Wandering with a Purpose

Tag: goals

50 States by 30

Flatiron Building in the snow

One of the biggest goals I have ever accomplished is traveling to all 50 states by the time I was 30. This crazy thought came to me in 2013 when I was 28 years old living in NYC. The problem was I didn’t have an interesting fact. Whenever people introduce themselves at work events, you had to say your name and an interesting fact. I didn’t have anything, and I needed one. Urgently. I love traveling and visiting all 50 states was something I had on my list of life goals; why shouldn’t I put a timeline on it and do it?

I love to plan things. That’s usually some of the best parts of doing something. When I’m stressed, I can calm myself with a spreadsheet, a calendar, and now my budget. This endeavor to visit 26 states in a year and a half would require some major planning! Fortunately, I was living in the Northeast for the first time, so I could take advantage of easier traveling to all of these northern states.

Me at the Mendenhall Glacier – State 50!

But what would the criteria be? Everyone has different definitions of what counts. None are right or wrong. I decided my criteria would be, if someone asks, “what did you do in _______?”, I needed to have a good answer. A story was required, and it wouldn’t be cool to say “I flew through the airport” or something.”

On May 25, 2015, I stepped foot off a cruise ship in Juneau, Alaska! I was so happy I cried; I couldn’t believe I actually did it at 30 years, 1 month, and 14 days old (cruises don’t travel in April). That night at dinner on the cruise ship, my dad ordered a few bottles of champagne and made a toast about my accomplishment with my friends and family who made the trip. It was a wonderful end to the adventure.

I love looking back on these trips since I learned so much about myself and traveling.

Takeaways

There is so much to say about this experience. I get lots of questions about the experience since I think people want to visit 50 states for themselves. Everyone’s journey will be different but everyone can complete the journey.

What was your favorite state?

The short answer to this question is North Carolina since it is my home and the best place I can think of to be. I love it here. Of course, that is not what people want to know when they ask that question. I use NC as the answer because I don’t have another answer. Each state has its own uniqueness that I appreciated.

Washington natural beauty
What places stood out to you?

This is a much easier question to answer. The first place I visited that threw me off my feet was Seattle. I had never been somewhere so naturally beautiful. Until I visited there, I didn’t even know what that term meant. I had never been to natural places before then, but the beauty was stunning. Subsequent visits took me to Maine and Alaska, where I saw the same natural beauty.

Was anywhere surprising?

South Dakota was the state that surprised me the most. I didn’t know what to expect but it was my second national park experience (I didn’t realize that at the time – I just wanted to see a buffalo and Mt. Rushmore). There was so much to do there, and it was so beautiful! I wish I would have stayed for longer, but it far exceeded my non-existent expectations.

Mt Rushmore
How did you pay for all of the travel?

I am very fortunate for this, since I had visited almost half of the states already, and one was Hawaii. For the remainder, I was lucky that I was able to visit friends, had friends interested in traveling who split the cost, and was able to get gift cards from spending money on a corporate card for work. I also saved my money and used these trips as my main form of entertainment.

Why do this?

As I mentioned before, I did this so I could have an interesting fact about myself; it was as shallow as that. I always loved traveling and wanted to cross off 50 states as some point, but I accelerated it so I had a fun fact. Consider that done!

Are you glad you did this?

For many reasons, this is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was struggling emotionally, and this experience helped me come out of that. It gave me purpose and something to plan and work towards. Even if it was just for the chance to have an interesting fact, it helped me become a stronger person. I learned that I was capable of accomplishing big things, and I could do those things by myself and with people who care about me.

The States

50 states blank
I printed off this map and colored in the state after I visited. I’m sure I spent hours looking at this map.

I’m going to document my trips over time and will link them below. This is a goal anyone can accomplish, and I think everyone should! It’s an amazing way to see the great country of America and how vast and unique it is from sea to shining sea!

Visited PriorVisited to Complete Goal
CaliforniaAlabama
DelawareAlaska
FloridaArizona
GeorgiaArkansas
HawaiiColorado
IllinoisConnecticut
IowaIdaho
KentuckyIndiana
LouisianaKansas
MarylandMaine
MassachusettesMinnesota
MichiganMontana
MississippiNebraska
MissouriNew Hampshire
NevadaNorth Dakota
New JerseyOklahoma
New YorkOregon
North CarolinaRhodes Island
OhioSouth Dakota
PennsylvaniaTennessee
South CarolinaTexas
VirginiaUtah
West VirginiaVermont
Washington
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Goals in 2021: A Second Chance

After the unexpected shut down of 2020, I am hesitant to set my mind on anything specific for the year 2021. Regardless of what “is allowed,” I need goals; I need plans to look forward to or I struggle. 2020 was a hard year for me like it was for many other people. The let down of canceled events caused me to shut down and not engage, which (I hate admitting it) led me to a sad space. I’m lucky that I at least go to work, but I lost motivation in my personal life. With that, I stopped running. I didn’t have anything to work towards.

Luckily, in November, I received an email regarding my deferred entry to the Chicago Marathon and entered my request for 2021. Within a few hours, I received the email confirmation, and I was registered for the 2021 Chicago Marathon! Finally, the motivation I was looking for; I was rejuvenated!

Each year I pick a theme and a “checklist” of items to complete for the year. As I started thinking about 2021, I knew I needed a different list. Several podcasts I listen to talk about goal setting: Dave Ramsey, BiggerPockets, ChooseFI. Lead and lag measures is a concept frequently discussed on the BP podcast, and I love the thought process. Typically my checklist is just a list of lag measures, but I don’t take the time to plan the tasks to “lead” me to achieve those.

Fulfilled Intension

Fulfilled Intension is my theme for 2021. For me to accomplish my goals (the lag measures), I need to have the right behaviors so that each day I am moving in the right direction. I need to be intentional in my daily acts and habits. Instead of checking off my accomplishments, my goal is to fulfill the behaviors I intentionally set out to do.

Goals and Behaviors

It’s hard to list out goals publicly, but I find a lot of motivation in listening or reading others’ goals. Who knows, maybe someone will read this when looking for motivation.

Lead Measures
  • Meal Plan Weekly
  • Avoid eating macaroni and cheese (focus on healthy dinners)
  • Focus on my running plan and complete runs as scheduled
  • Strength train twice/week
  • Practice yoga on Sundays
  • Incorporate self-care (Epsom salt baths, foam rolling) into my routine
  • Signup for short races
  • Budget monthly and save money
  • Continue learning about real estate; regularly attend a meetup
  • Get my notary license
  • Write blog articles for one hour each week
To Achieve (Lag Measures)
  • Lose 35 pounds
  • PR the Chicago Marathon (read about my new training plan)
  • Visit Australia (continent 5!)
  • Actively post on The Rosy Wanderer
  • Achieve my next financial milestone
Second Chances…

I want to make it count. I feel like we are getting a second chance at 2020 in 2021. So much of 2020 was missed opportunity. I could have maintained a running schedule, I could have participated in virtual races, but I didn’t. Since I’m frustrated about the missed opportunity, I have even more reason to get it right the second time. My lag measures this year is a scaled-back list of 2020, but the difference is I have the lead measures to get me to achieve them and am rethinking the type of person I want to be.

Chicago Marathon: Training Update 3

I’m in for the 2021 Chicago Marathon using my 2020 deferral. I feel like this is a second chance to do things right…so following one of my 2021 goals, I am going to keep promises I set for myself. This is going to happen. I am going to stand at the start line feeling prepared and excited. I’m going to make it to the finish line and finish my first “real” marathon without character stops.

The Phases

Since I am not a strong runner, I structured my training in three parts:

  1. Pre- pre-training
  2. Pre-Training
  3. Marathon Training

I’m currently on week 8 of phase 1, which started back in November when I created this plan. My training schedule for this plan is to run 1.5 miles on Tuesday and Thursdays, walk 30-ish minutes on Saturday, and finally run 3 or 3.5 miles on Sunday. The goal for this phase is to get out and run even when it’s dark and cold (it’s through the whole winter), build up a small base to increase my confidence, and lose weight. I’m a fickle runner and running in the cold is usually enough to make me not run. I’ve seen myself do this on my short runs when training for the 2018 Disney Marathon and 2020 Dopey. I don’t need to go far – I just need to do it,

For pre-training, I am following Hal Higdon’s supreme novice training program. This phase kicks off in mid-March. The weather will be better and it will start to get lighter then, so I shouldn’t have those for an excuse. I’m also hoping my losing some weight and building the small base of confidence, running will be easier. The goals for this phase are to continue losing weight, maintain consistency, and increase my mileage.

Marathon Training begins in June using Hal Higdon’s novice 1 program. At that point, I should have a solid weekly base of 9-12 miles. I will start to incorporate speed and hill workouts (which were very beneficial when I did those training for Chicago last year) and increasing mileage for my long runs. My goal for this phase is to think like a runner – monitor pace, have varying degrees of difficulty/excursion, and stick to my plan.

Throughout all of the plans, I am incorporating strength training and yoga/self care, which I never actually implemented in past training seasons. I don’t want to get hurt, and I want to improve my fitness. I want to be a runner. People often stress their importance, but then we forget to do them. For strength training, I am trying out Pure Barre and Apple Fitness. My Apple strength workout yesterday was really good! I really feel it in my legs. I’ve had more of a challenge sticking with yoga because I can’t focus or slow down my mind, so I need to make this a priority.

Looking Ahead

I foresee several obstacles ahead. I’m lucky that this is not the first time I have trained for a marathon, so I know my shortfalls.

  • I can get overwhelmed with the time it takes to run in the morning. I need to be honest with my schedule and not dilly dally in the morning.
  • If I work on Saturday, I either won’t do my long run or not prepare correctly. This training, I will not join the running club and commit to doing long runs on Sundays.
  • For long runs, I don’t plan my route. I’m already preparing the route for my 18 and 20 mile run so I don’t get overwhelmed on those days.
  • I get nervous, so I am (hopefully) going to try to add races to my training schedule. So far I have the Swamp Rabbit 5K and the Around the Crown 10K. A few others are still being planned as virtual, but hopefully they will be in-person so I can sign up.

So that’s my plan for 2021. I need to stay accountable, but I am really excited about this. I will decide my race goals once I hit phase 3. There is a different approach when this is a second chance. I appreciate what I have more than I did before.

Are you participating in the 2021 Chicago Marathon?

2020 Goals – Creating Accountability

It’s hard to believe 2020 will be here in a few weeks. Every year the time flies faster, and I don’t know where it went. There are so many goals I want to accomplish, but I get distracted by the demands of work and spend more time on quadrant 1 & 3 urgent tasks than quadrant 2 important items. (If you haven’t read The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey then you need to make that a goal this year!)

First Things First Quadrant
Time Management Technique from First Things First by Stephen Covey. The image is taken from Wikipedia.

But how do I stay focus on the important and not urgent items? What are those for me? That is my goal for 2020. Historically, I have created checklists (I love checklists!) for each year to guide me and give me a purpose to the year. Sometimes those lists have been a little too long or complicated so I can’t accomplish everything. This year, I am going to go back to making a checklist and then use my blog to hold me accountable for achieving those things. 2020 will be used as a stepping stone to achieving the bigger goals I have for my life.

2020 Checklist
  • Complete the Dopey Challenge
  • Lose 30 pounds
  • PR the Chicago Marathon
  • Visit Australia (continent 5!)
  • Publish 4 posts/month on The Rosy Wanderer
  • Complete Google Analytics, Google AdWords certifications
  • Book African safari for 2021
  • Increase net worth by $30,000
  • Read 31 books
Understanding Goal Setting

The difficult part of the above checklist is that these are all lag measures – I have to implement different behaviors, habits, and mindset to achieve these 2020 goals. Health and general wellness have always been a challenge for me. Even though I am excited for Dopey, I didn’t execute my training plan well. Staying accountable is important – to my diet, to my budget, and to my commitments. In order for me to accomplish these goals, I have to find a way to hold myself accountable. That is the key everyone needs to figure out in their life.

Gretchen Rubin, 4 Tendencies

Gretchen Rubin has four quadrants to describe our tendencies. I am an obliger, which means I’m worried about letting other people down but not myself. I wish I wasn’t like that, but I am. As an obliger, I view other’s requests as urgent even though they may be unimportant or even not urgent, but I am trying to please others. This then reprioritizes my goals for the day.

Even though I wish I didn’t prioritize other people, I do. For me to be successful, I need to use this tendency to hold myself accountable for achieving my goals. I am going to share my successes and setbacks here to keep me accountable externally.

For me to be successful, I need to plan out the lead measures required for me to accomplish these goals and find ways to make sure others hold me accountable for these behaviors. Or I need to make myself a priority in my life and stop worrying about what other people think! But it is probably a better bet to set up systems to play to my natural tendencies.

Here goes nothing! Looking forward to 2020!

Happy 2019!

I’ve heard a lot of talk about the difference between resolutions and goals on various podcasts and articles. I’m someone who usually makes a “Year Of” checklist to encourage myself to do new things. I was committed to this from 2008-2010 or so, but the last two or three years I didn’t even make a checklist. Something needs to push me forward and take me to the next level in my personal and professional life. I didn’t make a checklist this year, but I decided instead to come up with some BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Why not try to think of something to propel me and push me to the next level?

MY 2019 GOALS

  • Be in the best shape of my life
  • Pay off half of my house
  • Get a comment on The Rosy Wanderer
  • Create a “new normal”

Well…10 days in, and it wasn’t going well. I tried to find motivation, but my schedule wasn’t allowing me to focus.

A month and 4 days in, and I feel like I’m getting back on the horse. I’ve had two good days of exercise which really does help clear your mind. I’m trying to get my to do list under control and in a way I can process everything.

I mean, these are big goals! It has been too cold for me to go run (I’m a wimp), so I have been down on myself. I found a bootcamp the is, thankfully, inside just in time for the weather to get better. Time is of the essence now is training for the NYC half, which will take me well on my way to accomplishing goal 1. In all reality, if I start with my fourth goal – to create a “new normal” that will make everything else fall into place.

Have you ever been stuck? What did you do to move forward?

I know I can do this. In addition to going to Burn Boot Camp, I am also trying to implement:

  • Miracle Morning (love this, and I HIGHLY recommend the book!)
  • Listening to podcast
  • Connecting with friends and positive influences
  • Keeping the TV off! (Although, I am allowing myself to watch Colton’s season of The Bachelor which I am enjoying after not watching for two seasons)

I appreciate any other motivational tips you have!

Focus: A Simple Start

Focus is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I have so many things that I want to do that I end up not doing anything. If anyone were to look at my to-do list, they would laugh. I use the Reminders app on iPhone which consists of 23 lists. Within those lists has tens if not a hundred items that need to be done. The Rosy Wanderer is one such list with over 100 ideas. But to sit down and write? It’s not about time; I have the time. I can make the time. It’s focus. It’s actually sitting down in front of my computer and zoning everything else on my to-do lists out. But today, August 16, 2018, something has to change. I have too many things I want to do that I need to do. I’ve spent the last year and a half listening to podcasts, reading books, and reading blogs. Other people are making things happen, and I want to be one of them. I have so much to share, and I’m not able to do that when I silo myself off and just put information in my head. No, I need to focus on ACTION!

My steps for action:

1. Make a comfortable workspace:

working on my 13″ MacBook Pro is okay in some situations, but I need a dedicated space. I can’t think on the couch. Even in college, I needed to sit in the library or at a desk. I dragged my feet for a year, but today I finally purchased a desktop monitor. Since I spent the money, I need to get the most out of it! Already, I feel great sitting at my new workspace. It’s surrounded by pictures and my list of goals.

2. Focus on goals:

I’m not sure about other people, but I cannot think day-to-day. I need a bigger motivation, and I lose track of this often. Then I get caught in daily monotony without an escape. Why am I running 3 miles at 6 am? To complete a half marathon. To be healthy. Why am I not buying a snack? Because this money will add up overtime, and I am working on getting to FI. I need to keep my bigger goals at the forefront of my mind so I can make good little decisions throughout the day. By thinking about the day-to-day and not my goals, I let a majority of my 20s go to waste. I could have done so much more!

3. Structure your day

I’ve always been big on structure and having time to dilly-dally in the mornings. I know the morning is personally my most productive time and when I have the best ability to focus. I want to share a podcast I listened to recently about the Miracle Morning. It was on the Bigger Pockets podcast where Hal Elrod and David Osborn were interviewed about their new book. I am on the waitlist at the library for this book, but this podcast gave a great overview of their theory in how to structure your morning to reach a “Level 10” life. It is the SAVERS (Silence/Prayer/Meditation, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing). Affirmations have been helpful for me, thus far, but I’m really bad at visualization. I need clearer goals. I’m sure I’ll have more to come on this.

4. Keep it simple

That’s it. Those are my focuses. My fourth item is to stop adding things. At this point, this is what I need to focus on. If I get too many things, then I’ll cause problems for myself. There is a lot I want to add in regards to diet, exercise, a planner, and household organization, but I can’t yet. These four things are my focuses for now.

Time to make it happen!

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