Tips for Setting Your Goals


Louis Edmond’s interview was inspiring. He found out about food science in his senior year of college and still kept that goal 6 years later. He now has a masters in Food Science and works for a very well known company.

I also had a call with Nicole Gallace and we talked a bit about goals.

Goals are interesting, and there are so many different perspectives on how to actually achieve your goals. For me, I have a method, but it might not work for you.

In this article, I talk about how I do my goals.

Arm’s Reach and Concrete vs Far Away and Abstract

For example, one of my short term goals is to get 100 episodes on the podcast complete. I don’t know what I’d do after 100 episodes are done, (most likely, reward myself) but it’s a concrete goal, easily achievable, and within arm’s reach (episode 62 just launched, so we’re almost there).

However, what if I had a goal like being the “best food scientist in the world”? What steps am I doing to make this happen? I’m interviewing experts, working with food industry startups, and working in a company that values me enough to express my knowledge and creativity.

But is it the wrong path? That’s the problem with abstract and far away. You don’t really know the right pathway. What if the right path is to just dive in to a PhD program? Or what if it’s to drop everything and start a food company? With these “what if” situations breed some thoughts on regret and inferiority.

With that said, it really boils down to mindset. Goals should be selfish and focus on your self-improvement. If you set your goals to only be beneficial to you (and not being judged by other people), you will be happier. Or it at least works for me.

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Sometimes it’s fun just to dream so big you chuckle to yourself, because when you make it, it will feel amazing.

Organize Your Goals in Buckets

Goals should always be measured by frequency (days, weeks, months, years) or impact (the best x ever, 100 in sales), or both if you can handle it.

The bucket analogy is used a lot in self-help books. For example, I can have too much in one bucket, or this small bucket needs to be drained in this bigger bucket, etc etc etc.

I think it’s important to have at least two types of goals and treat them like buckets. As mentioned, my favorite types of goals are Arm’s Reach and Concrete and Far Away and Abstract. Overall, think of it like The Hobbit. Your concrete goal should be to go through the dark forests of Murkwood with the spiders, and your abstract goal should be getting the dragon’s gold.

So what does that have to do with buckets? What do you fill the buckets with? I think it depends on what is the most valuable thing you know you don’t have enough of. For me, this is hours of the day after work. I try to pour some hours into podcasting every day, but sometimes I miss and it falls to the ground, or I forget about pouring the water in the first place, which is ok.

Overall, the Process Matters More

I hiked the Inca trail at Macchu Picchu. It’s a 24 mile hike, and to tell you the truth, the average person can do it.

When I finally got to Macchu Picchu, it was nice, but it was also a “so what?”. Yes, Macchu Picchu was an amazing attraction, but I was more impressed with the local village, the climb to the top, and more importantly, the beautiful jungle scenery on the final day.

The process for attaining your goals should be fun. Making a podcast is not only really fun, but I also achieve my goals in becoming a better food scientist.

In the book, The Alchemist, there is a passage where a boy had the task to carry a spoon of oil up a castle. His goal was to not let the oil spill on the stairs. On his first run, his father said if the boy looked at the amazing tapestries and decorations littered throughout the tower. The boy didn’t, because he was just focusing on having the oil not fall off the spoon.

The boy tried again, and this time, he spilled the oil!

There are many ways to interpret this message, for me, it means to always enjoy the journey, but don’t forget your goals!

It’s one of my favorite stories to talk about when hiking the Phoenix Mountains.


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