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I love the excitement of a new year and planning all the things to accomplish. Just as much as I love looking back over the past year and seeing how much has been accomplished. But I will admit, I am not fond of New Year’s resolutions because somehow, even with the best intentions at heart, when setting these goals, I always seem to break them. And sooner than I’d like to admit. So, to be a little kinder to myself and stop the “I can’t believe you didn’t do that” or the “I failed” thoughts from taking over, my goal-setting process has changed. This has helped me achieve success and even surpass the goals set. See, by changing my mindset it became fun to hit milestones and deal with the day-to-day we sometimes get bogged down in. Here’s a few outlooks that help me set goals and achieve them…

1. Celebrate what you’ve already achieved

Look back over your past year and celebrate your past successes. Your first byline or first article with a new publication. Your first or biggest stock photo sale. Whatever it may be, although it may seem small, it is worth celebrating. You were published. You achieved your goal. That is a huge tick in the “win” column. This reinforces that you can do what you have set your mind to, and helps keep motivation up.

2. Make a visible plan

A big fun one full of flowers. By this I mean big in size. I love art, painting and color, so my plan is a piece of cardboard complete with vine and flower covered borders because I love nature. Each month’s goal is right there clearly written. Sometimes in bold. Other writers I know have an extensive spreadsheet. Others, a series of post-its they remove after each completed task. Whatever your system is, it should reflect you and be fun. This structures your month and year. It also helps make sure things aren’t forgotten.

3. Be realistic

Set realistic goals. If you jump straight to “I’ll have 10 articles published monthly” when you are first starting out, you’ll burn out fast. Plus, it can have a negative effect if you get down on yourself for not being an instant success. It is unrealistic, and doesn’t happen for anyone like that. Remember, it takes time. Yes, it is great to have the goal of 10 articles published in a month, but don’t get down on yourself if you haven’t achieved it yet. Having two articles published is a fantastic month. Adopt this mindset, and you’ll be soaring by the time you hit five and that’s half of your original goal. They will come, just be patient and keep going. 

4. Be kind to yourself

I try not to get down on myself when a goal isn’t achieved on time. It has happened plenty, trust me. So, instead of allowing those “I’ll never be good enough” or “maybe this isn’t meant for me” thoughts, I calmly make a cup of tea and revisit my glorious vine-covered board. Seeing each goal that has been achieved is a confidence booster, helping reset my mindset to “I can do this.” Be proud of your accomplishments. Look at them often. This five-minute break will reset, re-inspire, and re-motivate the travel writing juju.

5. Treats

This is my favorite. Treat yourself when a goal is reached. I do this as they happen. Sometimes with champagne because you know what, achieving goals no matter how big or small should be celebrated. If you take the time to do this your motivation to stay on this path and live your travel writer’s life will be concreted, set in place and you will succeed. Just like Dr. Seuss says, “you will succeed…ninety-eight- and three-quarter percent guaranteed.” Now remember, celebrate everything, set realistic goals, have a visible plan, be kind to yourself, and—most importantly—recognize your successes with a treat. You will stay focused, motivated, and positive so this year will hold much success along your travel writers’ path. Even if you achieve 30% of your goals, you’re a superstar! [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Three Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]