With more people than ever spending time on trails, riding bikes, paddling kayaks, camping out, and really digging into the more adventurous side of life, outdoors-related New Year’s resolutions are more relevant and relatable than ever before.
Speaking of which, here are 8 great (and adventurous) New Year’s resolutions:
New Year Resolution #1: Do more of what energizes you.
If it is good for your soul, it’s worth pursuing. Especially this year. For some of us it means doing more solo hiking, for others, it’s traveling somewhere new for a big group adventure — or maybe even launching a new business doing what you’re most passionate about.
No matter what it is that ignites your spark, commit to more of it in 2022.
New Year Resolution #2: Make a bucket list. Or three.
Deciding where to go and what to do can be tough and it can also eat up valuable time that could be spent outside. Especially if you’re adventuring with others. To try to alleviate some of that indecision, I’ll be making a series of lists. The first will be a list of outdoor adventures I can do within a half-hour of my home, then a list of things within a three-hour drive, and finally a list of things that are under five hours away.
This way, on the rare occasion that I have an afternoon, a day, or a weekend free, I can simply pull up that list, get a plan together quickly, and go.
New Year Resolution #3: Bring a trash bag. Every time.
Over the past year, I found myself noticing trash on the trails I’ve hiked more times than I’d like to admit — and every single time I thought, “I should’ve packed a trash bag.” Once, at the end of an out-and-back hike, I ran into a mother and daughter who were on their way in and were carrying a fair amount of garbage they’d picked up in their bare hands. They asked if I had a trash bag and I was really disappointed in myself when I had to tell them I didn’t.
Keeping a trash bag (and maybe a rubber glove or two) in your pack is such a simple thing to do and it can help us all leave the places we explore better than we found them.
New Year Resolution #4: Give back in a more sustainable way.
There are so many ways for us to get (and stay) involved in the essential, often volunteer-based work that keeps our favorite parks, trails, rivers, lakes, forests, and other outdoor areas clean, accessible, and beautiful. And yet many of these organizations and efforts struggle to raise the funds and support they need to do the work required.
Personally, I’ll be holding myself accountable by making regular donations to the Finger Lakes Trail Conference, hosting a series of local community clean-up events (stay tuned to Survival of the Fitness for dates and details), and volunteering the equivalent of a full workday doing trail maintenance.
New Year Resolution #5: Seek out new challenges.
One of the best things about living an adventurous life is that it can push you outside of your comfort zone. And personally, I want more of that. In 2021, I did my fair share of hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing — and I even managed to ice climb and summit a few mountains. It’s all been awesome and energizing for sure… but none of it has challenged me in a really big way.
In this upcoming year, I want to make sure I push myself further, so I’ve committed to a difficult multi-day backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon that I’ll spend a good part of the year training for.
You certainly don’t need to sign up for anything that extreme. New challenges can be as simple as trying a new activity, reaching a new level, or acquiring a new skill.
New Year Resolution #6: Become a better photographer.
Pictures really are worth a thousand words, especially when they’re photos of the outdoors. Plus, I’ve found that sharing amazing photos helps to spread the joy of adventure and inspire others to get outside. Personally, I plan to take more photos and maybe even take a photography class.
Share your adventures by tagging @sotfitness and/or using the hashtag #sotfitness when you post to Instagram and you could be featured on our account.
New Year Resolution #7: Invest in new/better gear, for comfort.
No one wants to feel rocks and the cold ground through their old worn-out sleeping pad or get rained on in a leaky tent and this could be the year you finally upgrade your gear. Whether it’s buying a warmer down jacket, trying out a new pack that’s easier on your shoulders, or finally getting a car-top carrier so your kids aren’t always covered in camping gear in the backseat — I highly recommend prioritizing your comfort and wellbeing.
Being comfortable really does go a long way when it comes to outdoor adventures, and having the right equipment is everything.
New Year Resolution #8: Spread the love (of the outdoors)
One of the main reasons I started Survival of the Fitness is because I really enjoy sharing my love of adventure and outdoor activities with others. This past year I began teaching classes at the Rochester Brainery, organized outdoor activity events like full moon hikes and snowshoes, and ran three sessions of the Couch to Summit program to build new hikers’ confidence and help them train to climb their first mountain.
In 2022, I want to do more, and reach more people. And I want to inspire you to do it too.
If you have a friend who doesn’t seem to get out of the house much or seems down, I challenge you to take them on your favorite hike. Sometimes fresh air really is the best medicine and the physical and mental health benefits are endless.
No matter what your resolutions are, I hope 2022 brings a happy and healthy fresh start. Happy New Years!