Is there an area of your drumming that you want to improve?
Most of us have all struggled with accomplishing something that we want to do or an area that we want to improve in.
Often we are too busy and just don't have the time, other times it is about our priorities, sometimes we don't have all of the resources that we feel we need to be able to accomplish what we "want to" do.
I know from personal experience, I go through this all of the time.
This information is obviously focused on drums and drumming but it applies to anything and all areas of your life. If you want to do something like practice more, learn a new technique, a new style of drumming, etc., don't put too much pressure on yourself and/or make it overwhelming.
Sometimes we need to step back and take a look at the big picture.
If it is time that is holding you back, evaluate your schedule and commitments. See if you can find any time in your schedule to commit practice and or learning time to. Maybe it is 10 minutes per week, maybe 10 minutes 3 days a week, maybe it is 30 minutes once a week. If we really want to do something, we can find at least a few minutes a day or week to devote to it.
This formula works great:
1. DECIDE -
Whatever it is that we want to do, we have to change our thinking from a statement; "I want to..." to a DECISION; "I AM GOING TO..."
2. TAKE ACTION -
Make a plan!
This can be the toughest part, taking the first step. Maybe you need to evaluate the available time that you have to devote to what you set out to do.
If you set a goal to complete one of the the things that you decided to accomplish, you can stay more accountable to yourself in accomplishing it!
For example, let's say you want to learn a particular song that you can't play currently. Set a date on which you would like to be able to be able to perform it. Be reasonable, if it is a super complex song and you know it is going to take lots of work, don't set a goal for 3 days later.
The other side to this is to not set a goal that is so far off that you won't have to push yourself to get the work done and be accountable to yourself. This is were we get lazy and start blowing off our time that we should be dedicating to our decision.
WRITE IT DOWN! Once you have chosen what you set out to do and have evaluated the time you will be able to commit to it, write down the date that you have chosen to accomplish this. Post it in a place where you will see it often, put a sign over your drum kit, set reminders on your smart phone, whatever it takes to continually remind yourself of what you decided to do for yourself.
Remember, small increments of progress are key to taking action and achieving success. Many times we fail to follow through on something we want to do because we think that the task is too overwhelming, too time consuming, etc., this leads us to self defeat and the "I'll never be able to do this" mentality. If we can only give 10 minutes a week to our goal, it is still 10 minutes of progress. Once we start to take action and see our progress, we begin to get energized and psyched to keep going.
If time isn't a problem for you but other resources are, like money, the proper gear, the need for an instructor to help you, etc., these can all be handle the same way. Take the big or small steps that you need to in these areas as well and remember, it is the constant forward motion and progress towards you goal that you are looking for, not one giant event or step.
3. COMMITMENT -
After you have made your DECISION and started YOUR ACTION PLAN now you just have to follow through in being accountable to yourself and the COMMITMENT you have made to do what you set out to do. Since you have already written down your Goal, decided on how you can allocate your time/resources to make it happen, now it is all about follow through.
I have found that scheduling the time that I have committed to on a calendar works great. I have events scheduled on my smart phone with reminders of what I have committed to for working on and/or practicing different things each day of the week. The automatic reminders that I set "pop-up" on my phone are great to keep me on task and focused.
Work hard at staying accountable to your committed time. Doing something regularly for a 21 day period actually helps you to form a habit. Once you are a few weeks in, you will actually not even be thinking as much about keeping your commitment because it will have become part of your daily/weekly routine.
Sometimes it helps to have a significant other, friend or fellow drummer to work with in your goal to encourage you to stay committed. They can remind you and "push" you to stay focused on your goal if you share it with them!
Having a drum instructor working with you is also advantageous because you have to stay committed and accountable to learning and your instructor will help you to set goals and achieve results incrementally and make steady progress. It's like going to the gym, it is easy to blow it off and get lazy when we don't feel like going but if we have to go to the gym and meet our trainer, we can't back out or use excuses not to put in the time and effort.
Another great way to stay focused and committed is to keep a journal of your progress. Get a notebook or a journal, write down your Decision, your Action Plan, and your Goal Date and with it, write down the date that you are beginning your commitment. As you progress in keeping you commitment and putting your action plan in force, write down the date each time that you practice on your goal and any notes that you feel will help you in progressing. The journaling not only helps to keep you on task, it also gives you a great history of the work that you have put in. Years later you can go back and look at all of the things that were once difficult for you to do and you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished them.
Most importantly, ALWAYS MAKE IT FUN! Everytime that you pick up your sticks to practice, at the end of the session you will be a better drummer than you were before.