First, I would like to welcome myself back to the realm of social media! I had recently taken an almost 2-month hiatus from social media in an attempt to be more productive. Well let me tell you, I certainly WAS more productive. I made it to the final three of an international audition for a principal flute position! Warning: future hiatuses are imminent!
Now that I am back in the realm of social media, I have been meaning to post to the blog, but I was having a lack of inspiration. That is, until I bought and read Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project.” First of all, this book is a wonderful way to evaluate how happy you truly are with your life and your situation.
But more importantly (at least to me), it has a TREASURE TROVE of information about forming resolutions as well as the smaller goals and projects that go along with them! I would HIGHLY recommend the book!
While I was reading the book, I thought “Wow, some many of these concepts can be applied to the idea of playing and practicing.” Below are a few wonderful quotes for all of us to ponder over:
“People are more likely to make progress on goals that are broken into concrete, measurable actions, with some kind of structured accountability and positive reinforcement.” – Gretchen Rubin
“Happiness, is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
“…take pleasure in the ‘atmosphere of growth,’ in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.”
I recently gave a presentation, as part of being a guest artist at the inaugural Montana Flute Festival, about “Practicing Efficiently.” In it, I advocated for everyone to have long-term goals and short-term goals. While I still wholeheartedly believe in the success that creating goals will bring, even the idea of having long-term and short-term goals can seem a little vague without having anything to back them up, like a PLAN, or something that will make you stick to your goals.
In “The Happiness Project,” Gretchen goes as far as a chart that she rates her daily progress based on whether she upheld her resolutions that day or not. I LOVE this idea! And I believe there are some steps that will help in forming your resolutions, goals and projects.
1.) Go from broad to specific. Pick a resolution or a broader goal, then put smaller goals in place that will get you closer to your ultimate goal.
2.) Identify any resources that your resolution or goals may require.
3.) Develop a system that will help you stick to your goal (like a chart, a journal, etc.) I prefer a chart where I either give myself a gold star or a red X.
4.) Constantly monitor your progress, and reflect upon it! (i.e. “…take pleasure in the ‘atmosphere of growth,’ in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.”)
In case you are wondering, I DO have a goal in mind while writing all of this.
My goal, is to strengthen the artistic expression in all aspects of my playing. To do this, I am going to be using Marcel Moyse’s “Tone Development Through Interpretation” book. I will go cover to cover, working on and recording one exercise a day until I am finished (I may even post these to SoundCloud to keep myself true to my goal. I also will make my calendar each day with a gold star (for when I record and upload my exercise) or a red X (for when I fail to meet my goal). I LOVE getting gold stars and HATE seeing red X’s so that to me is almost motivation enough!
By recording myself, I am able to constantly evaluate myself. Also, it allows me to keep track of my progress over time. This way I can, again, “…take pleasure in the ‘atmosphere of growth,’ in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.”
I hope that this post will entice you to read Gretchen Rubin’s book and develop resolutions, goals, and projects of your own! Keep an eye out for a link my SoundCloud profile, I need some listeners that will keep me true and honest to my goal!