Posts in Mindset
Why You AREN'T Achieving Your Goals | Steve Such Drums


Remember that half-marathon you told me you’d race in, that language you said you’d learn, or that debt you said you’d pay off? 

Why did it never happen? What percentage of your goals are you ACTUALLY accomplishing? 

I’m not trying to make you feel bad here, but I do want you to take a second to actually think about it: WHY did any one of these goals not pan out?

In this article, I’ll help you discover what it is that’s holding you back from achieving your goals.


MACRO - Anytime we zoom way OUT on something to see the big picture. These are our dreams, goals, and aspirations:  “In 6 months, I’d like to have six-pack abs.”

MICRO - Anytime we zoom way IN on something to get into the nitty gritty. These are the measurables: duration, routine, sequence, etc. These are also our specific actions: “Today, I’ll do 25 ab crunches followed by 30 bicycle twists.”

We need the lenses of both the Macro and the Micro in order to achieve our goals. In other words, we need the dream, but we also need the roadmap to get there.

When we aren’t accomplishing our goals, it’s usually rooted in an imbalance between the micro and the macro. 


When you live without enough macro, you tend to “wing it” in life. You go with what you feel. You do what inspires you in the moment. In the case of practicing the drums, perhaps you walk in the room and start working on whatever comes to your head. Maybe you have a sudden inspiration to work on your paradiddles. Maybe tomorrow, you spend 3 hours developing your double bass drum chops. It varies from day to day, because variety is the spice of life! 

Living this way is quite enjoyable (we all love instant gratification), but you’ll find that when looking back, you never end up making REAL progress because you never had specific, big-picture MACRO goals. By always going with the flow, you’ll (at best) become a “jack of all trades and a master of none.”


Developing the MACRO should already be pretty familiar to you because most of us already do this in the form of day-dreaming. The difference, however, is that we’re going to get hyper-specific.

To get started, all you have to do is place yourself ahead a bit into the future. Ask yourself:

What do I want to do/become/achieve in 1 month? 6 months? 1 year? 5 years?

Think about these questions, and then (this is really important) WRITE THEM DOWN.

Remember, a well-defined goal has two things: 1) a specifc deadline and2) a specific way of measuring its success.

Terrible Goal: “Some day, I want to play paradiddles really fast!
Excellent Goal:  “In 3 Months, I will be able to play Paradiddles at 175 bpm.”


Truth bomb: this is what most people suffer from all throughout their lives. They stay stuck in a job they hate. They remain in a relationship that isn’t healthy. They never lose that weight they wanted to lose. They never took that trip they wanted to take. They never wrote that book they always wanted to write. They wake up and wonder where their life went.

This all happens because they aren’t utilizing something very important, the MICRO. They aren’t taking the time to zoom-in on life and ask: “What is the SMALLEST ACTION TODAY that I can take to get closer to my bigger goal?”

Dreams and aspirations (the Macro) give our lives purpose. But, as the quote goes: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” 

If you don’t actually take any real, specific steps to achieve your dreams, they will NEVER become a reality. They just remain dreams! 

Side note: In my own experience, it’s always taking the FIRST step or two that is hardest; it involves becoming uncomfortable, making changes, and developing new habits. Once the ball is rolling, achieving your goals become much easier. 


Developing the micro is very easy in concept, but it requires a healthy dose of grit to pull off. 

Just take your macro goal and split it up until it can no longer be broken down into smaller chunks.

For example, let’s take our macro goal from above: “In 3 Months, I will be able to play Paradiddles at 175 bpm.”

If we split this goal up into smaller chunks (micro), here’s what the next three months would look like:

Month 1: Paradiddles at 100-125BPM
Month 2: Paradiddles at 125-150BPM
Month 3: Paradiddles at 150-175BPM.

Notice that we’ve taken our goal and zoomed in a bit to create smaller, “micro” goals. Now, let’s zoom in a bit further.

Week 1: Paradiddles at 100-104
Week 2: Paradiddles at 105-109
Week 3: Paradiddles at 110-114
Week 4: Paradiddles at 115-119
Week 5: Paradiddles at 120-125

See how a clear plan is starting to form? We’re getting closer. Let’s zoom in even more.

Day 1:  Paradiddles at 100
Day 2: Paradiddles at 101
Day 3: REST
Day 4: Paradiddles at 102
Day 5: Paradiddles at 103
Day 6: REST
Day 7:Paradiddles at 104

Excellent! Finally, let’s zoom into what your first day’s practice routine might look like:

Day 1:
Paradiddles at 90 (5 minutes)
Paradiddles at 95 (5 minutes)
Paradiddles at 100 (5 minutes of your goal tempo for the day)

Total time: 15 minutes.

Hopefully you can see how effective this process is. By starting with the macro goal and working backwards, we were able to create an incredibly specific and efficient micro goal (in this case, a single practice session). 

Then, simply rinse and repeat. 3 months later, poof… you will have achieved your macro goal!


Important: WHEN (not IF) life gets in the way and throws you a curveball, it’s critically important to be able to tweak and refine your micro/macro goals. Otherwise, you’ll end up abandoning the goal all-together.

Something external is preventing you from completing your current micro goal? Make adjustments so that you can still get it done.

Macro goal was too easy? Make it more difficult.

Micro goal was too unrealistic? Make your macro goal easier.

Going back to our Paradiddle goal, let’s say that new commitments in your life are preventing you from achieving your micro goals of 15 minutes per day (side note: if you don’t have 15 minutes per day, we really need to talk). Regardless; in that case, all you have to do is adjust the micro goal so that you can still achieve your macro goal. 

Here’s an example of how we might change our goal from 15 minutes of drumming per day to 10 minutes of drumming per day:

Paradiddles at 90 (2 minutes)
Paradiddles at 95 (3 minutes)
Paradiddles at 100 (5 minutes of your goal tempo for the day)

Total time: 10 minutes.

My point here is that when you hit a road-block, take the DETOUR… don’t turn around and drive back home.


Remember: anytime you aren’t achieving your goals, take a look at it from both a MACRO perspective and then from a MICRO perspective. I hope this article has inspired you to get a little bit clearer about the goals you have, and gives you a new framework for creating an effective roadmap. Get to it!

A life lesson I learned from Tommy Igoe: "Take the shot" | Steve Such Drums

Hey drummers,

Before we hit 2017, I want to share an extremely personal story with you all that I haven't shared with very many people before.

My hope is that this story will help motivate you (and the rest of the drumming community) to start 2017 off with a little push.

Exactly 2 years ago today, I was named winner of the Tommy Igoe Groove Essentials Contest by Hudson Music (video here). It was such an honor to be recognized by the drumming community and seriously meant the world to me.


What meant more to me was the opportunity to then get to have a lesson with the incredible Tommy Igoe, someone who I look up to both as a musician and an educator.

Little did I know that my lesson with Tommy would end up changing my life.

You see, during our lesson in 2014, we actually barely played any drums at all (Maybe 15 seconds on the hi-hat).

Instead, we spent the entire time talking about life, music, and identifying what my goals/struggles were in both.

I had really needed to hear his advice at that time in my life. While I had both a great drumming gig and a solid corporate music job, I'd been feeling super stuck in my life for quite some time.

Deep down, I knew that I was continuing to play it safe, yet at the same time was too afraid to actually do anything about it.

Can anyone else relate?

In the lesson, Tommy told me something that I'll never forget:

"Steve... NOBODY lays on their death bed and says: ' You know what?... I sure wish that I had NEVER had taken a shot on that thing."

These words hit me like a brick wall! (If you missed it, re-read it again, placing yourself in that situation)

The lesson I learned is that our existence on this planet is seriously a blip on the radar (when you really think about the grand scheme of the universe). This isn't meant as a negative or as something dramatic, it's meant as a literal reality-check.

Inevitably, you and I will also be on our deathbeds too someday, reflecting on how our 20's, 30's, 40's, 60's, 80's, etc. went.

Once you become comfortable with this reality, why WOULDN'T you just go for it in life??? It would seem silly not to!

Tommy motivated me to start taking more chances in life and to STOP playing it safe. He pushed me to put myself out into the world fully, not just as a drummer (I've since been playing drums for the show Rock Of Ages), but also with my various online projects (Rules For Drummers, Ask The Drummer Podcast, 24 Days Of Vinnie, etc.) to help inspire the drumming community.

It's all been SO rewarding and I can honestly say that today, I feel so much closer to living my life's true purpose than I was in 2014. I have Tommy to thank for this!

The point of sharing this story with you all is this:

If you are even remotely THINKING about doing/creating/taking action on something in your life, JUST DO IT!

Thinking doesn't give you any results. Action does.

Don't be afraid to take action on the things you really want in life! You will lay on your deathbed feeling happy that you took that shot, not the other way around.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and totally crushes it in the new year... GO FOR IT!


How To Set Effective Goals | Steve Such Drums

#1 - Define / Eliminate any failure points.

What are the scenarios, temptations, or distractions that will prevent you from reaching your goals? If you can identify these things ahead of time, you can then change your methods (or create contingencies) in order to avoid/minimize these failure points. Less failure points = more success.

#2 - What would it look like if it were easy?

I usually find that the more complex something is in my life, the more likely I am to have issues down the road. In the same way, if you can keep your goals SIMPLE, you'll be more likely to achieve them. Working backwards, ask yourself what you would do if achieving your goal was EASY, then use the answer to create an effective method.

The Power Of Visualization, Preparation, and Inspiration | Steve Such Drums

The Power Of Visualization, Preparation, and Inspiration

Recently, I was asked to be a guest on the Conrad Askland show! (a show about business, arts, and all the intersections inbetween.)

In the interview with Conrad, we discuss many things, including:

  • What it means to become inspired.
  • Choosing between a Music Education degree & a Music Performance degree.
  • How to prepare for a big audition.
  • The power of visualization in both music and in life.

Listen To The Interview Here:

5 Ways To Handle Criticism | Steve Such Drums

Whether we like it or not, the actions we take in life are always subject to criticism from others.

This holds especially true in the world of music, where personal tastes can be so subjective and opinionated.

Criticism can often be a tough pill to swallow, so here are 5 things to think about when you encounter it:


I have a confession to make. Personally, I can’t stand the taste of seafood.

I’d say about 99% of the time, seafood tastes absolutely revolting to me. Of course, when I mention this to someone at a restaurant, they look at me like I’ve committed a cardinal sin!

But… me not liking seafood doesn’t mean that seafood is a BAD thing and should never be served again. It just means that I, Steve Such, don’t like seafood.

Some people like jazz. Some people like metal. Some people like hip-hop. Some people listen to all three. Some people don’t listen to any of it.

Just because a person doesn’t like something (or criticizes it) doesn't mean that it has absolutely no place in the world. It just means that it’s not their cup of tea.

No matter how good your intentions are, you simply can’t please everybody. When you try to, you'll end up holding back and playing it safe.

Instead of trying to please everyone, ask yourself “What is my gift to offer to others in this life?” Once you have the answer to this, just go out there and make it happen. Criticism may come your way from time to time, but you will also 10-20x the amount of positive impact you can have during your time here on this planet. Why? Because you weren’t playing it safe.

Once again: You can’t please everybody, so stop trying to.


Steve Jobs was criticized for creating computers with a “closed system.” The founders of AirBnb were laughed at for their concept (“You want a complete stranger to be able to pay to stay in another stranger’s home without ever having met?!”). Geddy Lee was criticized as having too high of a voice (the singer of Rush, one of the most successful rock bands of all time). Many of our world’s most respected figures faced heavy criticism before eventually being honored as an innovator.

Imagine if any of these people had quit at the first sign of criticism… what a shame that would have been!

The point is, whenever someone starts to criticize you, it might be a sign that you’re actually on to something. Many of your worst critics are simply those who are uncomfortable with any type of change. They “like it the way it is and want to keep it the way it always has been.”

Ignore their criticism. You may just be on to something.


Counterintuitively, some people choose to criticize you because they might be jealous of the very thing they are criticizing you for.

If “John" constantly teases you for being “too nice,” maybe it’s because deep down he wishes here were as nice as you.

If “Jane” writes a horrible review about how much she hates your album/playing/etc., maybe she's really trying to take the focus off of her own personal struggle as a musician.

Criticism can often be a coping mechanism for someone’s own securities or lack of action in their own life. Always keep this in mind when facing your nastiest critic.


If you encounter someone who criticizes your talent, profession, or character, ask yourself: “Why am I seeking validation from this person in the first place?” "Should his/her approval really matter to me?”

Think about this: if you aren’t receiving some form of this criticism from time to time, it might mean that you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough past your own personal limits and fears.

After all, it’s your life to live, not theirs. It becomes virtually impossible to let criticism effect you negatively if you stay focused your own happiness, goals, and purpose.


I’ll end with this. Renowned author Neil Gaiman spoke the following words at a college commencement speech:

"Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal.

And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain."

If someone criticizes what you are doing, stop and ask “For the thing they are criticizing me for, am I at least getting closer to the mountain?"

If the answer is yes, ignore their criticism.

As long as your actions and efforts are always moving toward the mountain, don’t let criticism stop you in your tracks. Instead, use criticism as fuel to get you to the mountain faster.

MindsetSteve SuchComment