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A fresh new year is coming and is yours. A great time to set new goals, quit bad habits and becoming determined in what you want to achieve. Of course guitar playing, practicing and improving your musical skills is on top of your priority list. How could it be otherwise?
Guitar playing gives you peace of mind, stimulates the fingers and the brain, makes you and the listeners really happy people (provided that you practice) and attracts the opposite sex ;) Besides that, guitar playing is an amazing musical life time experience that will keep surprising you over and over again. A habit of regular practice will grow your excitement and make you want to keep improving and become a better player all the time.
Okay in theory that is all true, but in real life things are busy, messy and you are constantly distracted. So you need a plan that works and make 2017 a year where you get back to the game of solid guitar practice and real improvement. Let’s get this baby rolling!
Here are the keys:
– Create Room
Make more time available in the new year. Take out a notebook right now and create a not-to-do-list. Write down all the things that seem important but are really not. Be honest and ruthless here! Are you watching too much TV? Unplug your TV or put it in the basement for a few months. Spending too many minutes/hours on Facebook or Instagram? Delete your account or announce a sabbatical.
Are you doing things just to prove others that you are not a quitter, but deep down inside you know better? Listen to your heart, be true to yourself and stop doing the things that don’t feel good. A burden will fall of your shoulder. Write everything down that you need to reduce, stop, quit, disconnect, remove or eliminate. Now take the spacious room in time that will unfold before you and use it to play your guitar in 2017.
Write down what you desire. What is it that you want achieve with your guitar playing? Write it down. What is it specifically that you would like to learn. Write it down. What do you want to be able to play a year from now? Write it down. You know, things change, your musical preference changes or expands, your skills improve, and with that also your guitar goals will change. You might want to reevaluate your guitar goals. So write it down. You have to name it before you can claim it! Writing it down is the best way to do this.
– Find Your Favourites
Following up on what you desire, the next question sounds simple, but it’s the key to motivation. What’s your favourite song? Write down a list with your favourite songs and pick the one song that you really really want to learn, but which also meets your skill level. A guitar teacher can help you with this. If you really love a song that much, you won’t hesitate to start practicing and you won’t stop practicing until your fingers are worn out ;) Keep finding favourites to keep the flow going.
– Habit Buddy
Work together with a habit buddy (accountability buddy) to support you in making sure you meet your guitar goal commitments and develop the daily practice habit you long for. Find someone, maybe a good friend or partner who shares similar interests and who also likes someone to support their goals in return.
You can keep an eye on each other, keep each other engaged through the process, make sure you meet regularly, send an email or call your buddy to see if you’re still on track. Coach, motivate and inspire each other to accomplish your ultimate guitar goal.
– Goals and Tracking Apps
If you’re into apps then Coach.me, Way of Life and Habits list are great apps that trigger you to play every single day by tracking your practice schedule. It’s done by only click of the button. It sounds like just another thing to do, but for people who love apps, it absolutely works.
– Don’t Break The Chain Calendar
The “don’t break the chain calendar” is another great way to make sure you play every single day, even if only for five minutes. Use a year wall calendar and hang it on a prominent wall. For each day you practice cross off the day on the calendar. Soon you’ll have a visual chain that will grow longer every day, and that you don’t want to break. The trick does it!
It’s kind of similar to the Coach.me app technique, but the approach is slightly different and works better for people who are more paper minded. The wall calendar on a prominent wall is always there to remind you to practice. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? ;)
– Fuel Your Passion
Who are your favourite bands, singer songwriters and guitar players? Watch them on YouTube, study their masterclasses, interviews and (auto)biographies, buy a guitar magazine, go to a concert now and then to stay fuelled to practice.
– Your Personal Guitar teacher
Online guitar teachers can add a lot of value to your playing and can take you to places in your musical journey you otherwise would not have discovered, but with that, I also recommend a guitar teacher with who you can site face to face, who can point out your strengths and weaknesses, give you weekly guitar lessons and will keep you going when times get tough.
If you can’t afford one or you don’t have one in your area, subscribe to Guitarhabits in the upper right corner of the blog and I will keep you motivated and provide you with enough free quality guitar posts and lessons to keep you on track!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!