All of us have things we want, as dancers. But the difference between those of us who get what we want and those who stay wishing, is that the former group of individuals set goals.
Ready, set. Now.. how do you reach your dance goals?
The path to making them a reality will most likely not be smooth, and require a lot of impromptu sub-goals along the way. But knowing your direction and working towards something you want will give your actions a sense of purpose, and force you to stay resilient.
#Goals isn’t just a trending hashtag, it’s a real thing.
But where does one start? What is a good dance goal to have, even?
Keep reading to discover some helpful ideas in the practice of setting and achieving your dance #goals.
1. Meditate On What Fulfills You As A Dancer
There is a difference between something you’re mildly interested in and something you’re die-hard passionate about, something you’d fight for.
Before you think about setting a dance goal, find what moves you.
Spend some time in introspection, even recalling on specific instances in the past that made you think “yeah, this is it, this is what dance / my life’s supposed to be about,” and study what it was that made you feel that way.
Does choreographing get your heart pumping? Is it the act of creation that makes you happy? Do you enjoy telling stories or sending a message through dance? Do you love teaching and watching your students improve? Are you interested in competition planning?
Whatever your cup of tea, make sure it’s not something that’s temporarily gratifying and won’t (tea)-leave the second things get tough. It needs to be a sustainable feeling, something that you believe in and are willing to sacrifice for.
These are the things in your life that fulfill you.
2. Set One Specific, Long term, First-Tier Goal
Write out your mission statement as a dancer. Your top-priority, your driving force, your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
A good dance goal is S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
It needs to articulate the who, what, when, wheres- the details of what this achievement will look like.
Example 1: “My goal is to: have shot my first full-blown contemporary x hip hop concept video on (theme) with (cast) by the end of 2015.”
Example 2: “My goal is to: choreograph for, direct, and lead a project to perform at Maxt Out 2015.”
Notice how all of these are different, but include all aspects of “S.M.A.R.T.” You need to know what you want, in order to get what you want- and drafting a goal according to this handy checklist can help summarize this want.
3. ..And Some Short Term Goals
A goal is your final destination, but there are a lot of routes you can take. For any goal worth achieving, there will undoubtedly be a lot of roadblocks in that route, as well. Sub-goals allow you to list and strategize the prerequisite actions you must take before moving on to the next step.
Example 1: “Train and exercise flexibility” / “Save $(specific dollar amount) for costume and production budget.”
Example 2: “Start reaching out to dancers to gauge interest and schedules” / “Inquire (show producers) about project requirements and performance guidelines”
4. WRITE Your Goals Down!
Everything becomes 10000% more solidified once the words are written down. It can be in your phone’s notes, your journal, whatever. Heck, make it your screensaver!
Tips in goal-writing:
a. Make sure it is written in a positive language, such as “introduce yourself to more people in class” instead of “stop being so shy.” This is you talking to yourself, make sure you speak with an optimistic and hopeful tone.
b. Keep it in a place where you can see it, and will constantly be reminded of your running checklist. It won’t be of much use if you jot down your goals on a Starbucks napkin and end up throwing it away.
I use my planner’s “Notes” page, where I’m continually crossing off or adding new items to my list. I always have it on me, and I’m always checking back to see my progress.
c. (Counterintuitive, but) Don’t tell anyone! Or, too many people. Broadcasting what you want to, or are about to do, can have this pesky psychological effect of making you believe you already did some of the work.
No! You did not! Telling your friend “Yeah I’m about to make this super fire piece..” tricks you into thinking the matches have been lit. But where the flame at?! In your head, is where it is!!
Keep your goals, for the most part, as private and minimally announced. After all, it’s YOUR goal! You’re aiming for a sense of personal satisfaction, not to have people tell you “good job.”
5. Make Sure Your Dance Goals Are Measurable, Within A (Realistic) Timeline
Checkpoints, key performance indicators, whatever you wanna call it- set specific, measurable timelines that’ll make it obvious to know when you’ve completed something.
Example 1: “To have shot my first full-blown contemporary x hip hop concept video on (theme) with (cast) by the end of 2015.“
The BOLDED parts are the deadlines for these specific sub-goals:
– “Finish choreography by October 17th, record for reference”
– “Save x amount of dollars by November 1st”
– “Month of November: reserve rehearsal space at Snowflake Eyeglass Studio for Thursdays and Sunday 8 pm -11 pm”
Example 2: “To choreograph for, direct, and lead a project to perform at Maxt Out 2015.“
The date of the show is obviously the “deadline” for this goal. But what are some other parameters to guide you along the way?
– “Recruit and confirm x number of dancers by July 17th”
– “First practice on July 26th, teach first piece and bonding activity”
– “Costumes made and paid for by August 11th“
If you’re a more visual person, lay out all these dates in a monthly calendar so you can have a birds-eye view of your remaining time.
6. Be Mindful Of Obstacles And Challenges
..and be open to changes to accommodate. What Charles Darwin meant by “survival of the fittest” actually means, the “survival of those most adaptable to change.”
We all know that your journey is not going to be perfect. But what can make you even less deterred by the random challenges along the way, is the flexibility of your goals and sub-goals. No, you shouldn’t settle or quit the moment things get tough. But you need to learn to work with what you’ve got
7. Celebrate Your Accomplishments
What are goals if not for the euphoric sense of accomplishment and self-worth when they are reached?! Oh, the journey in getting there. But still!
Celebrating what you’ve done is not only well-deserved, but it’s great positive reinforcement. You now armed with more confidence and the reassurance that you can do anything you put your mind to, so you’re more likely to pursue other #goals with more vigor and excitement. Yeah!
8. Don’t Stop.
To me, the saddest successes are singular ones. When an artist has a one-hit wonder or otherwise produces something amazing then disappears, convinced that no other work will match up to their first.
No! *slaps face* if you keep growing and believing in your abilities, what you make/do will grow along with it. Yes, we’re all hungry. But those with consistent achievements are the ones who stay hungry and refuse to grow complacent.
The dance scene has evolved exponentially these past few years. This growth would not have happened if not for the hungry, ambitious, goal-setting dancers who made their dreams a reality.
Who’s to say you’re not one of them? Get up, get out, and get on your #hashtag# goals TODAY!
Author: Jessie Ma