A good goal should contain parameters that make it possible to track and prove progress.

One of the most widely used goal-setting tactics is known as setting S.M.A.R.T. goals: Goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Let’s break it down further.


Your goal should be specific enough that you can break it down into actionable steps. For example, a goal to ‘earn enough money to be a full-time musician’ is quite vague, though it’s a great starting point.

If your goal is vague, try breaking it down into smaller goals that feed into the overarching goal. For example, ‘play more paid shows per month’ or ‘create and sell merch.’


Once you’ve set a specific goal, define which elements of that goal you can measure. This approach determines whether or not you are on track to reaching that goal. Also, this type of goal setting often requires one big end measurement that determines success, as well as smaller measurable points to track your progress along the way.

How often you should check in with yourself depends on the goal and the timeline. However, it should also be often enough that you can correct or adjust yourself when you’re not progressing as planned.

Continuing with our earlier examples, you could make the above goals measurable by adding trackable parameters, such as ‘play at least three local paid shows per month’ or ‘earn $3,000 back from a $500 investment by designing, sourcing, and selling merch.’


This is the part of goal setting that requires you to be completely honest with yourself – is your goal realistically attainable?

This approach can be hard to consider without being biased. However, a good place to start is writing down all of the various factors and resources you would require to reach your goal. For example, required time, finances, having a team in place to support you where needed, and of course, having the talent to make it all happen.

Furthermore, if your goal is to play a few paid local shows each month, try brainstorming a list of resources you would need for that to happen. For example, you may need to have created and practiced enough music to fill a set time, as well as have variation between sets to keep your act fresh. You may also need to have some amount of buzz and digital presence already under your belt. This includes a robust social media profiles, an electronic press kit, and perhaps a few shows you’ve already played in the area.

You would also likely need to have some contacts at venues in your town, a booking agent to help you earn gigs or free time to spend researching open mics or jam sessions you can join. Finally, you would also need the equipment necessary to put on a show and the hours of practice behind it to get booked on a regular basis.


Is the goal you’re setting a good move for you both now and in the long-term? For example, if your goal is to create and sell merch, but you’re having trouble paying your rent, now is probably not the best time to invest your funds in the design and creation of that merch.

Think honestly about where you are in your music career. If you’re just starting out, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to jump into playing shows full time. Instead, more relevant goals may be to take music courses to hone your production or live performance skills, work with a branding consultant to figure out your image, or practice more regularly.


Giving yourself deadlines to meet is key to staying on track. Moreover, deadlines can be flexible, and there’s no reason to beat yourself up if you don’t always meet them. However, they should overall serve as ways to check in with yourself regularly to ensure you’re giving your all to reach your goals.

About The Author


Ayasha Roberson started Urban SociaLites, LLC in June of 2010, she holds a bachelor degree in Sociology from Richard Stockton College and Masters Degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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