Hola Brain Dumpers,
Welcome to another edition of Marcus Brain Dumps.
Today I’m going to talk about my New Year’s resolutions. I have 3 resolutions and I think that I can achieve them if I put in a little effort. Of course, there is the chance that I don’t achieve them. . . and that would suck. Considering the possibility of failure, I will create S.M.A.R.T. goals that will make success far more likely. So, first let me explain what an S.M.A.R.T goal is. I hope this explanation of S.M.A.R.T. goals and it’s application to my own life will illustrate their usefulness and implementation.
This explanation is taken from Mindtools.com, and the original concept is attributed to George T. Doran.
S is for Specific
Your goal should be clear and specific, otherwise, you won’t be able to focus your efforts or feel truly motivated to achieve it.
M is for Measurable
It’s important to have measurable goals so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal.
A is for Achievable
Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible. When you set an achievable goal, you may be able to identify previously overlooked opportunities or resources that can bring you closer to it.
R is for Relevant
This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it’s important to retain control over them. So, make sure that your plans drive everyone forward, but that you’re still responsible for achieving your own goal.
T is for Time-bound
Every goal needs a target date so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.
Marcus’ S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2018
This year, I’m focusing on 3 outcomes:
- Become a better drummer
- Lose weight
- Continue to excel in school
Let’s focus on drumming to see how to make our goals S.M.A.R.T.
Become a better drummer
- “Become a better drummer” is an ambiguous statement and can be considered to be achieved with enough mental contortions and self-delusion. I’ll ask a question that will force a more specific outcome: What criteria if met, would mean that I had become a better drummer?
- Meeting these criteria should obviously mean that I would have accomplished something that is beyond my current skillset. In my case, that would mean to play all the international drum rudiments. So we’ll adjust our statement to “Play all 40 international drum rudiments.”
- Now, we’ll need some method to measure our progress. Tracking progress means tracking incremental gains towards our overall goal. So what incremental outcomes can I track that would mean I’m making surefire progress towards playing all 40 international drum rudiments?
- With drumming, you can play something fast and slow, with accents and without accents. You can play it on one specific drum, or you can play it across multiple drums. You can also play them for a long time or a short time. So we have to decide how fast we are going to play the rudiments, and with what accents, on which drums, and for how long. These decisions are somewhat arbitrary but they should still challenge us as we make progress. If we decide in the Achievable section that these decisions need to be adjusted, then so be it.
- For now, we can adjust our statement to the following: “Play all 40 international drum rudiments and play each rudiment at 120 beats per minute (bpm) with the fastest notes as 16th notes, without accents, limited to the snare drum, and for 5 minutes.”
- The Achievable section is our checkpoint in the process of making S.M.A.R.T. goals, with every adjustment to our goals statement, we have to ask, “Is this achievable?” So let’s see if our current version is achievable.
- First, we’ll make sure that our goal doesn’t our goal doesn’t break the laws of man or of physics. . . we’re good there.
- Next, when checking to see the achievability of a goal, you have to be honest about your current skills and how far you’d have to stretch your skills to achieve your goals.
- I can definitely play the 10 double stroke roll-based rudiments at 120 bpm with the fastest hits as 16th notes, without accents, and limited to the snare, and for 5 minutes but I can’t definitely say that I can play the other 30 rudiments with the same constraints.
- One trouble spot is single strokes, which I can barely play at 90 bpm with each stroke as a 16th note. However, since I’m almost there, I know that I can stretch my abilities until I can completely master single strokes at 90 bpm. After that, I can master the rest of the single stroke based-rudiment at 90 bpm including diddles which are a combination of singles and doubles.
- Flams are also giving me trouble and I can barely play them at 45 bpm with each flam as a 16th note. So we’ll set our benchmark for flam-based rudiments at 45 bpm.
- Our goal is becoming a little too long to be encapsulated as a single statement so let’s describe our goal as a list from now on.
- Become a better drummer by playing all 40 international drum rudiments:
- Maintain double stroke roll rudiments at 120 bpm
- Play single stroke rudiments 90 bpm
- Play flam rudiments at 45 bpm
- Play all rudiments with the fastest hits as 16th notes, without accents, on the snare, and for 5 minutes
- In this section, we re-consider if the goal is actually important to us after having a clear understanding of the measures necessary to achieve it. Will this improve our lives somehow? Maybe our self-worth, or financial well-being, or relationships, or joy?
- Drumming is important to my life in many ways. It boosts my social worth, stimulates me intellectually, gives me “flow” which is important to maintaining happiness, provides an outlet to express myself, and gives me an immediate path to meeting and bonding with people through “jamming” and discussing music. Increasing my skills as a drummer increases all these benefits so it is definitely worth it.
- Without a time-frame, goals become nebulous desires that get pushed to “someday” and “never”. In our example, we’ll set a time-frame for the overall goal and a time-frame for the incremental gains that we outlined in Measurable.
- My goal is to master all the rudiments by the end of 2018. There are 40 rudiments to master and I think to master 1 rudiment per week achievable. But what does schedule mean for daily time commitment? I think it is achievable with 25 minutes of practice per day, 6 days per week. On this schedule, I’ll finish with time to spare if I start on Sunday, Jan 7. In addition, we’ll add a few more bits of criteria to make our goal more focused
- The final version of our goal becomes
- Become a better drummer by playing all 40 international drum rudiments:
- Play double stroke roll rudiments at 120 bpm, do this first
- Play single stroke rudiments 90 bpm, do this second
- Play flam rudiments at 45 bpm, do this last
- Play all rudiments with the fastest hits as 16th notes, without accents, on the snare, for 5 minutes
- Master one rudiment per week by practicing 25 minutes per day Sunday through Friday
We did it!
Our goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. I hope you enjoyed this example and that you have a clear grasp of S.M.A.R.T. goals. Let me know what your S.M.A.R.T. New Year’s resolutions are in the comments.
Here are the S.M.A.R.T. versions of my other 2 resolutions:
- Lose weight by dieting (same diet I used to lose 30 pounds in the first 6 months of 2017)
- Start today
- Eat 1 meal per day on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and have that meal be a can of Rosarita refried beans (under 500 calories)
- On Tuesday, eat 1 meal and have that meal be Mexican food for 1000 calories or less
- Starting from dinner on Friday, for 24 hours eat whatever I like
- Lose 1 pound per week starting a 190 pounds
- Weigh 170 at the end of the year
- For holidays, see my other post, (adjust days according to 2018)
- Continue to excel in school by maintaining a 4.0 GPA
- At the very least, study 5.5 hours per day Sunday through Friday including breaks using the Pomodoro Technique
- Take off work for the 3 days before each exam to study to 7.5 hours including breaks using the Pomodoro Technique