“This year, I will travel the world” — a statement we love adding to our list of New-Year’s-resolutions-that-will-inevitably-fall-through. Barely 10% of Filipinos follow through with their resolutions, but even when we know that we’re far from alone in our failure to pursue our annual goals, we can’t help but get frustrated and hopeless by February.
Believe it or not, I’m not writing this article to crush your dreams. On the contrary, I desire that all of us would have a year full of travels. But hear me out: adding “travel the world” to your New Year’s resolution just won’t help. Been there done that. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few reasons why it will most likely fail.
1. It’s too vague
To travel the world joins the ranks of our dreams to “lose weight” or to “be more productive.” All are equally vague and bound for doom. Goals require a strong willpower and proper planning, and you won’t be able to achieve a goal if it isn’t even measurable from the start.
2. Some forces are out of your control
Just like losing weight isn’t always about going on a diet (it’s also about your body type and lifestyle), travelling the world is a feat a (wo)man can’t do on his/her own. There will be flight cancellations. Personal emergencies. Visa problems and social issues that are bigger than us.
3. It doesn’t fit with your lifestyle
If you actually meant “travel the world” literally, well, what can I say? Unless you quit your job (and quite frankly, quit the rest of your life too) and decide to win a record for the one person who travelled the world in a year, travelling the world in a year isn’t really something anyone can ever do.
4. It’s a sudden change
If you’re not used to travelling everywhere — and I mean, everywhere — then suddenly wanting to travel the world won’t be feasible. In fact, chances are you won’t be able to travel even a quarter of the world. Travelling is a serious commitment. It requires rigorous planning, careful packing, financial aid. The list goes on.
Try this instead
But let’s keep ourselves positive. It’s the season of hope, after all. Instead of wallowing in our inability to achieve this impossible goal of ours, why don’t we try making smarter goals instead? After some research and years of trial and error, here’s what I’ve learned works best for me when it comes to fulfilling my goals.
1. Have feasible goals
Instead of planning to travel the world, plan more concrete travel goals. For example, you mean to travel more. Plan for a specific destination instead. Of course, you should consider a destination that’s within your means. Take note of your personal schedule, as well as the financial implications and visa requirements of the said destination.
2. Create short-term goals
It’s tempting to have big dreams that can only be achieved with long-term action. But, it’s also important that you zoom into your day-to-day choices. Want to travel more next year? Then set a financial goal per week, for example. Build habits (habits form after a month of consistency!) that can empower you to achieve your ultimate travel goal. These habits may be in the form of strengthening your body, stabilising your finances, building a career that liberates you from confinement — you name it.
3. Celebrate every step
Say you have a larger than life travel goal. Or a bucket list of insane travel activities. Whenever you feel like a step closer to those big dreams, allow yourself to celebrate! This way, the bigger dreams don’t seem as daunting anymore, and you’ll have the motivation to keep pursuing your goal. Baby steps.
4. Start now
Why wait for the next year when you can start working on your goals now? If it means saving up, then don’t spend all your Christmas money in one go. If it needs careful planning, then take out your pens and calendars and scribble down the first drafts of your itinerary.
I’d love to believe that we can all make 2019 a year of travel with the right amount of heart and focus. Say it with me: “This year, I will actually write New Year’s resolutions I can commit to.” And may we really do.