New Year, New Outdoor You


Jan 6, 2020

man wearing hiking gear and holding water bottle looks out over a green valley toward rugged mountains
Photo by Rich Brame

It's a new year and 12 months stand before you with unlimited possibilities for adventure and learning. Alaskan summers have endless days to enjoy, the northern Rocky Mountains are yours to climb, and the refreshing ocean waters of Baja await your sea kayak. And have you been considering earning your Wilderness EMT? This can be the year to make it all happen.

Achieve Your Goals

Having resolutions and achieving them are two different things, though. In their book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and journalist John Tierney provide insights into how to make your resolutions a reality.

Pulled from their extensive list of strategies for how to reach your goals, the following four tips are sure to get you on the path to success:

  1. Focus on one goal at a time. The authors point out that you have a limited amount of willpower. You can't take on 20 resolutions at once. Choose one resolution and work on it, then move onto another.
  2. Commit to success and don’t give yourself alternatives. Phrase your thoughts and words using positive statements about your goals: "I make all my own backpacking food." "I bike to work." "I'm going on a canoe-packing trip this July."
  3. Work on your goal every day and monitor your progress. Some people like Jerry Seinfeld's "Don't Break the Chain" method for keeping track of their progress on their resolutions. Other people like to write a sentence or two in a nightly journal. It doesn't matter what method you prefer, as long as you put in a little bit of time and effort each day to move forward.
  4. Help others achieve their goals. Baumeister and Tierney explain that Navy SEAL commandos going through Hell Week are more likely to survive the week and become SEALs when they have “the ability to step outside of their own pain, put aside their own fear, and ask: How can I help the guy next to me? They had more than the ‘fist’ of courage and physical strength. They also had a heart large enough to think about others.” In this case, the adage rings true: rising tides raise all ships.

Get Inspired

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some outdoor-themed New Year’s resolutions for 2020 from staff at NOLS World Headquarters:

“Catch every species of fish in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. Practice tying flies and then catch all the fish on my own flies.”
Mike Froehly, Custom Education Account Manager and Field Instructor

"I would like to do packraft motorcycle tour, ideally to British Columbia. I'm also excited to attend multiple kayak festivals, including a new one in Colorado. In addition to improving my climbing and skiing skills, I'm hoping to hop onto another Grand Canyon Trip!"
Kayla Lopez, Graphic Design Intern

“My outdoor New Year's resolution is to walk or bike to work at least three times a week. That way, I'll always get to enjoy time outside even if I'm not on a ‘big adventure.’"
Molly Herber, Creative Team Project Manager

“As a southerner who hasn’t really done winter sports, my goal for the new year is to try out skiing and snowboarding and learn from my fellow NOLSies...a.k.a. the best teachers in the world!”
Jordan Cranch, Social Media Coordinator

“‘Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run.’(Yes, that’s a Bruce Springsteen quote.) And I definitely fit into that category! I am running a marathon at the end of May and want to keep up training for the race.”
Colleen Kelley, Wilderness Medicine Marketing Coordinator

“Fact: if we want people to value wildlands, we should take them there. Resolution: Take someone outdoors in every month of 2020. Old, young, big city, local, doesn't matter. Linking people to the land is what NOLS does. I will do it, too.”
Rich Brame, Alumni Relations Director and Field Instructor

“Sometimes I'm too quick to think of ‘the outdoors’ as remote wilderness and beautiful backcountry. This year, I plan to spend more time caring for and appreciating my in-town outdoor spaces, especially the community garden and local park near my house.”
Aimee Newsom, Alumni Relations Coordinator

“My 2020 New Year's resolution is to climb 5.13 and drink less La Croix. I am still not sure which one of these will be more difficult.”
Jimmy Bautista, Financial Aid Counselor

two smiling rock climbers high five
Photo by Matt Hage

Now it's your turn—time to set your goals and get outside. We hope to see you out there!

Find your 2020 adventure with NOLS

Written By


NOLS is a nonprofit global wilderness school that seeks to help you step forward boldly as a leader.

Up Next