As 2013 is winding down it’s a great time to start thinking ahead to the new year.  December is usually a very busy month with holiday gigs, social events and finishing touches on projects, but I find that it’s also the perfect time to start creating my plan for the upcoming year. That way, on January 2nd I can hit the ground running!

Here are 5 things you can do right now to help make 2014 your best year yet!

1)    Take some time to look back at 2013 and acknowledge, REALLY acknowledge your accomplishments. Most of the time we are so focused on the things that we have yet to accomplish that we forget to give ourselves a good ole’ pat on the back for the things we HAVE accomplished. It doesn’t matter how small you may think these accomplishments are, give yourself a little credit. Write a list and then look it over. Better yet, get on the phone with a friend and read him or her the list.

2)    Set some goals for the coming year, VERY specific goals, and assign dates to them. Here are some examples:

  • By the end of February I will have booked 10 new gigs
  • By March 1st I’ll have 12 new songs written and ready to record
  • This year I’ll make $X from my music

3)    Once you’ve set these very specific goals you can back up on the calendar and figure out exactly what you need to do, and by when, to make these goals happen. For example, what do you need to do to get those 10 gigs booked?

  • Research venues/booking agent info – Have a list by Jan 2
  • Submit materials to venues/booking agents – by Jan 6
  • Follow-up calls – Beginning Jan 13

4)    Create a work schedule that allocates time for all your activities (both professional and personal) so that you actually get things done! This can be an online calendar or a simple handwritten one. I like to color code mine. Once you’ve created the calendar, stick with it! Here’s an example of my calendar:


This is just an example, though it represents a relatively typical week for me. Some weeks are heavier on the songwriting, gig schedule and others lean more heavily toward seeing clients and working on marketing and promotion. Regardless, once I’ve put it in the schedule, I make sure to stick to it.

5)   Do something everyday, no matter how small a something it may seem to be. Goals really are achieved one step at a time.

A few added thoughts:

  • Don’t panic if you miss a deadline. If and when that happens, simply set a new deadline and then do everything you can to meet that one.
  • Be kind to yourself. 
  • Know that as you move through the year, your goals may shift around. Unexpected opportunities may come along and you’ll want to be able to take advantage of them.

Over the next few months I’ll be sharing with you some specific and very effective strategies for taking your musical endeavors to the next level this year, so stay tuned!

Until then I wish you a magical holiday season and all the very best in the new year!

jen red larger