THE QUESTION YOU DON’T WANT TO BE ASKED
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.
FIRST… TWO IMPORTANT WORDS YOU NEED TO LEARN
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.
SCENARIO #1 - NOT ENOUGH “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.”
SOLUTION #1 - DEVELOPING THE MACRO
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.”
SCENARIO #2 - NOT ENOUGH “MICRO”
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.
SOLUTION #2 - DEVELOPING THE MICRO
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:
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!
TWEAKING THE MICRO AND MACRO
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!