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  • Writer's pictureEric Spitz

The Hidden Power of Setting Goals

Setting goals is such an exciting process for me. The feeling of having a clean slate and an endless possibility for accomplishments always fills me with so much motivation. Over the years, I've taken the process of setting goals very seriously, and schedule time to sit down and write out my goals for the year.

Small steps need to be taken daily in order for the goals to be obtained, which is why I find writing them down so powerful. It reduces the chance of having the goals be forgotten after the excitement of the new year fades away.

I write out my goals on a white board that's hung in the middle of my hallway. I'm forced to stare at them daily, and ask myself what small step I could be taking in order to get closer to hitting those accomplishments.

Looking back on 2020, I'm proud of what I accomplished given the unforeseen circumstances that came from a global pandemic. Being confined to my home for most of the year made me slow down and get back to the things I enjoy. As a result, I met my reading goal of ten books, surpassed my movie goal by watching 137 in total, and met my writing goal by taking time each week to prepare new content.

The pandemic delayed some of my other major goals for the year. Given that I do destination marathons, I made the decision to train on my own and put racing on hold, as doing a marathon virtually isn't the same as being in a new state to experience it. Even though I technically started a nonprofit, my goal of hosting a 5K through the organization also got put on hold, as I didn't want to start by making the event virtual. My concert goal also wasn't met for the same reason. Experiencing a show virtually didn't feel the same for me, so I simply focused on other goals throughout the year.

Below I've outlined the goals that I've set for myself for 2021. I make a point to make them public every year to both hold myself accountable, and in an odd way will it into existence. I'm a firm believer in the power of energy, and making goals a reality by putting them out there and working toward them daily. I would highly recommend anyone to write out the goals that are important to them and see if it helps them get any closer to achieving them.

Read 12 Books

More specifically, I want to read a book a month. While I usually stick to reading one book at a time, this year I'm doing something different. I had the brilliant idea of starting the mammoth that is Infinite Jest right at the end of 2020, since I already accomplished my goal of 10 books. While the book is brilliantly written, it still doesn't make getting through the 1,088 pages any faster.

I'm a sucker for dystopian novels, and in particular, anything that's widely controversial. Of those 12 books, I want at least a few of them to be notable banned books. I'll be starting 2021 by reading Lord of the Flies and if I finish a book early for the month, I'll fill the gap with Infinite Jest until the next month begins. It'll be a lot of steady reading, but it's a goal I'm truly excited for.

Watch Every A24 Film

I'm strangely drawn to any film that the independent production company A24 slaps their name onto. While every release may not be a homerun, they all have a way of staying in my head after the credits roll. Last year I joined a group on Facebook with 52,429 members who gush about A24 films, whether that's doing appreciation posts, starting conversations, or simply sharing hilarious memes. Whatever the outlet, I simply can't get enough.

To date I've seen 33 of their 102 films, so I'll be spending a lot of time on the couch throughout the year digging into their entire resume, from the indie staples to the utterly obscure.

Run 1,500 Miles

This is a repeating goal from last year, as I finished 2020 with roughly 785 miles. 1,500 is quite the increase, but I'm confident I can get back on a consistent training schedule and hit that mark in 2021.

Take a Solo Vacation to a New Place

This is a goal I like making for myself every year, as I find it very important. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to travel solo in 2020, but I would love to make time for it again this year, granted traveling becomes a little more safe as the year progresses.

Visit 5 National Parks/Sights

This year I want to focus on quality over quantity. Last year the goal was 12 parks, which I ended up meeting. In order to do that, I would hike one or two trails in a park and spend half a day there, before loading back up in the car and venturing to the next destination. This year, I want to make the point to spend more time in the parks doing the activities on the top of any traveler's bucket list. I'll be referencing the "10 Things to Do and See" list within the National Park Adventure Guide to get ideas on what to do at each park, and want to knock out five of those activities at each location.

Donate $1,000 to National Parks

I want to make a habit of giving back more in general, and the National Park service is very near and dear to me. I have some exciting plans for raising money for the parks that I'll share at a later date as I get more details confirmed.

Produce New Content Every Week

I got much better at writing consistently in 2020, and want to keep that momentum going into 2021. I shouldn't have any issue getting the content, I just need to stay motivated and put in the work.

Convert a House into an Airbnb and Manage it

As you may have already guessed, I love Airbnb. I've met some of the most wonderful people, stayed in some of the most unique places and even stayed under budget by utilizing this beautiful business.

This past year, my brother Joel bought a house off his former teacher who wanted to move up north to be closer to family. The house is blocks away from a hip part of downtown Lansing referred to as Old Town. When Joel took one look at the unique tiling and clawfoot bathtub in the upstairs bathroom, he immediately felt the desire to convert it into an Airbnb.

This goal was already in the works long before 2021 began, but it's something I don't want to lose sight of regardless. Joel is currently having it repainted, updated and furnished to fit the niche that would be using it as an Airbnb. Once it's completed, I would be screening the tenants and being their source of communication on the app. I've had some of my favorite traveling experiences staying in unique and comfortable Airbnbs, and I would love nothing more than to pay it forward and provide that experience to someone else.

Eat a Home Cooked Meal Four Times a Week

I've admittingly gotten lazy when it comes to cooking, despite being home all day. I'm not expecting to produce anything of Executive Chef standards, but at least something more respectable than Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

Take Pepper for a Walk/Exercise Daily

Because I need to get my fur baby out of the house more.

Have a Game Night Once A Month

I partially blame The Queen's Gambit for this one, but ever since I finished the series I've been heavily invested in chess. Playing daily games has become part of my routine. If my obsession eventually fades away, I want to keep the tradition of setting at least one day aside per month to play some form of board game that challenges me. I find them both a great way to relax (despite wanting to flip the chess board after each game), and very stimulating.

Maintain Budget and Get Debts Under $10,000

Staying home for a bulk of 2020 helped me get my finances better under control. Better yet, it forced me to actually break down what my finances look like. I put together a spreadsheet on Excel, and have been fairly consistent with keeping it updated. I've invested some of my extra money in stocks and cryptocurrency, and have overall been feeling better about my financial situation. It's an area I admittingly didn't emphasize enough in the past, but I've been working on changing that.

Continue Practicing French Daily

At the time of writing this, my streak on Duolingo is 292 days of continuous practicing. I don't plan on breaking that streak, and if the pandemic is under better control, I'll be putting my lessons to the test when Joel and I visit France in the Fall.

As long as I can make my way to a Restaurant and say "je veux une bière," I think we'll be in good shape.

Start a Podcast

You heard it here first folks. While I truly enjoy blogging, creating top five lists and reminiscing on traveling stories, whether that's through a written recap or captured on my GoPro, I want to add a new dimension to Juxtaposed Journeys. Since meeting new people and hearing their stories is one of my favorite aspects of traveling, and something I truly miss from my years of interviewing bands through Substream Magazine, turning it into a podcast seems like a very logical and appropriate transformation.

The basic idea is I would interview people I refer to as Trailblazers. These are people who don't walk down the main road in life, they're creating their own path. They could be entrepreneurs, creators, or simply people who live a unique lifestyle and play by their own rules. I have a ton of people in mind who fit that bill, and I'm excited to see what kind of conversations we'll have, and who I still have yet to meet along the way.

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