Since we are almost a full month into the New Year, let’s talk about resolutions and goal-setting! Many people make goals at the beginning of the year, but they often don’t stick to them. They set them to the side, abandon them, or tell themselves that the goals are out of reach. As dancers, we are constantly training, and we will most likely be setting many new goals this year. Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing and setting your dance goals. Hopefully these points will make it a bit easier to stay on track!
Make them Visible
In the beginning of the year you may have written some goals on a piece of paper, but by the time it’s May 20th, you may be wondering where that piece of a paper went! You know you set some goals, but now you can’t think of exactly what you wrote. To prevent a scenario like this, it’s always best to keep your goals in a place where you will always see them. Many times, people will write down their goals in a notebook or some other piece of paper and put it away for the rest of the year. It’s okay to write in a personal notebook or something, but make sure that the notebook is in a place where you’ll see it often. You can also post your goals on a wall in your room or make a note in your phone so they are readily available to you. Making them visible will constantly remind you of what you set out to achieve. You may think that you will be able to remember them, but when life gets hectic your goals can slip out of mind.
Write in a Positive Language
For the most part, we make dance goals so that we can improve some aspect of our dancing or enhance our dance experience. However, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t being too harsh on yourself when you set certain goals. When you write them, make sure the language is positive; don’t put yourself down, guilt yourself into certain behaviors, or make goals based on what you think other people want. For instance; writing “I want to be as good as [famous dancer]” is not too great of a start to goal-making. Comparing yourself to others can be harmful to your psyche and that particular goal is written in a way that assumes you aren’t good enough. Individual goals should be something we set to better ourselves, not to make us equivalent to someone else (which can never truly be possible). Instead of setting goals with others’ expectations and standards in mind, set goals based on what you want and how you want to feel. Instead of writing “I want my competition routine to look better so the judges will like me”, write “I want to feel good doing my competition routine so that I can confidently feel like I did my best”. Imagine that someone else is writing goals for you. You would want this person to treat you kindly, right? So do the same with yourself!
Be Specific and Realistic
It’s easy to write vague goals. Examples are phrases such as, “be a better dancer” or “learn more steps”. These may very well be certain things that you want to achieve, but they are not very specific. What do you mean by “better”? How many more steps do you want to learn? If you want to specify your goals, imagine that a magical genie was granting you a wish. You would need to be very clear about your wish so that the genie wouldn’t grant you something different. It may be true that you want to be a better dancer, but start by thinking about certain aspects of your dancing that you want to improve. Do you want better technique? Are you working on a particular dance? Do you want to develop your leading/following abilities? Take time to really think about specific details of your dancing that you want to work on. Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to set a deadline for some of your goals. Aiming to set a goal by a certain date pushes a lot of people to really work hard. It’s also good to make your goals realistic. Making a goal to compete at twenty events a year is great, but most professional dancers can’t even reach that goal. If you aren’t sure you have the endurance, time, or money to compete that much, then it might be best to lower your target for now. In general, it’s best to be aware of your own situation before setting a goal rather than realizing that you put too much on your plate. The journey towards your goals should be more exciting than stressful!
Once you make your goals specific, it becomes easier to keep track of your progress. As you work towards your goals, keep track of all accomplishments so that you can reflect on your growth. It’s really satisfying to keep a record of your dance development so you can look back and see how you’ve grown. For instance, if you set a goal to work on arm styling, you should take videos of yourself when you dance. With the videos, you will be able to clearly see your movement and how you can improve. You will also be able to see if you are getting better with each video. You can also keep a journal to document your journey towards your goals. If you want, you can even note any setbacks or errors you may have made. Sometimes our mistakes can teach us valuable lessons so that we can do better next time!
The final thing to do is avoid staying at a plateau for too long. If you have achieved all of your goals you should definitely celebrate, but remember that you shouldn’t just stop there. To start off, you should make a point to retain your goals; try not to forget everything you’ve learned or lose all the progress you’ve made. You should continue to practice any skills or technique you were working on. After that, see if you can make new goals. There is always more to do in dance, so your possibilities are endless!
And if you haven’t set any goals for the year yet, just know that you can set them at any time of the year! So if there’s something in the back of your mind that you want to accomplish, now is a great time to work towards it!
Happy Dancing! ^_^