How many of you have a journal?
How about a dance journal?
I've found that keeping a journal is a simple yet extremely beneficial practice in helping you progress as a dancer. It allows you to think about what you want to accomplish, what you need to work on. Then it allows you to track your progress as well as seeing how far you've grown.
Here's what I suggest:
First, go buy a nice journal. Something that shows your personality and something you will WANT to write in -- something you'll cherish.
Then, think about your dancing. Set some long-term and short-term goals. My rule for goal setting is to create your short-term goals from your long-term goals. This allows you to have broad goals for your dancing (long-term) and to think about specific, tangible ways (short-term) to conquer them.
Here's an example: Say you want to get higher on your toes. That's your long-term goal. Your short-term goals will be measurable steps to get you to your long-term goal. Your first short-term goal can be "Research exercises to get higher on your toes." Your next short-term goal can be "Create an exercise plan that will help me get higher on my toes." The last one can be "Do my exercise plan every night before I go to bed for a month." After a month, because of this process, you will have conquered your long-term goal and be higher on your toes.
I hope you can see how these small goals act as building blocks to reach the long-term goal. The journal helps you STICK TO your goals by self evaluation and hard work.
Here's how to use your dance journal:
Started by creating a few broad, yearly goals. These are basically your New Year's resolutions. Then create more detailed goals for each month. That goes onto weekly goals. Then onto daily goals. The daily goals are basically an outline of my practice schedule you will do that week. Finally, write an entry at the end of the week explaining what you accomplished and what you need to work on -- a self-evaluation.
Now here's my disclaimer: this is a mock journal. I wrote the following entries pretty quickly just to show the idea of journaling I'm trying to illustrating:
Here are your New Year's Resolutions
Now, make monthly goals based on your New Year's resolutions
I like creating a theme for the month. Something specific to focus on.
Now, from your monthly goals, create weekly goals.
They will be more specific.
Here are your daily goals created from your weekly goals.
I like to take time on a Sunday to think about the coming week's schedule and my goals I've already made to make a practice outline for that week.
It's like a to-do list.
Lastly, write a little note to yourself evaluating how you did that week.
What did you accomplished?
Did you stick to your daily goals?
Did they help you with your weekly goals?
Your monthly goals?
Your New Year's resolutions?
Are you a better dancer?
What did you learn?
What are you proud of?
What could use some work?
How do you feel?
This personal evaluation will also allow you to modify your weekly, monthly, yearly goals if needed. It will allow you to see specifically what you need to work on.
On the above example, I say I need to work on timing. Because I wrote this down and I know I need to work on it, I'll be more motivated to research exercises on precision or tips on timing.
I hope you can see the benefits of keeping a well-organized, personal dance journal. Anything is possible if we know specifically what to work on and have a tangible plan to conquer our goals.
Please tell me your stories regarding dance journals! Do you keep one? Did it help? What other suggestions do you have for me and other readers?
I'd love to hear what you have to say!