A goal is a very personal notion. While we all make them, particularly around New Years, they can become hard to keep. Things might get in the way or come up; be it money, friends and family, unexpected events, or other commitments, life just happens. Despite these, never stop striving to reach your goal.
This isn’t going to be some super motivational post saying “you can do anything and just stick to it!” (Though you totally can). It is, however, going to discuss the importance of setting goals and having something to work towards.
I often have many goals at once, whether they be personal, financial, or otherwise, the one overarching goal I’ve had for a while was to travel to 25 countries by the time I turned 25.
And last month, upon approaching my 25th birthday, I reached country #25. My recent visit to Morocco marked country number 25 and my first visit to Africa.
With that goal reached, it’s time to make some new ones, and continue working towards others.
Big or small, goals are important for a few reasons. Here’s why:
A Goal Provides Focus
Without a goal, you’re simply working away, and for what?
While some goals may provide more tangible results, like finishing a project or book, or financial gain, others may provide personal results, which are just as valid. With this focus, you can point your life in the direction you want it to go. This leads us to the next reason why goals are important.
Having measurable results is useful for a few reasons. Firstly, it shows progress, and progress is a great motivator. Secondly, when putting these results on a timeline (in my case by the time I was 25), it pushes you to keep going and doesn’t allow you to waste time.
I know I can be a major procrastinator and this timeline was important to keep going.
With measurable results, you need to have some parameters. With some goals, these parameters will be more obvious than others. For example, if you wanted to lose X amount of weight in 6 months, your parameters are simply pounds (or kilograms) lost over a certain time frame. Easy peasy. In my case, the parameters for my goal were a bit more complicated.
I needed to first decide what constituted as a country. While it may sound silly, there are a few ways this could vary. Should I count the U.K. as one country? Or Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales (if I’d been there) as all separate countries? Should I count countries that are “owned” by other countries as separate countries (like Aruba and Gibraltar)?
I also needed to decide how long being in the country made it countable. Would a day-long layover count? What if I got the passport stamp?
Overall, I decided to count countries as anywhere that has it’s own defined geographical territory (though not necessarily independent), and it’s own culture. I also decided not to count layover countries that I couldn’t/didn’t explore, regardless of whether or not I got the passport stamp. While some may agree or disagree with these parameters, goals, like I said, are a personal notion. And just like the goal itself, the parameters you choose surrounding the goal are equally as personal. Using these parameters this gives me a country list of:
Trinidad and Tobago
Check out the Destinations Page to explore posts related to these areas.
Once these goals and parameters are set, you’re well on your way to reaching them. Depending on what they are, they may change slightly – particularly long-term goals – goals can change as you do, and that’s okay! You may have wanted to be a ballerina when you were five, that doesn’t mean you still want to twenty years later and your goals should reflect your best and current self.
Finally, having a goal to work towards gives you motivation and accountability. I find that accountability goes hand in hand with motivation. I find that by publicly sharing my goal, with friends, family, and everyone on this blog, that it has made me more accountable. If I was the only one who knew about the goal, I could easily change it or not bother with and no one would know the difference. That added accountability created more motivation than simply working on it myself. People would ask how many more I have to go or wish me luck in the next place. While it’s not always necessary, having external accountability can really help with motivating you to complete your goal.