Change is one of the most overused words in the English language, whether it’s a politician promising it or a friend reciting the cliche that “change is the only constant”. And yet purposeful, positive change has the power to remake relationships, lives – even entire countries.
As someone who is rarely satisfied with the status quo, I look at change as a catalyst to new and better things. Nowhere is that more true than in my travel life; changing from gainful employment to vagabondary allowed me to explore countries and continents, fueling my passion for travel.
But as my last round-the-world trip fades into long-term memory (always terrifying when there’s not a new one on the horizon) I am once again finding myself unsatisfied with the stagnancy of my life. It’s time to brave the cliche and shake things up a bit.
How does change happen? Do we decide to lose weight, get a better job, or move to a new city, and just do it? No; if we did, broken New Year’s resolutions wouldn’t litter the weeks between the end of January and Valentine’s Day. Nor is change simply about willpower or determination, except for the few who have the iron resolve never to eat a chocolate chip cookie again (count me out).
As I’ve been thinking through the change I want to propagate throughout my own life, I’ve broken it down to two key elements:
-Identify a handful of goals
-Create a roadmap to get there
Sounds simple, right? Not quite.
Here are my five goals for the next 365 days:
1. Become a published author
2. Grow my travel consulting practice to full-time
3. Save enough money for a three-month (or longer) round-the-world trip
4. Get to 1,000 hits per day on The Savvy Traveler blog
5. Lose about 30 pounds
But what’s the methodology of the changes? For ideas and inspiration I’ve been looking to three sources:
Sean Keener, CEO of BootsnAll Travel Network. Sean’s keynote at TBEX ’11 talked about having a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal). It was a great reminder not to aspire to mediocrity. Plan to be a rockstar at whatever you do. You may or may not accomplish exactly what you set out to do, but the journey is worthwhile and in the end you’ll be in a place far better than where you started.
Neil Strauss, author of The Game, Emergency and several other bestsellers. Neil’s approach to change is to set a goal and then break it down to its component parts. What’s easier to do, become a published author or write a chapter of the book you want to get published? If the chapter is still overwhelming, jot down some thoughts about one element of that particular story. Break each goal down into parts so small they are easy to accomplish. The cumulative result will put you well on the road to the overall goal.
Peter Shankman, entrepreneur extraordinaire who is currently on a quest to get down to 10% body fat. He’s documenting the entire thing on his A Year To Ten Percent blog. Taking the time to measure your progress every so often will give you the encouragement to push on.
And that’s it. I have my audacious goals, I’ve been breaking them down into small chunks, and I’m going to measure my progress as I go, tweeting with hashtag #change365. Please join me on this journey, and let’s see how much we can better our lives in the next 365 days.