Your year Might Suck, Unless…
So welcome to the new year. We made it & many of us are happy to be alive, with all the paranoia that was going around. But here we are. A clean slate. A fresh start. A chance to start anew.
This isn’t the first time though & it also won’t likely be the last.
What were your goals & resolutions last year?
How did your reality stack up with your intentions for 2012?
Did you over achieve or under achieve?
My guess is that most of you probably fall in the area of accomplishing less than 25% of what you had intended.
Did your goals to really dive into your music & crank out some tunes or play more DJ gigs get sidetracked by “life”? How many months in the year before you just went back to your old ways.
It’s a lot like people who make a resolution to get into shape but stop going to the gym by February or March. The intentions are high, but the results end up staying mostly the same.
How many of you broadcast your goals publicly? If you don’t, why not? Is there something in your brain that already thinks you won’t succeed? I can’t even begin to tell you your chances of failure if you hide in the shadows & stay on the sidelines with your goals. Broadcasting your goals is an exercise in stepping out of your comfort zone & having the public hold you accountable. Even better if you join a group or forum with likeminded people with similar goals.
Your habits don’t change unless….
No matter how hard you try, year after year, your habits probably won’t change if you are taking the same approach that you have been taking in the past. This is because you get fired up in the beginning & the new habit seems easy for a week or 2, but then reality sets in & the honeymoon is over. You really really really want to take a night off. It won’t hurt right? Yes, it does. Bigtime!
See, forming a habit isn’t all about feeling great about doing the new habit. This simply won’t happen. You’re going to go through a phase of hating the new habit, whether it be flossing, exercising, eating healthier or finally kicking out some great tunes. It’s all the same stuff. A habit is a habit.
30 Days or nothing
If you can’t get yourself to do a new habit for 30 days straight, the habit simply won’t stick. This is because the habit your are really trying to form, isn’t the habit itself, but the habit of doing it anyway, even when you don’t feel like it. If you think it’s possible to form a new habit without thinking it won’t suck sometimes, you’re delusional. There are however ways to make this 30 day process easier.
1. One habit at a time – Unfortunately for most people, they set themselves up to fail, by wanting to change 15 or 20 things about themselves. Every failure in accomplishing these things is just sending a message to your brain that you are a failure & not capable of changing. Don’t set yourself up like this. How about going for 4 goals for the whole year? 1 goal every 3 months. This is extremely important, because 1 change is doable for your brain to take on, and each success builds greater strength for the next goal.
2. Bite sized habit forming – Lets say you want to finish more songs in the new year. Can you just do 10 minutes a day at the same time everyday for 30 days? Can you accomplish that 10 minutes of real work, even if you don’t feel like it? Can you push aside all the excuses? If you can do this for 30 days straight, you will have formed a habit that you can expand on & slowly build up to 20 minutes, 30 minutes an on to an hour a day. Once you’ve pushed past the resistance enough times, it will become second nature to go right to the task even when you don’t feel like it. What many people don’t realize, is that most of the resistance goes away the moment you get started.
3. Breaking down big tasks – Do your goals seem too big for you? Don’t give up on them. Simply break the big goal down to a bunch of 30 minute tasks, or even less if you want. Instead of spending hours at your desk feeling overwhelmed everyday, how about accomplishing 2 30 minutes tasks a day? This is how I accomplish most of my big projects. If I didn’t approach things this way, I’d never complete anything.
4. Stop preparing to do work – Cleaning your desk or listening you a music loop you created for hours on end, researching or watching tutorials is NOT working. Find another time to prepare for work, but when you sit down for your 10 minutes, or 30 minutes or whatever it is. Do actual work! If you get stuck after your initial work session, set a timer to research what you need & then get back to work. Don’t get dragged into YouTube comments or Social Media bullshit. You’ll not missing anything. It’ll all be there when you’re done. The only difference is that you be one of the few people posting on Facebook that has actually accomplished something to be proud of for the day instead of dicking around on the internet.
Attach a new habit to a current habit
The best way to get a new habit ingrained is to attach it to another daily habit. You can make this current habit a trigger for the new habit. Lets say you have a cup of tea everyday at 2pm. This is perfect. So start your new habit directly after your tea, everyday at the same time. You’ll be amazed how often after that cup of tea your brain will go “ok, time to sit down at the studio”. Once you get passed the resistance, it will become 2nd nature & you’ll wonder what the big deal was about in the first place.
Stay off the sidelines
Most people who try something new usually do it as privately as possible. They will troll a forum to check out everybody else’s comments but will never register on the forum & join the conversation. In fact, many of my Producer’s Playground Members don’t get involved in the community. In their heads, I imagine they are saying ” I am only here for such & such tool & once I have that tool, I’ll be able to reach my goals”. This bums me out because they are missing the most important part of learning, and that is tapping into the “mastermind”. Hundreds or thousands of brains working together to problem solve, support, focus, collaborate & hold eachother accountable. No man is an island. Get off the sidelines.
Stop devouring, start applying
“Just one more tutorial”
“Once I learn how to get THAT sound, I’ll be set”
But it’s never just 1 more tutorial, and it’s never just 1 more sound, is it?
Stop devouring information & start applying what you learn. What is the point of reading a dictionary start to finish before sending an email, in the event the you might be at a loss of the right word at a certain point? Doesn’t that seem kinda stupid? Doesn’t it make more sense to have a dictionary handy for when you get stuck on a word or spelling? Same with making music, or any other habit. Use your brain, push it to the limits with your own problem solving. Show a little fucking confidence instead of always having to see how everybody else is doing things. A new technique not immediately applied is no way to build confidence. It’s just compounding the fact that you have no confidence because you have nothing original to say.
Harsh, yes, but I want you to know the truth so you don’t screw up another year. It disappoints me what people do with a clean slate. Why not instead, keep the slate clean by taking on 1 task at a time until completion. This essentially cleans your slate over and over throughout the year. Don’t you think that would make for a more inspiring, focused & less stressful year? Can you imagine how much more you can easily get done year after year?
Happy new year! Don’t waste it!
With that said, if you are benefiting from these posts, you will absolutely love my 2 bestselling books:
The Mental Game of Music Production
The Process for Electronic Music Producers
You can also Check out the: Ableton Courses & Instruments
If you are looking for personal guidance with your music production or Ableton, you can set up a free chat with me to go over exactly what your best next steps are to create the best music of your life. If it seems like a good fit, we can move forward from there. https://musicsoftwaretraining.com/private-coaching
Happy music making!
Good inspirational stuff, as ever. Having spent 2012 ‘fucking around’ and doing a lot of starting but very little finishing, I’d already decided to go for completing/publishing a song every 2 months. May not sound much but that’ll be 6 by this time next year, which is 6 more than last year. So your approach in this post chimes with my own. Thanks again Jason, and have a great year.