Sunday, December 28, 2014


 With 2015 looming on the horizon, most of us are in a flurry of wrapping up our un-finished business of the past year, while at the same time making New Years Resolutions. Setting goals, and putting them down on paper- or on your computer screen- is definitely a way of making them real.

Take a few minutes to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself, deciding upon exactly what you want to accomplish in the next year- and how to go about getting it!  What you want is clarity in your desires, permission to achieve them, and allowing the time to make them real.

 Here’s a few ideas I’ve used when making dance-oriented…or any kind… of New Year’s Resolutions.

 Take A Personal Inventory
Have a stroll down Memory Lane, and   see what you accomplished. Seeing what has worked for you in past year. Did you accomplish everything that you wanted to?

 If not, why not?

 Looking at what you did in 2014 will help you to define and refine what you want to do in the coming year. Avoid making the same mistakes!

Write It Down, Say It Out Loud
Once you decide on what goals you’d like to work on, say it out loud-to yourself and others, and write them down!

  These former thoughts are now no longer just free-floating ideas in your head…and that’s a good thing!

 But remember, now that they’re tangible, there needs to be follow-through, and that’s where most of us hit stumbling blocks: the goals aren’t going to manifest themselves- you have to help them along their path to becoming reality!

  Take Baby Steps
 Break up all of your long-term goals into specific, shorter, bite-sized tasks, so they won’t be as daunting.

Were your goals and resolutions from last year a little too gung-ho, or maybe a tad lofty?

 Dreaming big has always been a personal mantra of mine… but then I have to step back and remind myself that if I’m reaching for the stars, I’m the one who needs to build the spaceship!

There are many ways of building your personal rocket to the stars- it starts with an idea, the idea gets fleshed out, and then put into action.   Know that any stage of this process might have to go back to the drawing board. Taking baby steps is the key here, and so is giving yourself some wiggle room- allow yourself the kindness of putting your dreams into action without abandoning your plans if they don’t go exactly the way you wanted them to. You can always re-evaluate your goals and go to Plan B- or Plan S, if need be!

On a personal note, writing The Belly Dance Handbook was actually a New Year’s Resolution that I made in 2007, for the New Year of 2008… and, of course it didn’t come out that year!  The idea had been floating around in my head already for years, but that’s all it was until I put it into action, and took the appropriate baby steps  to get it done.  2008 was the year I started this blog, and it was all about testing the waters and laying the frame work  for actually writing- and finishing- my book.  The book took a good six and a half years  to finish,  but I kept adding it onto my resolutions for the next step, the next phase, the next year. As of  January 11,  2015, it’s been out for a year!

 Get Specific
 Were your resolutions too vague? “Practice more” is a great goal, but it’s kinda broad. Setting a more specific goal– and allowing yourself to re-consider and re-set it as needed might be easier to make that goal a reality.

 For instance, instead of “Practice More”, you might want to decide to drill on your own for at least fifteen minutes a day…only for the month of January. Put this into your calendar, and just do it. It’s only thirty-one days, after all.  If this idea is working well   for you at the end of January, then by all means continue it through February…and if it works well in February, continue it through March.

  Some things work better on paper than they do in real life. If your goal is not working for you, don’t beat yourself up, just re-define it. Don’t abandon it, amend it! Pick something do-able, something that will work with your schedule.  You’re not going to get penalized for being unable to commit to your original goal, you simply want to make it something you can do!

  Maybe your goal needs to become “Practice Fifteen Minutes A Day, Three Times A Week” or “Home Drilling Sunday Mornings, 10am-11am”.  Perhaps   an every day practice won’t work with your life- it was a good idea, but many of us are not full time dancers; we’re college students, moms, or career women in addition to being dancers.  In order to fulfill your goals on practice, make those sessions something special, not   drudgery, cause you’ll only wind up putting it off. Make your practice like a hot date…with yourself! Soon, you’ll find out that your “relationship” with dance is blooming, because it was allowed to grow naturally, over a period of time.

 Reward Yourself
 I’m a damn champion at holding personal contests (with prizes, of course) or dangling a carrot in front of myself so I can get a reward for something I wasn’t all that crazy about doing.  Maybe I’m easily duped, but it seems to work every time!  That’s how I finished   The Belly Dance Handbook.   I’d give myself a small reward every time I completed a chapter…or an entire book edit.

 I make “deals” with myself constantly on a smaller level to help stick to my every day goals as well.  Sometimes they’re pretty crazy, but that’s how I move forward.  My life is constantly all about small challenges and rewards.  I’m always   holding self-imposed   mini-challenges like “If I sew all the elastic onto these ten sets of finger cymbals for my class, then I can get that new MAC lipstick!”  Or  “ If I walk twenty minutes a day, every day, after three months, I’m allowed to not walk for a week!” But the thing is, by the time I had walked every day for three months, it was a habit, not a burden… and if I didn’t walk for a day, I actually missed it!

Believe In Yourself
 New Years Resolutions and goals in general are about figuring out- with your mind, body and soul- what is best for you as a dancer.  They’re optimistic and they often seem far-fetched.  But, as they say, if you’re gonna dream, dream big!

Perhaps for 2015, your first Resolution should believe in yourself as a dancer. If you give yourself permission to do that, then everything else you decide to achieve will fall into place easily.  

 I believe in you…you can do it!


 Get a signed copy of The Belly Dance Handbook: A Companion For The Serious Dancer here:

Photo & Graphics: Maharet Hughes

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