Well in 2016 we are! Already into February some of us continue to be motivated by our New Year’s Resolutions while most of us have slipped off that narrow cliff of staying on top of our goals. It can be the slightest change, the smallest stress, or something of great magnitude which pushes us back on that path towards our goals.

First realize it’s ok! Today is a new day to start! Heck, even every second, minute, or hour is a new time to regain our composure and kill it! Recently, we heard 10 motivating S.M.A.R.T.(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals which can be applied to us as dancers and artists.

Let’s visit 10 ways in which you can empower yourself to reach your small or grandiose goals. Think of these goals in terms of 4 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years. If it helps break it down even smaller.

1) CLARIFY YOUR VISION & MISSION – Your mission statement and your vision is your foundation of who you are as a person, dancer, and/or artist. Spend your time digging deeper into your understanding of what your mission is to achieve for yourself and your message to others. Your mission sets your foundation and your vision is where you see the final product (even if it your vision or goals change).

Example: Our mission of Step x Step is to uplift dancers around the world in the positivity of Hip Hop culture. Our vision is to drive that mission through media, events, education, and brand. We want to share our mission and vision through the 4 specific areas which can each have their own mission and vision.

2) SET SMART GOALS – Just as we explained above the S.M.A.R.T. goals are meant to give you an organized foundation of where to start and end (and/or repeat the process) as you continue your journey. YES IT’S A JOURNEY NOT A DESTINATION! We’ll get into this later. Break down each of the S.M.A.R.T. goals as to how and where you see yourself as a dancer, organization, studio, or crew.

Example: Dancer who wants to reach a touring show or artist. Assess where you are currently (BE REALISTIC ABOUT THIS), write down specifically what you want to attain, be realistic, give yourself a set date, and measure the ways you make this happen. I am 20, I want to dance for Cirque Du Soleil touring by the age of 22. Currently I am taking classes in or I train in…here are the area’s I want to strengthen. I need to network with these individuals and audition on this date.

3) PRAY WORK OBEY – This one may seem a little bit odd for those who may not be religious but I believe it will help any and everyone. Prayer is very essential to our spiritual/emotional strength and can be done through vocal prayer, meditation, or any other means by which you reach inside or into the universe. Once you PRAY then you must get to WORK  and put your faith and talents to the test.

As you work through these goals, you will come short very often and that is where you obey something whatever your foundation is. I will tell you have confidence in yourself and abilities, but stay humble and do not obey yourself, look beyond yourself to help strengthen your weaknesses.

4) EMBRACE CHANGE – Change is evident every day of our life. Sometimes those S.M.A.R.T.  goals go off the path a little bit and we become overwhelmed. Do not give up, embrace any changes along the way which are meant to be positive enforcements. If it’s a negative change, deal with it with the best attitude but keep moving forward towards your goals.

Example: This may be the hardest thing to do! For the choreo dancer who is uncomfortable to freestyle in a cypher, EMBRACE IT! For the freestyle dancer who hates on choreography, EMBRACE IT! If you are trying to get professional work, there will be times you have to do one or the other and sometimes both! EMBRACE

5) PRACTICE SELF-DISCIPLINE – Bruce Lee said, “A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.” Sacrifice is one of the most important things for any artist, entrepreneur, leader, and the list goes on. Practicing self-discipline is putting away people or things in your life which negatively distract you from your positive goals. It means if you really want to achieve your desired goal(s) then you must put yourself in a place where you be fully invested towards it. DESIRE.DEDICATION.DETERMINATION.DISCIPLINE.

Example: As a touring dancer you will be on the road for many days with long hours, quick changes, and going from place to place. You must prepare now to treat your body right, handle all your debts or business before a tour, get adequate sleep, and build your model for documenting your experience.

6) TAKE ACTION WITH CLARITY – Going back to a few of the points before the way your pray and/or meditate is important for you to take action. It allows you to focus on the tasks and tactics at hand as your strategically go for you goal(s). Action with Clarity means organize yourself and plan ahead in preparation so when you are acting on your tactics if anything gets in the way you are able to problem solve without stressing yourself out.

Example: As a dancer you sometimes develop an injury which may hinder your progress towards a goal. Prepare yourself for when these circumstances arise to research proper healing techniques, utilize another part of your body with training, and develop more knowledge in yours and other styles. You will continue progressing.

7) WORK, THINK, AND ACT WITH URGENCY – Dictionary defines urgency as “an earnest and persistent quality.” Let that sink in and develop inside your mind, body, and soul. Urgency is not putting the horse before the cart, it’s acting with a smart intent to make sure your cart is ready and working then strapping your horse to pull that cart.

Example: You have made it a goal to make it to Juste Debout as a dancer, to be on that stage, and represent your style. Your goal is to be in the Top 16 on the big stage by 2017. Work now towards what you and your partner need to do in order to make that happen. Training, music research, nutrition and diet, understanding the competition, and most importantly have fun.

8) STAY FOCUSED – Distractions are all around us these days. It’s hard to really stay focused when we have all kinds of technology (which can be used for many great things) keeping us distracted from the small things we can do. Do not let things which are minuscule in distraction deter you from major goals of focus. If you are on your phone too much, break away. If you want to eat that cheeseburger instead of training an extra 30 minutes, keep pushing.

Example: Social media and our phones enslave our mind, body, and soul when we are too involved with these different mediums. We allow YouTube to control our confidence. We allow Instagram to make us idle. We allow Facebook to do the same. Use it for a short amount of time for the right reasons.

9) BE ATTITUDES – Be: Grateful; Smart; Involved; True; Still; Humble; Clean; Positive; Prayerful. Each of these means something different to each of us because of our experiences, but they all are true foundational concepts to how we achieve success in this life. Study each one of these attitudes and ask yourself where you are at in your artistry and as a person. This can be done at any time in between reaching your goals. I feel these are the most important to really developing ourselves to be leaders and what I call “movers” in the coming years of your success.

10) ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY – If you are not enjoying the journey you are on, then you may need to reassess yourself and figure out exactly where you need to find the happiness. If you cannot find it within what you once loved, then remove yourself from the situation and let it come naturally.

There’s the old adage, “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.” This is what you love. This is who you are. Let it make you happy, but I give you this warning…if it is not adding to society or others in a positive way, then it’s only temporary and its not in humility. Our talents are meant to uplift each other and provide righteous happiness toward the pursuit of something higher. ENJOY IT and LET OTHERS ENJOY IT!