Setting Goals Leads to Antarctica
Setting goals can be a powerful way to motivate ourselves and achieve our dreams. When I set goals for my personal life, I like to say them out loud and write them down, just as I would do in the workplace. It adds a level of accountability and motivates me to overcome obstacles.
By putting those strategies to work, I recently achieved a longtime goal of traveling to Antarctica.
It's hard to put into words just how special traveling to Antarctica was for me. But at first, the thought alone was daunting. How do we even begin to plan a trip to the most remote and inhospitable continent on Earth?
I had originally planned the journey back in April 2019, intending to visit the southernmost continent in December 2020. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic had other plans and postponed my trip twice. Meanwhile, my peers would ask when I was going to Antarctica, which kept me focused on my goal.
Finally, in January 2023, I made the journey -- and checked off the seventh and final continent on my bucket list. I knew the wait would be worth it.
With goals, I have learned, the most important thing is to act. Don't let your dream remain just a dream – make it a reality by taking the steps necessary to achieve it.
My first action was to start planning. I had to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals to make this dream a reality.
Instead of just saying, "I want to visit Antarctica," I asked myself: What exactly do you want to do there? Do you want to see penguins up close, or kayak with the whales?
I also had to research the logistics of visiting Antarctica and determine the best time to go. I had to save enough money to cover the expenses of the trip, which required setting a monthly savings goal.
Next, I had to physically prepare for the trip. This included obtaining the necessary gear and clothing. I set fitness and training goals and made sure to stick to my workout routine to be ready for the challenging conditions of Antarctica.
Finally, I had to overcome any fears or doubts I had about making the trip. I reminded myself of the reasons why I wanted to visit Antarctica and how this goal fit into my overall career and personal growth.
As we set sail from Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, I felt excitement and nervousness wash over me. I had heard so much about the beauty of Antarctica and its unique wildlife. But I wasn’t prepared for how awe-inspiring Antarctica would be in person.
The icy, jagged mountains, the crystal-clear waters, and the vast expanses of snow and ice all combined to create a magical place. We explored islands and inlets, spotting penguins (Gentoo, Adelie, and Chinstrap), seals (Leopard and Elephant), and whales (Humpback and Orcas). I caught the rare sight of Orcas hunting an adult Humpback Whale -- a brutal yet majestic event.
At Leith Cove, I overcame my nerves and made a bracing “polar plunge” into the frigid Antarctic waters.
But perhaps the most memorable part of the trip was the sense of solitude that comes with being in such a remote location. As we made our way through the icy waters, it was easy to feel like we were the only people on the planet. This feeling was only heightened when we stopped to camp on one of the coves, where we spent a night under the sun, in only sleeping bags, listening to the sounds of wildlife and the calving of the ice.
Traveling to Antarctica was an unforgettable experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
It tested my limits and pushed me out of my comfort zone. But it also filled me with a sense of wonder and awe at the natural world.
Achieving the goal required patience, determination and resilience.
It can be easy to give up when faced with challenges or setbacks, but those who persevere and stay focused on their goals are ultimately the most successful.