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Stories will not be written easily. A story without a heart is dead, and the only place it will get a heart is from the author.

The Bandwagon Post for New Year’s Goals

The Bandwagon Post for New Year's Goals

This time of year, everyone is doing posts about setting goals for the new year. Some more informally than the others, the others more educationally than the some, but it does seem that the bandwagon is going by.

(A Note from the Dictionary: The term bandwagon means, “a current or fashionable trend.” The Bandwagon Effect is when a belief or trend becomes so large, that “everyone else is doing it,” and therefore, many just “jump on the bandwagon,” oftentimes simply for the sake of going along with the crowd, and without thoroughly considering the truth behind the statement or trend.)

I hesitated to write a post about this because, well, everyone else is doing it, so why would you need to hear yet another thing about goals? Then I paused and listened to some of the speakers on this here bandwagon, and realized that a certain word never seemed to enter their vocabulary.

Well, you the reader must certainly be saying, most people don’t use all of the words in their vocabulary when speaking on one subject. 

Of course, I as a writer am aware of this. This particular word, though, happens to be very important to setting goals. Why, to speak of New Year’s Resolutions without using it would be like to describing a tree without using the word, “leaves.” It can be done, but what is the worth of a leafless tree?

(Another Note from the Dictionary: Clearly this author has not thought through her metaphors well, as most of you readers will be aware that the majority of trees in the world spent approximately 1.5 of the 4 seasons without leaves. Either that, or she doesn’t like winter very much. Oh, no. She is giving me The Look—now would be a good time for the note to end.)

Anyhow, as I was saying, this word is important when it comes to goals. What word is it, you ask?

Specificity. 

(A Note from the Dictionary: Specificity. Noun. “The quality or state of being specific,* as in—*static*)

While our dictionary is experiencing technical difficulties, allow me to explain why the word specificity is important to setting goals. Observe this example list:

List Without Specificity

  • Write more.
  • Spend less time on Pinterest.
  • Edit some.

List With Specificity

  • Finish writing The Unspecified Novel: A Tale of a Novel With an Identity Crisis
  • Spend only thirty minutes per day on Pinterest.
  • Finish the first edits of TUN:AToaNWaIC and sent it to beta-readers.

If you come to the end of the year with only your first list, you may pull out your goals and grab a pen to mark off which ones you finished and which ones you didn’t. As you click your pen on and flip open your notebook, you’ll run your eyes over the list, and then stop.

“Wait,” you’ll say, “how much is more? How much is less? How do I define some?

To be perfectly honest, you can’t define it. More, less, and some are relative, and incredibly difficult to check off a list. How can you be sure that you’ve reached the point where you actually completed your goals?

However, a year from now on the next New Year’s Eve, if you pull out the second list, you’ll click your pen on and flip to the correct page of your notebook. Your eyes will travel over the list, and you will be able to be sure if you typed, THE END (or concluded your novel; personally, I don’t actually type those words), whether you spent more than thirty minutes per day on Pinterest, and whether or not you managed to get your novel sent off to your beta readers.

You cannot really have goals if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Unlike the picture that states, “To be sure you hit what you’re aiming for, shoot first and what you hit is the target,” you have things that you want to get done, and any old thing isn’t going to be good enough. You have to be specific and decide “I will hit that tree, that one right there,” and then you’ll be able to see if your year was productive.

And it is amazingly satisfactory to realize that you had a productive year.

Oh—and you can have your dictionary back now.

(A Note from the Dictionary: Art. Noun. Not whatever bizarre thing is on the top of this blog post.)

*From Dictionary.com

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8 thoughts on “The Bandwagon Post for New Year’s Goals

  1. Haha, very true and funny. 😉

  2. I love your humor! Thanks for the post, very informative!

  3. This is so true! I made my goals really specific this year, because I know that’s the only way I’ll reach them. It makes my commitment stronger, gives me a better sense of my progress and makes it easier for me to work towards my goals.

  4. lol. That’s hilarious. I haven’t even made any New Year’s Resolutions, so I think I’m really the worst of them all. XP I would agree though, that being specific is important. Otherwise you get the temptation to bend the broad limits of nonspecificity (made up word, yay!). Cool post! 😀

    ~Michael Hollingworth
    Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne

  5. I’m a little wary of new years resolutions. Life can be so unexpected, and then who knows what will happen to my goals. Just this morning I hit a metaphorical brick wall (I thought it was an open door).

    BUT… You are right. A project is always easier to see and reach with specificity.

    A little specificity might be just the thing I need this year, and if I hit a brick wall- ah well, isn’t the first time, won’t be the last. I’ll keep at it.

  6. Kaytie on said:

    Great post! You’ve pinpointed what is probably one of my biggest irritations with New Years resolutions. I’ve never liked them, but I’ve always had a somewhat hard time figuring out why. You’ve hit the nail on the head here.

    I think that’s probably a big reason why, personally, I consider New Years resolutions and goals to be two completely separate concepts. Goals are concrete. Resolutions are flexible.

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