Here we are starting another new year. This is the time we traditionally make resolutions and set goals to improve our lives.
Unfortunately, for many their resolutions don’t last beyond January. I’ve never been a big resolution person. I’ve always tried to just consistently improve whatever I am working on.
But there is a strategy for the beginning of the year that I do think can be helpful. It is something that good businesses do in order to keep growing.
Obviously you can do this in any way that makes sense to you. But it is a good practice to spend some time reflecting on the past year and notice what you accomplished, where you fell short of your goals and important things you learned.
This gives us the information and awareness to see what we need going forward to keep moving in the direction of our goals. Like the saying “we can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been.”
The next thing we should do at the beginning of a new year is spend some time contemplating what we want. We often go through life sort of on “auto-pilot”. We have our jobs or school and we do those things. We hang out with friends or our family.
But how much of what we do are things we have consciously decided to do because it will move us forward toward the things we want in our life?
We all have things we want to accomplish. For those of us reading this I would assume one of those things is improve our voice and how we use it. That is a constant objective for me, and it should be for you, too.
So our time contemplating should be an opportunity to more clearly define what we want from our life. These are big picture types of things. If we don’t spend time thinking about what we want we will never devote time to actually making it happen.
The daily activities will constantly take priority unless we deliberately make the decision to assign time each day to the activities that will make the biggest difference in our long-term satisfaction.
We can use our assessment of the previous year to spark ideas of what we would like to go for this year. If there is something you are unsatisfied with, make plans to change it and do something different.
Think about if the goals you have had are still what you want. There is no shame in changing your mind. The important thing is we find what will make us fulfilled. There are no wrong answers.
For example, some people reading this want to have a career as a singer. And that is perfectly acceptable. But not everybody has to have that goal. It is also a worthy goal to simply feel confident in your voice for your own satisfaction.
My vocal goal has gradually shifted to that. Which is basically what mastery is. A feeling that you know what to do to make the voice work optimally. I am reminded of a quote by Lamperti that says something to the effect that when you know your result before you act you know how to sing. That is what I strive for.
Based on the reflecting and contemplating you do you should get a good idea of what you want to accomplish this year. If you like goals you can set them in this stage. Generally it is good to have goals in many areas of our life.
(If you don’t like the concept of goals try to find another way of doing this. I’ve never really identified with “Goals”, so you might think of things as “objectives”. Or just make decisions about what you want and then do what needs to be done.
It has been said that our brain naturally strives to accomplish goals. That we are wired to do that. But we can call it anything we want, like objectives or targets. But we do need something to give us a direction. Without it we won’t do the things we want.)
We should consider things like professional and/or money, health, hobbies and social aspects. It is possible to get very involved in this process. But I’m not going to go into it much more tha to encourage you to find a process that makes sense to you and go with it.
For some your vocal goals will fall under the professional category and for others it will be in the personal/hobby. But I would encourage you not to think of either as being less important than the other.
Like I said before, the most important thing is we consciously progress toward the things that will give us satisfaction and fulfillment. And it is important to recognize that goals only give us direction. They don’t make the result happen. That is dependent on us taking action.
So it is a worthwhile thing to give some thought and consideration to the importance you place on taking action. Because ultimately it is the only thing that will accomplish your goals.
The main things I think of as I reflect on the past year make me feel gratitude. I’m thankful for my wonderful family, made up of my wife and two children. I’m thankful for the community associated with this site, VocalWisdom.com. It is amazing that there are so many people interested in what I have to offer.
One of the specific things that I want to remember about this year was my trip this summer to present at the Jussi Bjorling Society-USA conference about the functional aspects of Jussi Bjorling’s singing. (A video of that presentation is available here.) This was my first professional presentation and I hope to do more in the future.
Another highlight of the year was the visit of a client from Italy that I normally meet with on Skype. She stopped over in Minneapolis for a week of lessons on the way to visit her family in San Francisco for Christmas.
I always say that I can teach just as well on Skype as I can in person. The one thing I learned from her visit is that isn’t always true for the person on the other end. Some people definitely learn better in person.
Because we were able to clarify several key concepts while she was here it was a very productive week. She was able to more clearly understand what I was describing and how to do it. So it will be a big benefit going forward for her.
But I still feel that meeting on Skype is a huge opportunity because you have access to my instruction without having to actually travel here. If that is something you would like to do or are considering please let me know and we can discuss what will work for you.
I do have some things I am not satisfied about last year. I am mainly disappointed in what I didn’t do. So that is going to be a starting point for deciding on goals for this year. And they all have to do with providing more tools and options for you to learn how to understand your voice.
Thank you for being a part of the VocalWisdom.com community and I look forward to working together to make 2016 a successful year for all of us.