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photo courtesy Free-Photos, James Wheeler, 12/17/2015. Photo was taken from: https://pixabay.com/en/users/free-photos-242387/

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019! With a new year comes new opportunities and the ability to learn from the past year to make ourselves better. Setting goals is something that we should all be doing, even if it’s something small to get us in the habit. Our tent camping should be the same way, and we should strive to get out as often as we can for the myriad benefits that come along with being in the great outdoors. So what kind of goals should you set for this new year? Well, before we jump into those goals, we need to make sure that we are setting appropriate goals. Let’s make sure our goals are S.M.A.R.T. Goals

What Are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?

When setting any goals, whether they are for camping or for any other area of your life, you need to make sure that these goals are more than just merely writing down “I want to lose weight” or “I want to read”. This is where the acronym S.M.A.R.T. comes in with goal setting. Here is what this acronym stands for:

S = Specific – your goal needs to be something concrete, not etherial. This means that you should list your goal as “I want to read 4 business books in 2019” versus “I want to read some books”

M = Measurable – your goal should be measurable in some way so that you can tell if you are making progress toward your goal. The goal of reading 4 business books in a year is measurable because this means that you should, on average, be reading 1 business book every 3 months of the year. If at the end of March you haven’t finished reading a business book, then you know you are off the pace.

A = Achievable – this part of your goal setting is tricky. You want a goal that is aggressive, not too easy and not too difficult. This will require some thinking on your part of what your life is like and what seems realistic. Maybe 4 business books in a year is too few and you should make that number 6 instead.

R = Relevant – this is a question you should ask about each goal you set. Sure, you could set a goal of swimming 3 days a week, but if you don’t know how to swim, perhaps that isn’t a relevant goal. So make sure your goals are in-line with your growth desires.

T = Timely/Time-Bound – this part of a goal is to make sure that you give it a little urgency so that you don’t let it go. Maybe you want to set a goal of reading 1 business book every 2 months in 2019 (6 per year), but because you set it in a time period of 2 months it makes it much more focused because you are looking at a 60-day period and not a 365-day period.

photo courtesy Natalie B, 6/11/2015. Photo was taken from: https://www.pexels.com/@natalie-b-11333

Okay, So Now What?

Now that you know the basic framework for developing goals, you can move forward with setting specific tent camping goals for 2019. And what would some good goals be for this new year? Well, what about first setting a goal of going through all of your gear to look for things that need to be replaced, items that need to be fixed, and things that you might have lost or discovered that you really want/need in your gear set. This will ensure that when you hit the wilderness for your first outing of 2019, your gear will be all set for you and you won’t have any surprises when you pull out your tent or other gear. Look at your calendar today and get this basic task scheduled in the next 30 days.

What to do next? Why, plan your camping trips, of course! But first, look back at last year and how many times you actually went camping. Was this number about the right amount of camping for you and your family? Do you want to do more? What caused you to miss any camping trips last year, or what prevented you from doing more camping than you did? Do you anticipate similar issues arising this year that came up last year? If so, what might you do differently this year to mitigate those issues?

So many questions, for sure, and there are others you probably could come up with to ask yourself about your camping from last year. But all of this is to help you plan and succeed in your tent camping goals! First, maybe you should set a goal of reviewing the calendar for 2019 and marking down all of the camping excursions you would like to do. Are any of these solid right now that you could make reservations? Are any “on the bubble” and they may or may not happen? Once you do this review, set a new goal for the number of camping outings you want to do for this year. Be sure to include ways to measure your success on doing these camping trips, as well as to be sure that you’ll follow through on them and not replace them with “something else” because you failed to plan appropriately now.

You may also want to set some end of the year goals at this point as well. Maybe you want to get some gear that extends your camping season to earlier and/or later in the year. Maybe you want to do a review of your gear in the fall so that you have more time to find replacement gear at good prices. Or any number of other things that are important to you and your future camping success. The right answer is the one that works for you.

photo courtesy Ironayla, 5/27/2012. Photo was taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/81534892@N00/

Wrap Up

I’m reminded of the saying “Those that fail to plan are planning to fail”. If you don’t make plans for your camping, it is all too easy for your desires to go camping to be superceded by other things that vie for our attention every day. Being in the outdoors is important to our mental and physical health, and tent camping is a great way to accomplish this, but you need to bring a little discipline and planning to bear on your camping desires to help make them a reality. This year is chock full of opportunities, so don’t let them pass you by without taking advantage of them.

Got some feedback on this topic? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, send me an email or share it on social media! Happy Tent Camping!

Featured Image photo courtesy JESHOOTS.com, 11/11/2017.  Photo was taken from: https://www.pexels.com/@jeshoots-com-147458

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