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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Goal Setting for the New Year: The Dance of Life

One of my long-time readers and dance students requested that I write my annual goal-setting issue this month. Over the years he has shared his goals and accomplishments with me. Since this blog allows comments, I invite each of you make a posted commitment to your goals this year.

Goals for the new year? Notice I didn't say resolutions. Resolutions are not goals. Goals are specific and measurable. Here's 10 steps to develop goals that you can and will want to live up to.

1. Work backwards first.
Take the time to reflect over the past year. Did you set goals? If so, what results did you achieve? As I look over my goals for 2009 I realize that I did very little toward accomplishing them. Does this mean I failed? No, it just means that 2009 sent some whoppers my way that I did not envision. So I need to acknowledge that 2009 was an off year, be thankful for the things that I did accomplish or start to put in motion, and recommit to the things I want to have happen in 2010.

2. Acknowledge the surprises good and bad.
2009 was not a healthy year for our families. We lost Chester's dad and my mom has been in a scary spiral since she broke her hip in August. Although I didn't achieve all my goals, I did take steps toward achieving them and that should be acknowledged. Half my house is painted. My yard is no longer choked by weeds and bushes. We had fantastic classes and workshops and were blessed by so many students and teaching opportunities. And we had some great surprises: Chester and Dorrie competed nationally and placed. We got to go to San Diego for the Balboa Rendezvous (which had been on my list for years). We taught an optional class at Swing Out New Hampshire. I reconnected with almost my entire elementary school class on Facebook. I fell in love with having a dog.

3. Acknowledge the gaps.
We don't want to live in the gap between what we have and what we want in our lives, but by acknowledging the gaps we create a tension that springs us toward what we want.

4. Believe that you can create the future in advance.
What do you want? You have the power to create the future of your dreams. But first you have to dream it and believe it before you can live it. Take a moment to envision the future you want, now make it real and write it down.

5. Create a goal list.
Base your list on your vision of the future and your gaps between what you have now and what you want. Be as specific as possible. (i.e. Lose 5lbs vs. lose weight).

6. Choose goals you have control over.
You can't have a goal that is dependent on another person. For example, my goal for the last two years has been to have my house painted and it is getting painted. I wish very hard that the painting will be completed in 2010 but unless I am willing to pick up a brush myself, I can't make the completion of the project my goal (but it certainly can be my painter's goal--hint, hint).

7. Categorize your goals.
What goals fit under what categories of your life? For example, if you are a reader of this newsletter than you likely have a category called DANCE.

8. Write your action plan and outcomes.
It's not enough to just say you want to be a better dancer. You need to write down how you plan to become a better dancer (i.e. take more classes, practice more, etc), and write down how you know when you have achieved that goal (i.e. I danced with so and so and we had a great dance or I performed with Chester's Cool Cats and Kittens -- a great goal by the way).

9. Revisit your list throughout the year.
I admit, I forgot to revisit my list. Even though it was posted on my desk. So I never made time to focus on the things I wanted to achieve. No surprise I didn't achieve most of them. You need to take the time to focus and recommit weekly.

10. Live by my favorite couplet by Goethe
(which one of our students thoughtfully put on a sweatshirt for Chester's BD!)

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

PUT MORE DANCING ON YOUR GOAL LIST: January classes begin week of January 4. Second Saturday Swing Dance January 9.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Practice Good Habits--More Than Just Dancing

"Cover your mouth when you sneeze!"

We've been told this for as long as we can remember. So we automatically put our hand over our mouth when we sneeze. Problem is the germs are now on our hands, which we use to open doors, pull out chairs--and in dancing--offer to our partner.

So how do we continue to safely enjoy dancing in this coming flu season--especially with the spread of Swine Flu?

1. Sneeze into your arm, not your hand. This will contain the germs on a less-spreadable part of your body.

2. Sanitize your hands. Immediately after sneezing excuse yourself and wash your hands or use hand santizer. Do the same before and after class and periodically throughout the night at a dance. We have a big bottle of hand sanitizer available at all classes and dances.

3. If you don't feel well stay home, even if it's a class or dance you really want to take. There's no way around the fact that dancing is a contact sport. Another dance will come. If you're taking classes with Got2Lindy Dance Studios, we allow students to begin up to the second week and you have the opportunity to make up missed classes in our other locations (Stone Ridge, Kingston, Highland) at any time during the four-week series. And even if you can't make up the missed class, we always review to make sure you have the material.

4. Don't rotate. If you come to dance class with a partner and you suspect you might be coming down with something or just getting over something, stay with your partner for that night.

5. Read the article below, share it and follow it! It was emailed to me by one of our students.

PREVENT SWINE FLU--GOOD ADVICE based on an article by Dr. Vinay Goyal

The only portals of entry for the virus are the nostrils, mouth and throat. In a global epidemic, it is almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 so in order to prevent proliferation practice the following good habits:
1. Frequent hand-washing.
2. Hands off the face approach. Once you become aware of how often you touch your face, you'll be amazed. Resist all temptations to touch any part of your face until you've cleaned your hands.
3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water or Listerine. H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate so gargling is a great preventive.
4. Clean your nostrils at least once a day with warm salt water. If you are not familiar with the yogic method of doing this using a Neti pot, you can simply blow your nose hard once a day and swab your nostrils with cotton balls dipped in warm salt water.
5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C or take a supplement that also contains Zinc to boost absorbtion.
6. Drink warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc). This has the same effect as gargling except the viruses are rinsed from the throat to the stomach where they cannot survive.

By following this good advice, and making the extra effort to protect yourself, you'll be protecting all your fellow dancers.

By the way, if you haven't already heard, Chester and Dorrie won 2nd Place at the American Lindy Hop Championships Pro/Am Division. Read about it in the Poughkeepsie Journal article.

Saturday, Nov 7 Alzheimer's Benefit Dance with Swingin' Jive Patrol
Monday, Nov 9 New Kingston Series begins (FINAL FOR 2009)
Wednesday, Nov 11 (my birthday!) New Highland Series begins (FINAL FOR 2009)
Saturday, Nov 14 Swing Out Intensive Technique Clinic 5:30-7pm
Saturday, Nov 14 Second Saturday Swing Dance Port Ewen 7-10:30pm
with New Paltz Food Pantry Drive (bring a can of food to donate)
Sunday, Nov 15 & 29 Balboa Sunday, Poughkeepsie 3-5pm
Saturday, Nov 21 Fill-in-the-Memory-Blanks Workshop 2-4pm for 2009 Got2 Lindy Students
Tuesday, Nov 24 New Stone Ridge Series begins (FINAL FOR 2009)
Friday, Dec 4 Capital Swing Dance, Albany with Cool Cats & Kittens & Dorrie & Chester performances
Saturday, Dec 5 & Sunday, Dec 6 Big Apple Lindy Hoppers Weekend Worshop, Dance, Performance Extravaganza
Saturday, Dec 12 Second Saturday Swings Port Ewen Holiday Swing Dance & Performance
Saturday, Dec 12 Technique Clinic 5:30-7pm (FINAL FOR 2009)
Classes begin week of January 4
First dance of the year January 9