Developing Action Steps to Short-Term and
Long-Term Goals

Lewis Carrol once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” How important is goal-setting? Some people think goals are only for large corporations or small businesses, but this isn’t true.  Goal-setting applies to almost everything we do! If you’re a professional football player, your ultimate goal is to win the Superbowl.  If you’re looking to start a family, your goal is to raise and discipline children so they develop character.  As musicians, goals are monumental.  There are two different types of goals we should set: short-term and long-term goals.

 

Short-Term are goals for you to achieve within what I consider 1 month or less.  Is there a difficult melody you want to learn on the piano, a challenging riff you heard from guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn, or a crazy polyrhythm from drumming sensation, Virgil Donati? 

Long-Term are goals what I consider more than 1 month and sometimes, up to 5-7 years or even more.  Do you envision yourself starting a band? Is there a new style of music you want to learn and be more proficient at? Whatever your goal is, you know it will take time to achieve.

 

Regardless of the type of goals you set, there are 4 practical principles to follow in short and long-term goals.

Write it down! Sadly, the majority of people don’t get past this step.  A recent survey was done where a whopping 83% of people had no goals! Fourteen percent had plans, but nothing written out.  Only 3% of people wrote down their goals.  This same survey from Harvard Business Study said the ones who wrote down their goals were 3 times more likely to succeed than the group who had some plan in mind.

Visibility.  Place your goals at a place you can see them every day.  Too often, we write something important down, misplace it, and then completely forget about it.  As forgetful human beings, we need constant reminders.  Seeing your goals daily will do the following: First, they’ll remind you of your goals daily so they become programmed in your mind.  Second, they’ll redirect your focus on doing what’s necessary and important.  Finally, they’ll motivate you to get started and keep going.  As mentioned above, we need daily reminders.  Seeing your goals regularly will give you the fuel to press on!

 

Do something every day! You’ve now written down your goals and have placed them at a visible place you can see them every day.  Congrats! You’re already in the top 3%!  However, this plan must follow execution.  Apart from execution, it will merely be a written goal.  Many people never put their goals to action out of fear of failure or because they’re under the impression of not having enough time.  The key is to plan what to do each day and do something each day that will move you one step closer to your goal.  The greatest way to build momentum, focus, and motivation is to incrementally work at your goals on a daily basis.  This will instill discipline to not procrastinate, build persistence when you encounter challenges, and maintain your focus until the goal is accomplished!

 

Have a timetable.  If you have made this far in the journey of goal-setting, you are setting yourself up for success. There is one more component in setting and executing your goals.  This is to have a projected time when these goals will be achieved.  Be very specific! If you’re learning a new style of music, when do you see yourself become proficient at it to the point of playing and teaching the music? If your goal is to be established in a band, when will this happen? More specifically, what will you do to make it happen? Apart from a timetable, we’ll never have clarity on when our goals will be achieved.  It’s like driving without having any destination.  Finally, having a timetable will develop a sense of urgency. If you feel you’re losing concentration or are falling behind, this method will get you back on track in diligently putting in the work until that goal comes to fruition! We’ve all experienced procrastinating a school project due in a few days when we haven’t even started.  This can be pressuring and at times, very stressful.  However, it creates that sense of urgency to get going! This is also paralleled to setting a deadline to when we want our short-term and long-term goals achieved! 

Writing down your goals should be specific and clear.  For instance, “I want to join a band” is not a goal, but a mere wish.  It doesn’t tell you what you’ll do or how you will get there.  Rather, a written goal should be, “To join a band by November of this year, I will: post videos on social media of me playing, attend live concerts to learn and be more inspired by how musicians collaborate music together, attend online forums and networking events to build awareness on my brand, and post flyers on community bulletins at local music stores.”  This written goal is clear, contains objectives on what you will do to get where you want to be, and has a timetable when the goal will be reached!