Aim Higher

During and after Christmas, my family and I ate lots of good food and watched (and laughed at) movies from the 80s like Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. ‘Tis the season.


What’s the deal with Breakin’ 2? Glad you asked. The plot involves a group of teens who need to raise $200,000 to save a community center from a developer who wants to tear down the building to make way for a mall. But the plucky teens, all of whom were played by entertainers who looked to be in their late 20s and early 30s, just wanna breakdance, man. Sigh. Don’t we all?

Breakin Image

This sooooo reminds me of eighth grade. . . .

Thinking about the goal of those plucky “teens,” I’m reminded of a question my sister-in-law asked me the day before we watched the movie. Her question is one commonly asked at year-end: “What are your goals for the new year?” I’m sorry to say that I drew a blank. Sadly, I hadn’t set any goals. Perhaps like me, you’re now thinking of a familiar quote:

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.
Zig Ziglar

Speaking of goals, the week before I’d read in a newsletter about a goal a guy set to write 57 novellas. Fifty-seven! The thought of writing that many novellas in a year sent my mind reeling. Why? Because I had grown so comfortable with aiming at nothing. After all, why set goals you think you’ll fail to meet? Or so I thought. . . .

As I considered the need to make writing goals, I thought about a challenge I face in my curriculum-writing job. I’m not allowed to use the same activity twice. I have to write new activities every week for two grade levels. When the mandate was handed down to avoid repetition even when teaching the same skills over and over, I balked, certain that I would fail.

Know what? I haven’t so far. I’m forced to think outside of the box (and also to pray really hard) in order to reach the goal every time.


So I can certainly aim higher in my goal setting for 2015. In the past, I set goals I was confident I could reach (i.e., “I’ll finish a novel”), instead of goals outside of my comfort zone (i.e., “I’ll write a complete draft of three novels”). I can’t help thinking of the impossible goal the plucky teens in Breakin’ 2 set for themselves. They embraced the challenge of meeting it, all without mussing their carefully moussed hair or wrinkling their mesh belly-baring shirts.

Goal setting

I can certainly do the same even without donning a mesh belly-baring shirt. But some elbow grease is required. So, I’ve decided that writing three complete novel drafts and writing more poetry are my goals for 2015. Gulp. Let the writing begin!


What about you? What are your goals for 2015? What has your goal-setting for 2014 taught you? What will you do differently in 2015?

Thinking outside the box image from Breakin’ 2 movie poster from Goal image from


40 thoughts on “Aim Higher

  1. Ah, I enjoyed this post 🙂 I’ve actually determined to set no goals or resolutions for the new year. Well, I guess you could say I’ve just set a resolution by making that determination 😉 My professional life is in a bit of an upheaval so I am aiming at nothing until (if ever) things settle down. But you’re right that if one aims at nothing, one accomplishes nothing. Maybe 2015 will be my year of nothing 😉 Good luck with your goals. You know if you set them high enough, you’ll get something done and be happy for it.

    • Thank you. I totally get the need to just wait for everything to settle down. Since work takes up so much of our day, it makes sense that it determines what we do in our leisure time (if we have that). Good luck to you. I hope things settle down for you soon.

  2. I don’t think I ever make official goals. At least I don’t call them that. Definitely not going to try for 57 anything because I’ve found that life is too unpredictable for me. Even the weekly goals tend to get destroyed by outside influences. Good luck with 2015.

    I keep going back to stare at the leather outfit in the second picture. Wow. That’s a lot of something that I can’t put a word to. Also I don’t think you’ll see a woman wearing a bra that color in a movie anymore. Green screen technology would make her look like she’s missing her torso.

  3. Yay for you for meeting the challenge of your curriculum-writing job, L. Marie! I wouldn’t expect otherwise. 🙂 I’m still working on my goals for 2015…not resolutions, but goals. You cracked me up with this movie! 🙂

    • Ah, good, Jill. I hope your goals involve a novel and several short stories. And I hope, consequently, you’ll have good news (like you’ve sold a manuscript).
      Hope you had a great Christmas. I certainly did! 🙂

  4. Not sure if I’ll set any goals . . . other than to “go with the flow” and “let life unfold.” Best of luck with writing 3 drafts ~ without donning a mesh belly-baring shirt.

  5. I’m glad you’ve set some ambitious goals, Linda. I’ve decided to take some time this week to focus on my own yearly goals, as it’s something I rarely do seriously. It’s a good task to see through. Have you found a partner to help you see them through? I’m thinking that’s an important piece and it’s nice to help someone else reach their own goals.

    • Phillip! You’re back! I need to stop over at your blog. How is your son? Growing, I’m sure! How was Christmas?

      I announced a partial goal on my class’s Facebook page, so they’ll keep me accountable. 🙂

      • Angus is doing great, and yup, he’s growing like a weed! Christmas was very nice and I hope you had a wonderful one as well. Glad to hear your class will keep you accountable. So helpful to have that positive reinforcement.

      • I had a great Christmas, Phillip. I had to make the announcement public, otherwise, I wouldn’t try for it. But so far, I’ve gotten off to a slow start.

        Have you thought of writing a picture book for your little boy?

      • Funny you mention the picture book. I was just thinking of ideas the other night, and my wife is good with animation, so we’re even thinking to make him his own cartoon at some point.

      • Good idea! I know several small children who are so into Little Einstein and those books done on videos. They’d love an animated series.

  6. I was talking with my husband about this, because a number of his students came to him at the end of the semester and told him they “needed” a C. Unfortunately, their effort didn’t merit a C. The problem is, if you begin the semester trying for a C and fall short, you end up in this situation. Better to begin trying for an A (and doing the work to get it) and then if life intervenes and you fall short, you have a better chance of ending up with a B or a C.

    • Wow. I’m amazed at the nerve some people have. I know other professors who have had students equally as nervy. 😦 I hope they’ll get motivated to do better, instead of expecting your husband to let them slide by!

  7. I don’t really set goals or make resolutions, but instead have a general sense of what I hope for, or expect from, the coming year. Not got it yet though, best get pondering on it.

  8. “Breakin’ 2”–that’s so funny! I have a friend who subtitles nearly every sequel that ends in “2” with “Electric Boogaloo.” Good for you for setting these goals, Linda. Go for it! My writing goals are to draft the third book in the trilogy, polish some poems and actually submit them (and then smile at the expected rejection letters :)), and to write some new poems.

  9. I don’t make resolutions. I just do stuff. 🙂 I have three working drafts to polish and get to my publisher, two books to launch and a whole bunch of promotion to do……including in Chicago in March, when I hope to meet YOU.

  10. Fantastic goal! A huge one, but you’ve got this.

    Nice movie reference, too. Gotta love plucky teens. 😉

    As for me… I’ve got the last two books of a trilogy to get out in 2015, and I want to draft 3 novellas. Also, I’ll be moving to a new house (though I have no idea where, yet). That should keep me busy. O.o

  11. Congratulations on your brave goal. You’re an inspiration. Maybe I’ll aim a little higher than I was planning on doing. I haven’t formalized my goals yet, but they’ll have something to do with learning how to market my first novel and finishing an outline of my second novel.

  12. Wow, Linda, this post really resonated! And I feel like I say thing all the time, but you are SO funny! I’m behind you, even if your goal sounds huge to me! I know you can do it. My goals? Complete a submittable draft of my current WIP and get started on another novel. Though I realized yesterday that I have no idea of the next project!

  13. You are so organized and committed, Linda! You got this, no question!!! I know I have faith in you and your abilities. 🙂

    I wish you much peace, health, joy and ease of writing in 2015!! Thanks for being such a great friend! 🙂

  14. I just received what is considered a “good rejection” but was still feeling pretty crummy about it. Then I heard this from one of the rock climbers of the dawn face of El Capitan, “Everyone has their own Dawn Wall.” I know what my Dawn Wall is and climbing it is my goal.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you received a rejection. If you received feedback, that must mean you’re headed in the right direction, Naomi. Don’t give up!!! Keep encouraged!

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