Stick to Your New Year's Resolution and Play more in 2020!
Published on 31 December 2019
New year, new me, right...? Well, that's always the plan, but unfortunately for all too many of us, resolutions can be harder to stick to than Teflon and we've all made ourselves promises that have sadly been forgotten before the end of January. So, we've put together a few tips for sticking to the only resolution that matters - playing more guitar. Read on and let us know any tips of your own in the comments!
We know what you're thinking, this is an obvious one. However, we can't stress enough that if you want to get better at playing the guitar, regular practice is what's going to make that happen. That said, unrealistic promises of spending hours practising every single day with Steve Vai levels of commitment are just going to leave you feeling defeated or burned out after the first week. Instead, why not schedule in as little as 10 or 15 minutes playing every day? You'll soon find that without developing horrendous blisters on your fingers, or snubbing your family in order to become the greatest axe wielder to ever live, you're slowly but surely progressing; those hard licks are getting smoother and faster and you're always keen to get back for more. Trust us, you'd be surprised how much you notice yourself improve with even a short daily practice sesh, it doesn't always need to be a big production! Fall into the right habits this year and you'll be onto a winner from the word go...
Make Sure Your Axe is Easy to Access
Sometimes the hardest part of sticking to goals is simply getting started. Once you've picked up your guitar and gotten warmed up, it's easy to keep riffing out, learn something new and even write something of your own. That said, with the increasingly hectic lives we all have, it can often be hard to motivate yourself to play in the first place (let's face it, Netflix is always one click away...). That's why we recommend leaving your guitar somewhere that you can literally grab it and have a jam. Whether that means propping it up on the couch in your living room or hanging it on a wall so you can grab it whenever you fancy, having your axe within arms reach factors in the laziness we're all guilty of. Remember, practice doesn't always need to be plugged in - keep your trusty partner in rock nearby to save you from drifting apart this year.
There's nothing that kills momentum like feeling as though you aren't making any progress. We get it, playing the guitar at every level is difficult, there's no two ways about it. Whether you're a seasoned player or a novice, pushing yourself to get to the next stage takes dedication. So, we recommend setting yourself realistic targets to allow you to follow your progress. These can be as small as, deciding to learn a new song by the following month, or a couple of scales that week. Keep a note of what goals you're setting yourself and stick to them. Then, the next time you feel like giving up, look back on what you've already achieved and you'll notice that the things that used to be a nightmare are now some of your go-to riffs/techniques. Remember, with time and dedication, there's not much you can't learn, so take your resolution seriously and give it the effort it deserves!
You know what makes targets much more appealing? Rewards. The only thing more satisfying than smashing out a solo you've been working on since you were a young shredder in your bedroom is knowing that you've earned the right to treat yourself. Now, that doesn't mean that you should run out and buy a Custom Shop Les Paul because you managed to play the riff from Sweet Child of Mine but it does mean that a new pedal, strap or even guitar is a fantastic way to motivate yourself. If you stick to your resolution by playing every day, then you're doing better than most, so treat yourself to something new since you've already proved you'll put it to good use.
Don't Stress Out
This may seem the most simple but it's quite possibly the most important tip we've got for you... RELAX! All too often we see players near enough having breakdowns over the tune they're struggling to play, or indeed the lack of time they've spent trying to learn it. You play best when you're not overthinking things so if you start to feel frustrated, walk away for ten minutes, or even the rest of the day. While it can be worth pushing through and learning something new, there's absolutely no reason to beat yourself up. Guitar playing should always be fun and a destresser, not something that's getting into your head. Chill out and enjoy the process, no one becomes a rockstar overnight!
Comment with your own tips below!