Make a Legit Commitment to Your Resolution This Year, Please?

Illustration by Kaori Mitsushima / Cats I Know.

How many New Year’s resolutions have you ever made and actually stuck to? If the number exceeds zero, you deserve a round of applause.

According to this article in Psychology Today (and others), there are tons of reasons we bail on our New Year’s resolutions: unrealistic expectations, unrealistic feelings of shame when we fail, an unrealistic sense of ourselves, lack of a clear and realistic path to success, etc.

Sounds like we can be pretty unrealistic when it comes to setting new year’s goals and aspirations or just making meaningful change happen in our lives in general.

At the beginning of every new year, it’s almost like we see the whole upcoming year stretched out in front of us. A whole year! Wowee! A year seems like a long time when it’s all in front of you, but that perspective doesn’t change the fact that your days are already jam-packed with your job, your band, your social life, your family responsibilities, and the day-to-day stuff that nobody ever considers real. Where exactly can you fit in flugelhorn lessons, a new workout routine, and booking that tour your band is always talking about?

I’m a big believer in the idea that saying “yes” to something means saying “no” to something else, even if it’s indirectly. You only have so much time. So if you’re going to set a New Year’s resolution, give it your full ass, not just half of it. Here’s what I mean when I say ass:

Your ass = (Time + Skills + Willingness) – Life Stuff

If my equation is correct, you have to either increase your time, skills and willingness to accomplish the things you set out to do, and/or reduce the demands of your life if you want your your ability to do something to increase.

Our time, skills, and willingness (this last one is so important) are often not great enough to overcome the realities of our day-to-day lives. And that’s because it takes self-motivation, perhaps some help from your community, validation, and a heaping spoonful of effort. But that’s what makes New Year’s resolutions what they are — we’re all tired, we’ve just eaten way too many cookies, and the bittersweet tingle of champagne on your tongue at the New Year’s Eve party doesn’t feel as special as it should because inside, you feel like you’re not celebrating some of the things you wish you accomplished this year…

That’s why there’s always next year!

A friend recently asked me about finding time to practice since most Austin musicians only “rehearse with the band” (another maddening phenomenon). I found an article in Guitar Habits that basically advises prioritizing your practicing daily! (You know: setting aside time, keeping your studio equipment and musical gear set up, setting goals, etc.) How utterly intrusive!

The response was:

“…but I have all these other things I’m doing in my life, how can I possibly do that?”

Well… If you prioritize those things over your practicing, what do you expect? If you have a great day job in a profession you love, are working on a degree in an unrelated field, have a marriage, kids, etc., your ass is already theirs! If all that’s happening, you’d be lucky to give even a quarter-assed effort.

So what’s all this got to do with New Year’s resolutions?

If you want to add some new thing to your life, like learning a new instrument or spending more time practicing, or if you want to achieve bigger and better things, like recording that full-length album or going on tour in Europe, figure out what you have to drop from your schedule in order to make room. You can only squeeze so much ass in them pants.

Make a commitment to your music in 2018, and we’ll match it! That’s the power of one-on-one professional mentorship and the central focus of Soundfly’s Mainstage course model, which allows you to set your own musical goals, and we’ll hold you to them and help you scale them. We want to break down whatever barriers exist between you and your musical goals.

Take tons of our courses for free, preview an entire section of any paid course for free, hop on a Skype consultation with any of our mentors for free, or just sign up before January 3, 2018 and take $200 off any course you like with promo code: NEWYEARNEWMUSIC.

Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability

Join our Mailing List

We offer creative courses, articles, podcast episodes, and one-on-one mentorship for curious musicians. Stay up to date!


7 Tips for Maximizing Productivity and Creative Output as an Artist

The Wonder Years’ Casey Cavaliere provides his top tips for time management, productivity and self-motivation for freelancers in a guest post.

live artist singing on stage


5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Music Venue for Your Live Act

What are the most important factors in determining which venues best suit your live act? Find out in advance of booking your next tour.


Our 6 Favorite MIDI Controllers for Under $200

Need some high-functioning, super modern options for MIDI Controllers but don’t have a lot to spend? These 6 are our absolute favorites!