Create Bucket List Travel Goals with a Personalized World Push Pin Map
Now hanging in her office across from her desk, customer Ella Deaver looks at her Push Pin Map when she comes to work each morning, sharing the excitement with her clients and coworkers, too.

“It brings me smiles every day,” Deaver says in a review. “It serves as a reminder of my travel goals and takes me away a little bit during the ins and outs of the work week.”

One major purpose behind Deaver’s purchase was to bring something into her office that kept her motivated toward one of her major life goals -- travel -- while the danger of the daily grind threatened to distract her from that.

And whether you have something like a giant map in your workplace or simply a bucket list, setting goals and having them somewhere in your physical space serves as a constant cue for what you want to achieve.

I have been wanting a map like this for a long time. I found this and wanted it for my office, to look at every day and be reminded of travel goals. It is hanging across from my desk and it brings me smiles every day. It serves as a reminder of my travel goals and takes me away a little bit during the ins and outs of the work week. My clients and co-workers love looking at it too! Love it and will recommend this to anyone looking for a similar concept.

Ella Deaver on April 16, 2019

According to Power of Positivity, Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, keeps photos of her bucket list items on her refrigerator. When she checks an item off the list, she takes down the photo and replaces it with a photo of herself completing the task.

Visual reminders are so powerful to her, in fact, that it was a postcard from her friends who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest peak) that inspired her to do the same.

Mirgain, a Health and Sport Psychologist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, thinks bucket lists serve to bring the things that are truly important to us to the forefront of our minds and keep us grounded, especially in contrast to the daily tasks that many of us take on.

According to Psychology Today, routines are so ingrained in human beings that nearly half of what you do each day is repeated behavior.

Habits, while often stigmatized, can actually serve as an incredibly useful tool to us. Imagine if you had to think deliberately about tying your shoes every morning, or concentrate on the location of each letter on your phone’s keyboard when texting. Everything would take much more time and be more labor intensive.

Business writer Charles Duhigg, who wrote the book “The Power of Habit,” says in an NPR report that neuroscientists have connected our habit making behaviors with a part of the brain called the basal ganglia. When a behavior starts to become a pattern, the decision-making part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, starts working less and less as the basal ganglia takes over.

“This is a real advantage,” Duhigg says in an NPR report, “because it means you have all of this mental activity you can devote to something else." Duhigg says the way habits form is through a three-part process called a “habit loop,” comprised of a cue or trigger, which tells your brain to automatically perform a task, the behavior itself and the reward, or something that indicates to your brain that you should perform the task in the future.

This could look something like: being offered a cigarette (the cue), smoking the cigarette (the behavior) and feeling the effects of nicotine (the reward). While habits are necessary to get through life day to day, they also can be so comforting that we sink into them and forget about our ultimate goals.

In order to break daily routines and habits, Psychology Today says you need to consistently present your brain with evidence that your goals are not only reachable, but also worth it. Without repeat reminders of your goal, your brain will continually come up with rationalizations for not changing.

This evidence includes creating specific goals, setting out visual reminders for yourself and telling others about your goals. Duhigg even says in his interview with NPR that vacationing is a good way to break routines and habits, because when you’re away from your usual environment, you’re not presented with the initial cues that set the “habit loop” in motion.

In this way, having a Push Pin Map is an easy way to set yourself up for success if one of your major life goals is to be a world traveler.

Zoomed In Gray World Map

While travel in general is already a natural way to break away from daily routines, having a map in your living or working space encourages you to visit all the places you dream about as you make your way through your day.

Not only does it serve as a frequent visual reminder of your goals, but its customizability allows you to track your travels with family, friends or a significant other, as well. You can design the legend on your Push Pin Map so that you and your loved ones can pin your own destinations together. And having another person there to remind you of your goals and participate in them with you makes your dreams much more likely to come true.

When you see your Push Pin Map hanging across from your desk like Ella Deaver does every day when she comes into work, it will serve as a cue to remind you to plan your dreams and do them.

If you once looked at forming habits as a bad thing, flip that idea on its head. Make reaching goals your best and most positive habit yet.