Can we all just collectively agree that 2018 flew by at lighting speed? It seems like it was just January and now it’s already time to start thinking about resolutions for the new year. Regardless of whether 2018 was an exhilarating or lackluster year for you, another trip around the sun gives a chance to recharge, reset, and make plans for an incredible and fulfilling 2019. Below are twelve dance-related resolutions–one for each month–that are sure to make 2019 your best year yet. Cheers to that!

January: Mindfulness

All too often we get wrapped up in the constant pursuit of perfection and routine of class, rehease, perform, repeat and we forget to exist in the present. Being fully aware and engaged in each and every moment is much easier said than done, but learning breathing techniques or practicing meditation can go a long way towards making you a more mindful dancer and artist.

February: Collaborate

Chances are you’ve met other types of artists such as painters, sculptors, musicians, fashion designers, etc at some point in your dance career. Challenge yourself to reach out to another artist who inspires you and see if he or she might be interested in collaborating on a project. Exploring dance from a different perspective and medium will allow you to make new connections and deepen your understanding of the art form.

March: Listen to Your Body

Many dancers are guilty of ignoring parts of their body that are strained or painful, myself included. I have been dealing with chronic back pain for as long as I can remember, and after a decade of ignoring it I have only recently started seeing a chiropractor and scheduling periodic deep tissue massages. We often convince ourselves that it’s easier to ignore the problem and hope for the best, rather than address the issue from the get go. Remember to listen to your body. Chances are that if something is hurting there’s a reason for it, and you’ll be far better off taking care of it now than later.

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April: Work on Your “Bad” Side

I have been a “leftie” my whole life. I’m left handed and my turns have always been naturally stronger on my left side. For many years I passively accepted that I would never be able to dance as well on my right side. It wasn’t until a teacher at one of my summer intensives pushed me to focus on my “bad” side that I realized it is possible to be consistent on both your left and right. Consult with someone you trust and ask for their feedback to help you improve whichever side is weaker. Practice might not make perfect, but it will make it much, much better.

May: See More Dance

When you’re taking class, rehearsing, and performing day in and day out sometimes the last thing you want to do is to attend yet another dance performance. When I first moved to New York City I saw every performance I could fit into my schedule and it was incredibly inspiring and rewarding. It also helped me get to know the dance scene and was a good excuse to chat with friends and colleagues. Seeing the work of other artists is our duty as an active participant in this art form. So do some research and make performance plans with a friend–you may walk away feeling more motivated and energized than ever.

June: Take A Break

By the time summer rolls around, don’t be afraid to schedule time for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.You earned it! Take a vacation or simply reward yourself with a day where you don’t have to do anything but stay in bed in your pajamas. You’ll be amazed how rejuvenated you feel afterwards!

July: Explore Your Artistry

There is so much more to being an amazing dancer than incredible technique. Fact: Dancers who have a finely tuned sense of artistry are the most engaging to watch. More often than not  choreographers won’t share their inspirations or thought processes behind a piece and it is up to you to add intention and artistic expression that is distinctively you. Don’t be afraid of looking silly or over-the-top, you owe it to yourself and your audience to infuse your unique essence into your dancing.

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August: Say Yes

Sometime we do ourselves a disservice by saying no to projects that intimidate us or we don’t think we’re right for. Push yourself to say yes to an exciting new project, even if it makes you uncomfortable or anxious. You never know what discoveries or realizations you’ll have once you get outside of your comfort zone!

September: Get More Sleep

When things start to pick up again in the fall, remember to make time for the most important thing of all–sleep. Getting adequate rest will help your body stay strong and healthy as you transition into a heavy performance season or strive to push your training to the next level.

October: Learn A New Dance Style

Back in January I started taking salsa classes, a brand new dance style for me, and I absolutely loved it. Coming from a strict concert dance background, I have come to appreciate the groundedness and social component of latin dance. It never hurts to challenge yourself by learning a new dance style–it’s a great resume booster and you might even be surprised how much you enjoy it!

November: Be Thankful

Being a dancer is an incredibly demanding, physically strenuous profession that can be fleeting and unglamorous. But at the end of the day, you are doing what you love. Nothing beats the exhilaration of performing on stage and bowing to a thunderous round of applause. Express gratitude to your body for sustaining you, your teachers for fine-tuning your technique, your fellow dancers for their support, and to yourself for your hard work.

December: Network

Even though dance isn’t a traditional career path, don’t underestimate the importance of networking. The era of cattle-call auditions is beginning to disappear as more and more choreographers are hiring dancers strictly from peer recommendations and word-of-mouth. Make a concentrated effort to get to know people in your field outside of your immediate circle. Even if nothing comes out of it professionally, it never hurts to expand your network.

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Do you have a new year’s resolution this year? Tell us about it in the comments!