It’s got to that time of year when people start thinking about setting New Year resolutions. Not everyone creates resolutions but those who do stand a greater chance of achieving their dreams. In this post I’m going to explain how setting New Year Resolutions can help you achieve your songwriting or musical ambitions.
Why set New Year Resolutions?
Successful businesses and individuals do not achieve their success by chance. Their success is underpinned by having clarity about what they stand for, what they wish to achieve, and a plan that will get them to their desired outcome.
Of course, businesses don’t label them as new year resolutions. The start of a new year is a good moment, though, in which to reflect on what we have achieved, and to decide what we want to achieve in the next 12 months.
Going through a process of reviewing where we currently are and what we want to do next is a really valuable step. It should give you much better clarity on what needs to be done to deliver on the next stage of your songwriting journey.
This presupposes that you do want to advance your songwriting. It doesn’t mean that you are set on world domination, or on being able to make a living from music. Many of us will have ambitions and desires even if we view lyric writing or music purely as a hobby. We want to get better, want to get our songs in front of more people. Whatever the ambition is, creating New Year resolutions can help you move towards achieving them.
What New Year Songwriting Resolutions should I set?
This will obviously be very specific to each individual. If you’re completely new to songwriting, then maybe your resolutions might be to read up on the theory of lyric writing? Or to get feedback on your lyrics? Or to enter your first ever lyric writing contest?
At the other end of the scale, more established songwriters may be looking at resolutions that are about getting their songs played on radio, or purchased by an established band.
However, at a general level, here are some categories to think about:
- How can I improve my skills?
- What can I do to improve my quantity of output?
- Are there ways that I can extend the list of skilled people that I collaborate with?
- How can I increase the audience for my lyrics or songs?
- What can I do to generate income from my work?
Make sure your New Year Resolutions are SMART
Let’s look at a fictional songwriting New Year resolution. Joe Bloggs has set himself this goal:
‘I want to be the best writer’.
Okay, it’s a nice bold aim. But can you see any problems with it? I’m sure you can! It’s FAR too vague. What’s meant by best writer? How is the ‘best’ bit going to be judged? What time period is this going to happen in? And what type of writing is he referring to?!
Thankfully, there’s a very well established method that helps ensure that your resolutions or goals are less vague. The acronym is SMART and it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
Be specific about what it is that you want to achieve. For example, ‘I am going to write 30 new completed lyrics this year’. There is no ambiguity there. It’s very clear what goal I have set myself.
Your goal needs to be capable of being measured. Otherwise, you can’t really determine whether you’ve been successful. In the example I gave above, the measure is 30 completed lyrics in the calendar year. You can then easily track progress against that goal during the year.
If I set myself the goal of writing 1,000 lyrics in the year that might sound fantastic. And maybe it might be achievable if I had nothing else to do during the year. However, if I have a day job to hold down as well as family commitments, then I may just be setting a goal that I have no chance of achieving. That, in turn, isn’t going to drive improved performance and may well be demotivating.
Let’s say that all your efforts are around establishing yourself as a songwriter or musician in the world of folk music. If you then set yourself a goal of learning how to write a rap song, then you may want to ask yourself whether that goal fits with your bigger ambitions? It may be very interesting but is it relevant? Will it help you to get to the place that you want to be? If so, then great – that means it is relevant. But, if not, then it may not be something you want to focus a significant amount of your time and energy on.
Any goal you set needs to state what the timeframe is for its achievement. If you’re setting a New Year resolution then the default time period may be by the end of the year. However, don’t feel constrained by that. You could set on objective that says that you want to have achieved a particular objective by the end of January, or by the end of June, etc.
Examples of my songwriting New Year Resolutions
I set myself New Year resolutions each year. Some of them are the standard ones about losing weight, becoming fitter, cutting costs, etc, that feature in so many people’s lists. But I also set myself resolutions related to my lyric writing.
Quantity of completed lyrics:
One of the core ones I have is around the quantity of completed lyrics that I will write in a year. My target for the last couple of years has been a minimum of 60 during the year. That works out at 5 per month which feels right for me with everything else that I have going on in my life. It’s stretching but achievable. And having it focuses my mind. During 2018 I found myself behind target late in the year but that made me determined to write more in November and December and I did get over the line. If I hadn’t had that target I might have settled for 50 rather than 60. And maybe would have missed out on one or two really good lyrics that emerged towards the end of the year.
Quantity of completed songs:
I also set myself a target of how many of my completed lyrics will get converted into completed songs. Not being a musician means that I rely on collaborations with musicians in order to achieve this goal. I primarily use the Kompoz and Musesongwriters websites as the way to build up working relationships with musicians. Having a target for the number of completed songs encourages me to make sure I post my lyrics on those sites and that I am diligent in how I work with musicians so that hopefully they’ll want to work with me again.
One thing you may have noticed is that I referred to completed lyrics and completed songs. Half finished lyrics or songs are no good in my mind. I think it’s important to get them to a finished state!
Promotion of my LyricSlinger website:
In December 2017 I launched this LyricSlinger website so the promotion of it has now been added to my yearly set of songwriting-related resolutions. I set goals around the number of blog posts that I do and how I am going to promote it. You can help by registering with my site, or saving it to your favourites! 🙂 You can also follow me on Twitter via @TheLyricSlinger and on my Facebook Business page https://www.facebook.com/TheLyricSlinger/
But don’t most New Year Resolutions fail?
We all know people who have set a New Year resolution to get fit. Then sign up with a gym at the start of January, they go a few times, but then they quit. By mid February they’ve totally given up on that objective and the rubber band principle has seen them revert to previous habits.
Indeed, Forbes estimate that just 8% of people achieve their New Year resolutions. However, I suspect that if you analysed those 8% you would find that they are substantially more effective at achieving their life goals than the 92% who didn’t achieve their resolutions. And those 92% are probably still more successful than individuals who never set any goals. Without goals, there’s no direction, and without direction you’re unlikely to end up at your desired destination.
Set your songwriting New Year Resolutions now
I really hope that this post has encouraged you to write down some New Year resolutions to further your lyric writing or musical ambitions. Make sure you do write them down and that you save them carefully. Even more important is to regularly check how you are progressing with them! An option to consider is printing them out and sticking them on the wall above where you do your writing. That way they should remain front of mind throughout the year rather than just in January!
I’d love it if you’d like to share some of your songwriting New Year resolutions with me on this site? Or if you come back later in the year to share your successes! I wish everyone a very happy new year and hope that you achieve everything that you’re wishing for!