5 Ways to Set Better Bagpiping Goals

The beginning of the new year is always the perfect time to assess where you are in your bagpiping. Goal setting is a ubiquitous start-of-year activity that benefits lots of folks, and bagpipers are not exempt. Sometimes though, the act of setting the goals themselves can be a daunting task. You know what you need in the abstract, and coming up with ambitions with respect to your bagpipe playing is probably not all that hard, but how do you focus it all into attainable goals? Life is busy and thoughts or ideas about your bagpipe playing can get lost in the mental shuffle of the day-to-day. Below are 5 steps to organize your thinking in a way to help make it more clear for yourself what you’re trying to do.

1. Determine which areas of your piping are important to you. Not just those that are important in an abstract sense, but important to you. Figure out two or three areas of your music-making that matter most and set a goal or two for each area.

2. Make a list of actions you can take that will move you toward your goals. Stay focussed here. Think short term. Think of where you are now and the very next step that will move you forward.

3. Be clear about what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it. Think hard about why those things are important to you. Some goals or tasks will simply fade away as you dwell on them this way. You may discover some that have dogged you for a while aren’t really that important.

4. Create lists. Now that you’ve identified what’s important to you, keep one list of your important goals and another list of projects and actions that you must complete in order to move you toward those goals.

5. Make a little progress at a time. This is not a race. As you move through your days, pick off the action steps you can accomplish right away, with the resources you have available, and then move to the larger, more complex ones. Sometimes knocking off smaller goals—the low-hanging fruit, as it were—can feed the fire to move on to bigger, more robust activity.

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