We’re just a few weeks into the new year, but this is when many ‘new years resolutions’ start to fade. All those great intentions are slowly disappearing as people return to their long established routines. This is the unfortunate reality surrounding so many attempts to start positive changes on January 1st. Whether it’s exercise, healthy eating, or a new drumming goal we’ve set for ourselves, new years resolutions are rarely the answer.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to wait until next year to create new drumming resolutions. There are things we can do right now to start improving our musical abilities.
It starts with setting clear goals and then establishing daily habits to support those goals. For someone wanting to lose weight, this might consist of setting a goal to lose 20 pounds and then forming a daily exercising habit to help achieve it. As drummers, we may decide to learn ten new play-along songs, and then plan to practice for 20 minutes a day to make that happen.
As with new years resolutions, these two steps are critical. We need clear goals and we need daily habits to create steady progress towards achieving them. However, these two steps alone aren’t enough, which is why most attempts to change our habits don’t work.
It isn’t easy to change what we do on a daily basis. As suggested earlier, most people with great intentions lose focus and slowly revert back to their long established routines. Why does this happen? What is the difference between those that succeed and those that fail? Is it just luck?
I’ve been setting goals and refining habits off and on for the past 15 years. Last year I came across the single most powerful concept for creating positive change. It’s a relatively simple idea, but it has had an incredible impact in how I set and achieve goals in all areas of life.
The secret to creating real change is to focus on quickly creating visible progress that cannot be ignored. As human beings, we are heavily motivated by seeing real results. But not just any results. We need to see irrefutable evidence of progress towards achieving our goals.
The secret to creating real change is to focus on quickly creating visible progress that cannot be ignored.
Do you remember what it was like when you learned your first drum beat? Do you remember the feeling of achievement when you realized you could actually play something on the drums? Did that feeling of accomplishment motivate you to want to learn more?
Prior to that moment, you had a vague goal to “play the drums”. When you started playing your first drum beat, you saw undeniable evidence that you were making progress. This made you realize that your goal was not just a “dream”, but was actually achievable. Suddenly you wanted to learn a few more beats, some fills, and anything else that could keep the progress going.
We need to create this magical feeling with all of our goals. We need to create a clear relationship between our daily habits and real measurable progress. This will create momentum that we cannot ignore, which in turn will fuel a greater commitment to seeing things through.
It isn’t easy to create the progress needed to generate real momentum. Even when we are committed to taking action, we don’t always know where to start or what to do next. This is where a lot of people stall out – even before getting started.
The key here is to be humble enough to seek professional advice. There is always someone who has experience relating to what we want to achieve – and they often have critical advice to save us time, money, and a lot of frustration. Most important of all, they can give us the steps needed to generate real momentum towards achieving our goals.
As drummers, we can turn to private lessons, live online instructors, or step-by-step video lessons for advice. These are all solutions offered by people who really want to help – just as we are eager to pass on beneficial advice to friends or family members. When we embrace the opportunity to learn from other people’s experiences, avoid their mistakes, and benefit from their knowledge, we set ourselves up for success.
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