Big Goals Start with Baby Steps

I am all about goal setting. At home, at work – I firmly believe that there has to be a light at the end of the tunnel in order for us to get through the darkness. There has to be some foreseeable end result to reward us for all of the hard work we’ve put in. Without a goal, without a purpose, we have nothing.

Setting goals for your life

This was the theme of my life last year – setting goal after goal was what I lived for. I told myself I had to quit my job and get myself to Chicago – and I did it. I told myself I had to find a job once I got here, surviving on VERY limited funds while living in my in-laws basement – I did it. I told myself I’d pay off my credit by the end of 2009 – I did it. I pushed myself to develop freelance business as a realistic and reliable source of income – and today it very much is. I told myself (and my fiance) that I’d get married on May 8, 2010…and well, it looks like we’re well on pace toward making that a reality as well.

Now, this isn’t a big ol’ pat on the back for yours truly – I’m proud of where I am but you could probably care less. Instead, it’s to prove a point – a point that you have to give yourself something to strive for, something to conquer and achieve. By doing so, you create path for yourself, your give yourself a light at the end of the long and winding tunnel, you define a purpose for the day, week, and months ahead.

One step at a time

But what’s the one thing you notice? For starters, none of these are MASSIVE goals. I didn’t tell myself I was going to make ten-million dollars and move to Fiji – I told myself I’d muster up the courage to quit my job, move to a new city, relieve myself of some debt. Goals are there to motivate you, but the easiest way to lose that motivation is when you set goals that are unrealistic and unachievable.

You have to set small goals – achievable benchmarks throughout the journey. Do I want to start my own business? Open up a coffee shop? Write a book? Write more books? Start a family? Of course – we all have “life” goals – those “big hairy” ones that we work toward throughout our lifetimes. But it’s the little ones along the way that keep us going – that maintain our drive, motivate to keep us pushing onward and putting one foot in front of the other. Even if we lose sight of our big goals, the little ones keep us grounded, they keep us sane, they keep us hustling.

Should you set big goals? Should you write down a “life list” of things you want to accomplish? Should you forecast your business for the years ahead? Sure. But if you’re constantly focused on the big picture, you won’t be thinking about how to get there. And without benchmarks to measure your success, you won’t know whether or not you’re on the right track.

What big (and small) goals have you set for yourself this year and beyond?

(This post originally inspired by a post/comment/discussion over at Rebecca Denison’s place)


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97 Responses
  • Emily Jane Reply

    This was definitely something I learned over the last couple of years; smaller, more manageable goals are that much more achievable, and the small successes pave the way toward those bigger goals. I’m not one of those people with Bucket Lists or 101 in 1001 lists – I like to set myself a handful of goals at the beginning of the year, check in with myself and friend often to keep myself on track, and feel way more motivated and more likely to feel like I’m on my way toward the BIGGER goals the more small ones I manage to achieve :)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Setting those big goals is important (at least in my opinion) but you have to set the smaller ones along the way to keep you grounded and stay on track. That’s not to say you can’t always have your eyes on the prize!

  • Emily Jane Reply

    This was definitely something I learned over the last couple of years; smaller, more manageable goals are that much more achievable, and the small successes pave the way toward those bigger goals. I’m not one of those people with Bucket Lists or 101 in 1001 lists – I like to set myself a handful of goals at the beginning of the year, check in with myself and friend often to keep myself on track, and feel way more motivated and more likely to feel like I’m on my way toward the BIGGER goals the more small ones I manage to achieve :)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Setting those big goals is important (at least in my opinion) but you have to set the smaller ones along the way to keep you grounded and stay on track. That’s not to say you can’t always have your eyes on the prize!

    • Lis Carpenter Reply

      My small goals and my big goals are kind of the same. My small goals are just my big goals broken down into digestible chunks. He’s right, the big goal to relocating to someplace like Fiji and living on the beach is attainable if we just do the next step in a small goal.

      • Matt Cheuvront Reply

        Exactly – those small attainable goals build to the big dreams and aspirations we have for ourselves. Thanks for the comment!

  • Alexia Harris Reply

    Congrats, Matt! You’ve accomplished so much, so don’t be ashamed to pat yourself on the back… you deserve it!

    Baby steps are very important. Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged when looking at the big picture. The goal (or challenge) can be so huge that you don’t know where to start, causing you to panic or give up.

    My biggest goal is to be a publicist for athletes and entertainers. The baby steps I’m taking to get there include networking with professionals in the field, staying on top of trends and current issues affecting the profession and potential clients and building my personal brand.

    Although I’m not there yet, if I give up, I know that my dream will never be materialized. To be honest, I get a little depressed when I see people in the field who have no idea what they’re doing or are only in the profession for selfish reasons. Then I think about it a little more and realize that if I stop pursuing my dreams, I’m only giving these people an upper hand.

    Thanks for sharing, Matt! Your words are encouraging and inspired me to write a post about my future. :)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Well thanks Alexia – make no mistake – I’m not ashamed of a little self-appreciation. It sounds like you’re on the right track – and understand that getting there may not happen today, but it WILL happen as long as you keep working toward it. Cheers!

  • Alexia Harris Reply

    Congrats, Matt! You’ve accomplished so much, so don’t be ashamed to pat yourself on the back… you deserve it!

    Baby steps are very important. Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged when looking at the big picture. The goal (or challenge) can be so huge that you don’t know where to start, causing you to panic or give up.

    My biggest goal is to be a publicist for athletes and entertainers. The baby steps I’m taking to get there include networking with professionals in the field, staying on top of trends and current issues affecting the profession and potential clients and building my personal brand.

    Although I’m not there yet, if I give up, I know that my dream will never be materialized. To be honest, I get a little depressed when I see people in the field who have no idea what they’re doing or are only in the profession for selfish reasons. Then I think about it a little more and realize that if I stop pursuing my dreams, I’m only giving these people an upper hand.

    Thanks for sharing, Matt! Your words are encouraging and inspired me to write a post about my future. :)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Well thanks Alexia – make no mistake – I’m not ashamed of a little self-appreciation. It sounds like you’re on the right track – and understand that getting there may not happen today, but it WILL happen as long as you keep working toward it. Cheers!

  • Srinivas Rao Reply

    Matt,

    This is a really great concept. If more people would embrace this idea, then more of them would actually set bigger goals. For example, I set a goal of 5000 dollars per month in income from my blog by April of this year. Sure, it’s aggressive. But if you take one step every day towards any goal then you are making progress. I’m starting to pick up freelance work, discover other resources to help me in my goal and incorporating new ideas every day. A house doesn’t get built in one go. It generally happens a brick at a time. The blueprint is like the goal and over the course of time the blueprint becomes a part of physical reality. When you break it into bite size pieces it’s seems less daunting.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      $5,000 per month from your blog? Sign me up! :) – Seriously, way to go man – I’ve been setting goals for myself around this blog for a while now – and that just recently shifted toward “monetizing” it (not through advertising or anything, but rather, as a platform for other design/development/consulting work. If you and I continue to take things brick by brick, I have no doubt that we’ll be where we want to be sooner than later. Cheers!

  • Srinivas Rao Reply

    Matt,

    This is a really great concept. If more people would embrace this idea, then more of them would actually set bigger goals. For example, I set a goal of 5000 dollars per month in income from my blog by April of this year. Sure, it’s aggressive. But if you take one step every day towards any goal then you are making progress. I’m starting to pick up freelance work, discover other resources to help me in my goal and incorporating new ideas every day. A house doesn’t get built in one go. It generally happens a brick at a time. The blueprint is like the goal and over the course of time the blueprint becomes a part of physical reality. When you break it into bite size pieces it’s seems less daunting.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      $5,000 per month from your blog? Sign me up! :) – Seriously, way to go man – I’ve been setting goals for myself around this blog for a while now – and that just recently shifted toward “monetizing” it (not through advertising or anything, but rather, as a platform for other design/development/consulting work. If you and I continue to take things brick by brick, I have no doubt that we’ll be where we want to be sooner than later. Cheers!

  • Vanessa Torre Reply

    Matt – you rocked it! I totally agree with you on this one. I did a workshop a few weeks ago about setting goals for the new year and one of the biggest things I focus on is making your goals ATTAINABLE so that you can stay focused and celebrate your success. Allowing ourselves to pat ourselves on the back is a huge motivator. Also, looks like some of your goals for 2009 are some of mine for 2010. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      More than welcome Vanessa. It seems like a no-brainer – this post isn’t anything innovative or brilliant – but a lot of people forget that the little goals and benchmarks add up to the big ones. Without things to keep you motivated along the way, you more than likely will lose track of your focus and fall short of your bigger goals. The two go hand in hand. Thanks for coming by!

      • Tim Jahn Reply

        “this post isn’t anything innovative or brilliant”

        Ouch. The point then is?

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Sometimes we can simply use a reminder Tim. However, I don’t see the point of your comment.

          • Tim Jahn Reply

            The point of the comment is questioning the point of this post.

            Motivational speakers have an preferred audience. But once in awhile, you’re going to run into people who will actually stand up and say “Why?”.

            • Matt Cheuvront Reply

              The “why” is explained in the post above my friend. You may have taken nothing away from this, while others clearly did. The focus here is on goal-setting, and setting attainable “smaller” goals to avoid getting too caught up in the “big picture”.

              • Tim Jahn Reply

                Maybe I’ve just heard your story too many times.

                • Matt Cheuvront Reply

                  This isn’t about “my story” but yeah, you probably have.

                  • Tim Jahn Reply

                    The entire second paragraph is about your story…

                    You may have inspired a post here :)

                    • Matt Cheuvront

                      Well that makes this post 1/6th about me (being six paragraphs long). I use personal experiences to illustrate a bigger picture – as an avid reader of my blog – you should know that by now. Look forward to reading your post!

  • Vanessa Torre Reply

    Matt – you rocked it! I totally agree with you on this one. I did a workshop a few weeks ago about setting goals for the new year and one of the biggest things I focus on is making your goals ATTAINABLE so that you can stay focused and celebrate your success. Allowing ourselves to pat ourselves on the back is a huge motivator. Also, looks like some of your goals for 2009 are some of mine for 2010. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      More than welcome Vanessa. It seems like a no-brainer – this post isn’t anything innovative or brilliant – but a lot of people forget that the little goals and benchmarks add up to the big ones. Without things to keep you motivated along the way, you more than likely will lose track of your focus and fall short of your bigger goals. The two go hand in hand. Thanks for coming by!

      • Tim Jahn Reply

        “this post isn’t anything innovative or brilliant”

        Ouch. The point then is?

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Sometimes we can simply use a reminder Tim. However, I don’t see the point of your comment.

          • Tim Jahn Reply

            The point of the comment is questioning the point of this post.

            Motivational speakers have an preferred audience. But once in awhile, you’re going to run into people who will actually stand up and say “Why?”.

            • Matt Cheuvront Reply

              The “why” is explained in the post above my friend. You may have taken nothing away from this, while others clearly did. The focus here is on goal-setting, and setting attainable “smaller” goals to avoid getting too caught up in the “big picture”.

              • Tim Jahn Reply

                Maybe I’ve just heard your story too many times.

                • Matt Cheuvront Reply

                  This isn’t about “my story” but yeah, you probably have.

                  • Tim Jahn Reply

                    The entire second paragraph is about your story…

                    You may have inspired a post here :)

                    • Matt Cheuvront

                      Well that makes this post 1/6th about me (being six paragraphs long). I use personal experiences to illustrate a bigger picture – as an avid reader of my blog – you should know that by now. Look forward to reading your post!

  • Josh Opinion Reply

    How did you manage to break down your big goals into small and manageable chunks that were achievable on a daily/weekly basis? What did you do to measure your post.

    Another awesome post!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks Josh – so the examples above are the tip of the iceberg, but it was all about telling myself I was going to do something and then doing it. After moving here, I set goals for the number of resumes I sent, interviews I would try and get, etc. For freelancing, I’ve set a ton of goals (and set new ones monthly) that surround this blog – part of which is income goals through design/development/consulting work. Staying on track over the short term leads to a lot of success over the long haul.

  • Josh Opinion Reply

    How did you manage to break down your big goals into small and manageable chunks that were achievable on a daily/weekly basis? What did you do to measure your post.

    Another awesome post!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks Josh – so the examples above are the tip of the iceberg, but it was all about telling myself I was going to do something and then doing it. After moving here, I set goals for the number of resumes I sent, interviews I would try and get, etc. For freelancing, I’ve set a ton of goals (and set new ones monthly) that surround this blog – part of which is income goals through design/development/consulting work. Staying on track over the short term leads to a lot of success over the long haul.

  • Bloominglater Reply

    chevy! great post. i was just thinking about doing a post on what i had accomplished through the end of january 2010, determined not to let another year go by where i felt like i had accomplished nothing. but, i’ll be counting the “small” things. like the fact that i have five subscribers. five people that i can help?! fantastic. that’s achieving something. it doesn’t have to be a big goal, just a meaningful one. thanks for reminding us of that.

    • mattchevy Reply

      EXACTLY. And as long as a goal is meaningful, it IS big, Thanks for stopping by – you’ll have those 5 subscribers to 50 and 500 in no time.

  • Bloominglater Reply

    chevy! great post. i was just thinking about doing a post on what i had accomplished through the end of january 2010, determined not to let another year go by where i felt like i had accomplished nothing. but, i’ll be counting the “small” things. like the fact that i have five subscribers. five people that i can help?! fantastic. that’s achieving something. it doesn’t have to be a big goal, just a meaningful one. thanks for reminding us of that.

    • mattchevy Reply

      EXACTLY. And as long as a goal is meaningful, it IS big, Thanks for stopping by – you’ll have those 5 subscribers to 50 and 500 in no time.

  • Brett Reply

    I set my goals for the year (and my system for doing so) on my blog, but monitoring each and every one of my goals got ridiculous, even though I set checkpoints at every two months. Maybe my goals were *too* predicated on daily projections and were set impossibly high (like I wouldn’t reach my goal if I slipped up once).

    I’ll troubleshoot for sure – and your article helps. Maybe the trick is to make my small goals smaller.

    • mattchevy Reply

      Hey Brett – setting those small goals is key but you have to make sure that the goals your setting are realistic and attainable. The quickest way to get discouraged is when you’re consistently falling short of your goals because you set the bar too high. Small goals smaller might be the way to go for now…

  • Brett - DareToExpress.com Reply

    I set my goals for the year (and my system for doing so) on my blog, but monitoring each and every one of my goals got ridiculous, even though I set checkpoints at every two months. Maybe my goals were *too* predicated on daily projections and were set impossibly high (like I wouldn’t reach my goal if I slipped up once).

    I’ll troubleshoot for sure – and your article helps. Maybe the trick is to make my small goals smaller.

    • mattchevy Reply

      Hey Brett – setting those small goals is key but you have to make sure that the goals your setting are realistic and attainable. The quickest way to get discouraged is when you’re consistently falling short of your goals because you set the bar too high. Small goals smaller might be the way to go for now…

  • Tanner Reply

    Congrats on your achievements!

    Good point. I feel when you reflect on all the little small things, they end up adding up to hugeeee things.

    Start with large goals and break them down into reallly smaller goals and it all adds up!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Right on man – thanks for the kudos and for stopping by!

  • Tanner Reply

    Congrats on your achievements!

    Good point. I feel when you reflect on all the little small things, they end up adding up to hugeeee things.

    Start with large goals and break them down into reallly smaller goals and it all adds up!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Right on man – thanks for the kudos and for stopping by!

  • JONNY | thelifething.com Reply

    Are you living in Chicago now? I am jealous, I was there a few weeks ago during a stop over back to England from the States and i loved it, beautiful city.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Yea man – Chicago is my home nowadays – moved here last summer. Next time you’re in this neck of the woods, let me know!

  • JONNY | thelifething.com Reply

    Are you living in Chicago now? I am jealous, I was there a few weeks ago during a stop over back to England from the States and i loved it, beautiful city.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Yea man – Chicago is my home nowadays – moved here last summer. Next time you’re in this neck of the woods, let me know!

  • Nicole Crimaldi Reply

    Big believer in your post today Matty. I talk about this type of stuff all the time over at my blog. Here are two of my biggest messages I try to portray in each post:

    1. MINI VICTORIES ARE THE JOYS OF LIFE.
    2. It’s ALL about the journey, not the destination.

    Goal setting is crucial, but enjoying the stops on the way is the most rewarding part! It’s like a road trip. What do you look forward more: visiting Denver, LA, then San Fran, then Seattle? Or do you just value getting back home into your regular boring life?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Matty? Have we stepped into “pet name” status? :)

      1. Yes
      2. YES!

      So often we get caught up in the destination that we forget about the journey – and so often we forget the purpose of the journey and it’s path toward those big goals we set for ourselves. The two go hand in hand…

      • Matt S Reply

        As a fellow Matt, I don’t know about you, but it seems that in the past five or six years, all of a sudden almost every woman I know has at one time or another decided that I should be called “Matty”…I’m wondering if there’s some piece of pop culture I’m unaware of that inserted “Matty” as a nickname. Odd .

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Haha – it’s inevitable for us Matt’s to be called Matty – don’t fight it – I think it’s a sign of affection anyway, right? :)

          • Nicole Crimaldi Reply

            Yes, I call one of my good guy friends Matty so that’s where it came from! Nothing poppy that I know about Matty S! ;-)

  • Nicole Crimaldi Reply

    Big believer in your post today Matty. I talk about this type of stuff all the time over at my blog. Here are two of my biggest messages I try to portray in each post:

    1. MINI VICTORIES ARE THE JOYS OF LIFE.
    2. It’s ALL about the journey, not the destination.

    Goal setting is crucial, but enjoying the stops on the way is the most rewarding part! It’s like a road trip. What do you look forward more: visiting Denver, LA, then San Fran, then Seattle? Or do you just value getting back home into your regular boring life?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Matty? Have we stepped into “pet name” status? :)

      1. Yes
      2. YES!

      So often we get caught up in the destination that we forget about the journey – and so often we forget the purpose of the journey and it’s path toward those big goals we set for ourselves. The two go hand in hand…

      • Matt S Reply

        As a fellow Matt, I don’t know about you, but it seems that in the past five or six years, all of a sudden almost every woman I know has at one time or another decided that I should be called “Matty”…I’m wondering if there’s some piece of pop culture I’m unaware of that inserted “Matty” as a nickname. Odd .

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Haha – it’s inevitable for us Matt’s to be called Matty – don’t fight it – I think it’s a sign of affection anyway, right? :)

          • Nicole Crimaldi Reply

            Yes, I call one of my good guy friends Matty so that’s where it came from! Nothing poppy that I know about Matty S! ;-)

  • Royce Reply

    I actually disagree with that last line of the first paragraph – without goals, we have nothing. Without goals you may feel directionless, but that’s more personal than universal I’d venture. And I’d argue that the “purpose” we define for ourselves probably gets re-defined (either by ourselves or by life circumstances) more times than we care to admit.

    Overall I don’t think goal-setting is the end-all be-all. Nonetheless I really enjoyed your post because your basic message – set small goals, keep hustling, and keep getting things done – is great advice no matter what your path through life is. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and try to do better today than you did yesterday. That’s how you really make a splash.

    Have you seen this 60 Second Psych (a Scientific American podcast) interview with the author of “Getting Things Done” about setting goals for the new year? It’s a pretty interesting listen:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=making-and-keeping-your-goals-10-01-13

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I actually think we agree for the most part – and the “goals” we set for ourselves are always going to change and adapt – I don’t think any of us have one clearly defined purpose – we spend our entire life defining that purpose as we go.

      Haven’t checked out that interview yet – but I plan to. Thanks for sharing!

      • Tim Jahn Reply

        ” and the “goals” we set for ourselves are always going to change and adapt”

        That’s the most important part right there. No matter what goals we set, we need to remember that they’re not permanent. People change, situations change, life changes. (and there’s no changing that)

      • Royce Reply

        Totally agree with you there, well said.

        By the way, does it freak anyone else out that you look like the twin of former video game reviewer Shane Bettenhausen?

        http://images.eurogamer.net/assets/articles//a/3/6/6/0/1/6/Shane_Bettenhausen_80x80.jpg.jpg

  • Royce Reply

    I actually disagree with that last line of the first paragraph – without goals, we have nothing. Without goals you may feel directionless, but that’s more personal than universal I’d venture. And I’d argue that the “purpose” we define for ourselves probably gets re-defined (either by ourselves or by life circumstances) more times than we care to admit.

    Overall I don’t think goal-setting is the end-all be-all. Nonetheless I really enjoyed your post because your basic message – set small goals, keep hustling, and keep getting things done – is great advice no matter what your path through life is. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and try to do better today than you did yesterday. That’s how you really make a splash.

    Have you seen this 60 Second Psych (a Scientific American podcast) interview with the author of “Getting Things Done” about setting goals for the new year? It’s a pretty interesting listen:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=making-and-keeping-your-goals-10-01-13

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I actually think we agree for the most part – and the “goals” we set for ourselves are always going to change and adapt – I don’t think any of us have one clearly defined purpose – we spend our entire life defining that purpose as we go.

      Haven’t checked out that interview yet – but I plan to. Thanks for sharing!

      • Tim Jahn Reply

        ” and the “goals” we set for ourselves are always going to change and adapt”

        That’s the most important part right there. No matter what goals we set, we need to remember that they’re not permanent. People change, situations change, life changes. (and there’s no changing that)

      • Royce Reply

        Totally agree with you there, well said.

        By the way, does it freak anyone else out that you look like the twin of former video game reviewer Shane Bettenhausen?

        http://images.eurogamer.net/assets/articles//a/3/6/6/0/1/6/Shane_Bettenhausen_80x80.jpg.jpg

  • Walter Reply

    The principle you have stated here is very simple yet powerful. And I am implementing this principle into my life. I don’t want to depart from this life without giving all my best, I feel that my life would be a great waste if I did not use my God-given abilities. One step at a time is how I will make everything possible for my life. :-)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Wisely said Walter – one step at a time, that’s all you can do. Cheers!

  • Walter Reply

    The principle you have stated here is very simple yet powerful. And I am implementing this principle into my life. I don’t want to depart from this life without giving all my best, I feel that my life would be a great waste if I did not use my God-given abilities. One step at a time is how I will make everything possible for my life. :-)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Wisely said Walter – one step at a time, that’s all you can do. Cheers!

  • Matt S Reply

    Before answering the goals question, I just need to say that I think it’s so very smart that you end your posts with calls to action like you do. What a great way to engage.

    As far as goals – I set a lot for myself. What I do a poor job with is TRACKING them. Which means they tend to fall by the wayside, and I eventually pick them up. But for purposes of discussion, here are two different goals of mine for the year, which map well to the “break down into smaller goals” piece.

    Professional Goal – Move my team at work away from being a “reactive” support-focus group to one that is proactive and solution-oriented. Translation? Spend less time on bullcrap break/fix tickets and more time coming up with cool stuff.

    This works well when broken up into smaller goals. As a single goal itself, there’s no way to tackle it. It’s vague and not action-oriented. When I have a goal like this, I turn it into actions. One of the things that I’ve taken away from my acting and improv classes is that life is ACTION – it’s all about the verbs. One verb for this would be “create automated script for provisioning application servers”. By itself, that’s not much of a goal. It’s really just a TASK. But if it’s accomplished, it puts a dent in the bigger goal.

    Blogging Goal – become a respected tech blogger. Again, by itself, that’s not much of an action. That’s a thing to BE. Not a thing to DO. So it gets turned into TASKS, aka “smaller goals”. An example task? “Write at least one technical post per week in my personal blog”.

    This has turned into almost a blog post in itself, but this post really did strike a chord with me, and I couldn’t, in good conscience, go without commenting. So thanks, Matt, for making me think about it enough to write all this :)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks Matt – there are a lot of different directions you can go with your blog – for me, it’s always been about community and discussion, so objective calls to action (asking questions) has been a big push for me, and it’s worked well. I measure the “success” of a post not by the number of comments or page views, but the type of discussion it elicits.

      As for your goals – both are admirable – and touching on your blogging goal of becoming a “known” tech blogger – I see a real opportunity there. Not a lot of folks are getting technical with their blogs – probably because a lot of us are intimidated by the topics – but there is a real need to explore that direction (as is evidenced by recent discussion on WordPress/DISQUS and WordPress safety). Good luck to you my friend!

      • Matt S Reply

        I suppose in a way, the statement “not a lot of folks are getting technical with their blogs” doesn’t make ANY sense to me…since a good 80% of the blogs in my reader are purely technical. SharePoint blogs, blogs about mobile devices, blogs about software, etc, etc.

        My first baby step towards that is starting to come to fruition, however…in two days I’ll be revealed as a blogging contributor for a new iPhone website (spun off of a well known mobile phone site). So we’re getting there. But again, this goes back to my point that we have to always remember there’s more to blogs than just the “lifestyle” type blogs where people talk about themselves, or things they do, or want to do. I still consider the majority of blogs to be things like Slashdot, or LifeHacker, or Get Rich Slowly, etc…blogs that target a certain topic area, and are about the topic, more than about the blogger. :)

        • Matt S Reply

          Re-reading this, it comes of way jerkier than I meant. Thanks for the support, as usual, and one of these days, we’ll have these conversations IRL :)

    • Royce Reply

      Hey Matt S –

      I’m really intrigued by your Professional Goal because that’s pretty similar to what I’m trying to do with the team at my work. I am in a pretty different industry than tech, but it’s the same story – the smartest people in our company spend a lot of time on BS and trying to resolve small issues, when I feel like our time would be better spent being proactive about creating cool stuff for our company.

      Let me know how this goal goes for you. I’ve done the same thing and identified a bunch of smaller tasks I want to accomplish to push our company forward, but it’s tougher than it seems (someone still has to deal with the BS). Thanks for getting me all pumped again haha.

      -Royce

  • Matt S Reply

    Before answering the goals question, I just need to say that I think it’s so very smart that you end your posts with calls to action like you do. What a great way to engage.

    As far as goals – I set a lot for myself. What I do a poor job with is TRACKING them. Which means they tend to fall by the wayside, and I eventually pick them up. But for purposes of discussion, here are two different goals of mine for the year, which map well to the “break down into smaller goals” piece.

    Professional Goal – Move my team at work away from being a “reactive” support-focus group to one that is proactive and solution-oriented. Translation? Spend less time on bullcrap break/fix tickets and more time coming up with cool stuff.

    This works well when broken up into smaller goals. As a single goal itself, there’s no way to tackle it. It’s vague and not action-oriented. When I have a goal like this, I turn it into actions. One of the things that I’ve taken away from my acting and improv classes is that life is ACTION – it’s all about the verbs. One verb for this would be “create automated script for provisioning application servers”. By itself, that’s not much of a goal. It’s really just a TASK. But if it’s accomplished, it puts a dent in the bigger goal.

    Blogging Goal – become a respected tech blogger. Again, by itself, that’s not much of an action. That’s a thing to BE. Not a thing to DO. So it gets turned into TASKS, aka “smaller goals”. An example task? “Write at least one technical post per week in my personal blog”.

    This has turned into almost a blog post in itself, but this post really did strike a chord with me, and I couldn’t, in good conscience, go without commenting. So thanks, Matt, for making me think about it enough to write all this :)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks Matt – there are a lot of different directions you can go with your blog – for me, it’s always been about community and discussion, so objective calls to action (asking questions) has been a big push for me, and it’s worked well. I measure the “success” of a post not by the number of comments or page views, but the type of discussion it elicits.

      As for your goals – both are admirable – and touching on your blogging goal of becoming a “known” tech blogger – I see a real opportunity there. Not a lot of folks are getting technical with their blogs – probably because a lot of us are intimidated by the topics – but there is a real need to explore that direction (as is evidenced by recent discussion on WordPress/DISQUS and WordPress safety). Good luck to you my friend!

      • Matt S Reply

        I suppose in a way, the statement “not a lot of folks are getting technical with their blogs” doesn’t make ANY sense to me…since a good 80% of the blogs in my reader are purely technical. SharePoint blogs, blogs about mobile devices, blogs about software, etc, etc.

        My first baby step towards that is starting to come to fruition, however…in two days I’ll be revealed as a blogging contributor for a new iPhone website (spun off of a well known mobile phone site). So we’re getting there. But again, this goes back to my point that we have to always remember there’s more to blogs than just the “lifestyle” type blogs where people talk about themselves, or things they do, or want to do. I still consider the majority of blogs to be things like Slashdot, or LifeHacker, or Get Rich Slowly, etc…blogs that target a certain topic area, and are about the topic, more than about the blogger. :)

        • Matt S Reply

          Re-reading this, it comes of way jerkier than I meant. Thanks for the support, as usual, and one of these days, we’ll have these conversations IRL :)

    • Royce Reply

      Hey Matt S –

      I’m really intrigued by your Professional Goal because that’s pretty similar to what I’m trying to do with the team at my work. I am in a pretty different industry than tech, but it’s the same story – the smartest people in our company spend a lot of time on BS and trying to resolve small issues, when I feel like our time would be better spent being proactive about creating cool stuff for our company.

      Let me know how this goal goes for you. I’ve done the same thing and identified a bunch of smaller tasks I want to accomplish to push our company forward, but it’s tougher than it seems (someone still has to deal with the BS). Thanks for getting me all pumped again haha.

      -Royce

  • Dan Reply

    Great article.

    If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    http://www.Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A Vision Wall (inspiring images attached to yor goals) is available too.
    Works also on mobile.

  • Dan Reply

    Great article.

    If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    http://www.Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A Vision Wall (inspiring images attached to yor goals) is available too.
    Works also on mobile.

  • Trish Reply

    Great post. I noticed that when I started to set realistic goals for myself, my life improved dramatically, confidence boosted, and with that came more success. I find that it helped to set little goals. I know a lot of people who make a huge end goal, then work their way back to a step by step goal process of how they’re going to acheive it. However, that just wasn’t working for me. I had to pick little goals one at a time, things that I knew I could do, just had never done it before. My goals right now include hitting a 4.3 CGPA at my uni, getting good at snowboarding and things like that, more in the pursuit of happiness than anything else.

    Once you learn how to set a realistic goal, and feel how good it is to hit it, the bigger, scarier ones suddenly aren’t quite so big or scary.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      4.3 GPA? The highest we could go was 4…so I’d say that’s pretty good, lol. You hit the nail on the head – setting smaller, challenging yet attainable goals does wonders for your overall confidence level. The big scary ones aren’t as scary when you can chip away at them instead of trying to take it all on at once. Thanks for the comment! And good luck to you in school (and in snowboarding :) )

  • Trish Reply

    Great post. I noticed that when I started to set realistic goals for myself, my life improved dramatically, confidence boosted, and with that came more success. I find that it helped to set little goals. I know a lot of people who make a huge end goal, then work their way back to a step by step goal process of how they’re going to acheive it. However, that just wasn’t working for me. I had to pick little goals one at a time, things that I knew I could do, just had never done it before. My goals right now include hitting a 4.3 CGPA at my uni, getting good at snowboarding and things like that, more in the pursuit of happiness than anything else.

    Once you learn how to set a realistic goal, and feel how good it is to hit it, the bigger, scarier ones suddenly aren’t quite so big or scary.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      4.3 GPA? The highest we could go was 4…so I’d say that’s pretty good, lol. You hit the nail on the head – setting smaller, challenging yet attainable goals does wonders for your overall confidence level. The big scary ones aren’t as scary when you can chip away at them instead of trying to take it all on at once. Thanks for the comment! And good luck to you in school (and in snowboarding :) )

  • Lis Carpenter Reply

    My small goals and my big goals are kind of the same. My small goals are just my big goals broken down into digestible chunks. He’s right, the big goal to relocating to someplace like Fiji and living on the beach is attainable if we just do the next step in a small goal.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Exactly – those small attainable goals build to the big dreams and aspirations we have for ourselves. Thanks for the comment!

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    Setting goals big and small are good for you mentally and physically.

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