"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." - Tony Robbins
We are just starting a brand-new 2018, so it's Official Resolutions Season™!
If you have not yet done so, maybe you should make up your Resolutions, because this year it will be different, right?
Before starting, here's a disclaimer:
There will be some serious tough love in this article.
If you consider yourself a special snowflake, then it's better that you leave and go back to watching cartoons with fluffy animals in them.
You've been warned!
Why would you even want to set goals?
Just like Tony Robbins says, it's of paramount importance, and given the fact that he is very well known and famous, then it must be right.
Here's the thing. We tend to do poorly when we are not working towards a specific result.
I know, we usually do poorly in any case, but it's even worse when you don't have a clear objective. Trust me. I know.
You need to ask yourself:
Do I even want to spend time practicing this wizardy craft that may or may not work?
Should I be doing something else with my life?
What do I want to do with this six-stringed instrument from the Forces Of Hell?
If your answer to the first question is not a definite, scream-out-loud YES, then you should probably go somewhere else. Philosophy is on the last door to your right.
If you are considering the answer to the second question, then I'm afraid I cannot help you, though I can recommend a good therapist if you need to.
If the answer to your third question is anywhere like: "I wanna rock everyone's ears off until they bleed and love it, and come back begging for more", then you have my congratulations!
It doesn't matter what others say or think, it just matters what YOU want to do. Establishing your goals will be one of the best things you can do to make it as a guitarist, as it will act like a beacon to draw you closer to your dreams.
Well, maybe not that much, but it will still be pretty good. Trust me.
What do I need?
Not much. You need something to write (your computer or phone will be OK, but you can also go old-school and use some pen and paper -- they don't bite), 10-15 minutes of our time, and your brain, which you usually take with you.
How to set your goals
I have two suggestions to set goals that I find the most effective: the easiest, and the trickiest.
The easiest way out there is by choosing a specific song you like.
Let's say you are a life-long fan of Guns 'n' Roses, and you love their songs. You could choose one of them, let's say "Paradise City".
The reason why you would want to choose a song is because it will give you a definite final goal for you: you want to learn to play that song to perfection.
Usually, songs include many techniques and tricks, many of which you usually don't have mastered, and it is here when you can tell why it's so useful. Especially if you want to play in a specific style, be it of a band or a specific player, defining your goal on a specific song of that artist or band will set you up for going in the correct way and not detour every time you see a shiny object.
You'll first need to learn the song, for which you can use tabs, chords diagrams, or else. Once you identify the techniques you need to learn for that song, you can play and see where you are lacking, and only when you can finally play the song to perfection it is that you can see some real progress. This will both make you much happier and boost your motivation to keep going.
Another way you can set your goals is song-wise too, but with a twist: you can set your goal to write one song a month.
This one is quite trickier than the first one. For learning a song, there's always a simple blueprint and list of skills you can come up with, but doing a creative process is different, as it is, by definition, not formulated.