Why You Need to Back Up Your Research (Not Just in the Cloud)

Think about how much time and effort you’ve invested in your research.1 And think what it would take to recreate it all if it got instantaneously erased.

If you’re like me, thinking about mass deletion of your research probably has your stomach turning.

Keeping your work in “the cloud” has the advantage of ensuring it doesn’t just live on one computer of yours.

But at the same time, nobody has more incentive to keep your research safe than you do.

That’s definitely true for free cloud storage. But it’s still true even if you’re using paid cloud storage.

Paranoia Can Be Productive

To think about a major cloud storage provider failing and losing your research might border on paranoia.

But in your work, there’s a kind of paranoia that’s paralyzing. And there’s another kind that’s healthy and productive.2

That healthy and productive kind of concern leads you to see the uncertainty that exists rather than being persuaded by the hype that nothing can go wrong.

It’s the kind of concern that, having seen this uncertainty, doesn’t lead you to panic or perpetual dyspepsia.

Instead, it’s the kind of concern that leads you to soberly identify and adopt ways of limiting your risk. By doing so, you create an insurance policy against the unexpected.

Does Research Really Get Erased?

But is this an actual danger? Is it really feasible that you might lose your research?

In a word, yes.

If you have printed material, that can get consumed in a fire, left on public transit, (despite the cliché) eaten by a dog, or meet any number of other sad ends.

But even if you have things “safe” in the cloud, changes might fail to upload properly, or the most current version of a file might get deleted or copied over.

Not long ago, I had to dig way back into a backup set to recover some material. I finally found the missing pieces, but only because I had local backups that went back farther than the versions saved in my cloud services.

Finding those pieces took a while, but not nearly as long as it would have to recreate the material that went missing.

Or take the example that John Meade has shared about the nightmare scenario visiting his OneDrive:

I guess the new version of my #sblaar18 #aarsbl18 paper is better than my old one. Thanks @Microsoft for deleting previous versions of my paper and not allowing me or IT to recover them in order to improve my work. 😳🤨

…. Unfortunately, my institution uses OneDrive which has taken years away from me over the past 48 hours. I have very important stuff saved to Dropbox but I don’t have a lot of space left on there :-(.3

Conclusion

So, in the end, yes, losing research you’ve labored over is a real danger. Cloud services aren’t sufficient insurance against this danger. But they can be part of the solution and do provide convenient ways to back up your work in multiple locations.

And if you create a local backup on an external drive as well, your research will be that much safer.

Depending on how you assess the risks, you can leave this drive connected in order to make constant backups. Or you can unplug it between periodic backups so that its contents can’t get overwritten unintentionally.

In the end, there’s no completely failsafe way of protecting yourself from losing a painful chunk of your research.

But nowadays, it’s incredibly easy to drastically reduce the likelihood that you’ll experience a significant problem and also turn any difficulties you do have from occasions for lament into comparatively minor inconveniences.


  1. Header image provided by Markus Spiske

  2. For further discussion of the concept of productive paranoia, see Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen, Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck—Why Some Thrive despite Them All (New York: HarperCollins, 2011). 

  3. Tweeted by John Meade on 1 November 2018; emphasis added. 

How to Cite Resources from Your Logos Library

Any Bible software aims to help you access information more efficiently than you could do in print.1 One strength of the Logos platform is the broad array of resources you can access in it.

But when it comes to citing resources from your Logos library, there are some special steps you need to take to do it well.

These are to

  1. ignore Logos’s built-in footnoting feature,
  2. show page numbers,
  3. recognize the kind of sources Logos resources are,
  4. check print counterparts, and
  5. cite Logos resources as such.

1. Ignore Logos’s Footnote Feature

When you copy text from Logos, the software has the ability to include with that text a corresponding footnote.

You can set this output via the Copy Citations option under Program Settings. And if you use it, you can choose from a handful of style manuals—including the SBL Handbook of Style—to provide a reference point for how the software crafts this footnote.

Logos does many things well. But footnoting isn’t one of them at this juncture. You’ll have much better results using a dedicated citation manager like Zotero than you will using Logos’s built-in footnoting feature.

There are two reasons for this.

  1. Logos automatically includes a footnote information only when you copy text. If you’re paraphrasing or making a point in your own words that you want to support or contrast with a Logos resource’s view, there’s no automation to that. You can output a citation from the information panel for any resource. But for the SBL Handbook of Style, that only comes formatted as a bibliography entry—you don’t get the footnote format.
  2. The metadata that Logos includes for any given resource sometimes isn’t exactly what’s needed to properly cite that resource. For instance, a commentary resource might be missing series metadata, or it might not include the proper abbreviation the SBL Handbook of Style wants for that series.

For these reasons, you’re best off using Logos for what it really excels at—being a digital library. You can then use a tool like Zotero to help take the grunt work out of formatting your citations and bibliographies.

2. Show Page Numbers

That said, one of the wonderful features in Logos—and a major selling point in my deciding to use Logos years ago—is the software’s ability to show you the page numbers of the print edition right in line with the text.

You can show these page numbers in all appropriate resources from the visual filters menu inside just about any Logos resource.

The page number will then display as an orange “p [number]” inside an upper left page corner shaped mark.

You can see both the Show page numbers option and a sample page number in the screen shot below.2

If you don’t see Show page numbers, be sure you’re looking under the Resource sub-menu. If you are and you still don’t see the option, try a different resource.

You might be working with one of the comparatively few Logos resources that don’t have page numbers included for one reason or another.3

Assuming that you’re able to show page numbers in your resource, you’re then pretty close to being able to cite it. But there are still another couple steps.

3. Recognize the Kinds of Sources Logos Resources Are

According to the SBL Handbook of Style,

Books available for download from a library or bookseller are generally available in two main formats: PDF e-books and editions for e-readers, such as Kindle, iPad, and Nook. If citing a PDF e-book that is identical in all respects to the print edition, it is not necessary to indicate the format consulted. However, because other electronic formats do not conform in all respects to the print edition, in those cases authors must indicate the format consulted.4

Logos resources fall somewhere between the category of print-identical PDF e-books and alternative formats like Kindle, Nook, and others.

Given Logos’s ability to show you page numbers from the print edition, you have a cleaner line of sight to the print edition than even a Kindle book with page numbers will give you.

At the same time, Logos doesn’t have a page-per-page display setting like you can get in a PDF that will show you exactly what is on that same page of a print edition.

This fact comes up particularly in two cases.

  1. Occasionally, Logos editions will have typographical errors that aren’t present in the print edition. And for these, there’s the ever present ability to report typos that you find, another nice feature in the platform.
  2. Although Logos will show you page numbers in the main text of a resource, Logos won’t show you where any footnotes in that resource might wrap from one page onto the next. So, if you’re citing a footnote, you’re not going to be able to tell from the Logos version whether that footnote starts and ends on the same page or whether it runs onto multiple pages.

4. Check Print Counterparts

Given all of this, I tend to recommend you cross-check the print (or print-identical PDF) counterpart of a Logos resource when you’re citing it.

There are any number of helpful sources for laying your hands on that print material. But once you’ve checked it, you can then simply present your citation as from the print text.

You’ve done your homework. You’ve confirmed that what you’ve read in Logos is a faithful representation of the print text. And you can feel good about citing that text just as if you’d only had recourse to it in print all along.

5. Cite Logos Resources as Such

That said, there might be some cases where you can’t confirm the Logos text against a printed or print-equivalent PDF text.

Sometimes, there might not ever have been a print edition. In these cases, you’ll want to cite the text like the SBL Handbook of Style suggests for Kindle, Nook, and other formats that “do not have stable page numbers.”5

In other cases, you might just not be able to get a hold of the printed text to consult for whatever reason. But your Logos resource might still have page numbers in it.

In these situations, the best approach seems to be to

  1. Compose your citation as if you’re simply citing the print text directly,
  2. Include “Logos Bible Software edition, ” immediately before the page number in the first full footnote for that resource,
  3. Use the page number(s) you get from Logos as the locator in your citation, and
  4. Include ” Logos Bible Software edition.” at the very end of that resource’s bibliography entry.6

Conclusion

Logos is an incredibly useful tool for academic biblical studies. It can give you access to an extensive digital library. And with these five simple steps, you can make use of that library properly in your research.


  1. Header image provided by Joshua Mann

  2. The screenshot reflects the interface in Logos 9.0.0.0181. Depending on your version, the interface should be similar but may be slightly different. 

  3. E.g., Jacob Neusner’s edition of the Jerusalem Talmud seems to have been designed as a digital resource and never released in print. The Jerusalem Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2008). Logos Bible Software. 

  4. Society of Biblical Literature, The SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd ed. (Atlanta: SBL, 2014), 90. 

  5. Society of Biblical Literature, SBL Handbook of Style, 90–91. 

  6. Society of Biblical Literature, SBL Handbook of Style, 90–91. If you’re using Zotero, you may need to insert “Logos Bible Software edition, ” in the page number field of the citation dialog before the page number. For the bibliography, you’ll then likely need to manually edit the bibliography that Zotero generates to include ” Logos Bible Software edition.” as an additional note at the end of the listing for any resource you’ve cited from there. 

How to Find Your Way around the Aleppo Codex

With the Leningrad Codex, the Aleppo Codex is one of the most important witnesses to the text of the Hebrew Bible.1

Printed texts definitely have their virtues. But sometimes really nothing can substitute for looking at an original manuscript.

There are a couple very good ways to access the Aleppo Codex online, as well as an index to help you find your way around once you have it up.

Where to Find the Aleppo Codex Online

There seem to be three major versions of the Aleppo Codex that are openly available online. These include

  • An AJAX version photographed by Ardon Bar Hama. This version used to be available via a flash site at AleppoCodex.org. But that domain now simply redirects to Bar Hama’s non-flash site.
  • The PDF version that provides a scan of Moshe Goshen-Gottstein’s facsimile edition (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1976). This version is manuscript number 3 in the collection provided by Tanach Online.
  • An unprovenanced PDF version. This version is manuscript number 4 in the collection provided by Tanach Online.

Each version contains good quality images, but the unprovenanced PDF is by far the most incomplete.

The other two versions (Bar Hama’s and Goshen-Gottstein’s) are most complete. And using both together can sometimes be helpful in supplementing or sorting out issues in either one version or the other.2

Where to Find a Passage in the Aleppo Codex

Finding a passage in the Aleppo Codex was pretty straightforward for several years.

AleppoCodex.org had a nice menu you could use to jump straight to the portion of the manuscript you were wanting to consult.

That changed, however, when that Flash site got deprecated in favor of the current AJAX delivery method on Bar Hama’s website.

What you get now are simply the page images with no indexing information. So, using only that, you simply have to read around in the text to find out where you are and where you want to be.

There are, however, two other indexes to the Aleppo Codex that can make it easier for you to find what you need.

Option 1: Goshen-Gottstein’s Edition

In Goshen-Gottstein’s facsimile edition, the page footer includes both a page number and the range of text written on that page.

The book names, as well as the chapter and verse numbers are all written in Hebrew. But if you’re comfortable enough with Hebrew to read a Hebrew manuscript in the first place, this reference system should be pretty convenient.3

A downside is that the scan of this edition is comparatively dark. And there’s nothing on the page to tell you what leaf or side you’re on. So, to move from the scan of Goshen-Gottstein’s edition to consult Bar Hama’s images, you’ll need to

  • Do the math to calculate which leaf you’re on based on the number assigned to a given page and
  • Observe whether a given page is showing the front (and so “recto”) or back (and so “verso” of a given leaf).4

Option 2: A Combined Index

The other option is to use a combined index that gives you the information you need to look up a passage in the Aleppo Codex in either Bar Hama’s archive or the Goshen-Gottstein facsimile scan.

The base of this index came from the old AleppoCodex.org Flash site. I then corrected and supplemented this information by consulting the Goshen-Gottstein facsimile.

In this index, I’ve also added some additional notes about oddities in the three Aleppo Codex versions I’ve mentioned above—the two main ones from Bar Hama and Goshen-Gottstein, as well as the additional and unprovenanced PDF.

The index

  • lists the biblical passages on each leaf of the Aleppo Codex,
  • gives the leaf and side for those passages if you want to look up the corresponding image in Bar Hama’s archive,
  • gives the page number if you want to easily reference the scan of Goshen-Gottstein’s facsimile, and
  • adds some additional notes about where there are gaps in the online versions of the codex.

To get a copy of this index, just click the button below to give me your name and email address, and I’ll be happy to send it along directly. Enjoy working with the Aleppo Codex!


  1. Header image provided by Wikimedia Commons

  2. For a good list of some other Hebrew manuscripts that have been brought online to varying degrees, see Charles Grebe, “Digital Facsimiles of Biblical Hebrew Manuscripts,” Animated Hebrew, n.d. 

  3. If you need an easy reference for Hebrew numbers, see the back cover of William R. Scott and H. P. Ruger, A Simplified Guide to BHS: Critical Apparatus, Masora, Accents, Unusual Letters and Other Markings, 3rd ed. (North Richland Hills, TX: Bibal, 1995). 

  4. In keeping with usual practice, “recto” (“r”) refer the first side read on a leaf. “Verso” (“v”) refers to the second side read. For left-to-right languages, this means the recto is on the right-hand side of the codex and the verso is on the left-hand side. But for right-to-left languages, the same terminology is often employed in reverse with the recto falling on the left-hand side and the verso falling on the right-hand side. What is common to the two seemingly opposite definitions, however, is that the recto is always the first side read on the leaf and the verso is always the second, irrespective of the direction the text runs. 

How to Cite Dictionaries with Zotero

The SBL Handbook of Style prescribes different citation conventions for Bible encyclopedias and dictionaries than it does for theological lexicons and dictionaries.1

Zotero can handle both citation types. To get the proper output, you just need to:

  1. Install an updated version of the SBL citation style and
  2. Input information into your Zotero database properly.

1. Install an Updated Version of Zotero’s SBL Citation Style

From Zotero’s style repository, you can install the “Society of Biblical Literature 2nd edition (full note)” style.

This style, like all others, depends on the quality of the records you have stored in your Zotero database.

But if you make get information into the database correctly, this style will do a wonderful job. Your citations and bibliographies will very closely match the requirements of the SBL Handbook of Style.

Why You Need an Updated Citation Style

There’s one particular area, though, where Zotero’s default SBL style doesn’t get things quite right.

That is, for a number of specific resources, the SBL Handbook of Style specifies completely custom citations.

These formats work well enough for us in biblical studies who know what they represent (e.g., BDAG, HALOT).

But there’s not a good way for Zotero’s default SBL style to handle these custom citation requirements programmatically. After all, Zotero is software—not a biblical scholar. 😉

For this reason, you’ll want to install an updated version of Zotero’s SBL citation style. If you do this especially before citing theological lexicons and dictionaries, you’ll find it easier to get the correct output.

How to Get an Updated Citation Style

You can read more about how to update Zotero’s base SBL style for yourself. Or just drop your name and email in the form below, and I’ll email you a copy of the updated style.

2. Input Information into Your Zotero Database Properly

Encyclopedias and Bible Dictionaries (§6.3.6)

What SBL Style Requires

When you cite Bible encyclopedias and dictionaries, SBL style wants an initial footnote to look like

1. Krister Stendahl, “Biblical Theology, Contemporary,” IDB 1:418.

Subsequent references should use only the author’s surname, a shortened article title, and drop the dictionary title abbreviation. Thus, you’ll have a citation like

3. Stendahl, “Biblical Theology,” 1:419.

Then in the bibliography, you should have an entry for each individual encyclopedia or dictionary article like

Stendahl, Krister. “Biblical Theology, Contemporary.” IDB 1:418–32.

How to Get What SBL Style Requires

To get this output from Zotero, use the “Dictionary Entry” resource type for each entry you want to cite. You can then fill out the resource metadata as usual.

The one exception is that, in the “Dictionary Title” field, you often won’t put the full dictionary title.

Instead, if one exists, you’ll want to use the standard abbreviation for that dictionary’s title.

Some of these abbreviations are available in the SBL Handbook of Style. For others, you may need to consult the third edition of Internationales Abkürzungsverzeichnis für Theologie und Grenzgebiete (IATG).

(For more about using IATG alongside the SBL Handbook of Style, see my e-book on SBL style.)

Lexicons and Theological Dictionaries (§6.3.7)

For lexicons and theological dictionaries, things are a bit trickier. And it’s here that you’ll be thankful you’ve installed an update to Zotero’s default SBL citation style.

First, however, note that the SBL Handbook of Style heads §6.3.7 as discussing citation of “An Article in a Lexicon or a Theological Dictionary.”

But apparently, the section is intended to address only signed articles in lexicons and theological dictionaries. For unsigned articles, you’ll follow a different citation method.2

Some works include only unsigned entries (e.g., BDAG, HALOT). Others include both signed and unsigned entries (e.g., EDNT). So, you’ll want to carefully use the citation method appropriate for the specific entry type that you’re citing.

What SBL Style Requires

With that distinction made, note that, for theological lexicons and dictionaries, the SBL Handbook of Style wants initial footnotes like

1. Hermann W. Beyer, “διακονέω, διακονία, κτλ,” TDNT 2:93.

Or if you’re citing only the article on one particular word in a larger group, you’ll have something like

1. Hermann W. Beyer, “διακονέω,” TDNT 2:81.

According to the Handbook, subsequent citations need to have the author’s surname and the lexicon or dictionary title but drop the article title. (This requirement is opposite of that for Bible encyclopedias and dictionaries.)

But SBL Press has now reversed this pattern so that signed lexicon or theological dictionary titles are cited in the same way as are encyclopedia and Bible dictionary articles.3

Thus, you’ll have a subsequent reference like

3. Beyer, “διακονέω,” 2:83.

Then, in the bibliography, you’ll give the individual article entry like

Beyer, Hermann W. “διακονέω, διακονία, κτλ.” TDNT 2:81–93.4

This method of reflecting lexicons and theological dictionaries in the bibliography again represents SBL Press adjusting the presentation of these types of sources to be more similar to encyclopedias and Bible dictionaries.5

Per the Handbook itself, you would only include only one entry in the bibliography for a whole theological lexicon or dictionary, no matter how many articles you cited from it.

By contrast, the full bibliography entry for the whole work (e.g., TDNT) should now only go in an abbreviation list, if you need to have one.6

How to Get What SBL Style Requires

There are a few different options for how to ask Zotero to produce this output. Different methods might work better in different situations, depending on whether the source has only unsigned entries, only signed entries, or some of both.

Only Unsigned Entries

If your source has only unsigned entries, you’ll probably be best off by having just the one Zotero record for the whole source.

Only Signed Entries or Both Signed and Unsigned Entries

If your source has only signed entries, you’ll probably be best off by having

  • One Zotero record for each entry you cite and
  • One Zotero record for the whole work, if you need this for the abbreviation list or for unsigned entries.

Setting up the Zotero records for signed entries is pretty straightforward. But setting up a record to cite unsigned entries requires some special steps.

Setting Up Zotero Records for Unsigned Entries

For unsigned entries, you won’t always need to cite the work with an abbreviation. But that will often be the case.

When it is, you can use the “Extra” field for that Zotero record to enter Annote: followed by how you want to cite the lexicon or dictionary overall.

For example, for the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, the corresponding abbreviation is EDNT. So in Zotero’s “Extra” field for that resource, can enter Annote: <i>EDNT</i>.

Zotero won’t do anything with what follows Annote: except use it exactly to cite your resource. So you have to include the <i> and </i> tags to tell Zotero you want the title abbreviation italicized, as SBL style requires.

When you initially cite an unsigned article, you can then choose the “sub verbo” locator type in the Zotero add citation dialog box so that you can enter the entry you’re citing from.

Using the Annote: variable to store the custom citation you need should then allow you to configure your footnotes one way while not affecting the formatting of the bibliography entry for that resource, should you need to include one there or in an abbreviation list.

Conclusion

As Zotero and SBL style continue evolving, the process for getting certain types of output will change as well.

But of all the bibliography managers available, Zotero continues to provide one of the easiest out-of-the-box experiences for managing and citing research in biblical studies.


  1. Society of Biblical Literature, The SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd ed. (Atlanta: SBL, 2014), §§6.3.6–6.3.7. Header image provided by Zotero via Twitter

  2. Citing Reference Works 3: Dictionaries (Word),” weblog, SBL Handbook of Style, 4 April 2017. 

  3. Citing Reference Works 3: Dictionaries (Word).” 

  4. Citing Reference Works 3: Dictionaries (Word).” 

  5. Citing Reference Works 3: Dictionaries (Word).” 

  6. Citing Reference Works 3: Dictionaries (Word).” 

Your Word Processor Is Important. But How Do You Use It?

Biblical scholarship begins with writing.1 Most fundamentally, that writing is the biblical text.

Almost immediately after that, however, biblical scholarship turns into writing about the biblical text and the primary and secondary literature relevant for its interpretation.

As a standard for the guild, biblical scholarship requires not just writing but digital writing. And in order to produce digital writing, you a need specific kind of tool to do the job—word processing software.

But historically, there’s been very little in the way of direct guidance about how to work with this important tool.

The Problem of How

For instance, according to the Student Supplement for The SBL Handbook of Style, you need a table of contents for documents of 15 pages or longer.2 And that table of contents is supposed to be laid out in a specific way.3

Or according to the Bulletin for Biblical Research, you can only use the “Normal” style in your article submission.4

But exactly how do you do either of these things? And how can you do them as simply as possible in order to get back to what you really care about? (After all, you probably aren’t in biblical studies because you just love formatting documents. 🙂 )

The Search for Solutions

When it comes to this question of how, that’s often where guidance is sorely lacking. Using Microsoft Word can help minimize the software challenges you face.

But even then, what’s usually been necessary has been some combination of

  • Trial and error in Word,
  • Searching for related advice online or general manuals,
  • Not finding anything that addresses your exact question,
  • Trying the best you can with the information you’ve cobbled together, and
  • Still ending up with something that’s not quite what you were wanting.

Needless to say, this whole cycle can be immensely time consuming and frustrating. And the cost of this cycle rapidly mounts in terms of attention you could have spent actually writing.

You could, of course, find and hire a certified professional to give you step-by-step advice. But that gets expensive quickly too.

Step-by-Step Guidance at Your Fingertips

All of this is why I’ve written a guide specifically to address common ways emerging biblical scholars need to use Word.

This guide most directly addresses SBL style. And its principles are readily adaptable to other related style manuals as well (e.g., Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian’s Manual for Writers). There’s even a free sample.

In short, working through this guide will show you, step-by-step how to use Word and make the most out of it for your work. It will help free you to focus on the content of your writing and research.


Tired of fighting with Word? Want to be done with frustrated hours fussing over how to get the formatting you need?

My new guide shows you how to bypass all of this so you can let Word work for you while you focus on your research.

Garrett Thompson (PhD)

For students in any graduate program, mastering the full range of available research tools is crucial for efficient and consistent productivity. Dr. Stark has mastered these tools—the most important of which is Microsoft Word…. Students eager to take their work to the next level would do well to follow Dr. Stark’s in-depth guidance.


  1. Header image provided by the Noun Project

  2. Melanie Greer Nogalski et al., Student Supplement for The SBL Handbook of Style, Second Edition, ed. Joel M. LeMon and Brennan W. Breed, rev. ed. (Atlanta: SBL, 2015), §2.7. 

  3. Nogalski et al., Student Supplement, §3.3. 

  4. Bulletin for Biblical Research, “Submission Guidelines for Authors” (Pennsylvania State University Press, n.d.), 2. 

Why You Need to Celebrate Accomplishing Your Goals

What will you do when you accomplish one of your goals for the year?1

Should you cross it off your list and move straight to the next thing without missing a beat?

No, you should pause to celebrate.

What Celebration Means

But celebration doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t need to involve a party. It doesn’t even need to involve spending money or “rewarding” yourself for all your hard work on that goal.2

What counts as a “celebration” for you can be something comparatively small. It might mean

  • Telling someone close to you that you finished that article and got it submitted to a journal,
  • Having a special dinner with your spouse,
  • Taking an extra few hours away from your academic work to spend with your kids, or
  • Doing any of a host of other things that might, yes, also sometimes even include having a party. 🙂

Celebration Is about Thankfulness

The point is, celebration is about thankfulness. It’s about gratitude. It’s about being intentional in noticing that where you are isn’t where you were.

You can plunge straight ahead from accomplishing one goal into the next. But doing so ignores that you haven’t gotten from where you were to where you are on your own.

And especially over the long haul, it will be good for both you and those around you if you’re intentional about finding ways to celebrate progress that reflect that gratitude.

Conclusion

So, if you don’t already have plans for how you’ll celebrate the different goals you have for this year, take a few moments to start thinking about that.

You don’t need to do anything fancy. The important thing is to be intentional about how you choose to celebrate and mark your progress.


  1. Header image provided by Erwan Hesry

  2. For pressing the value of commemorating goal accomplishment, I’m particularly grateful to Michael S. Hyatt, Your Best Year Ever: A Five-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2018); Michael S. Hyatt, Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2019).

    That said, Hyatt tends to discuss this commemoration in the language of “reward” rather than “celebration.” The terminological difference may be largely semantic. Hyatt does sometimes talk explicitly in the language of “celebration.”

    But to me, emphasizing the language of “celebration” has two material upsides. First, it relates more readily to gratitude than does “reward.” Second, “celebration” suffers less from the possibly consumerist or entitlement connotations in language about “reward.”