How To Set Goals To Motivate Yourself To Practice Guitar
by Ryan Duke

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Goal setting is the key to success. The term success is not awarded just to those who make millions of dollars or who achieve a high level of guitar playing. In fact, the moment you decide on a goal, you are immediately successful because you know where you are going.  Maybe you’ve set goals before and they haven't motivated you enough to meet them. You think “Well, where I’m at is good enough” or “I’m still better than so and so” and settle for where you are at. Do you want to settle for mediocrity? Do you want to live your life in frustration and fear of failure? Start living like a successful person by setting goals.

Identify what you truly want out of playing guitar, something that inspires you and makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If what you are working on doesn’t excite you, than it makes it hard to put in the time and energy. Use your imagination to explore and entertain your deepest desires. Your goals must be realistic. You obviously cannot become a virtuoso player overnight. Yet, if you can imagine in detail playing at a higher level, your mind will search for solutions to get you there.

Knowing the purpose behind your goals makes them more compelling. Purpose will always be the driving force behind your goal. Why do you even play guitar? It is not simply because you love music. Most people play guitar to gain admiration and some sort of significance from others. Some feel as if their purpose is to create music to inspire others, to bring them hope. Identifying your purpose drives you forward and allows you to establish priorities.

Decide what your long term and short term goals are for your playing and make sure they align with each other. For example, if your long term goal is to make an album by a certain date, your short term goals are going to be things like writing “x” number of songs in “x” amount of time, inviting guest musicians to record different parts of songs, investing “x” amount of time on recording or scheduling time in the studio and for that you would need to budget “x” amount of dollars, etc. Place your goals on a timeline so you can see which things need to be done when and in what order. Goals must have a deadline. This creates a sense of urgency and increases the likelihood of reaching your target. Write down your goals, add details and think about what it will feel like when you achieve it. Adding emotional intensity to your overall vision and how you think of yourself will empower you to keep moving forward.

Do not be afraid of failure. Limitations are often self imposed but the simple truth is that we live in a world of opportunity today unlike any other period of time on earth. Stop thinking about all the reasons why you cannot be successful with guitar and think about all the reasons you can be successful instead. We become what we think about, our thoughts control our lives. Think about your brain as a steersman on a ship, whatever the steersman sets his sights on is where the boat goes. Your brain doesn’t differentiate between constructive and destructive thoughts. It will act on whatever thoughts you feed it. So stop thinking about what you fear. Every time a fear comes into your head, replace it with a mental picture of your positive and worthwhile goal. Think and act as if you have already fulfilled your goal and are an accomplished guitar player. Make that image as clear and as detailed as possible in your mind.

Taking action is not easy. It is easier to be think negatively instead of positively which is why only a small percentage of people are successful. Write your goals down, review them and think often about your goal, picturing yourself achieving it and how that you will feel when you do. If you wonder “why should I do this?” Just think about the alternative. Yes, it’s easier to do nothing and to be mediocre but can anyone say they truly want that? No one wants to be a failure. No one wants to have a life dominated by worry, fear and frustrations. You reap what you sow so sow positive thoughts to get positive and successful results. Change how you think about yourself and act the part of the successful guitar player you want to become.


About The Author: Ryan Duke is a professional musician and teaches guitar lessons seattle.