October 28

Step, Sprint, Stretch

In my bookDie Empty, I wrote about three kinds of goals that can help you accomplish your creative ambitions. The biggest and most challeng- ing are what I call “stretch goals.” These are goals that take a long time to accomplish, will push the boundaries of what you think to be possible, and bring a sense of hope and possibility to your work.

Once you’ve set a stretch goal, you can break it into a series of “sprint goals.” These are shorter-term (usually a few weeks at a time) goals that help you measure your progress on the larger stretch goal. For example, if your stretch goal is to write a book in a year, your sprint goal might be to write a chapter every two weeks. You stack enough two-week sprints together, and soon you have a book.

However, it’s the “step goals” that really make progress happen. These are the daily, regular activities that you engage in that propel you forward. For example, my stretch goal for this book is to write the entire manuscript by the end of September. This means that I need to write three months of content each month, which means that I need to write approximately ninety entries per month. I write five days per week, which means I need to write about five entries per day to stay on course (and have some days left over). That’s my step goal for this project. If I hit it, I’m on course.

To accomplish something big, set a stretch goal, then break it down into sprint and step goals.


What stretch goal are you pursuing? What are the correspond­ ing sprint and step goals?

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