Why You Need to Get Specific

Ever had an idea you wanted to bring to life but somehow nothing came of it?

Or a goal you were trying to achieve but it seemed to constantly evade you?

Have you ever gotten to the middle of the year and wondered why things were no different than they were in January?

Or even the middle of the week and realised you had gotten nowhere on that thing you said you were going to do once and for all?


Well it could be that you need to get specific.


Often when we’re motivated, we have visions of things we want to accomplish. We know what that success feels like, we can taste the victory even though we aren’t there yet.

However, the missing piece is often specificity.


We say “I want to start a blog” but aren’t specific on what type of blog.

We express the desire to lose weight but not how much weight.

Or say “I want to start a business” but aren’t clear on what type of business.

We mention the fact that we want to increase our savings, but don’t say by how much or what purpose those savings serve.


As I’ve observed this behaviour happen in a number of spaces, I recently began to wonder what the cause is. Could it be that it’s just a habit we’ve been trained to adopt societally? Or that we don’t know any better? It could be either of those but the cause that seems most plausible to me is fear. The fear of dreaming bigger than we’ve allowed ourselves to. The fear of stating exactly what we desire because it might not happen. The fear of committing to the work that dream requires.

There could be a range of reasons beyond what I’ve listed above which I’m not certain of…but there’s one thing I do know and it’s that a lack of specificity helps no one.


Not being specific when it comes to the things we want or the goals we have is the equivalent of leaving the USA and saying “I want to go to Europe”….which part sis – Paris or Peckham?

Either location is a possibility, but if you aren’t specific enough about wanting to go to Paris, you might end up in Peckham.

Being specific about the end goal helps with planning the journey, deciding what tools you need, the alliances that will come in handy and those that will be a hindrance.

Being specific will allow you to gain clarity on who and what is necessary.

It takes work and time to learn to incorporate this as a mindset but it can prove incredibly helpful.

Can you see the difference between these statements:

  • I’m going to run a marathon this year
  • I’m going to run a 5k marathon in August this year
  • I am going to start a blog
  • I am going to start a blog that helps facilitate transparent conversations around life’s issues


The latter statement in both examples are like the bullseye on a dartboard. They provide something much more specific to work towards. If I know that I intend to run a 5k marathon in August, I can begin to plan a training schedule that is in line with the goal ahead. I would be aware of what month I need to start preparing and be able to measure my progress against the specific goal in mind.


When it comes to being specific, this doesn’t need to be limited to just the what but also the why and the how.

Yes, you need to be specific about the type of blog you want to start but also the why behind it. It serves as a great assessment of motives when you have to spell this out but also as a great reminder when distraction comes in its many forms.


The how is also extremely important with regards to specificity. Being clear on how you intend to achieve said goal makes it so much easier than vaguely wandering on the path to the finish line. What are the measures you need to put in place? What are the things that need to happen?

For example, with the marathon in August, you know there is a need to train 3 times a week and also eat foods that will help achieve that goal. So instead of saying “I’m going to train for this marathon in August”, you would say “I’m going to do an hour of training every week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday”.

Yes, you may not know all the details or have the exact roadmap figured out but how about what you do know? Or even who you know that can help you figure out the how?


I’m aware there’s a voice in many of our heads that says “what if I’m specific in all these things and don’t hit the mark?”…

To that I say, I am not defined by the results I achieve or don’t achieve.

My willingness to try means so much more to me. The lessons I learn as I aim for that specific thing shapes me more than the possession of the thing itself.


As I’ve said previously, the journey often impacts who we are much more than the place we arrive at. With being specific, we are able to set standards for ourselves and continuously aim for it. It doesn’t mean you will hit the target every single time but isn’t it better to know what you are actually aiming for and the areas you need to improve on? It may seem easier to be vague with the goals we have in mind and how we intend to get there but what’s easier isn’t always what is necessary.


I encourage you to try this in the coming weeks and months. Be specific. In your goals, methods, to do lists and even in relationships. Not because there isn’t room for grace but just so you can actually have a target to aim for.

After all, it’s hard to score when you have no goal.



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