Happy New Year!
I hope you've had a chance to read about my successes and challenges of 2017 in my Resolution Review post. I awarded myself an A- on success because above all, I finished my dissertation and was crowned a Doctor.
So what on earth will I fill my time with this year? Haven’t I completed everything I could possibly ever want to attain? Well, if you think that, we probably haven’t met in person. I have a drop or two of the over-achiever in my blood and know I function best when I have something to work towards or strive for.
As always there are a few holdover resolutions and goals, which I now consider to be “Long-term” habit changes. There are some new ones too. Things I’ve noticed about myself that I’m not happy about. Attitudes I have that need to evolve, habits that need to be fine-tuned and streamlined and just plain and simple benchmarks that I want to hit. With that weighty academic achievement out of the way you better believe that I have some HUGE plans for 2018.
So without further ado here is what I plan to be up to this year....
Let’s start with the “Long-Term” or hold over goals from last year (or if I’m a little more honest, in some cases, the last few years).
The Long-Term Hold Overs
Write More - I want to be a more consistent blog writer. As in, not just spewing intermittent posts when I have time to sit down and think about stuff. If you make it all the way down to the new resolutions, you’ll see that I have a few strategies for working on this one.
Read 40 books - This is 7 books more than my goal was in 2017, and 13 more books than 2016. Truthfully, I was one book away from meeting this goal on the very last day of 2017, and I probably could have churned out 100 pages of reading if I didn’t want to accomplish anything else yesterday. But I was in full on prep for 2018 mode, which meant writing, organizing, making schedules, etc. I also have some fat books on my TBR list that I don’t want to skip over for fear of not making my reading goals for the year. That just wouldn’t be fair to the authors. I’m slowly trying to work my way towards reading 50 books per year. I follow people on Goodreads (and Instagram) who read 100+ books per year. I live in awe of them! One day, I too will be one of those people (or maybe half as well read as those people).
Letter to Nana every month - I used to say I’d write a letter after every book but 40 letters in a year might be overkill and unattainable for me. I can just tell that some of those letters would be boring and trash-worthy. I think summing up the 3 or 4 books read in a month makes for far more interesting reading for the receiver of the letter.
Ride My Bike More - I say this every year, I know. I keep it on the holdover list because one of these years I know it will happen. I just might need a little extra motivation. (See below).
Yoga Every Day - At home, at a studio, on the internet, at the park, in the pit, during rehearsal breaks. I don’t care where, how, or when just as long as I squeeze in some juicy asanas and pranayama every single day. Ideally, I’ll be back in a class setting at least twice per week (first thing in the morning to succeed at the next resolution).
Be a Better Morning Person - AKA go to bed earlier. AKA have something to wake up for (that also holds me accountable) and complete before breakfast. I miss the days of living with my gal pal Madeline where we would wake each other up, workout together, make breakfast, complete assignments, etc. We had THE BEST morning routine. I stayed with her in Oregon this summer, and we fell straight back into those kinds of patterns. Up at 5 to workout, followed by a delicious cappuccino, then off to work (for her, dissertation editing for me). It is freaking hard to do this by yourself! So if you’re reading this, and live in Tulsa (or want to be my online accountability buddy) drop me a line and let's keep each other on track.
Set more Short Term Goals - I felt pretty good about this one last year, so I want to keep it around. Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals to keep moving in the right direction is something that helps me organize my time and energy.
No Phone in Bed - I recommend this for everyone....especially if you have reading goals to accomplish for the year. I'm also going to resist the early morning scroll. You know, that period of time after the alarm goes off, but you're not quite ready to get out of bed where you flip through all of the things you missed while you were sleeping. No more of that.
QuickBooks - I’m better. But this year, my goal is to update weekly. I’ve already allotted the time in my weekly schedule for when the updates will happen. I’m confident that an hour per week is way more productive than the smattering of hours I currently commit to this.
No Complaining - No, this does not mean I will not be pissed off with things, or get annoyed, or wish things were being handled differently. It just means that complaining is not productive, so if I’m not prepared to do anything about fixing or changing the stuff I have an issue with, I should keep my mouth closed. This one will be tough, and I can guarantee some major failures along the way.
These are my new goals for the year. Things I heard about, thought about and learned about, that I want to apply to my own life.
Go for it - I will not limit myself. I often see opportunities posted in various places or consider doing things that would push me out of my comfort zone. More often than not, I do not pursue these endeavors because I have already convinced myself that I am not qualified, I’m not good enough, I’ll fail, people will laugh at me, etc. etc. etc. I vow to stop letting my own perceptions of myself be the deciding factor in the opportunities I pursue. This one ties directly to the next.
No Self Sabotage - That little voice in my head that is always whispering not very nice things needs to take a hike. I’m pretty good at working towards goals. I am really NOT good at supporting myself emotionally or believing that I deserve it, that I am qualified for it, or that I won’t screw up in the heat of the moment. From second guessing that excerpt in the audition room, to comparing my failures to the success of others, or allowing myself to believe the rude and judgemental feedback I receive. It needs to change.
One Event Every Month - These can be anything from a 5k fun run to a half-marathon, orchestra audition, horse show, duathlon, or bike ride (this would definitely help me get back on my bike more often). I’m not very good at running without a goal in sight, or swimming without an event to prep for, or even clocking hours of focused practice time without a looming deadline. I’ve set up two races so far for2018, one for January and one (well technically it is two) for February. You can check out these events on my events page. I will add them to my calendar alongside my upcoming performances.
Launch CorpSonore / Sound Body Wellness - you guys, this one is my next big project. I am so excited! It is a quasi-secret right now, but you can be sure I will make a huge deal of it when I am ready for the world to know. For now, I’ll let you in on the ingredients: Madeline Shaefer (of Posana Therapeutics) + Hannah Murray (of Active Violinist). Movement + Music + Nutrition. I can’t wait to tell you more!
100 Days of Practice - For me, and my students. Surprise! I’ve been hinting at this one for months with my private students. Meghan Irwin is kindly crafting beautiful practice charts for me, and the stickers are on the way (you can buy these in my SHOP very soon). I will be recording my progress on my YouTube channel. Yes, I have one of those although I very rarely ever use it. You can subscribe to that or follow along here. I'll make a big deal about it when I officially begin my challenge. I recently read Hilary Hahn’s account of her time spent doing this challenge (published in Strings Magazine) and was really inspired by the type of practicing she did, the observations she made, and the quality of work she documented. You can read that article here. I think it is vital to commit to a challenge like this and track the gradual and at times invisible progress being made. You know what they say; “slow and steady wins the race.” I am all for the cumulation of baby steps as a way to improve and move forward. P.S. You should check out Meghan's beautiful artwork, she is a talented and wonderful collaborator. http://www.meghanirwin.com
Make A Schedule - This is kind of tied to making short-term and long-term goals. My issue always seems to be how to use the hours in the day most effectively. Sometimes I am really good at getting things done, some days I feel like I wander around constantly playing on my phone. So I’ve decided block schedule my life. Kind of like in college where you had to be in class at a certain time, and you had to be at work at a different time, and those two things were non-negotiable (to an extent), I’m scheduling my weeks like this from now on. My schedule changes often; some weeks I have a plethora of ‘free time’ and some weeks I am on the run from meetings to teaching to rehearsals and back again. This year I am going to start blocking out designated times during the day and week for specific tasks that include research, writing, practicing, QuickBooks, exercise, etc. Teaching and rehearsals are pretty much accounted for, I’m mainly concerned with how I can best use the other hours of the day.
Journal - Again and again, I hear that the people I really admire keep a journal. They write things down regularly. I’m a list girl. There are many thoughts that I just don’t write down, or forget about or stew on for way too long. I used to roll my eyes when people talked about keeping a journal. Like it was some “Dear Diary...” thing that was frivolous and obnoxious. Now I realize that a journal is a place to store ideas, pictures, lists, thoughts, feelings, goals, schedules, notes, recipes, quotes, etc. etc. etc. A journal is exactly what you make of it. I need to start documenting more than grocery lists, daily to-do lists, and practice goals for the week. So I will be journaling daily, weekly, who knows, maybe more? Hopefully, some of this will turn into material for this blog and more.
Take Notes During Readings - This was the part of writing and research for my dissertation that I loved the most. I love taking notes while I read. So my goal is to work some note taking-worthy non-fiction into my reading goals this year as a way to better ingest the information and then spew it back out into the world.
Get a Job - I didn’t apply for anything last year. I committed to writing and research. Now I am ready to find something that is not just a whole slew of part-time jobs. I want something a little more consistent, and maybe with some grown-up benefits like health insurance or a retirement plan. Those benefits literally sound like luxury items right now!
Be Financially Responsible - Ugh! This whole grown-up thing is not fun sometimes. I would say I’m pretty good at managing my money....for a teenager. As in, I know how to save, pay all my bills, make more than I spend yadda yadda yadda. But I am not so good at knowing exactly how I spent my money. Did I spend all of my extra $$ on burgers and beers? Cappuccinos? Travel? What about investing? I hear adults do that. What about Roth IRAs? Another thing that nobody really explains in music school. I am slowly but surely figuring it out and plan to apply more "mature money management" skills to my life and spending habits.....I’m sure my dad’s heart will glow with pride upon reading this (if he reads it at all).
...and that’s it. Kind of a huge list if you ask me. But I think everything here is about the process and long-term changes. There is no “lose 5 lbs” resolution here. Resolutions are my goals for the entire year. So if I don’t ride my bike at all in January but over the course of the year pedal around town more than I did in 2017, that is a success. If I don’t get a job but apply for tons of opportunities is that a fail if I’m taking the right action steps? I don’t think so.
So happy 2018 to all of you! What are your resolutions for the New Year?