolution becomes reality. This positive reinforcement will motivate you to meet the next resolution on your list. Keep the rewards fun and easy to manage.

  8. Keep the rewards simple. It's probably not a good idea to go out on an all-night binge if your goal was to stay sober for three months. But going out for pizza with your spouse to celebrate makes it fun, and gives you someone to share it with.

    Likewise, if one of your goals is to pay off a music store loan, then when the goal is met, perhaps you should rethink a reward of using a different charge card to buy a new Les Paul guitar! Instead, treat yourself to a guitar or amplifier tune-up with your favorite technician. Or buy a new effects pedal. Or take your spouse out for dinner and a movie.

  9. Of course, you don't have to wait for the new year to make a list of resolutions. There's no time like the present to kick start your career by setting forth your goals for the next six months, year, or, like a business, establish a five-year plan.

You'll be a better person for taking charge of your life, and you'll find that your outlook will improve, too. If you haven't tried it before, give it a whirl and see if it works for you as it has for others. I think you'll like the results.


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