What To Consider When Setting Dance Goals

Start by reflecting and identifying what is most important to you

Think about the past year and what brought you joy, what motivated you, what gave you a sense of belonging and pride that you’d like to achieve more of?
Maybe it was:

  • Taking classes at a workshop that introduced you to a new style you love.
  • Mastering a combination you hadn’t been able to do well before
  • Getting the grades you worked for at school
  • Making great new friends
  • Knowing the encouragement you gave to someone else made a difference for them
  • Being chosen for a small group you worked hard to audition for

What were challenges or obstacles over the last year that frustrated you, had you feeling overwhelmed, or down?
Was it:

  • Having too much on your plate and feeling like you were just ‘getting through it’ instead of really enjoying your time?
  • Emotions are contagious – did you let negativity from others rub off on you, or notice yours rubbing off on them?
  • Struggling with the flexibility needed to really execute the combinations in your routines?
  • Having a hard time accepting correction without it feeling like criticism?
  • Feeling like you lost friends because you don’t see them as much anymore?
  • Difficulty making it to all of your technique classes?

Reflecting on the last year can help start to untangle and identify things that might seem related but need to be looked at by themselves or from a different angle. Listing them individually will help you start forming goals around what motivates you, and make a constructive plan to overcome the challenges and frustrations you’ve had, step by step.

Create your S.M.A.R.T. goals for growth in the coming year

Your goals can be big or small, dance related or non-dance related, short term or long term.

Let’s use a goal of “Increase my flexibility” – which is fairly broad – as an example of how to better identify it, using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym:

Specific:

I’ll do 5 minutes of warm-up and 20 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week, of stretching to get all my splits flat and increase my upper and lower body extension.

Measurable:

I will monitor my progress in the mirror while stretching, ask my teachers to watch for progress, and will use photos and video of my dance routines along the way to observe visible progress from my daily stretching program.

Achievable:

I have tight muscles, but know that if I stick to it and make sure I warm up first and listen to my body, this is attainable for me.

Relevant:

Having flat splits and increased extension in both my upper and lower body will help me perform my dance routines with better technique, more confidence, and reduce the chance of injury.

Timely:

I’ll begin working toward this goal January 1, and will have all splits flat by March 31st.

BONUS #1:
The folks over at DanceParent101 added another letter on to the S.M.A.R.T. acronym: ‘E’ – exciting! They added the ‘E’ because “we also believe that a smart goal should motivate and excite us!” We endorse that sentiment!

BONUS #2:
Looking for more examples of dance goals to inspire you as you think about yours? Head over to Dance Insight for some great goals broken down in several categories.

Remember, your goals are unique to you and there isn’t a right or a wrong. Your goals should reflect your priorities and dreams, not someone else’s.

Set yourself up for success with a WRITTEN PLAN

Keep your goals front and center by writing them down and making them part of your daily routine.

Break your bigger or longer term goals down into smaller, achievable steps using the S.M.A.R.T. method.

Make a few copies and place them where you’ll see it daily. On your nightstand, your bathroom mirror, in your backpack, in your dance bag – put them in places you’ll see frequently and be able to hold yourself accountable.

Last but not least, clean out your dance bag and start this year with a fresh, clean bag and a positive, optimistic attitude!

Happy New Year!

NORTHLAND SCHOOL OF DANCE