2020 has been quite a year right? I mean, that’s putting it mildly I know but seriously, it’s been one of those years that I think we can all agree we’ll be happy to move on from. The stress and anxiety of all the not knowing over the last 8 months is enough to make anyone feel exhausted just thinking about planning ahead.
But the truth is, you do need to have a plan and a clear set of goals and strategies if you’re wanting to make 2021 the incredible year I know you do.
Because while yes, 2020 was a beast of a year, a lot of people actually ended up hitting their stride and truly thriving this year, after using the tools they had available to them and, despite the chaos, making it work. Even if this wasn’t your best year yet, that doesn’t mean 2021 can’t be.
So, if 2020 hit you like a ton of bricks and you’re ready to make sure you make up for it and then some in 2021, let’s focus on how to get hyper-organized for a successful 2021
Be honest with yourself
The first step is to be really honest with yourself. 2020 kind of sucked. We know that. But like i said, a lot of people actually made more money or found more clarity, fans, etc this year than in previous years and because they figured out how to make it work. This is across all industries and the music industry is no exception, so what I want you to do first is get really honest with yourself in the next question.
This is just for you, so be as honest as you can be. I know it’s not always easy but, this reflection is crucial for moving forward.
Ask yourself what could have gone better—and celebrate your success
For instance, if you didn’t feel a lot of motivation this year, ask yourself: Why wasn’t I motivated? Why didn’t I set aside the time to work on that thing I wanted?
To a degree we can cite external sources (pandemic, lost my job, etc) but ultimately, try to focus this question inward. If you weren’t motivated then sure, we can assume maybe the chaos of the world had something to do with that. But you can’t just blame everything else. You have to get clear on what you could have done differently in order to be able to handle things differently in the future.
So, focus on the things you could control and why you chose not to. This isn’t meant to make you feel bad, just to help you better understand yourself and what might work better in the future.
Likewise, I want you to focus on what did go well. What were your success? Big or small, I want you to celebrate them. Maybe you managed to build key relationships this year. Maybe you wrote a couple songs. Maybe you gained clarity on what you want your future to look like. These are all wins, and I want you to celebrate them.
Create just one major goal for the next three months
This has been a heck of a year so as far as I’m concerned, setting goals for 12 months out just doesn’t make sense at this point. So instead, focus on the next 3 months. If you could accomplish anything in the next 3 months that would make you feel like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, what would that be?
Write it down. This is now your full focus for the next 3 months.
If you want this to work, you have to set aside time every day to make it happen. No more excuses, no more feeling bad for yourself. If you want to make this your career, you need to practice every day. You need to network every day. You need to invest in yourself (financially and emotionally) and you need to figure out how to make that happen.
Make time to do the work you need to do AND to plan the big picture stuff like tours, album releases, and marketing. Maybe every Saturday you sit down for 4 hours and figure out your moves for the next week. Maybe the 30th of each month you have a full day of making sure you’re on track to hit your 3-month goal. Maybe every morning you wake up an hour early to network in Facebook groups.
Figure it out. Make it happen. No more excuses.
Remind yourself of why you’re doing this
Why are you doing this? What is motivating you? Is it a desire to change the world with your songs? Is it a desire to see the world? To be in control of your own life?
If you haven’t already, I suggest watching Simon Sinek’s TED Talk to gain clarity on this, and then writing down your own “why”. This is your guiding light when things are going well, but especially when they’re not.
Think of your why as your compass. When you don’t know what to do next, be it creating content for IG, writing a song, or figuring out your next step, just look to your “why” for the answer”.
Do one thing that takes you outside of your comfort zone every week
This is important. The only way we truly grow is to go outside of our comfort zone on a regular basis. We do this in small and big ways—talking to someone new, trying a new way of writing, investing in something we know can help us, standing up to someone that hasn’t been respecting us. And yet, so many of us resist change, and as such, growth.
I will say this only once—you can not keep doing the same thing you’ve always done and expect to see change. It will not happen.
You have to be willing to go outside your comfort zone, which is why I’m giving you this challenge, to go outside your comfort zone at least once a week. I don’t care if it’s trying a different item on the menu or changing your genre—it can be as big or small as you want, so long as it inspires growth.
2021 can absolutely be the year you finally hit those goals you’ve been talking about for the last 5 years. It can be the year you stop waiting for life to happen to you and instead make it happen for you. You just have to set your mind to it, declare it so, and then start to make it happen, step by step. You’ve got this.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, American Songwriter, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and gone on to sign to major labels and tour nationally. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.