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Using Small Steps to Hit Goals While Travelling

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Nomadic life makes traditional goal-setting difficult. Here's my five-step method for staying on track 

Travelling full-time has been great; however, it also lead to me drop most of my other goals. In case I’m not alone, I thought sharing my solution would do some good.

About four months into travelling full-time, I realized something: travelling was taking up all the time I had, and I wasn’t working towards any other goals. My business was just existing, and nothing else was going anywhere. I was in a total slump. Why? 

Travel. When you travel as a nomad, you get to see different places every week, meet new people, and explore the world. However, you also have to move on a regular basis, plan where you’ll be next and problem-solve issues from all over the world. 

I'm very lucky to be where I am—I’m doing what most people never get the chance to do. Yet, sitting back and realizing that I’d done nothing—at least, nothing besides travelling—since becoming a full-time nomad, I thought, “enough was enough.” I needed to start reaching other goals. 

What are my goals?

Once I got to thinking, I realized that travel had taken away most of my goals. How can I save to buy a house when I don’t know where I’ll end up next week, let alone next year (or two)? How can I workout regularly when I’m constantly moving, working and exploring? At the time, it seemed like travelling was doing just as much to hurt me as it was to help me.

When you’re travelling as a nomad, your life requires more planning.

Then, I realized that it wasn’t as complicated as I thought it was. Sure, travelling every week made life stressful. Yet, I was saving more money outside of the U.S., than I ever did living in it. Having no car, no rent and no high cost of living in the city meant that saving money was a breeze. Perhaps travel, when looked at optimistically, could be better for my goal than I ever thought possible. 

Taking steps

When you’re travelling as a nomad, your life requires more planning. You’re not just waking up and going to the same job at the same office from the same home that you have lived in for years. Each day, week, or month, you could be waking up in a different place, trying new foods, and exploring foreign places.

Left alone, it’s very easy to get nothing done because of this. That’s why I made it a goal to do five things that would get me closer to my goals each day, no matter what. They didn’t have to be big things; however, they did have to be something. That way, I would have time to work and explore, but I would also know that I was still moving forward in life.

My five goals method

Over the next few weeks, I worked on refining how I was going to work towards my goals. In the end, I came up with something I started calling the Five Goals Method. It might not be unique, but I’ve found that it works perfectly when life is unpredictable.

• Come up with five goals

As the obvious first step, I needed five goals—five things that I wanted my life to head towards over the next few months or years. These were things that I would be able to work on while travelling the world. In the end, I chose to focus on physical health, mental health, growing my business, growing my side hobby, and lowering my stress level. 

• Determine how to get there

Next, I needed to determine how to get to each of these goals. I wrote down the exact S.M.A.R.T. (standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goal I had come up with on a sheet of paper and listed ten small steps under it that I could take to get there—things that I could do once, or over and over again. For example, working on my health had things like “drink more water,” “eat less meat,” and “go for a run.” 

• One step for each goal—every day

After that, I started picking a task from each of my five lists every day. One day I might go for a run, write in a journal, email a potential client, practice photography, and take a bubble bath. Another day I might drink more water, meditate, update my business’s social media, use Duolingo, and go to sleep early.

Keep it simple

I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned while travelling is the importance of keeping it simple. Fewer bags means easier travelling. Fewer plans (to an extent) mean more fun. Fewer rules mean more steps taken.

Being a nomad is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things I’ve ever done. However, living like this has also meant that I need to think about where my life will go next. In the past month, since working off the “five goals method” I made for myself, I’ve enjoyed travelling more, as well as grown my business and become a healthier person. 

Just remember, the goal of travel is to have the time of your life and learn about new places and cultures. Keep it simple and try your best to keep going forward. Sometimes it will work; other times you’ll see the Eiffel Tower and get nothing else done that day. That’s pretty cool too.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Ashley Madden

Ashley Madden is a free-spirited digital nomad, writer, photographer and content creator. She owns Helianthus Advising through which she helps small businesses grow. In her free time, she creates videos to help the world.

Website: www.ashleymariemadden.com

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