by Jimmy Leslie

TrueFire is republishing this article as part of an ongoing partnership with The Best of Gig Magazine. Click here to check them out online.

Resolutions made regarding one’s self are the hardest resolutions to keep because there’s only one person that can see them through. But whether or not anyone can really changes, everyone can grow. The first step towards growth is simply to focus your attention, and make the commitement to take another step. So, step back, and take a reality check.

1. Keep clean.

It’s hard to do a reality check if you’re living and working in a chemically induced fantasy land. It’s also hard to perform your job well. Make a resolution to stay in control. And get support from your band, friends, and family by letting them in on your “problem.”

2. Switch fishbowls.

Sometimes you grow stagnant by sticking to the same waters. If you’re a city dweller, grab your tent and an acoustic and head for the hills. If you spend most of your time in the suburbs, make a run to the big city.

3. Keep a journal.

Writing your thoughts down is therapeutic. Songwriters need a scratch-pad. The trouble nowadays is the computer–that’s where people write–and a computer journal is a sketchy proposition. Go old school on this one.

4. Take some vocal lessons.

Value and vocals run hand in hand. That’s why it’s always the singer that winds up with the solo career. Any instrumentalist is more valuable to a band if he or she can do some singing, and everyone can use some new voice tips. Even Albert Pujols has a hitting coach.

5. Aid your hearing.

Get the best earplugs you can afford and wear them. Understand that getting custom earplugs make all the difference in the world in terms of how well you can still decipher sounds well while protecting your eardrums. Get more info at West-One or HearNet.

6. Lose the love handles.

Losing weight is probably the number one resolution made–and broken–in America every year, but it is especially important for performers. Part of the profession, like it or not, is that people will judge you as much on image as on musical talent.

7. Get some groovy new duds.

When was the last time you went through your closet and cut out everything you haven’t worn in a year? Grab it and head for the Salvation Army. One thought on dress: Better to wear something unremarkable that fits you just right and feels good than something with a supposedly impressive label or price tag that doesn’t hang well.

8. Consider a new ‘do.

Treat the hairstyle with the same attitude as the clothes–whatever makes you feel confident. If you still have the same hairstyle as when you were wearing the shirts you’re discarding, then it’s probably time for a change. Any hairstyle that has a major motion picture and numerous websites devoted to its ridicule should probably be avoided.

9. Mediate/congregate.

Separate yourself from the millions of other creatures and allow for some personal space. Then, celebrate the people you truly enjoy sharing life with at least once a month, and investigate people from different circles.

10. Believe in yourself.

Confidence is king. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can others? Stage presence, communicating with the audience, and projecting a good vibe are all necessary for success.