Setting goals as a songwriter[This article was written by guest contributor Anthony Ceseri.]

Defining your goals is the first step towards reaching them.

Be specific; write them out; and put deadlines on your goals — and you will greatly improve your chances of success.

Having an overarching ambition is important, but it can also be overwhelming. For that reason, breaking your goal up into smaller, more specific chunks is a great way to achieve what you want.

For example, a songwriter might have an overall goal to get his song played on a television show.  That’s a great goal, and it’s important to outline what you want in that way, but by itself it doesn’t have much direction.

A more proactive songwriter would take that goal of getting his song played on a television show and break it up into smaller, more achievable pieces, with deadlines. He might make his first goal to learn about songwriting as it specifically applies to film and television. He’ll study what it takes to get placed on TV shows, and how to get his song there. Reaching your goals is largely about education and experience, so while he’s learning, he’ll be applying these techniques to the songs he’s writing. His first goal may be something like “By January 1, I’ll have read a book and taken a class specifically geared towards getting my music on TV.”

His next goal might be to start making contact with music supervisors. Knowing it’s best to develop relationships with people before simply contacting them to get something from them, he may make his next goal something like this: “By March 1, I’ll have attended a songwriting convention and have met and exchanged information with three music supervisors. I’ll also research and contact 10 music supervisors online by that time.”

These goals will keep getting refined until he gets the results he wants. And by being specific and adding deadlines, he’s much more likely to succeed.

If you don’t hit a goal specifically, don’t fret. You’ve still made progress. It’s best to set each specific goal to be a little out of your reach. Each small goal will be a stepping stone to your overall goal, which might seem monumental when you think about it alone, but when you break it up into smaller, more achievable tasks, it won’t seem so bad.

Another important thing to mention: don’t measure your own progress by other people’s success. You don’t succeed by beating others, you succeed by growing yourself.

An easy way to make yourself seem insignificant is to think about all the success someone who’s already established has (or to think about all the things you want to achieve, but haven’t yet) and then think about yourself NOW and how you don’t have any of that stuff yet.

Don’t do that. Instead measure yourself against how far you’ve already come. Think about the goals you’ve achieved and all the improvement you’ve made in the past 6 months, two years, or the last decade. Measure yourself against your old standards, and keep moving forward and making progress.

If you fail to meet your goals, it’s okay. Persistence is crucial in achieving success. If you have plans for a goal that didn’t work, try different plans to hit the same goal. Many times people who have failed simply gave up before they found the right answer.

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