The Promise of a New Year: How to Stay Focused in 2021

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2020 was a year like no other. It was unexpected, shocking, anxiety inducing, and all around exhausting, and had most of us begging for it to come to an end as soon as possible.

For those of us in the music industry, especially, 2020 was a year that brought devastating change on a scale unlike anything we’ve ever seen, with venues closing around the country and more than a year’s worth of live shows being canceled worldwide. Many of us lost income, or lost our jobs altogether, and we were left yearning for a sense of normalcy while wondering what our futures (and the future of the industry itself) would look like, hoping our lives would someday return to be what they once were.

But we also learned how to pivot and adapt to a new reality. It reminded us of the resilience of the human spirit, and of the magic that happens when we come together to support one another. It allowed us to discover different ways of connecting with old friends and helped us meet new ones, and it forced us into new routines, slowing us down and prompting us to recognize the important things in life that we had lost sight of somewhere along the way. It even inspired some of us to create our own opportunities and build our own businesses.

“The good thing about maybes is that the power to turn them into definitelys lies in your hands.”

When any new year begins, we’re presented with a clean slate for setting new goals and achieving new dreams. 2021 is just getting started, and this year, perhaps more than any other before it, the promise of a new year also comes with a sense of urgency, as we continue to anxiously wait for the world to shift back to the world we once knew, or at least some semblance of it.

And most of you, I’m sure, have New Year’s resolutions this year as well. Maybe this will be the year you start your own new business, or maybe this will be the year you finally start a band. Maybe this is the year you hit your desired follower count on Spotify, or release your debut album. Maybe, just maybe, this is the year that you finally sit in the driver’s seat and take control of your destiny once and for all.

The good thing about maybes is that the power to turn them into definitelys lies in your hands. You’re the one who will decide what this year will hold for you. As 2021 kicks off, let us cling to the hope of new beginnings, and let that promise of tomorrow drive us to achieve what we never thought possible.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

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Take advantage of goal setting.

Even if you can’t envision a whole year’s worth of goals right now (and it’s totally okay if you can’t), sit down and make a list of a handful of goals you’d like to realize in January, both personal and career-related. Then break each one into steps that will help you achieve it. And do the same every month.

Your list may include releasing new music, growing your Instagram by 1,000 followers, or even playing a virtual show. Whatever goals you write down, though, stick to them, because there’s no better feeling in the world than the sense of accomplishment that comes with #1, finishing something, and #2, crossing it off your list.

Most importantly, however, when life gets overwhelming, it helps to have a tool like a goal list to help you refocus and remind you of how you want to move forward.

“Now more than ever, it’s critically important that we take care of ourselves mind, body, and spirit.”

Make self-care a priority.

It’s easy to get caught up in the non-stop hustle and bustle of this evolving industry, and run ourselves into the ground as we desperately try to keep up. Sometimes we don’t even realize how fast we’re moving until we stop.

Now more than ever, it’s critically important that we take care of ourselves mind, body, and spirit. Take breaks when you need them, do something that brings you joy, try something new. When you step away from the daily grind, it’s like pushing the reset button, so you can keep your passion and creative juices flowing the way you need them to, and you can stay on track to achieve those goals you’ll be setting every month.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “In Celebration of Small Victories”

Start a journal.

It’s easy to hear the word “journal” and think about the pressure of writing in it every day, but journaling doesn’t have to be a daily practice, nor does it require you to constantly churn out masterpieces for future generations to cherish.

On the contrary, a journal is like a companion that is there whenever you need it to be. It’s a great place to air out your frustrations, voice your concerns, and reveal the dreams you’re not ready to share with anyone else. You can collect inspiration for cover art, keep track of potential song titles, and even log ideas for future social media posts.

Whatever you choose to log in it, a journal is another fantastic tool for keeping you on track to achieve your goals this year.

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