In 2016, barring any unforeseen complications, I am going to complete one of my long-term travel goals – to visit every one of the 50 states in the U.S. My last two, Montana and Idaho, will be visited during a trip I’ve planned to Yellowstone with friends this summer. For a girl who grew up in a very small town, whose family could only afford modest vacations, that was a lofty goal and yet here I am nearing completion.
With it being a new year, many people have resolutions. Resolutions are fine, but if you really want to accomplish them, turn them into SMART goals. I use the term SMART from my corporate planning meetings. It simply stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. One might say that my goal wasn’t that realistic at the time it was made, but by being my focus, I made it realistic.
You CAN do this. First, where do you want to go? Have you always dreamed of dining in Paris? Or maybe it’s something closer to home like a week at Walt Disney World. Be sure it’s somewhere you want to go, but keep it realistic. Travel to the moon, while possible, is not probable for right now. It’s probably best to at least plan for somewhere to which you can use typical transportation.
Once you’ve decided where, think about what it will take to get you there (I know some of you are thinking to yourself “a miracle,” but think seriously about what it will take). You may need to come up with an idea of a budget. A great place to start with that is budgetyourtrip.com. List your obstacles and brainstorm on what you can do to overcome them. If it’s money, develop a savings program even if it’s small. The point is to find solutions rather than focusing on problems.
Now give yourself a deadline. How long will it take you to overcome those obstacles? A year? Two? Even if it’s five, it’s OK as long as you have a plan to follow to get you there. Timely simply means that you’ve given yourself a deadline, not that it’s completed in the next week.
Finally, and perhaps the most important part is to tell others about your goal. Many people say that the key to achieving a goal is to write it down. That may be true for some, but I have found that most people do better if they’ve shared their goal with someone else. You will hold yourself more accountable to achieving that goal if you know that others will know if you do not. It doesn’t have to be your entire Facebook list, but at least one or two close people such as your spouse, a parent, a sibling, or your best friend should know about your goal.
Then you simply need to work your plan and next thing you know, you will achieve your travel goal, too!
So, where do you want to go?