The start of a new year is always exciting, and now that we’ve entered a new decade, it has become even more so. While 2020 has the potential to bring a fresh start and new beginnings, the new year also comes with lots of self-reflection: introspective pondering about who we are, the kind of people we’d like to be, and how to close the seemingly infinite gap between the two. It can be extremely intimidating to look deep inside yourself and sort out what you like and what you don’t, what you want to change and what you have the ability to change, and what you know you need to change. Even after that, you have to actually start working on those things, begin breaking the routine you’re used to, and truly hold yourself accountable for your personal journey. To make your new year a little bit easier, here’s a list of helpful hints for making the positive change you want in your life a reality!
Be diligent. While you shouldn't be too hard on yourself, improvement does take hard work and focus. It’s said that it takes 21 days to make something a habit, but it will require thought and effort every single day, and a conscious choice to resist the instinct to fall back into old ways.
Track your progress. An easy way to help you keep on your path is to track your progress! This can mean journaling, a physical tracker like a bulletin board or goal timeline, an app, audio logs...whatever works best for you! But keeping track of how much you’ve grown and improved through your hard work and effort will keep you motivated to strive for greater heights.
Remind yourself of your goal. If you’re feeling uninspired, a good way to rejuvenate yourself is to remind yourself why you’re putting in the work in the first place. It’s easy to lose track of the end goal when it feels like you have such a long road ahead of you, but take time every so often to think about how achieving your goal will positively impact your life.
Remember your worth. Change takes time, and it’s certainly not easy. Sometimes you may find yourself slipping into an unhealthy mindset and becoming discouraged. Especially among my fellow musicians, self-deprecation is a regular occurrence that will never completely go away, but an important part of your journey is learning the difference between giving yourself constructive criticism and plain old self-loathing. Try looking at it through the lens of a stranger. Would you say the things you tell yourself to a friend? Stepping back and reevaluating how you treat yourself will save you a lot of heartache.
Hopefully these tips are useful to you in the new year, and I wish everyone well on their quest for self-improvement!