S.M.A.R.T. New Year’s Resolutions

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:

  1. Become a better drummer
  2. Lose weight
  3. 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

  • Specific
    • “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.”
  • Measurable
    • 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.”
  • Achievable
    • 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
  • Relevant
    • 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.
  • Time-bound
    • 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.

P.S.

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

 

 

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1-Hour of Drumming Per Day

Dude, Brain Dumpers,

It’s been a while since I wrote. I’m sorry it’s been so long. I really just want to get some things off my chest so that’s why I’m coming back. I haven’t been steady with my drum practice. Ever since the beginning of summer, I’ve really had a lot of trouble keeping up the habit. And I’m seriously losing sight of my goal.

I first started drumming back in 2012 when I decided that I would finally pursue a career in music. I dabbled with drums, guitar, and piano and really got into guitar for a while. Fast forward to 2015, I just moved back in with my parents after graduating college and found that they had a drum set. I fell back in love. I started drumming almost 3 hours per day every day and I wouldn’t stop. I enrolled in lessons and developed a practice routine that I would stick with for about 2 years.

That brings us to the beginning of summer this year. I guess I don’t know exactly why I stopped drumming. Writing this so that I can discover why. So bear with me. I know I broke the habit when I was studying for finals in May. I skipped a day or 2 while I was studying and that made me think it was okay for me to skip more days. I was struggling over the summer because I had a shoulder injury and didn’t want to make it worse by drumming. Then the fall semester started and I changed my study schedule so that I could only practice 90 minutes per day and not even all at once. But I didn’t stick to plan because I wasn’t disciplined enough to stop and start practice multiple times per day. Then I started a new job that really choked me for time. By that time, I was so far out of the habit that I just declared that touching of the instrument as a victory. And now we’re here -out of the habit. I need to find a practice routine that allows me to work and study and yet still allows me to build my skills on the drums.

I think 1 hour per day should be good. After all, my goal is to be a career musician.

 

Day one without the Facebook app

Brain Dumpers,

I’m an effort to reduce distractions, I’ve delete the Facebook app. Instead of spending time on the app. I’m spending time with you on this blog. Most of these next posts will detail my feelings as I live without the app. I spent so much time everyday checking Facebook and getting distracted by it that I lose my train of thought. I would go on the app only to find that the information would linger in my mind even after closing the app. I anticipate feeling a little raw without the constant influx of information, but I hope that this rawness brings me closer to an uninterrupted stream of consciousness that I can hone into focused action. Right now, I’m feeling like I want to go on the app after I finish this blog post. I want to be distracted but I know that I should stay focused. Now, how to go to sleep? I can read. Or I can just lie in bed until sleep comes. I think I’ll try the latter. 

Goodnight, Brain Dumpers

Holla at cha boi, Brain Dumpers,

I’m feeling super good right now. Almost too good. I spent about 3 hours today reading a book called The Magic of Thinking Big. The book talks about achieving success through managed thinking. For example, to have success-inducing thoughts, you must manage your memory.  It says,

Your memory bank automatically answers and supplies you with bits of information relating to this situation that you deposited on previous occasions. Your memory, then, is the basic supplier of raw material for your new thought.

Stuff like that. It’s all blowing my mind. Mind you, this is like the 3rd time I’m reading it. It still blows my mind.

The book is exciting me and has sparked new belief in myself. I’ve never thought I could be a manager, but now, a managerial position doesn’t seem out of reach. I believe I can do it.

However.

I want to make sure that I keep myself to true to my intentions even though I feel really good. In the past, I went through a period of really intense self-aggrandizement during which I bragged all the time about what I was going to do and how awesome I was. I had no substance though, no true belief in my abilities and no discipline.

Fast forward to now.

I now have a degree and a professional certificate; I have more discipline; I value keeping my mouth shut and getting to work.  I take this feeling-really-good thing with caution. I need to make sure that I don’t get back into my old habits of expounding endlessly about my aspirations while not doing anything.

Random segue.

I also had the thought that I’d like to be a father. But that’s not something that I actually want to do. I know that my overall goal is to be the best musician I can be and I can’t do that if I have to worry about having a kid. Besides, I don’t know how to raise a kid. I don’t even want to be married, that would suck. Yeah, it’s better for me not to have a kid. I need to focus on my music.

Brain dump ready set go.

All I want is to be a musician. I want to make millions of dollars, be in millions of people’s ears, inspire other musicians to play, and touch millions of lives. The book tells me to think big and think big I will. Except that I will not tell anyone about these aspirations. Only you guys know. I guess if I put in all my effort, there is a literal chance. If you’re talking about literal probability there is a literal chance that I will get this.  I’ll hang tight to this possibility and keep my mouth shut about it. It sounds ludicrous to any reasonable person, but people who actually did it will understand that these aspirations can be achieved. No one can know my crazy dreams. Seriously, no one can know. I can’t tell a soul. You will be my sounding board, my lovely Brain Dumpers.

Marcus

Brain Dumpers,

Yoooooo. I’ve been thinking about the thing I’m not supposed to think about. I’m not going to succumb to it though. I’m not even going to come close to doing it. There’s just no way. It would ruin my life and it would ruin my family’s life. There’s just no way. I don’t even know know why I thought about it. It’s stupid. 

Seriously, Fuck the Guys at My Office

Seriously, fuck the guys at my office, except my boss whom we shall call Nick. All the rest fuck em omg what the fuck am I even saying I don’t even know how to start this. This is just going to be another brain dump and I like where this is going and it’s going to take a long time for me to clear my head of all these things I’m thinking about. And no one can ever know what I’m writing about. Holy shit I’m sorry, my brother just walked in and fucked up my life. It feels good to say “fuck” even if it is only in writing I just get to say “fuck” and not have any consequences here. It’s the best I think writing is my best therapy and if you’ve followed my blog up until this point, you’ll see that I’m pretty fucking crazy and I need it. Let’s be honest though, no one follows this blog except for like random people. I love you, random people! I wonder if they’re just following me so that I’ll follow them back. I guess it’s not morally wrong to do that. And they’re not saying I have to follow them back. I think they just think that I should. Maybe I should. But I will only do so if I’m interested in their shit. I have Facebook if I want to look at random shit. I will follow some good peeps with a funny, exciting voice and irreverent topics, though. Holy fucking shit what the fuck am I talking about. I just want to get back to what I was talking about. Seriously I feel so fucking stupid. I feel like I was totally left out today when my co-workers didn’t invite me to lunch. Basically what happened was. Everyone else started talking about getting lunch. I didn’t butt in because I just plain didn’t feel like it. When the plans were finalized. I just said, “I’m going to leave at 1:30, are you guys going to be back by then?” And they said, “yeah, we’ll be back by then.” So, in that way I guess I made them assume that I wasn’t planning on going because I was asking them as if I was concerned that they wouldn’t be back by the time I left. I would be concerned because someone would need to be there to watch the office.  And that makes sense I just need to keep writing and then all the prolific things will come out of my head and I just wish that I was invited to go out. I would’ve gone if they’d asked me but I wasn’t going to ask to go that would be presumptuous of me. Holy shit fuck tits nigger deer cunt tiger blood charlie sheen. I guess I just have to write more to see what I’m actually thinking. I think this is actually fun and I should keep writing to get my thoughts out and I wish I could just address the issue without thinking about it too much. I think that I should’ve said that I wanted to go out with them and went and maybe they wouldn’t have let me maybe they would have who knows. But I’ll at least have my answer. yeah that’s what I’ll do next time. Holy shit I don’t think that’s what I’lll actually do I think that I have a problem with my self-confidence. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad and I iknow that if I just keep things going and that I will do well. All I need to worry about is just getting into my master’s program. master’s with an apostrophe. I still haven’t gotten the thoughts out that I needed to and omg I freaking think that my boss’s girlfriend is always laughing at me. I think that she really is I think that she thinks I’m weird or something. I am pretty weird but that doesn’t mean she has to talk bad about me or whatever else I think that she’s doing. omg what the fuck I don’t even want to message her about this I don’t think that I’m going to do what I say I’m doing to do even though I’m totally in sync with her right now. I really think that she know what I’m doing right as we speak. That is so fucking scary what the fucking hell is you thinking bad boy. What the hell mufuggah. I’m so lost right now I can hardly keep typing the words are just coming to me and I think that I can hear you right now Nick the nameless. God this is so fucking crazy.

Okay so let’s break it down. I was feeling left out because I wasn’t invited out to lunch today. Should I have even gone? No I don’t think I should have gone. Am I still alive? Hell yes. Alive and kicking. Have I made it through worse? Hell yes. Am I going to let it affect the things that are important to me? Hell no. There is just no way. I think that main culprit is J. He kept taunting me all day and made me feel bad. He was just being a bully. He tricked me into drinking day-old Coke for no reason. It wasn’t even a funny joke or in good spirits. I can’t let that one thing affect me. If he wants to be an asshole I’m going to have to tell him to stop. That’s all. And if it continues, I’ll just quit. Haha. I’m quitting anyways because I’m making hardly any money at this job. So who the fuck cares. I need to move on anyways. I need to become socialized in a more normal work environment. Well I actually liked it though. and I hope I find something similar except for J. Until today. I thought he was cool. He was honestly my favorite person in the office. for real. but now he’s not I’m not going to tell him that but I know that for myself. Now he’s just this asshole. Oh well. I don’t know if I’m going to miss the way he was. I kinda do, but I’m not devastated by it so I guess it’s fine.

You got rejected today, plain and simple. Now you know how that feels. It’s not really that bad. It just sucks. You’re not in the mood to cry about it. You can’t hold it against them though. especially J. You can’t hold it against J. Just know that he doesn’t want to hang out with you. Or at least don’t count on it. It doesn’t matter if you never talk to him again. it just doesn’t. I’m realizing now that having his comraderie was a big boost to my self-esteem and mood. It was fun talking to him and playing chess with him and joking around with him. Then that all went away after today. I think what sparked his sudden change in behavior was the text that I sent him last night. I sent him a text wishin him good luck on his text. I think he might have thought it was too invasive for me to be thinking about him and reaching out to him after works hours. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that. But then, you never know, sometimes people like that you think about them. I guess he just took it the wrong way. Just know that you didn’t do anything wrong. Now don’t go feeling sorry for yourself because the way he acted was unfair. sometimes people are just unfair. If it was a person closer to you. You should say something. There’s honestly nothing I could say except, “why didn’t you invite me out to lunch” But that is just way too awkward and it assumes that he HAS to invite you out to lunch when you haven’t even talked about it before. Never assume that someone HAS to invite you to do anything. It’s their choice whether to include you. It was awkward that I was the ONLY one not going to lunch though. God what the fuck am I even solving by writing this. I guess I’m just venting until I have some sort of realization. I’ve had some.

This didn’t used to be a big deal for me. Just think about where you want to go. You’re on your way and if people want to slow you down, then bad. You don’t need them. You should be spending your time getting smarter and working on your craft. friends are just a distraction anyways.

when you talk to people, they throw you off from your train of thought. Socialize in a context that aligns with what you want to do. Music practice with other people, building a business together and keeping the talk all about growing the business.

but you can’t just generalize like that. You need human interactiong and meeting people will enrich your life.

Reintroducing Myself to the World of Getting Shit Off My Mind

Salutations you sexy Salsbury steaks!

Welcome to another episode of Marcus Brain Dumps.

I’m sitting here wondering if can actually incorporate blogging back into my life. I know it’s good for me to work through my thoughts and I do that best when I write. I have little time during the day though.

Here’s my day most days:

  1. 7:00AM: Wake up. Wake up! Grab your clothes and put on a little makeup
  2. 8:30AM School and/or work till 1:30PM
  3. 1:30PM Eat on the way home (I’ve recently been trying to save time by eating in the car)
  4. 2:00PM Study
  5. 3:30PM Drum
  6. 4:00PM Study
  7. 5:30PM Drum
  8. 6:00PM Study
  9. 7:30PM Drum
  10. 8:00PM Study
  11. 9:30PM Get ready for bed
  12. 10:00PM Bed

I know what you’re thinking. Why the fuck would anybody watch Ace Ventura: Pet Detective when they could watch Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls? What you should be asking is why I can’t write a blog post instead of playing drums during one of those 30-minute blocks. Well, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want. I really really really want a zig-a-zig ahhh. . .

My goal in life is to make money via music. All other goals are in service of attaining a lifestyle in which I make money playing or teaching music. Even if I don’t make a lot of money, I still want to do it. So skipping drum practice is out of the question.

So, how can I incorporate blogging? I’m thinking that I should cut my study hours down by 90 minutes per day and play drums all at once for 90 minutes right when I get home at 2:00PM. Then, I’ll be able to blog during one of the 30-minute blocks that I’m currently reserving for drumming. I think I’ll be able to handle it. . . I do have to take study time seriously as I’m getting my master’s degree. . . I think I can do it.

Marcus

I have to remember what everything means to me

Dear Brain Dumpers,

How the fuck are you? I don’t know because you haven’t read this yet. Mind fuck.

Anyways, I was thinking about my life direction and I just want to share some revelations with you.  Everything I do is so that I can eventually make money from music. I’m going to get my master’s degree because that way I can get a job that I don’t hate while playing music. The job will buy me a house that will have a practice room for playing drums as loud as I want. The job will also allow me to work less than 4 hours per day so that I can drum 4 hours per day. That is my fucking goal and I can’t forget that. Meanwhile, I have to keep my skills up so I need to practice every single day. I would like to practice 2 hours per day but my study and work schedule only allows me to practice 3 times per day, 25 minutes at a time. Sucks, But I will squeeze every moment out of it. I must. I have to admit that I haven’t been keeping this up very well. I’m disappointed. No more!!! Tomorrow I will do it!!!!! I promise I will do everything I can and I won’t make excuses. God, it feels scary to make commitments. I have trouble making commitments because I don’t think that I can live up to them. I have a fear of letting myself or people down so I don’t push myself to make commitments. But I need to get in the practice of making promises and commitments to myself and following through with them. Self-discipline comes into play here. I have to be disciplined enough to follow through with promises. I think I’m being influenced by this non-commital mindset by my father. He can’t commit to anything or make plans. I don’t want to be this way. I’m going to force myself to be different. I’m afraid to make a promise here because I’m so afraid of awkwardness that I let other people influence me into certain patterns of behavior and then I end up acting and thinking like them. But I’m making a commitment right now to force myself to be different than my father. I need to keep reminding myself to be more commital and to have more follow-through and to not go back on my commitments. One fucking thing that I hate right now is how my father and stepmother keep offering me food when I asked them not to offer me food. I asked them explicitly

Dude, this guy is really pissing me off because he is not listening to reason. There’s this certain method of performing this task in our program and it’s the method that takes less of the computer’s resources when compared to the other method. The guy in my group wants to do the other method. His way is inefficient. The teacher even said that. It also duplicates effort. You basically end up doing the same thing twice. I talked to our third group mate and he thinks that the other group mate’s method is fine. It does work, technically so I decided that we should just do it even though it’s inefficient. We are only doing this because he’s being annoying about it. Why do something that is inefficient when there’s a much more efficient way to do it? It’s offensive to reason. I guess what really matters is that we get an A and the teacher did say that the inefficient method will get the job done. We could have just as easily used the efficient method but fuck it he’s being annoying.  I just have to remember to keep the peace in our group and to not call him annoying or make any mean faces at him. I have to watch that. I only have to be in a group with him for 2 more months and then I’m free. Maybe he’ll get better. Or better yet, I’ll get better at dealing with it and persist despite it and maybe I’ll learn to make my case in a nice way that will convince him.

I don’t have the same sense of accomplishment I used to have after I do things.  I used to feel great that I did chores, finished homework, finished a day at work, etc. But now I don’t feel that as much. I’ve been getting into a habit of rewarding myself after accomplishing things. Maybe I’m corrupting my sense of accomplishment with an external reward, conditioning myself to only seek that external reward.

Dance, dance and be born

into silent screeches torn

across faces. Places we haven’t seen

since middle age, coming ahead.

Crises flowering into beds of Deadheads

dancing, dancing, drinking creaky cheeks

meeting fleeting greets and stretching skyward. Another one bites and she said

Another one bites and she said

“I’ll pick you if you forget my name.”