Setting Goals

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else. Yogi Berra

Week 3 of the Performers edge course we address goal setting. If you want to achieve your dreams as a singer and performer you will have to set some goals. First decide where you want to go, dare to dream big!

When setting goals use the SMART method I mentioned them in my previous post Practice Does Not Make Perfect.

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time based

Specific

If you want to succeed then you need to make your goal specific and detailed

To set a specific goal you first answer the six “W” questions:

• Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
• What: What do I want to accomplish?
• Which: Identify requirements and constraints. 

• Who: Who is involved? 

• Where: Identify a location. 

• When: Establish a time frame.

Example: A general goal would be, “I want to sing better.” But a specific goal would say, ” To improve my range and vocal strength I will take weekly vocal technique lessons from a voice teacher”

Measurable

Work out how you will be able to measure the progress of each goal and the frequency at which measurement needs to be done. This will ensure you stay focused, reach your targets and receive positive reinforcement with each target achieved; this in turn will help you to stay motivated and focused.

Ask yourself questions such as……How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished? These questions will help you to ascertain if your goals are measurable. On a timeline you can set up checkpoints for yourself. If you have a record (audio/video/written) of yourself at each point it gives you an opportunity to look back over your progress. Ask tutors/specialists/experts to give you feedback on your progress, make a record of their comments. Then at the next checkpoint look at these comments and determine how much progress you have made since the last checkpoint, if necessary make adjustments. Reward yourself for good progress and achievements.

Share your goals with a few like-minded or supportive people. Ask them to give you feedback as you progress e.g. at a performance or by reading your work. It is important to have a support network in times of difficulty to help get you back on track and motivated.

Attainable

A goal should be reasonable and achievable within the time frame you’ve set yourself. If you wish to succeed then you need to be able to truly envisage reaching your goal or you will become de-motivated, frustrated and despondent. This will definitely lead to a poor result. By the same token the goal should stretch your current abilities somewhat otherwise the result will be underachievement.

You can still set very high goals but you need to break them down into smaller increments.

Example: Your major goal might be to perform at Wembley Stadium within five years. Work out the short term and medium term goals you need to achieve to get there for instance you may need to work on performance skills, vocal technique, songwriting and networking skills etc. These are more realistic and attainable in the near future, so set goals for them first.

Realistic

Your goal needs to be realistic and meaningful to you. Consider you circumstances and resources ill they support your goal challenges? Also ensure the goal is one which you know you are willing to work for, any doubt then move on to another goal. If you set unrealistic goals you will never achieve them. It’s possible be high and realistic, only you can really know how high your goal should be. Your goals should also be ones you truly wish to achieve and not something someone else wants for you e.g. teachers, parents or friends.

Time-based

You need to set a timeframe for your goal or you will loose momentum. Make sure you give yourself enough time and that you hold yourself responsible to achieving the outcome. Be realistic with your time, do-by-dates in your calendar/diary. Set up a time line with checkpoint dates and incremental goals e.g. 6-months to completion, 3 months to completion etc and monitor your progress as you go.

Also important to note: preparation is a major factor; much time can be wasted ‘running around’.

Here is a goal setting exercise for improving your performances

Write out in full:

• My ideal performance. How will it look, feel, sound?

• Why important is it to me?

• What actions must I take to head towards this goal?

• What resources will I need?

• What resources do I currently possess?

• What skills, talents and knowledge will I need?

• What skills, talents and knowledge do I currently possess?

• Who can help me meet my goal? Friends? Family? Colleagues? Teachers?

• What obstacles could get in my way?

• What is one thing I can do right away?

• What is stopping me from starting right away?

THEN write out the following so you know what to do to get started:

• Am I being realistic? Do I have the skills and talents needed? Or can I learn them?


• Can I see myself accomplishing this goal? Are I totally passionate about it?


• What is the first, small step in achieving my goal? When will I take that step?


• How will you measure my progress? What will my “milestones” be?


• When will I reach my goal and say “I DID IT”? (Write out an exact date)