The One Goal You Need to Achieve All of Your New Year’s Resolutions

Some think they’re needless, others worship until damning them soon after making them. Don’t worry, this isn’t another rant about why you should or shouldn’t have New Year’s resolutions. Don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely nothing to say against positive changes in the new year and setting goals to achieve them, if anything.
Not only does it feel good to really think about the past year – about all the good and bad things that happened – and to set clearly defined goals for the upcoming year. They also really move you forward. Just as I love the beginning of a new week (yeah, those invidious Mondays) and early mornings, I’m excited about a new year, too. Like a blank page, the new year is the chance to start a new chapter – a new chapter of your life, that you write. However, this also applies to every single new day and even every single new hour.
Typical New Year’s resolutions like “being more active”, “less stress”, “eating healthier” etc. just aren’t goals. Instead an achievable goal would be “feel fit & healthy” and all of the resolutions given would simply be ways to achieve this goal. Most resolutions are about abandonment or about doing something, you actually don’t want to do. Because if you really wanted to, you wouldn’t need the first day of a new year for it. Goals on the other hand should be drafted on a positive note and the why which pushes you to actually pursuing your goal in the long run should always be answered.
New Year's resolutions Neujahrsvorsätze Ziele Zanzibar
Take nothing but a picture and leave nothing but a footprint.

The One Goal You Need to Achieve All of the Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions: Travel

Resolution: This year I’m going to travel more. Or framed as a (“smart”) goal: In July 2018 I’m going to go to xy with z, in the fall I’m going on a short city trip for a weekend and every last weekend of the month I’m going to explore the proximity (e.g. climb a mountain nearby, go to a lake or the forests).
To avoid any misunderstanding: I’m not talking about going to the statue of Jesus Christ in Rio to fight with the masses of tourists for the best selfie, sharpening your elbows when the sky finally clears. It’s not about checking off those “most important” sights of your list, but about consciously soaking in all the strange environments, getting to know the country and its people. I’m also not talking about long-distance journeys necessarily, even though those are the ones to get to know a completely different culture. Most of all it’s about going to the neighboring city or country, or to simply climb the nearest mountain. Because those small journeys enrich you, too.

The Why

Why travel anyway? Reasons may vary as they’re as individual as every human being should be. Transferred to the most popular New Year’s resolutions in Germany, you could find reasons to travel in getting closer to your loved ones, spending more time with yourself or relieve stress this way instead of going out all the time or using any other unhealthy valve. More on that further below.

Explore. Dream. Discover. 

  • For me, the most important reason to keep traveling is to get to know the world outside of my own bubble, with all its facets. Traveling lets you reduce your prejudices. You think Columbia is super dangerous? Or maybe you believe that every Iranian is a religious extremist? You’ll only really find out when you travel to those places (or through reading this blog ;-)). Traveling makes for a better understanding of foreign cultures and therefore a better togetherness, in the best case.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

  • Traveling cultivates and broadens your horizon. You’ll gain new experiences and impressions and eventually see the world with different eyes – a little more every time. You’ll see what others make better or simply different and may take pleasure in that way. You’ll also potentially see how our day to day behavior in our own bubble impacts the rest of the world: the people, the animals and the environment and you may get more conscious about it.

“One must travel, to learn.” – Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

Cover the 10 Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions (of Germans) with This One Goal

You can achieve all of the most popular New Year’s resolutions of Germans (and probably most people all over the world), in fact not overnight from December 31st to January 1st but bit by bit sustainably and longterm-oriented:

You don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to relieve stress. How about a day trip to a nearby forest, the sea or the mountains? No matter if you chose to go with friends/ family or by yourself, it also doesn’t matter if it’s nearby or far away. It’S especially those trips to nature which really help you relieve stress.
Take your loved ones and fly away together, go for a road trip over the weekend or climb the next mountain together. Traveling together can strengthen your relationship and you’ll really spend some quality time with each other instead of next to each other.
Obviously I’m not talking about those all-inclusive resorts here, where you’d only sway between your bed, the beach chair and the buffet. Swap the gym for nature, go to the countryside or the sea once a week and move your body outdoors. Explore those little alleys of an old downtown. The list goes on…
If you want to think, read or simply be with yourself undisturbed, go somewhere no one knows you. This way you get to decide spontaneously if you’re up for social interactions or simply want to spend time with your own thoughts. When you travel by yourself, there’s nobody to take cue from, if you don’t feel like it and you can do whatever you want to do at that very moment. And it really doesn’t matter if you have kids, employees or pets to take care of in everyday life – there’s a solution for everything! Besides, it doesn’t have to be a long journey. Even one day downtime from your daily obligations can contribute to really being there for others.
Discover the variety of fruit & vegetables on various markets all over the world. Take a cooking class – regardless if it’s in Vietnam or New Orleans. My experience is also that while traveling, you eat more consciously instead of just eating quickly secondarily, because there’s so much to do.
Okay, you won’t necessarily lose weight on your travels. However, maybe the shrinking airline seats (in economy class at least) will make you want to lose weight 😉 Maybe you’ll lose weight due to increased movement or get to know other cuisines or healthier eating habits. As you see, losing weight can be a nice side benefit of traveling.
There are many ways traveling can let you be more frugal. Before going on a journey, you could open a savings plan for trips you want to take by saving (or even investing) a certain sum or percentage of money monthly. Less obvious, but also important: what you’ll learn about the value of money and other resources while traveling may lead you to being more frugal with all kinds of resources. For instance, Cape Town is experiencing a severe water crisis these days. In the end, we all should implement the conservation of water anywhere in the world. You may also find yourself spending less money for material stuff, as you realize how a new pair of shoes may bring you joy in the short term, while you’ll daydream about taken journeys long after they’ve passed.
Traveling usually lets you be offline more naturally.
Swap the TV for travels. Yap, sometimes it can be as simple as that.
Okay, you most likely travel to Bordeaux or Napa Valley to attend some wine tastings. Fair enough. But I think this resolutions is about besetting drinking, binge drinking in clubs and what not. Clearly, just as you won’t lose weight inevitably, you won’t stop drinking alcohol simply due to traveling. However, swapping the club for a short trip to nature may be an effective substitution. Traveling also lets you get out of your accustomed environment. If you don’t go for a beer with your colleagues or celebrate wine o’ clock with your spouse every night for a while, you may retain the new habit on your return.

What else you can achieve with this one goal:

  • Personal development: confidence, time management, organization, research, intercultural communication & interaction, independence, taking responsibility for oneself, problem solution, patience, getting out of ones comfort zone and much more.
  • Get to know yourself a little better: What is it you really like and dislike? How do you want to live your life and what kind of people do you want to surround yourself with? When you travel, you’re not influenced by your daily surroundings. You also brace your intuition and learn to be your own best friend.
  • Humility: Seeing people with nothing (nothing that we in our material world consider necessary) living a fulfilled and happy life, makes you humble. You’ll learn how to appreciate the little things in life and you may notice how liberating you can feel without too much luggage or not having to make too many decisions. Maybe you’ll live a more minimalistic life at home eventually.
  • Learn new things, maybe even discover a new hobby.
  • Get to know other people
By the end of 2018 you’ll look back to all you’re newly gained experiences. Maybe you got rid of the one or other guilty pleasure, but for sure you’ll have reduced some prejudices and changed for the better. And that’s what New Year’s resolutions are all about, right?

So is there anything to be said against traveling?

Ok all of this may be true, BUT….Yes, I know, there will be lots of “buts” popping up in your head and with them seemingly good reasons excuses not to travel more. I thought about them already and I have arguments against any single one of them. You don’t believe me? Check out the next blogpost then.
Convinced? Check out these travel logs for some inspiration. 
By the way, while I’m writing this post, I’m stuck in Munich with my sprained ankle and start having ants in my pants. I can’t wait for the next journey, no matter how big or small…

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