Posts tagged Goals
How can I achieve my goals when I don't have much free time? | Ask The Drummer Podcast #020


Ask The Drummer Podcast

Gediminas from Lithuania asks a fantastic question: When you have limited time during the day, what should you practice? How can you get better even if you don’t have very much time to practice?

In this episode, I’ll show you how time should not correlated with progress. I’ll even prove to you that lack of time can actually become harnessed as a superpower!

I'll also discuss in detail my 5 STEPS for creating an effective practice plan:










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:

RULE 9: Small Improvements Daily


A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
— George S. Patton



RULE 9: 



This week I'm excited because Nick Ruffini (of the Drummer's Resource Podcast) has touched on probably one of the single most important pieces of advice not just for drumming, but for almost any area of LIFE. Those who succeed deeply in life are the ones who put in small, steady effort each day. The famous saying "Rome wasn't built in a day" is so applicable to our lives. 

Big, short bursts allow you to go FAST.

Small, steady efforts allow you to go FAR.

THE QUESTION IS: Do you want to go FAST or do you want to go FAR?

Let's first look to an area such as fitness. Person A follows a radical crash-diet or cleanse, lose a quick 5-10 pounds, and then immediately gain it all back. (Has this ever happened to you before?) On the other hand, Person B makes SMALL, simple adjustments to their diet, restricts their calorie intake slightly, and loses just .5lbs a week. Over the span of a year, Person A is the same weight (or in many cases a higher weight) while Person B has lost 26lbs! Person B achieved more results because they made small (and seemingly unnoticeable at the time) improvements daily.

I recently followed Justin Pierce's killer 12-week program (Metaphysical Fitness) that ended with us doing 100 pushups per day as part of the physical component. This wouldn't have been even close to possible on Day 1, but because we started small and gradually increased the number of reps over time, 100 pushups were totally possible by week 12.

I've always had difficulty following a meditation practice. I realized that the reason was because I'd get about half way through my 20 minute meditation and feel the need to stop, which discouraged me from wanting to continue the practice the next day. How did I solve this? By decreasing the amount of time meditating each day and working gradually towards my goal of 20 minutes per day. (First 5 min., then 10 min., then 15, etc.)

Another example is in finance where compound interest is king. Saving your money in your 20's is far more beneficial than saving money in your 40's or 50's, which is more beneficial than saving money in your 60's and so on. Even putting away just 3-5% of your income each pay-day will reap huge benefits for you later in life. 

My last example deals with reading. I absolutely love books, but could never seem to find the time to finish them. Why is this? Because when I would think about the act of reading, it seemed like some sort of elusive activity that would last a really long time ("I have to read this entire book?"). Rather than thinking of reading BOOKS, I now think in terms of CHAPTERS. Every day, I read just ONE chapter of a book and then stop as soon as it's finished. By following the chapter-a-day method, I went from reading NO books to reading SEVERAL books each year. Try it!

Our culture is so focused on shortcuts, tricks, and work-arounds. I fear that this mindset will lead to a culture filled with shallow mediocrity. The truth is that the pros are the ones who execute the slow, long burn. Have you ever ran a race such as a 5K or half-marathon? If so, you'll notice that experienced runners understand the need for a slower overall pace while a first-time runner will explode out of the gate, burn out quickly, and then struggle to barely reach the finish line.

Don't think like a sprinter. 

Think like a long-distance runner.


This week, think of an area of your life where you can make small improvements daily. Follow the following 4 steps:

  1. SET A GOAL - "I'd like to lose weight!"

  2. SET A SPECIFIC AMOUNT - "I will lose 10 Pounds."

  3. SET A DEADLINE - "I will lose 10 Pounds in 2 months."

  4. CREATE A SMALL DAILY ASSIGNMENT -  "I will restrict my calorie intake by 500 calories each day. This will allow me to lose 10 pounds in 2 months."

You're likely to achieve almost any goal using this simple method. Let's apply this to drumming:

  1. SET A GOAL - "I'd like to play paradiddles comfortably really fast!"

  2. SET A SPECIFIC AMOUNT - "I will be able to play paradiddles at 200bpm"

  3. SET A DEADLINE - "In 100 days, I will be able to play paradiddles at 200bpm"

  4. CREATE A SMALL DAILY ASSIGNMENT -  "On day 1 I will play paraddiddles at 100bpm for 5 minutes, On day 2 I will play them at 101bpm for 5 minutes, and so on.


nick ruffini drummers resource podcast

Thanks to Nick Ruffini for offering his 3-words of advice for drummers: SMALL IMPROVEMENTS DAILY.  NYC Drummer Nick Ruffini (Philadelphia, PA native), began playing drums at age 15 and never stopped. Nick attended Villanova and Kutztown University, graduating in 2005 with a B.S. in Business Management and Music Performance. 

In 2013, Nick teamed up with Boso Drumsticks to become their artist relations director. Following joining Boso, Nick launched Drummer’s Resource, an online community where he provides interviews and expert advice from the world’s best drummers and music industry professionals. With thousands of downloads and website views per month, Drummer’s Resource has become a staple in the online drumming world.

Nick has performed/shared the stage with: Phish’s Page McConnell, Everlast, The Greyboy Allstars, Dave Grippo (Trey Anastasio Band), Johnny Defrancesco, DJ Q-Ball (DJ for the Multi-platinum artists The Bloodhound Gang), Jazz Legend Melvin Sparks and Badfish, just to name a few.

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