Being SMART with Our Goals

8d0a21fae760c7f50e09457ec11ae320It’s one thing to say “we want to travel” and something else entirely to figure out how we’re going to do that. So, I figure a good place for me to start out on this blog is to put down for the record our goals for the future. These are what Brett and I are going to be working toward over the next few months and years.

Brett and I use the SMART system when we set our goals. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. Creating goals the SMART way is an extremely efficient way of making sure that we don’t come up with anything too nebulous, unattainable or downright crazy.

We currently have set both short- and long-term goals:

Short term:

  • Brett’s trip to Oregon and California: He will spend 10 days with his sister beginning in late September. They will meet in Portland, take our oldest daughter (Meiling) to college and get her settled in, and then he and his sister will drive down to Los Angeles where he will spend a few days before flying home. This trip is in the bag: plane tickets have been purchased and money set aside so all he needs to do now is go!
  • The Big Family Mystery Adventure: I can say no more about this other than I am about half-way there. I still need to save a bit more, and need to find some decent air fares, but otherwise everything is in place for a fabulous family vacation next spring!
  • Getting our middle daughter (WenYu) off to college: This will happen in the fall of 2016. We can’t start any planning until we know which college she will be attending, and we won’t know that until next spring. We are still thinking about it quite a bit though. I will most likely be traveling with her to help her get settled in wherever she goes. We are already working though on having enough Hawaiian Airlines frequent flyer miles to get her where ever she goes and home for the holidays at no cost.

Long term goals:

  • Take our youngest daughter (YaYu) to college in the fall of 2018 and get her settled in.
  • Spend three months every spring in Japan, living near our son and his family, beginning in 2019. Ninety days within a 365 day period is the maximum time we can stay in Japan without a visa (which is very difficult to get) and we want to live there the entire three months.
  • Spend two months every fall somewhere in the world beginning in the fall of 2018. We will either stay in one place for the entire time, or split our time between two locations.

While we’re not exactly at the starting point, we’re still very much at the beginning of things, currently trying to firm up how much we are going to need to save and how we will accomplish that without disrupting our budget. All of this travel will be paid for in cash – NO credit cards. Each one of the goals meets the SMART standard though, so we already know how long we have and a fairly good idea what we need to do to get to the finish line. We know there will be bumps and stalls and surprises along the way, but hopefully things will start falling into place and keep moving along.

Here we go!