The journey of 8000 miles begins with one step….

Me arriving in Palma Mallorca Spain

Why is that we always wait until New Years to set a new goal for ourselves? This will be the year to….stop smoking?… Get out of debt?…. Lose weight…(fill in the blank with whatever applies to you.) And despite our best intentions. how often do we find ourselves setting the same goals and hoping to reach them year
after year? Is it because we’ve set too high or challenging of a goal? Or is it because we’ve failed to take the necessary (and consistent) action to make that goal a reality? (I emphasis consistency here because it’s one thing to get a gym
membership in January, but another thing to be the only one in that empty gym come February or March.)

I’ll admit, when it comes to procrastination I have found myself guilty many times pulling the famous “all nighter” to write a ten page essay I had all semester to write. I always seemed to be able to get things done just in the nick of time and then used the excuse of being able to “work better under pressure.” As I’ve grown older I began to realize that there are some deadlines
in life that are completely out of our control. How many goals and dreams, or even relationships do we miss out on because we let that little word procrastination (or what we call life) get in the way? The older we get, the more excuses we seem to have (not enough time, money, energy) and before you know it, age somehow becomes the very excuse itself!

Almost 2 years ago, I made the decision to start traveling. (Note how I said
decision, and not goal?) What’s the difference between the two? It’s simple, one
involves action (“cision” from the root in latin meaning to cut, and
“de” meaning from.) There were many circumstances in my life at that
time that could have led me to make a different choice (for starters I was just
scraping by on a waitress salary, trying to recover from a crashing real estate
market with tons of unpaid debt.) I had to cut myself away from the excuses and
actually take a specific action step, and then find a way to make it happen.
When I stood in line to get my passport I barely even had the money to pay the
fees let alone book an airline ticket anywhere, but I knew it was my first (and
necessary) step in the process,

Some people may see that backwards and think, well what good is a passport if
you don’t have the money to travel anywhere? I hate to say it, but those are
probably the same people that are still sitting on their couches dreaming of all
the places they will one day go, while I on the other hand write this article
from the beautiful French Riviera, 20 countries (and about 8000 miles) closer to my goal.

Of course, there were other steps along the way, some of which required hard work and a few
sacrifices, but what I think is more important to focus on is that annoying part
that keeps us from DOING.

I’ll tell you a little secret. This very blog has been the act of
procrastination. My intention in setting out on my journey across the world was
to travel and write. While I managed to get the travel part down, I’ve
left my friends and family in the dark wondering where in the world I am, and
where on earth all those fantastic travel stories I promised are. There are many
excuses I can give you, like being so busy while I was working one of my
interesting jobs that  I didn’t have time to pee, or not having internet access
in some of the sketchy hostels I’ve stayed in, or a power outlet on all those
train and bus rides (funny how a 2 hour movie can drain so much of your
battery.) Those are all legitimate excuses (well maybe not that last one) but
the one that seems to be the biggest of all (and maybe you can relate) is
FEAR.

Fear of failure? Fear of success? Maybe a little bit of both. I have always
been somewhat of a perfectionist, and the thought of putting my words out there
for perfect strangers to read (or never read) is a little intimidating. But as
they say, courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in spite of it. It’s
scary sometimes to make changes or to do something that might be a little
outside of your comfort zone.  But isn’t it scarier to think of all those things
you could potentially miss out on by not doing it? When you really break down
the word FEAR it means False Evidence Appearing Real. Your mind will come up
with all of those excuses as a natural defense mechanism, but the question you
have to ask yourself is, are those excuses really protecting you, or are they
keeping you stuck in the rut you call a comfort zone?

Well today is a new day!!! So think of one of those goals or dreams you’ve
been putting off, (which I hope you’ve written down by now) think of WHY you
want to accomplish it, write down the very first action step you need to take in
accomplishing it, and in the words of Nike Air, Just do it!!!! You will be
amazed at how that one action step will be simple to do, and will begin to
create that momentum that you need to continue through with your goal. And will
you succeed? Yes you will indeed, 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed, (that other 1
1/4 isn’t enough to stop you is it?)

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