It's that time of year again. Everyone is encouraging everyone else to make new goals and new resolutions. I personally have a few serious goals for the year, for example, I'd like to lose 70 pounds, and I think I have a pretty good plan in place for that. I actually like myself as I am, but I want to be a bit healthier and weight loss factors into that. So, go me, right?!
What I REALLY want to talk about is the FUN goals! Things like travel, and adventure, and exploring, and discovery. We all have things we want to fix and change and that is absolutely great, But, just thinking about travel makes me feel all giddy inside!
Getting my Year of Fun and Adventure Started
I think every year, any budget, and any person's life can be packed with fun, adventure, and excitement. It is up to each induvial to fulfill that in a way that works with where they are in life.
At the beginning of every year, I take into account three main things: (1) my lifetime, personal bucket list; (2) THE MAP; and (3) my bucket list for the year.
My personal, and pretty traditional, bucket list looks like what I assume everyone else's looks like. The only difference is that it will be filled with items that are exciting to me vs. another person's idea of fun. For example, on my list I have "See all 50 US sates before I am 50," "Visit all 7 continents before I die," and a big one for me right now is just "Visit the Azores." I have a thing for islands. Just love 'em!
I would say most of my bucket list goals are rather big and require many trips and tasks to accomplish them. And I am perfectly fine with that. In fact, I love it! This type of list makes me feel like my travel dreams have a never ending supply ideas. Each year, I try to mark something off or at least work toward marking something off!
My Bucket List for the Year
At the beginning of the year, I make a bucket list of places I want to go, things I want to see, and things I want to do. People talk about making a bucket list for your life, but WHAT are you doing for 2019?! I get wanting to take those big trips, but ask yourself, "what do you want to accomplish locally?"
My list has local destinations, out of state or out of country destinations, tasks such as hike x number of miles in a year, and other fun ideas. I ask myself these questions:
What does your bucket list look like for the year? Ask yourself how are you focusing on the fun and adventure that life has to offer? I am not talking about a bucket list that includes "paying off that credit card" and though that is important, my question is how are you focusing on you and your dreams? How can you still have fun for YOU no matter what your life situation is at this moment?
The second item I take into account is THE MAP. Somehow it was dubbed exactly what it is (LOL). I have this map. It is a Google Map and it something I started several years ago. It began because I noticed that I would see a cool post about a place on Facebook and think to myself, "Wow, that sounds amazing! I WANT TO GO THERE! I hope I remember that."
Then, six months later I would see another post about the same beautiful location and think "Wow, that sounds amazing! I WANT TO GO THERE! I hope I remember that." Do you see the pattern here?! I would again promptly forget.
At some point, I realized that I was seeing the same places and repeatedly forgetting about them when it came time to make my travel plans. Thus, THE MAP was born.
It is easy to create a saved Google Map and it is easy for the pin points to add up. The way I use it by adding a pin point every time I learn about a unique restaurant, festival, historical site, modern site, museum, bakery, amazing natural wonder, and anything else you can think of!
THE MAP has now grown to take on a life of its own! My sister and friends will message me with interesting sites they come across. I have learned about pin points from magazine articles, Facebook posts, blog posts, conversations, and even while on vacation when I don't have enough time to do everything I learn about. Does it make me terrible that two or three of them are even from ease dropping on conversations that happened around me?!? #noshame #sorrynotsorry
How Do I Use THE MAP?
It turns out there are two ways. First, I sometimes plan trips to specific destinations on THE MAP. I research other things I may want to see or just head to that city for a walk about.
And the second way was unexpected and I found I use THE MAP more often as a travel support tool. It helps me decide what path I want to take along a journey. It helps make a business trip more fun. It helps me find wonderful things to see in a place I am already going to.
The thing I love about it is that the points are things I personally find interesting. They are personal to ME. For example, my hubby and I drove to Florida from Michigan last year. This is a 20+ hour drive, so on way home we detoured to see the Angle Tree in Charleston, South Carolina. It was amazing! It is considered to be a 400-500 year old tree and casts shade over 17,000 square feet! I still cannot believe how beautiful it is and I am so glad I didn't miss it.
There are probably a million things in this world that I would have no desire to see, but someone else would find that very thing something they cannot live another day without seeing. And you know what? That's okay! It is good that we're all different. This style of map allows YOUR MAP to be all about you.
Angel Tree, Charleston, SC, USA - Photo Credit: Audrey Tipper
Accomplishing Those Goals
Let's talk about how the heck do we accomplish all these goals anyway?! Everyone has their take on accomplishing goals. One big thing they always say is that if you write your goals down that you'll accomplish them. To be honest, that has never really worked for me.
It is important for me to have a list to mark off, but I find the actual act of writing down the goals one of the least important parts of goal setting. I find I can write down all KINDS of cool 'goals,' in fact I can make a huge list! But if I don't have actionable tasks to back them up, then they are just a group of skittering thoughts that happened to make it out of my brain and onto some paper.
That being said, the brain dump is an important part of my personal process. I tend to make my start any goal list with what I want to accomplish where I jot down all of the ideas that make sense to me. Then I take a step back and ask myself what is realistic? It is okay if the goal is huge and you aren't sure if you can reach it. If you get close, then have you really lost anything in trying?
Once I have things narrowed down, then I add in the HOW part and a due date for myself. Without the how and a due date, the goals will never get anywhere for me. I have to have actionable SMART goals or they are just words on paper.
To sum it up, when working on goals:
Sounds so simple when you write it down in four things, but I think the hardest part of sticking to goals is personal accountability. If that is something you struggle with, don't be afraid to ask a friend to "hold your feet to the fire" so to speak.
Now, go get started on your bucket list for the year and get all your HOWs down on paper. You got this girl, I believe in you and the fun!
My name is Audrey and I live in Michigan, US with my hubby, little daughter, and my enormous black cat. I am the founder of Three Happy Turtles and my mission is to empower YOU to trust and bellevue in yourself through travel and adventure. Love to each of you, can't wait to hear from you!