The Art of Goal Setting

Let’s face it. Not many people enjoy writing goals. It’s the rare individual who jumps at the chance to create a list of goals, particularly when applied to a creative process. However, goals help to focus efforts in specific directions, a valuable tool in ballroom dance. Goals give purpose to practice to help you improve efficiently. Following are a few thoughts to streamline your goal-making endeavors in ballroom.

  1. Write your goals down. This process, painful though it may be, defines what you want in clear terms for yourself.
  2. Set performance goals. By which I mean, in the end you cannot control the outcome of a competition. You cannot control the performance of other couples. A goal like “make finals” is an outcome goal, which depends on those factors. A performance goal focuses on the things that you can control such as the stability of your frame, rise and fall actions, body lines, and more.
  3. Be specific. It’s not enough to write, “I want to be a turning superstar.” Define what that means to you. Some examples might be, “I want to stay balanced in the promenade turn in foxtrot” or “I want to add shaping to the American spin double” or “I want to improve my spotting in all applicable turning actions.” All of these are specific items than can be targeted in practice or private lessons, which brings us to the next point…
  4. Outline a strategy. Sure. You could say, “I want to get better at rumba.” There’s nothing wrong with that desire but how are you going to do it? It is the how  that informs the direction of your practice and private lessons. For example, if that were my goal, I would begin by identifying areas I need to work on in rumba and then create mini-goals. These could include sharpening timing, adding emotional expression, creating more compression with my partner, working on my arm lines, etc. These mini-goals are things that I can work on in practice as opposed to “getting better.”
  5. Be realistic. We have very busy schedules, which create a lot of time restrictions, in addition to physical, financial, and other restrictions. When setting a goal, make sure to consider if you have the capabilities to achieve that goal. It is more satisfying and useful to create realistic, attainable goals.

Lastly, remember to appreciate it when you do achieve your goals! Then take a step back and evaluate your progress on other goals and ponder some new ones. I wish you the best of luck with attaining your goals!

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