Last updated on March 13th, 2022
In my previous article for Muze, I invited you to come along with me, as we walked through 10 New Year’s Resolutions for musicians to carry forward into 2022. It’s still January, which means that it’s still the New Year; therefore, it’s not too late to dissect these resolutions into further detail, and adopt them on our journeys forward.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at our resolution on accountability. Don’t let its position at the bottom of the list fool you; a strong sense of accountability – to ourselves, and to those around us – is paramount to achieving our goals as musicians and creative professionals.
Keeping that in mind, here are some techniques you can employ to hold yourself accountable to your goals, as you strive to make 2022 your most successful year to date!
Set Clear Goals – And Be SMART About It!
A pitfall that prevents many people encounter when goal-setting – and one that, ultimately, prevents them from leveling up – is setting goals that aren’t SMART enough.
No, that’s not meant as an insult. It’s an acronym – SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This is a pretty popular idea in the world of productivity; in fact, the University of California has an entire guide on how to write SMART goals here. Enjoy it at your leisure!
For musicians, it’s often tempting to see January 1 approaching on the calendar and simply proclaim, “I want to release an album this year,” or “I want to go on tour!” While these are certainly noble ambitions, they’re also incredibly vague. Taking the time to use SMART criteria will help you break your goals down into greater detail, and will help you identify the components – including relationships, resources, skills, and actions – that you will need to bring your ideas to fruition.
Share Your Goals With Others
You have big dreams, so don’t hide from them! Instead, share them with the people who want to see you win!
A popular study from the American Society of Training and Development found that those who commit their goals verbally to another person are 65 percent more likely to achieve their goals than those who keep their goals to themselves. Indeed, by speaking your goals aloud to another person, you take a significant step toward speaking them into existence!
As you take this step, keep in mind that the best results will come from sharing your goals with other forward-thinking, goal-oriented people who understand the grind. These could be your industry peers, as well as creative friends and relatives who have shared in the same triumph and struggle as you. Like-minded creatives can offer valuable, experience-based input that will spark new ways of thinking, and will give you a boost of encouragement when motivation is running low. Choose your tribe wisely, and remember that you can always use Muze to find new friends and collaborators!
Don’t Stop At One Conversation. Stay In Touch With Your Accountability Partners!
Sure – confiding your goals to a trusted friend will bring them one step closer to manifestation. However, when you make those conversations a regular habit, you’ll soar to even greater heights! The same American Society of Training and Development study referenced above found that those who arrange regular check-ins with their accountability partners have a 95 percent greater likelihood of achieving their goals. This steady dialogue will keep your goals top of mind, while creating a consistent sense of accountability and urgency around them.
How do you create that steady dialogue? You could always hire a personal development coach to keep you honest. A good coach will also help you brainstorm new and creative methods toward achieving your goals. And, when the going gets tough, a good coach will be an indispensable sounding board to help you past the inevitable roadblocks that all creative entrepreneurs face.
If that isn’t quite in your budget – or, if you would simply prefer a more community-based approach – create an accountability group among your peers in the industry. Designate a time to meet periodically, and check-in with each other on your progress since the previous meeting. The best part? Technology makes it so you can form this type of community and check in with people from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection and a Google account. There is no leaving the house required!
(Oh, and you get bonus points if you form your accountability group with the collaborators you meet by using Muze!)
Always Remember: Your Goals Come Down To You
While it’s true that checking in with your peers will make you more likely to accomplish your goals, the truth of the matter is this: you won’t get closer to the life and career you envision if you don’t take consistent, daily action. Once you have set SMART goals, and have identified the relationships, resources, skills, and actions that are required to move toward them, it is imperative to build them into your routine.
Need more money to invest back into your career? Find a way to keep it flowing, and do so in a way that is suited to your abilities. There’s no shame in having a day job, especially if it’s helping you build toward your longer-term vision.
Need to hone your chops? Practice, practice, practice. Challenge yourself creatively, and learn new techniques and styles you’ve never tried before. It may feel uncomfortable, but as we all know, working through discomfort is the only way to grow.
Need to do a better job managing your time? Audit your daily activities, and analyze which ones are giving you the most return on the time invested. Assess your daily habits, and reduce or cut out the ones distracting you from your goals. Also, check out Luke’s article from a few weeks back. He has some great tips on staying organized as a musician!
Need more connections? There’s an app for that, and an entire internet full of people across the globe in the same boat as you. Sometimes, it’s as simple as saying “hello.”
Agree? Disagree? Have other techniques that you use to keep yourself accountable to your goals? Let us know in the comments!