Before we jump in…
Whilst it may not seem overly important to you right now, properly setting goals can be EXTREMELY POWERFUL if you do it right.
In fact, if you follow some basic principles, it’s scientifically proven to SIGNIFICANTLY improve your chances of achieving whatever it is that you want!
From a DJ’ing perspective, for example, one of your goals might be to get your first ‘’paid’’ gig in the next 6 months, or to start your own mobile DJ business in the next 12 months, perhaps? Obviously it’s going to be different for everyone – just fill in the blank!
So, regardless of where you’re currently at as a DJ, and what your aspirations are, here are 7 ACTIONABLE goal-setting tips to help you get there a lot faster.
The 7 tips (jump ahead to):
1. Be very specific about what you want
Making general statements like ‘’I want to DJ professionally by the end of the year’’ just isn’t going to cut it I’m afraid. It’s just not specific enough.
Consider this basic example below. Think of it a bit like a note-to-self, or the overview of your goal. You’ll need to do something similar (…also see point No.4).
By the 30th of November next year (insert the actual year) I will finally have played out in my home town of (insert your town) for the first time – and gotten paid for it!
This was only made possible because I followed my action plan to the letter and worked on it almost every single day without fail. I’m now really excited about the next 12 months!
Whilst this is just a made-up example, you’ll notice a couple of things:
- I haven’t missed out any important details. It includes a specific end date for the goal, the location of the gig, and the fact that I’ll be getting paid for it.
- I’m talking as if it’s already happened. (Not to get too deep here, but it’s about programming your subconscious brain …and visualization.)
- I’m clear about the fact that the attainment of the goal is conditional on ME — that I take action every single day to move the ball forward.
- I’ve attached a positive emotion to it (emotion drives action).
Think of this process as an official declaration to YOURSELF.
2. Don’t make it too easy (and give it a specific deadline)
With these shorter-term goals that we’re talking about in this post (typically meaning your 1 to 3-year goals rather than your 5-10 year goals), it’s better to set a target that’s achievable, but NOT easy!
If you’ve only recently started mixing in your bedroom, for example, then telling yourself you’ll be headlining at a major festival just 6 months from now probably isn’t a good goal-setting strategy and will likely fuel disappointment.
At the same time, you’ll want to make it sufficiently difficult. I don’t mean to contradict myself here, but in some cases, it should be borderline unachievable. It’s basically up to you to set the bar as high as possible but still within reach!
As we’ve briefly spoken about in point No.1, your goal must have a specific deadline. This is crucial. So saying something like ”later next year” is way too general. At the very least you’ll want to identify a specific month.
3. Focus on one thing at a time
One of my favourite personal development books is called ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller.
The book explains about ”the myth of multi-tasking”, and how focusing on doing just one thing at a time (and doing it well) rather than trying to be a ‘multi-tasking superhero’ (as Gary refers to it in the book), can change the outcome dramatically.
Instead of trying to do everything all at once, FOCUS on one thing and knock it out of the park, and then move on to the next thing! This will prevent overwhelm.
With this idea, I’m specifically referring to your ”micro” goals within your larger goal: meaning any of the smaller day-to-day, week-to-week, or month-to-month actions you need to take to achieve the larger goal.
To use another DJing example: One of your ‘micro goals’ could be to become really good at beat-matching, or to revamp your social media presence, or perhaps to play your first house party. Again, whatever they are for you, just fill in the blanks.
These micro goals should also have their very own action plan (bullet-pointed action steps will do) with a specific deadline attached to them. I’ll explain more about that in point no.6.
4. Write them down and tell someone about it
Now I know some of these points overlap, but stick with me!
Similar to how I did earlier (in point No.1), it’s crucial that you write down your goals. By writing them down you’re telling your subconscious brain that it’s important, which LITERALLY makes it’s more likely to happen!
Having it physically written down is better, although as long as it’s somewhere easily accessible, that’s fine as well.
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’ve told at least one person close to you about it. This is going to create accountability, which will also improve the likelihood of it happening.
Additional tip: If you really want to cement it into your subconscious brain (that’s the plan!), I’d recommend reading it out loud to yourself AT LEAST ONCE A DAY for the first month or so. Whilst it might sound crazy to some., trust me, it’s powerful s#it!!
5. Consider using visual aids
Now that your goals are written down, as an option, you can now complement this with a high-resolution print out of something that motivates you to reach the end goal.
It could be a picture of the DJ gear that you’ll buy when your mission is complete, or a car that you’ll treat yourself to when you’ve reached the objective. It could be anything at all.
If I’m going to be completely honest, this step probably isn’t as important as the others on this list, although it can be a great motivational tool. Keeping your ‘eye on the prize’, as they say!
6. Monitor & update them regularly
In addition to clearly articulating your goals, writing them down, and putting them somewhere you can see them every single day, this monitoring process I’m about to explain is EQUALLY AS CRUCIAL!
For a typical 12-month goal, you should probably ‘assess & update’ your action plan (in some form) every single week. Perhaps even twice a week.
Providing that you’re taking some kind of action on your goal every single day, this should come naturally.
Here’s what I mean by that:
You’ll need to break your goal down into bite-size chunks, and into bite-size periods of time…
So if we take a goal with a 12-month deadline for example, try to imagine your ”micro goals” that we discussed earlier mapping with 1, 2 and 3-month increments on the calendar…
Personally, I like to break the year down into four 3-month quarters, and then write down specifically what needs to happen in each month in order to achieve my 3-month targets/micro-goals.
Here’s how I like do it:
I’ll put a new A3-size piece of paper on my wall every 3 months, drawing a few lines with a marker pen to make 3 different sections (so you have 1 section for each month). I’ll then make bullet-point notes in each section, whilst leaving plenty of room to add other stuff as I go.
You can then of course scrub them out as each task is completed.
Something like this:
Exactly as I’ve done in this example, you can use a sheet of paper (or card) to bullet-point your micro-goals. The idea is to provide a clear visual overview of where you’re at – one that you can look at every single day. I’d recommend putting it on your bedroom wall, or on your fridge. And yes, that’s absolutely essential!!
If you need to go into further detail about a specific micro goal/bullet point then do it on a separate document on your laptop or your phone, that way you can keep this sheet relatively tidy. I usually re-write mine each month as it starts getting messy, otherwise you’ll stop paying as much attention to it. Treat it with respect. It’s literally like managing your subconscious.
Whilst you might miss some of these mini-goals and deadlines along the way, if you’re strict with this monthly monitoring process you’ll be amazed at the progress that’s possible as your efforts compound over time.
7. Create a plan of action and hustle like crazy!
Guess what …
If you follow and take action on all of these steps, this is basically all the framework you need. All you need to do now is take the time to sit down and fill in the blanks!
In a nutshell, to overview what we’ve spoken about:
You need to clearly articulate (in writing, being as specific as you possibly can) your broader goal. You’ll then want to create a detailed list (an action plan) of all the micro-goals that sit within that broader goal.
Take your time with this. Sit down and map out what needs to happen. Treat it like a business plan. If the goal really means something to you then this should all be enjoyable, not a chore!
Oh yeah, and don’t forget you’ll want to buy some blu-tack, marker pens and A3 paper/card if you’re going to replicate point no.6 — which I’d strongly recommended!!
And then of course there’s ”HUSTLE”.
The cool thing about working hard is that it’s often less about intelligence and more about work ethic and attitude. Which basically means YOU’RE IN CONTROL!
It’s actually a pretty simple equation:
If you’re truly passionate about your mission, and, if you’re prepared to HUSTLE LIKE CRAZY, you’re already halfway there!
Make no mistake… hard work works!
Don’t be disheartened when you miss a target along the way. Providing you’ve set a tough enough overarching goal, this is perfectly normal.
I love this quote:
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.Norman Vincent Peele
Just think of how much you’ll have achieved in a year, or even in 3 years if you get 75% of the way to your original forecasts. And then ask yourself: would that have happened if you hadn’t bothered to set the goals in the first place!?
Just remember that taking action is ALWAYS the answer to getting what you want. And that no great achievements ever came from a comfort zone.
Your future is in your own hands.
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Header photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.