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Right about now you are probably busy with Holiday preparations. You might be thinking about your New Year goals or they may be taking a backseat to the more pressing matters of the holiday season. Take a moment today or tomorrow, soon, to think about and write down your goals for the New Year. As a belly dance teacher, you are in a unique position to help others with their New Year goals while you plan your own.
I know it can sometimes be a daunting task. It is also exciting! For me, goal-setting is a process. It starts with a big idea and ends with a list of measurable tasks. It begins with a lofty idea, a dream, if you will. Starting with the end in mind and working backwards really helps to clarify desires and strategize planning. Then I begin to define my desires and this step begins to look more like a goal. Then I set measurable factors to it. This usually involves setting a time frame for each goal or part of the goal. Being able to measure your progress is paramount to staying motivated.
About this time every year, I start to put my goals into more concrete terms, reflecting on the challenges of the past year. I usually have three sets of goals: dance goals, professional goals, and personal goals. Dance goals are things that I want to achieve as a dancer and artist. Professional goals are things that I want to achieve in my business or as a teacher. Personal goals are things that have nothing to do with my dance or business. They are for me and my family. Sometimes the goals intersect; sometimes they don’t. It’s great when they do!
In past years, I have had to narrow down my focus. I tend to dream big. I have a lot of fun fantasizing about things I’d like to do. I’m always coming up with new and exciting projects. Some of my big dreams have included:
Open a dance studio: In 2009 I started my current business, Mosaique, and in 2012 I acquired a dedicated studio space.
Publish a book: Oriental Dance Curriculum was released June 2015.
Teach at a major belly dance festival: I was selected to teach at the 2015 Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive.
My “Dream Big” process helps me get to the heart of my life’s purpose. Too many interests and an over-active imagination are not bad things, but it makes it really difficult to focus and take action. This is my strength and it is also my weakness. I have learned that in goal-setting for any purpose, focus is the key. Narrow down your goals to a few key measurable tasks, and you could be on your way to achieving your dreams.
First, you will need to define what it is you want to accomplish in different areas of your life: dance/art, professional and personal. I feel when all of these things align (or at least do not conflict), you are most likely to achieve success in all areas. Feel free to modify your definition of these categories.
Once you have figured out what you want to do, write it down. Say it aloud to yourself and to others. Defining it and talking it out accomplishes two very important things. First, it helps you articulate your goal so that it is measurable and achievable. Second, it sends a message to your brain and to the universe that this is not just an idea in your head. It is a real achievable thing. Even if you’re dreaming bigger than what you end up actually doing, you are reaching for your highest potential. Isn’t this ultimately what we want to accomplish?
As I write this for you, I am thinking about my own goals for 2016. This year, I am motived in different ways than I was a year ago. My 2016 goals are centered around things I struggled with this past year. I have realized that as I get older, my body and my mind don’t function the way they used to. I feel like I was hit really hard with symptoms of aging. This has manifested in ways I have never experienced before.
I would like to share my 2016 goals with you. This is my way of putting it in writing and sending out to the Universe.
I try to organize my goals in a way that I can measure, and with a high level of control. This way I am accountable. I am responsible, not any other individual or outside factors. After I have defined my goals in the three areas of my life, I will go back and set additional measures and very specific actionable items that I will do for each goal. In essence, for each big goal, I will list several mini-goals that will lead to the big one. Notice in my “Dance Goal” I am keeping my expectation small. This small increase in my dance activity just for myself, is in addition to the hours I usually spend creating lessons, drills and choreography for my students. By making this tiny change, I am less likely to become overwhelmed or feel like I failed. This way, it’s not so daunting.
If you haven’t started defining and clarifying your 2016 goals, now is the perfect time to jot down some ideas. In the next few weeks you can start to narrow down your focus. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Reflect on what you struggled with in the past year and what you would like to improve.
- Start with the end in mind.
- Think Big. Act small.
- Break down your big goals into several small tasks.
- Create measures and set time frames.
Remember to focus. If you’re like me (and most dancers I know), you’re always working on yourself. You have a lot of different interests. Try to choose a few things to work on for now. Next year, you’ll do it all over again, but with new wisdom, experience and perspective.
I wish you much success and happiness in your dance and teaching endeavors. Here’s to a fantastic 2016! Cheers!