What Kind of Goals Do YOU Need?

In a previous post, Performance Anxiety and SUPREME Goals, we looked at how setting good goals—SUPREME Goals (Specific, Uplifting, Paramount, Reachable, Exciting, Measurable, Enjoyable) can help performers maintain strong, stable confidence, lessen the effects of performance anxiety, and keep them focused on what is within their control and motivated to take action.  Sounds like the magic pill doesn’t it?

In order for these goals—this magic pill—to work, YOU need to work for them.  Last time we learned what SUPREME goals are.  Now, let’s look at how to determine what your SUPREME goals are and how to use them to get what you want out of your performing.

1.  First, ask yourself about your ultimate purposeWhat do I most want to be, to do, to have, or to contribute with my performing?  Really!  Ask yourself this question and then write down whatever comes into your mind.  Let yourself dream.  Release limitations and really reflect on your heart’s desire.  Got your notepad handy?  Write it down.

            “The only one who can tell you ‘you can’t’  is you.   And you don’t have to listen.”

2.  Now as Dr. Glickman describes in her book, Optimal Thinking, put your ultimate purpose to the SUPREME test.  Check your ultimate goal against the SUPREME criteria.  Is it Specific, Uplifting, Paramount, Reachable, Exciting, Measurable, Enjoyable—and within a specific time frame?  If your goal doesn’t pass the test, restate it so you can work it better.

3.  Next, ask yourself:  Why haven’t I already achieved my ultimate purpose?  This question will help you identify the objectives you must achieve—your SUPREME goals—to reach your ultimate purpose.

4.  Once you have this list—the list of what you need to achieve to get where you want to be, ask yourself:  Which goal is most important today?

5.  The next important step is to list all the benefits you can gain by achieving your goal(s).  Recognizing the benefits of achieving your goals will serve as incentive to motivate you when times get tough or when you feel anxious or discouraged.  Ask yourself:  Why do I want this?  How will I feel when I succeed?  Why is this of utmost importance to me?  Write these answers/benefits down and keep them handy as reminders of where you are going.

6.  Earlier when you asked yourself why you hadn’t already achieved your goal, you identified what was missing—what steps you need to take to get where you want to go.  Now, identify the obstacles that can and will frustrate your success.

Cindy was a rising senior performance major who had two desires.  She wanted desperately to perform well enough to be accepted to a summer music program and, as an excellent student, wanted to make good grades.   It seemed that she was continually frustrated because all her time was eaten up by study and work for her academic classes which left no time for practice.  She concluded that the two goals were incompatible.  What could she do?   Cindy discovered that she was capable of reaching both of her goals through more effective goal setting and better time management.  Cindy had to become brutally honest with herself and determine what she really wanted.  When she was able to identify that her ultimate purpose was to become a professional performer and being accepted into a summer program was a step in that direction , she was able to identify the steps she needed to best prepare and the obstacles that were standing in her way.

When working to reach their goals, qualifications, attitude, experience, time, and money are the most common obstacles that performers face.  With determination and diligence you can take action to overcome your obstacles.

  • Obstacles are what we see when we take our eyes off our goal.
  • Obstacles are what we hear when we take our ears off our goal.
  • Obstacles are what we think when we take our mind off our goal.
  • Obstacles are what we feel when we take our heart off our goal.

As a performer in our extremely competition business, it is important to listen and actually hear the feedback you get from coaches, teachers, directors, and conductors.  There are times that you will need to acquire more skill, make necessary changes, or take a different path, however, many times you may just run up on an unexpected, but surmountable obstacle and without this obstacle you know you can achieve your goal.  Keep revisiting the WHYs and the BENEFITS behind your goals because those are what will keep you motivated and focused on the action you need today to keep you on the path and not off in the weeds.

7.  Remember to make good use of your calendar.  Using a calendar or planner is a great way to put a time limit on your goals to help you achieve and fulfill your ultimate purpose.  In your calendar you will want to write your ultimate purpose and your SUPREME goals that will help you accomplish this purpose.

For setting weekly or daily goals you can ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are the most important goals I want to achieve this week/today?
  2. How can I make the most of this week/today?
  3. What are the best actions I can take to achieve my ultimate purpose this week/today?

Just remember, when contemplating your goals that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  and then another and then another.  When you set goals that mean the world to you—ones that you are not only your heart’s desire, but are reasonable and measurable, you will not only be willing to take action along the path to your ultimate purpose, you will be ready.

Let me know if you would like to work with someone on setting SUPREME goals and making a plan to work these goals in your performing.

If you would like to receive my monthly performance tips, sign up for the free mp3 program, Mental Strategies for Peak Performance, CLICK HERE.


Glickman, R., (2002), Optimal thinking:  How to be your best self, New York:  John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

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