Once a year we sit back, get serious and bombard ourselves with plans and goals for the coming 12 months. Lose 15 pounds; work out 5 times a week; win the Nobel peace prize. Most resolutions won't survive the first two weeks, let alone the first two months. It's just hard to maintain an activity you're not particularly invested in.
Resolutions are great, but having a good time is even greater. With that in mind on this last day of 2010 I've come up with some resolutions you might actually enjoy keeping applicable to pretty much any outdoor activity. Use them well, and use them often - imagine how good you'd feel actually completing a resolution this year!
1. Learn a New Skill
It's tempting once we reach a certain level to become complacent. If you're looking to make your adventures more interesting--and improve while you're at it--challenge yourself to learn a new skill this year. Paddlers could take a course on water rescue, perfect a new stroke or trick, or master a fluid roll. Climbers could work on their route reading, abseiling or leading. No mater your competency level, there are always new skills and techniques to try in any sport - make it your goal to extend your repertoire this year.
2. Try New Gear
Just as we can get used to the same skill set, we can also get used to using the same gear. There's nothing wrong with loyalty to tried-and-tested products, but sometimes changing up the gear we use can lend fresh insight and interest to an activity. Hiker? See how a few ultralight changes can decrease your pack weight and increase your distance. Skier? Pick up a few new waxes and decide for sure which one gives the best glide. Gear research and development is ongoing; if it's been a while since you changed things up it's time to see what's new out there. Decide you're going to be the local expert on one kind of gear - not only will you know you're using the best out there, you'll also become the go-to-person for family and friends!
3. Try a New Location
It can be hard to get to new locations regularly, especially if you've exhausted your local options. Make plans to try some new venues, even if it mean increasing your travel time. An unexplored locale can make your whole sport feel new, so find a new river, trail, campground or wall and commit to getting there in the coming year. Better yet, set aside one day or weekend a month to visit a location you've never been to. By year's end you'll have 12 new venues under your belt--maybe you'll even have found a new favourite!
4. Introduce Someone New to Your Activity
One of the greatest things about an activity is sharing it with others. You could resolve to find a local hiking buddy or climbing partner this year, but it might be even better to introduce your sport to someone completely new. Help a friend scale their first wall, take your nephews on a hike, or suggest a camping trip as a company bonding activity. Sharing your passion with others is a great way to see through fresh eyes and create unique shared memories. Who knows - your friend who's never sat in a boat before just might become the perfect paddling buddy!
5. Make More Time
If there's one thing all our lives could use, it's more time doing the things we love. Of all the resolutions you could make, this has to be the most enjoyable to keep: commit yourself to spending more time on your activity of choice. Log a certain number of kilometers on trail each month, visit the climbing wall once a week, or paddle a certain number of hours per season. Increased time doing the things we love is good for the body and the mind... and you'll be having fun too! Talk about a resolution that does it all.
Photo via Sally M on Flickr