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The Metronome

The purpose of the metronome is to help musicians develop and maintain timing and tempo. You can set it to the desired time signature to stay on beat from measure to measure with the tempo. I always preferred the allegro to the adagio myself. It makes me wonder why a metronome wasn't always sitting on the case door of the Baldwin upright we kept in the living room.

I knew I’d never have the patience to wait for the next tick. Not much has changed.

Whether it’s Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 or the disciplined pace we need to achieve our goals, keeping a steady beat can make all the difference.


We’re five months into 2019. Soon, we’ll be at the halfway point where most goal-setters reassess where they are on the path to their goals.

Most people start the year with severe, regimented discipline. As the pages of the calendars turn, they become lax in their planning and execution. When we take stock in the middle of the years, we most often find that we need to push the tempo. But do we tend to deliver?

When we set our timing and tempo to reach our goals by our deadlines, what often happens?

We set it to a pace to hit the ground running. We keep that pace for a while. Then, we hit the first obstacle, the first ‘no’, or the first negative comment from someone who should know better. That knocks the wind out of our sails for a bit.

We catch our breath and get back in the saddle, but we're a little slower. When the proper accountability criteria aren’t set, it's easy to start falling off the wagon (which we do with surprising consistency). We miss a few days. We figure we’ll start again next week. Next Wednesday we figure, you know what, next month is only 10 days away, I’ll restart then.

Before you know it, you’ve wasted your time and half of the year has gone by, and there’s no way to make up for lost time to reach your yearly goals.

Setting the right accountability criteria – with a good plan, an accountability partner or a coach, can be like setting that metronome at the perfect speed to get you and keep you on track.

The beauty of a metronome is that it doesn’t stop. Whatever pace you set it at, it keeps going. Tick, tick, tick, tick. If you stay on track, you’ll do it. Simple as that. Like the old calories in calories out rule, it's deceptive in its simplicity.

And pay mind: pace doesn't equate with speed. You can be slow and steady or fast and steady -- just be steady. And of course, like any good composition, there will be movements. Steady doesn't mean rigid.

When you need to kick things into high gear, kick 'em hard.

On those days when you need to slow it down a bit, ease up on the tempo. But, like the metronome,don't stop.

Just keep plugging away. Fast or slow, keep moving. As long as you are, you will be moving towards the achievement of your goals. In my book, stopping isn't just stopping. It's taking steps backwards. If you're not pushing through things, you're drifting.

I’m not saying you don’t pause when you need to take a pause. Do so if you're getting overwhelmed. But use the pause to assess things, to readjust, and to take a breath. Then keep moving. Yield, don't stop. Set your tempo, keep the pace, and play your magnum opus.

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