I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. There’s nothing wrong with doing so, but it just never made a whole lot of sense for me personally. I think part of that is because it’s so common for people to make very vague resolutions for the new year, like “being healthy” or “saving money”, and it just seems like a thing people do without any real intention of sticking to it. Or, at least, that’s how it always felt for me.
However, I do like to make goals for myself. But when I make goals, I tend to keep those goals to myself. Telling others about your goals can be helpful for a lot of people for the sake of accountability, but I don’t feel like I need that outside help to stick to my goals. If I want something badly enough to make it an actual goal, I’ll do it (usually).
That being said, my goals can change drastically over time, even within a short period. What I want right now, at the beginning of 2017, may be very different than what I want 6 months from now. I also like to keep myself open to all opportunities, so sometimes I totally throw out my original goal for something else, and timelines don’t always meet up like I thought they would.
Now that I’ve gotten all of that out of the way, I’m here because I am doing the thing I just said I don’t usually do: I’m making a list of goals (New Year’s Resolutions if you will) to put up for the world to see. But I’m reminding myself that this list is not here so that I can look back a year from now and say “wow, I totally failed”, but so that I can try to focus in on the things that are currently important to me. If I want to get to where I’m going, I have to know where I’m going.
So to be a totally clichéd blogger, here are 17 goals I’ve made for the year of 2017. The list includes travel, personal, and blog goals.
Travel Goals for 2017
Visit my (Current) Dream Destination
As soon as I knew I was officially coming to New Zealand for the year, I had my heart set on visiting a certain destination afterwards. A lot of backpackers travel around Southeast Asia after completing a working holiday in New Zealand. While I’d love to travel around multiple Asian countries, I’d rather use my money to spend more time in one country. That’s why I’m planning to spend one full month in my current “dream destination” when I leave New Zealand. I won’t reveal it just yet, but it’s in the works.
Spend Summer in the States
Because of my move from the Northern hemisphere to the Southern hemisphere this past March, I basically went a whole year without summer. Now I want to make up for that and get a whole years’ worth of spring and summer and skip over winter instead. I want to spend the summer of 2017 back home in the United States and get another road trip in, plus see my family!
Return to Seattle
I left my heart in Seattle and I’d like to go back to get it. I only lived in Seattle proper for about 4 months, but it was such a good time in my life. I’ve avoided revisiting because I didn’t want to go back with too much nostalgia, but I think I’m ready to return now. I left in January 2015, and I NEED to be back in that beautiful, perfect city.
Visit 5 New Countries
I’m not one to count the places I’ve been or check things off a list. I like to travel slowly. I like to settle into a place for a while and get to know it. I’ve spent almost a full year now in New Zealand. As I said earlier in the list, I want to spend a month in my next destination. So at this point, I don’t really have much of a country count to speak of (and I mostly like it that way). BUT, I feel like 2017 is the right time for me to finally try out traveling a little differently. I’d like to manage to visit 5 new countries in 2017, because after that it might be a while before I get to any more…
Begin Another Working Holiday
My working holiday in New Zealand has been so great. Early on, I was a little unsure of whether or not I’d stick it out. Not because of homesickness, but because of restlessness. Now that it’s coming to an end (in March), I’m thinking another one is in order. Assuming I don’t change my mind, I’d like to start a working holiday in Australia at the end of the year—or at least have a visa and a plane ticket to start early 2018.
Travel by Train
I’ve always thought that traveling by train seemed quite romantic—in the nostalgic, observant traveler kind of way. I like to sit back and watch the scenery go by, and a train seems like that perfect way to do that. I made my first trip by train here in New Zealand, and I’m hoping to do another one before I leave the country. Beyond that, I’d like to spend a full week traveling by train somewhere in the world. Maybe it will be in North America, or maybe I’ll find an opportunity in a place I never thought about. To be clear, I don’t want to spend an entire week ON the train without a break, but traveling place to place via rail sounds ideal.
Blog Goals for 2017
Be More Consistent
Everyone says consistency is key when it comes to blogging, and unfortunately, that seems to be my main downfall. My routine and day-to-day life changes drastically based on my current circumstances: sometimes I’m settled in somewhere working full-time, sometimes I’m traveling, sometimes I’m just…being lazy. But I often let my blog fall to the wayside while I focus on other things (living life, you know). I’m set on being more consistent this coming year.
Create an Editorial Calendar
My first step in being more consistent with blogging is to create an editorial calendar. I’ve always hated the idea of doing this because I never know where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, how I’ll feel, etc. in the coming weeks/months. It’s hard to commit when you live like I do. But that’s exactly why I need an editorial calendar. The last thing I want is for my blog to start to feel mechanical, but I realize that making a plan is the only way to keep up with blogging (and to avoid the disappearing acts I seem to do every so often). Sidenote: If anyone has tips on creating an editorial calendar or a blog schedule, feel free to leave me a comment!
Way back in the day (a few years ago), I did quite a bit of freelance writing in the fashion & retail niche, along with freelance social media work. I stopped doing it because I was tired of writing about fashion, and I didn’t yet know what direction I wanted to go. Now that I’m traveling, I want to get back into writing. The reason I haven’t done that yet is 100% a fear of not being good enough to do it or not being able to handle the pressure and deadlines. I have to get past the excuses I make for myself and just start pitching and writing. If I can manage to get a few things published by March, I’ll be pretty happy.
Work on Blog Projects
I started Travel Daze in mid-2014, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I actually started blogging regularly. Around December 2015/January 2016, I made a huge step up by moving in a more clear direction with content. Once again in mid-2016, I did a lot to revamp the blog, work on social media, and re-focus my content even more. Even though I’ve managed to make little changes here and there, there are a million projects I’ve been wanting to work on for a long time. They constantly get put off in favor of just creating new blog posts or keeping up with social media. I’m going to focus more on bigger projects this coming year instead of just the day-to-day blogging stuff.
Update my Equipment
This sounds super tech-y and professional, but I’m pretty behind when it comes to this stuff. I like keeping things simple when it comes to technology; I’m a travel blogger and I don’t even have a real camera! Sure, my iPhone takes pretty good pictures, and I’m mostly happy with the outcome, but I’d like to upgrade to an actual camera this year. Also, my laptop is starting to look (and sound) kind of sad. This is more of a financial goal, since all it really takes is picking out what I want and forking over the money. That being said, I can be a total cheap-o, so forking over the money will take a lot of work.
Personal Goals for 2017
Start a (Real) Savings Account
I do have an account that I consider to be my “savings” account, but it’s really just my U.S. checking account. Since I’m living and working in New Zealand, I use my NZ bank account for my daily expenses. So my U.S. account doesn’t get used, unless it’s to transfer money into it. The idea is that I’ll have a back-up fund for when I get back to the U.S. That’s not quite enough, though. I want to open an official, dedicated savings account when I get back to the States. An account that encourages long-term savings, because you know, I’m an adult.
I love hiking. It’s one of my favorite activities to take up when traveling. When I have a free morning or afternoon, a walk or hike is the best way to fill it. If I’m settled in somewhere with a lot of hiking trails around, I try to spend my free time on them. However…as much as I talk about how amazing hiking is, I often find myself going really long stretches of time without doing it. I also shy away from challenging myself when it comes to hiking, often sticking to easier trails or shorter hikes. I want to really challenge myself and improve my strength and endurance. “Hike more” is not a concrete goal, but I’m still working out what my exact goal for hiking is going to be. Look for an update in the next couple of months!
As someone who loves to write and hopes to write professionally, I don’t write nearly as much as I want to. I often feel like I have permanent writer’s block, which just begs the question: am I even good at it? I have pretty specific needs for writing, which usually involves long stretches of isolation…since I can’t just spend all of my time alone (I wish I could!), I need to find other ways to get those juices flowing. I’m committing myself to write EVERY SINGLE DAY in 2017. It might be a blog post, it might be an article for publication, or it might just be a journal entry. Regardless, I will make time to write something every day. Hopefully it will become a habit and my writing will improve.
Complete an Educational Course
There are a million things I’d like to learn more about. I want to learn Spanish, I want to learn more about sustainable agriculture and permaculture, I want to improve my writing skills, I want to learn more about digital marketing strategy, and the list goes on. The wonderful thing about our current world is that online courses are widely available, allowing one to study from anywhere. I haven’t been taking up any courses that interest me because, once again, committing to something when I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing in the coming weeks/months is difficult. Educating myself, even if it’s not a full-on degree, is important to me and my future, for both personal and professional reasons. I will most likely start small (maybe a 6-week course?), but I will complete a course by the end of the year.
Get Certified in Wilderness First Aid
I became certified in First Aid back in April 2015, hoping it would help out with my seasonal job applications. My intention was to then get certified in Wilderness First Aid, but at the time I didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on a course. It’s been almost 2 years and I still haven’t done it. I don’t know if I’ll end up doing work any time soon that would put this skill to use, but I still want to get my WFA certification for my own personal knowledge. I’ll be looking at courses for the summer while I’m in the U.S.
Visit My Friends and Family
It’s quite sad, but I don’t get to see my friends and family all that often. My immediate family is all in one place now, so at least I know that when I go home, they’ll all be there. Home is always on my life of places to visit, so at least that gets covered once or twice a year. However, seeing my friends isn’t as easy. I have a small number of people in my life that I consider to be close friends. As a traveler, most of my closest friends are also travelers and wanderers. That means being in the same place at the same time is really tough. Even the close friends that stay put in one place are hard to see, because they’re all in different places. I’d like to make as much effort as possible to see all the people I care about in 2017. That most likely means lots of flights and short trips, but going another year without seeing certain people would really be a shame.
To end this post, I want to reiterate the fact that this list is here to give me some focus and clarity for the new year. It’s very possible that my goals will change, or that some things won’t be a priority anymore later in the year. However, I will be working on fulfilling these. I’ll update throughout the year on social media concerning my goals and anything I’ve done to complete them. Twitter is probably the best place to follow me if you’re interesting in keeping up with how things are going.
How do you feel about New Year’s Resolutions? Did you make any big goals for 2017? How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?
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Life in Wanderlust