female hand writes a plan in a gridded journal

New Year, New You

Happy New Year from Sky Candy! We’re making plans for what we want to accomplish in 2019, and we’re sure you are too. We’re excited to work with you throughout the coming year to help make your aerial and fitness goals a reality. Let’s start by looking at some ideas about how to set goals, in order to make them more achievable.

We’ve seen too many folks (including ourselves) end up ready to quit because they weren’t making the progress they’d expected. Here’s what we’ve learned along the way about setting goals you can stick to:

Be reasonable

We’ll start at the most basic level: set goals you can reasonably achieve. This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how often this trips people up. We commonly have students say they want to “start performing professionally next month” or “get into Level 5 by the end of the year” after their very first aerial class. Slow down, friends; these things take time! It’s totally reasonable for either of those goals to be your endgame, but start by breaking them into manageable steps.

A reasonable goal for a beginner might be to create a fluid sequence that you can perform without pausing. Another could be to complete your first Lyra 1 series and attend Open Studio weekly to review what you’ve learned. When you’ve mastered that goal, look ahead to what the next reasonable step might be. (For more information about our levels system and how to progress, check here.)

Be specific

Instead of choosing something general, like “Get stronger,” make your goal something specific and measurable. “Perform one pull-up.” “Hold a handstand at the wall for 60 seconds.” “Stop tagging in pullovers.” These goals all require increased strength, but also have measurable outcomes and allow you to track your progress.

Choose things you can control

Let’s look at goals like, “Perform professionally this year”. While it’s fine for experienced aerialists to want to gain performance experience, it’s also not a great goal, as it’s somewhat out of your hands. You could be one of the most creative and talented aerialists around, and there’s still no guarantee that a producer will cast you. How can you reframe this goal to make it more achievable? First, if the performance itself is the goal, see if your home studio offers opportunities. Many have student showcases and scratch nights, where anyone can get up and show their work. Make your goal participating in one of those shows.

If you’re embarking on a professional aerial career, make your goals the steps you take to put that into motion. “Create a professional website and reel.” “Contact three different producers/agents to inquire about opportunities.” “Invite a professional performer to coffee and pick their brain.” These kinds of goals are entirely within your control and don’t rely on someone else to achieve.

Don’t do too much at once.

It’s tempting to want all the things and to want them now. More pull-ups and flatter splits, straight-legged inversions and a 60-second handstand hold; it’s easy to find areas to improve. But let’s be real. There are only so many hours in each day, and only so many things we can expect from our bodies. Think carefully about how much time you have to devote to your goals and choose one or two things to focus on. And remember, rest days are important. If your plan for aerial domination has you in the studio seven days a week for hours at a stretch, back off. Give your body time to recuperate, and you’ll see better results.

Celebrate every success.

Remember that progress isn’t always linear. You might be steadily adding time to your handstand, working from that 30-second hold up to 40 seconds, then 45, then . . . nothing. Or even worse, a step backward. That’s okay! It happens. Our bodies are complex and affected by all sorts of factors. Instead of focusing on the setbacks or plateaus, take time to celebrate your progress. Even if that 60-second handstand continues to elude you, you’ve still increased your time and built strength in the process. There’s so much benefit to just doing the work, even if the results aren’t what you expected. Every bit of progress counts and should be celebrated.

Ask for help.

As we said at the beginning, we’re here to support you as you work towards your goals this year. If you’re struggling with a particular skill, sign up for regular Open Studio time or book a private lesson to explore it more fully and focus on fine-tuning it. If you’re looking to build overall strength, make attending a conditioning class one of your goals. Want to increase your endurance? The cardio equipment in the gym is calling your name – set a goal to spend some time on it before or after class.

Finally, think about the role other people play in your success. Some of us are more private and want to keep quiet about our goals – making them public may feel like too much pressure or just like it’s not anyone else’s business. Other people really benefit from having a community check in with them and hold them accountable. If you’re the former, we won’t intrude (though we might suggest tracking your progress in a journal or app), but if you’re the latter, feel free to talk about your goals in class or post them in the student Facebook group. We’re happy to cheer you on and support you!

Good luck reaching your goals this year – we’re excited to play a supporting role (both literally and figuratively) in your success!