Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Wed January 06 2016

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | January 6, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    How To Have The Most Epic Year Of Your Life

    How To Have The Most Epic Year Of Your Life

    PHOTO: Remember, you are capable of anything you set your mind to! No resolution is too big or small. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    It’s that time of year again — where we start the new year off with a bang — smiling and cheering as 2016 rolls around! It’s a new, clean slate full of possibilities and resolutions.

    Every new year, I make a resolution to better my life and I make it my goal to achieve it — no if, ands or buts. Two years ago, I told myself I would leave behind my old life and travel the world.

    And here I am, in beautiful Pai, Thailand living my dream still a year later!

    Point blank: The “impossible” is possible and if you want something bad enough, you can and WILL achieve it. It wasn’t easy, but it sure as hell was worth it.

    Below are the steps needed in order to succeed in your new year resolution:

    1. Decide what you want

    Research shows that those who write down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who didn’t. Ask yourself: “What is one thing that would make me truly happy?” Whatever it is, write it down — no matter how big or small.

    2. Set a plan of action

    The key to a successful resolution is to have the necessary prerequisites in order to obtain your goal. Make a concrete map of small steps to get there.

    Write a list of your obstacles and the steps you can take to surpass them.

    For example, my New Year resolution was to travel around the world but I needed to set a plan of action in order to be successful in my pursuit.

    Some of the questions I asked myself included:

    • Where would I want to travel?

    I did research; created boards on pinterest of places I wanted to visit and narrowed it down to countries that my money would stretch further.

    • How much money do I need?

    My second step was to create a budget. I researched the daily cost of living for each country, my pre-trip expenses (flights, insurance, vaccinations, visas), cost of excursions I wanted to take part in and an emergency fund I keep as a backup.

    • How to save money?

    It was obvious that I would need to make major changes to my daily spending, eventually sell everything I owned, kiss my social life goodbye and get part-time jobs in order to reach my goal in time.

    3. Create a realistic timeframe

    After I had done my research of ways to pass my obstacles, I wrote down a realistic timeframe of how long it would take to achieve my goal and wrote down my departure date on my calendar as if it was set in stone.

    My timeframe showed that realistically, I needed a year and a half to save X amount of money to travel for a year and a half without working. I choose November 25, 2014 as my departure date — writing it down and highlighting it in my calendar with an obscene amount of exclamation marks around it to build subconscious motivation.

    4. Surpass one roadblock at a time to see change

    Looking at everything you need to accomplish to reach your goal may feel overwhelming and that’s where a lot of people tend to lose motivation. Focus on one obstacle at a time until it is surpassed and then move onto the next. If you do this, you will see that you are slowly but surely making progress.

    5. Celebrate your achievements

    Once you successfully get by one obstacle, it is important to celebrate (in moderation) in order to give yourself the proper motivation to keep moving forward. Take yourself out for a beer, go dancing, give yourself one lazy day off to sit in your PJs and watch movies, so on and so forth.

    6. Stay positive and keep your eye on the prize

    As Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You have to give yourself 20 seconds of courage. That’s all it takes. Plant the seed, work hard and watch your dreams grow into your reality.  

    So what are you waiting for? Get your pen and paper out, dream big and get the ball rolling to starting 2016 right for the most epic year of your life!

    PHOTO: Make every year count! Last year I celebrated New Year's in Central America, this year in Thailand and who knows where my new resolution will lead! 


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
Journey on an Avalon River Cruise

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships