Wishlist of Goals

It is officially December and Christmas is right around the corner. Kids all over are buzzing with excitement about Christmas eve, spotting Santa and opening their gifts with their families. Kids and adults make wish-lists full of items they want to receive this holiday season – some of those things they actually need (like a new pair of tennis shoes) or want (like a Nintendo Switch).

When I was a kid, I got to sit on Santa’s lap at the mall. There was an infinite row of children waiting in line to meet Santa and sit on his lap. After much anticipation, I walked up to Santa, got lifted onto his lap and was asked the golden question, “Ho Ho Ho! What do you want for Christmas?” I can’t remember what I said, but I knew that I was ready with an answer for him.

The holiday season is full of adults asking children, “Have you been good this year?” followed directly by “What is Santa going to bring you for Christmas?” This exemplifies such a direct connection between being “good” and getting the stuff you want. Many of us had a list of things we wanted for Christmas at the beginning of the year and tried to be “good” all year to get those things.

But what does that mean for us as adults?

I wonder, if adults made wish-lists of our dreams, goals and aspirations with as much limitless excitement as children do, would that inspire us to be “good” all year? If we knew what we wanted as clearly as a kid dreams of a Nintendo Switch, might we take the necessary steps to get those things and achieve those goals?

I feel like there are two challenges at play here: adults do not allow themselves to dream as much as kids and goals can feel heavy and cumbersome, unlike magical and light hearted wishlists.

I sat down with my favorite pen and notebook and asked myself, “what can my heroes do that I cannot yet do?” and “what skills do I wish I had but have neglected?” without thinking about all of the challenges between where I am now and where I want to be. Write this list as if Santa was bringing you these skills on a sleigh! Dream big. They do not have to be objective (yet).

Some of my trombone wishlist items include:

  • Conviction of light and articulate styles

  • Relaxed and consistent low register

  • Comfort and agility when switching between registers

  • Learn more tunes by ear

  • Even and stylistic multiple tongue at faster tempos

My wishlist may not seem so sparkly but it is to me! I will feel great joy when I get better at these things and your list should feel just as heartfelt and be rooted only in joy and excitement. Write your list with the wonderment of the holiday season in your heart and mind, instead of the trap us creatives visit all-too-frequently called self depreciation. This should not look like a list of things you are bad at -- it should look like a list of things you desire -- that invigorate you -- that bring you joy.

I am not sure who said it, but I have heard “A goal is just a dream with a timeline” many times and I couldn't agree more. Turning this list into goals will look different for everyone. Make a timeline, give yourself action steps, make a mindmap. If you follow through on your action steps and timeline, that is the equivalent to being “good” all year and getting what you want from Santa. Make that connection for yourself, and you are unstoppable!

I hope you get great joy writing out your own wishlists! Tag me @sophie_volpe or send me a message at and let me know how it went for you!

Happy Holidays!

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