Resolution for 2016: TRAVEL!
I have a confession. A few days before Halloween, I popped into Rite Aid to pick up a few items. I noticed that the clerk was setting up a Christmas display…and I was excited. Outwardly, I had to pretend to be annoyed. “I mean, it’s not even Halloween? And do we just *skip* over Thanksgiving these days? Geez!” But inside, I did cartwheels!! The first commercial sign of Christmas means that the season of cheer is here. This is the time of year where I give thanks for all of the blessings in my life, reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, and set goals for the next year.
Most refer to these “goals” as resolutions–and most hate them. This is corroborated by the estimate from Forbes Magazine that approximately 40% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions but only 8% achieve them (see http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/).
My overall success rate is probably only slightly better than the Forbes estimate. None the less, for the last 10 years, I have always included the same travel resolution on my list. Shockingly, I usually accomplish it. My standing travel resolution is to go three places I have not been.
My travel resolutions have been successful, in part, because I have unknowingly subscribed to several of Forbes’ suggestions for success: keep it simple; make it tangible; make it obvious (share your intent with others); and believe you can achieve resolutions.
So this year, I challenge you to add a travel related resolution to your list. You may be asking: why? Why should I include travel resolutions on my list? Well–the first reason is that it’s probably much more enjoyable than trying to lose 20 pounds. Unlike “losing weight,” adding a travel resolution gives you something to look forward to. Let’s be honest, loosing those 20 pounds requires you to give up foods that you love and do things you probably do not want to do, like spending time in the gym. Why not add something to your list that excites you?
Second, setting travel resolutions may actually help your achieve other goals. Losing 20 pounds for the sake of losing 20 pounds is difficult. Losing 20 pounds because you want to look amazing in your pictures in Italy…different story. Or saving money just to have it may tempt you to use it unexpectedly. But saving money for a specific trip may make you think twice about touching it before the trip occurs.
So now that you see the benefits–let’s get you on the way to setting some goals! If you are having difficulty–let me suggest the following to get the ball rolling.
Start small. If you have never traveled outside of your city, planning an overseas trip with a 16 hour plane ride may be overwhelming. Start by planning a weekend getaway to a nearby town or destination that you can easily get to by bus or car. Slowly work your way to bigger travel adventures.
Determine Your Destination Early. If you make the goal of traveling to a specific destination at the beginning of the year, it gives you enough time to do the research on that destination well in advance. This gives you plenty of time to figure out where to stay, activities, and how much it will cost. It also gives you a tangible goal for the year and you can share this with others. Ironically, when you share your destination, you may encounter others who have been there. People are almost always willing to share their travel advice and tips for a destination they have visited previously.
Create a travel fund. Most of us must consider finances when traveling. Most of us also have bills and other obligations that convince us to put travel on the back burner. However, I challenge you to start your own travel fund with a specific amount of money to save by the end of the year. For example, if you save $50 per month for 12 months, by the end of the year you would have $600. That could make for a fantastic weekend getaway! Or it could give you a great head start for a larger trip. If you already have a trip planned for this year, it would give you more money to spend on that trip.
Setting travel resolutions can actually be fun and inspire you to get through some of the tough days. No matter how big or small–it’s something you can accomplish. Why not try it for this year? A new travel experience would be well worth it!