How to Make Guitar New Year’s Resolutions You Will Keep

As the New Year approaches, many guitar players and aspiring guitar players will be setting New Year’s resolutions.

But let’s face it: Most people have a hard time keeping their resolutions.

If there was a simple and effective way to improve your chances of keeping your resolutions and it only took a few minutes to do, would you be interested?

If so read on…

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Think back to the last time you really, really, wanted something badly.  Did you just wish that somehow, someday you would get it?

If you really, really, wanted something badly, you probably sat down and spent some time trying to figure out what you needed to do to achieve it.

When you had plans and total “laser-like” focus to achieve your highly desired goal what happened?

Most likely you achieved your desired outcome. But even if you didn’t quite reach your goal, didn’t you get much closer to it than you would have if you never had a goal and plan in the first place?

Now think back to the last time you went on a vacation.

Did you just fill up the gas tank and start driving?

Not likely.

You planned where you were going to go.

You figured out how much money you would need, how long the trip would take, whether you needed your passport, etc.

Now here’s the big question:

“How much time have you invested into planning what you really want to achieve on the guitar?”

Most guitarists plan their vacations better than they plan their practice sessions. They usually have good vacations, but very little to show for their practice sessions.

The difference between a great guitarist and an average one is usually goals.

The great and elite guitarists didn’t become incredible players by chance.  They decided that they wanted to become excellent guitarists and created a plan to do it.

Is Goal Setting Really Effective, or is it Just a Bunch of Baloney?

Researchers have been studying this area since the late 60’s and the results have been an overwhelming yes to the effectiveness of setting goals.

Goal setting has been found to have a consistent and powerful positive effect on behaviour.

Positive results have been shown in 10 different countries, with over 90 different tasks and with over 40,000 participants (Locke & Latham, 1990).

If you want to get the most out of the guitar and become the best guitarist you can, you must set two types of clear goals.

You should have short-term and long-term goals for your playing.

Your short-term goals can be achieved in individual practice sessions or within a week, month, or even up to 6 months.

Your long-term goals can be realized through your progressive accomplishment of many short-term goals.  It is best to set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for your playing.

New Year’s Resolutions: How to Increase Your Chances of Success by 1100%

You’ve probably already learned from setting New Years resolutions, that setting goals can be easy, but following through on them is a very different story.

In 2006, USA Today reported on a study where researchers divided a large group of people with New Year’s resolutions into two groups: those that wrote down their resolutions, and those that didn’t.  After a year, the researchers followed up with the two groups.

Of those that did not write down their resolutions, only 4% had actually stuck with their resolutions.  However, with the group that had written them down, 44% had followed through and stuck with their New Year’s resolutions.  That’s an increase of more than 1100% in success rate!

Interesting isn’t it?  Just taking a few minutes to write out your New Year’s resolutions can increase your chances of success by over 1100%.

Most people don’t really think of New Year’s resolutions as what they really should be thought of: goals.

Now let’s look at how to effectively set goals so you are likely to achieve them.

Don’t Be a Dummy, Make Your Guitar Goals or Resolutions SMART!

One of the most effective ways of setting goals is to make sure they are SMART goals.



Action oriented


Time conscious


Each goal must be specific.  For example, don’t say: “I want to be a good guitar player”.   It is better to say: “I play _______________ (name of song) easily”.  Or you could say: “I play like _____________ (fill in your favourite guitarist’s name)”.

It is also a good idea to state goals in the present tense, so it is more effective to say “I play_________ (song name) from memory with ease”.


Your goals must be measurable.  If you can’t measure your goals, how will you know when you have achieved them?  If you have not yet reached a goal, how close are you to reaching the goal?

Some aspects of playing the guitar are easy to set measurable goals to.  For example, the metronome provides a very concrete way to measure progress.

You can set a goal to be able to perform a specific song at say, 140 beats per minute (bpm).  You can either play the song accurately at the desired tempo or not.  If you can, you have reached your goal.  If you can’t play the song at 140 bpm, you need to continue to practice until you can.

Action Oriented

The next aspect of goal setting is to ensure that your goals are action oriented.  This shouldn’t be too hard given the nature of the instrument.  The main point about action-oriented goals is how you word your goals.  For example, say: “I do…, I play…”, etc.


In order to get yourself to buy into a goal, you must make it realistic.  If you think that there is absolutely no way you will ever accomplish something—you are probably right.

What you want to do is set goals that will stretch you and challenge you, but they still must be goals that you believe you can achieve.

The great thing is the more goals you set and accomplish, the bigger each subsequent goal can become.  As you achieve each goal, you will become more and more confident with your ability to set and achieve goals, so you will start to set larger and larger goals.

Time Conscious

The last aspect of effective goal setting is to set a time element into the goal.  The best way to do this is to set a deadline for achieving the goal.  Just saying: “I want to be able to play ____________ (song title) some day”, won’t create any real sense of urgency.  If you set a date however, it forces you to get moving towards that goal now.

Setting deadlines for goals makes some people anxious.  What happens if you set a deadline and don’t achieve it?  Simple.  You set a new deadline.  As Brian Tracy says: “There are no unrealistic goals; there are only unrealistic deadlines.”

Ready, Set… Goals!

Now that you know the essentials of effective goal setting, it is time to get specific and actually set your guitar goals.

Grab a piece of paper and invest some time into setting your guitar goals or resolutions for the New Year right now.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to show anyone your resolutions unless you want to.  But definitely do yourself a favour and set aside the next 15 minutes to write out your top 10 personal guitar goals.

Is there really anything more important for your guitar playing than deciding what you want to achieve?

Don’t skip this exercise by saying “I’m too busy right now, I’ll do it later when I’ve got more time.”  If you don’t do it now, you probably won’t do it at all.  You do want to get maximum results from your practice time don’t you?  Good.  Then invest 15 minutes to create a top 10 list of your guitar goals.

When you have guitar goals, you can set up your practice sessions so you achieve your goals.

Goals give you focus.  When you have focus going into your practice session, you will accomplish more.  You’ll be more likely to spend your time on what you need to do to achieve your guitar goals.  You won’t want to waste any time.

So set aside 15-minutes now to write out your top 10 guitar goals.  Once you’ve got your goals written, stick them somewhere you can see them every time you pick up your guitar.

This is really important:

Look at your guitar goals at the beginning of every practice session.

Use your goals to determine what you practice and how often you practice.  Then see where you are after 30 days.  If you use this simple technique you will be blown away.

One of the biggest obstacles for guitar players is getting enough time for practice.  Check out my article 17 Great Ways to Get More Time to Play Guitar.  This will give you some excellent ideas on how to get more time to play guitar.

The other crucial key to achieving your guitar goals is knowing what to practice and how to practice for maximum results.  That’s the focus of my more than 50 books and courses on guitar.  My courses have helped thousands of guitar players reach their guitar goals in more than 50 countries worldwide and I’m sure they can do the same for you.

If you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level and beyond, and you want to do it in even less time than you ever thought possible, you need to take a look at Think of how great you’ll feel when you play guitar and get those chills running up and down your spine with every note you play!

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