Outdoor New Year's Resolution Ideas for 2020

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Written by: Alayna Okerlund | Best Company Editorial Team

Last Updated: February 24th, 2020

people enjoying the outdoors

To some people, not much beats getting outdoors, taking deep breaths of fresh air, and immersing themselves in the surrounding nature.

Although this December and January may not be the most ideal time to be outside, these months can be a great time to reflect on the past year and really take the time to determine what you want to achieve in terms of the new year.

Along with your more common resolutions like making a budget and eating healthier, this new year may present a good opportunity for you to make more outdoor-specific resolutions.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast who is struggling to figure out which outdoor-related resolutions you want to set for the new year, the best thing to do is to think about what you enjoy, what you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet, and see what goals other outdoor-lovers like yourself are setting.

To help you identify goals to set for 2020, we gathered personal new year resolutions and other outdoor-related resolution suggestions from real outdoor enthusiasts.

Plan a mountain bike-packing trip

“My New Year’s Resolution this year is to complete a long-distance mountain bike-packing trip. I’ve been wanting to do a bike-packing trip for some time now, and I have discovered some incredible long-distance trails to choose from.

Mountain bike-packing is growing in popularity, and the number of routes seem to be growing as well. The main appeal of bike-packing for me is the opportunity to bike (my favorite mode of transportation), cover lots of ground, enjoy spectacular scenery, experience new places, and camp along the way.

I am turning 40 this year so this resolution is also a big fitness goal for me. I’m looking forward to pushing my body to its limits!” — Julie Singh, Cofounder of TripOutside.com

Take trips to a state park

“My family’s New Year’s Resolution is to visit a state park once a month. Once a month may not sound like a lot, but with three kids and all the varying activities that fill up weekends, it’s easy for state park trips to be crowded out of our schedule. Putting our outings into the calendar early ensures that our outings don’t get pushed to the back burner.

This particular outdoors resolution is really important for us and is great for other families in a similar stage of life. My husband and I both want our kids growing up experiencing the magic of being outside in the woods, just like we did.

The lure of screens or man-made fun is powerful at our kids’ current ages, but a monthly trip to a state park (on top of the usual outdoor activities we enjoy) is the type of family trip that, if prioritized, will show our kids how special and important nature and simple’ fun is.” — Leslie Kiel, Mom, Yoga Teacher, and Writer for QuickQuote.com

Train for a triathlon race

“I think a great New Year's resolution would be to train for a triathlon. There are many reasons why I recommend triathlons; they've changed me in several positive ways and that is something I'm very thankful for.

Triathlons could be extremely beneficial for your mental and physical health, improving your overall health. It's a great sport for those who enjoy multitasking or strive to be better at it.

Overall, it's a great accomplishment and could motivate your friends, family, and even set a great example for your kids. It's extremely enjoyable and you'll most likely be hooked!” — Ryan Raskin, Triathlete and Category Director at RECREATIONiD.com

Ride your bike to work

“This year, your New Year's resolution can be to ride your bike to work for a set number of days each week. It's easy to choose the comfort and convenience of commuting by car, but you will be surprised how much you'll enjoy bike commuting if you discipline yourself to try it out.

Riding a bike to work allows you to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and get the heart beating even during the busiest of work weeks.

If you're an outdoor enthusiast, stop coming up with excuses on why bike commuting isn't for you and give it a shot. You'll be surprised how accessible it is and how much fun it can be!” — Tyler Smith, Owner of Bicycle2Work.com

Try out different outdoor-workout spots

“In the year 2020, I want to find a different outdoor workout spot every weekend. I want to document the spaces so that I can look back on them at the beginning of the following year. I am going to aim to push myself to try new exercises in new spaces.” — Joe Flanagan, Fitness App Developer at GetSongbpm

Man running in woods

Plan frequent micro-adventures

I am doing a micro-adventure a month for the year of 2020. I think this is a good one because it is achievable for everyone, it doesn't require any time off and can be completed in your garden as well as on the top of the mountain.

A micro-adventure is a concept where you make the most of your 5 p.m.–9 a.m. and requires you to go on a little adventure and sleep outside under the stars. My favorite destination for a micro-adventure is at the top of a hill with a nice view of the sunset or sunrise. I also love combining them with some physical activity such as cycling or hiking.” — Amy Elisabeth, Personal Trainer and Blog Owner

Find ways to get out of your comfort zone

“The best New Year's resolution is to scare yourself every single day.

Fear and anxiety characterized the first decade of the millennium. We can make the world a much better place if we change that mindset. The reason fear is so prevalent is people are running away from fear and they are avoiding getting out of their comfort zone. As a society we are no longer learning how to deal with fear, so that scares us even more and starts a devastating cycle of fear and anxiety.

Getting out of your comfort zone every day is easy if you are an outdoor enthusiast. You can do so many things — learn to rock climb, run in nothing but shorts in the snow, do a 24-hour run or bike. Even at the office you can make a toast at lunch, or suggest an idea outside of your domain.

Knowing that you are facing your fears every day will help you learn to use the part of your brain called the sgACC — that’s the courage center. You'll soon find that all of your dreams lie on the other side of your fears.” — Patrick Sweeney, Fear Guru, Adventurer, Speaker, and Author of Fear is Fuel 

Outdoor photographer

If the New Year’s resolution ideas mentioned above aren’t your cup of tea, here are our suggestions for four additional goals you’ll want to consider:

Try outdoor photography

Outdoor photography is just one other way to experience the outdoors. You may not think you’re into photography or that you have an artistic eye, but you might find that with outdoor photography, you’re more aware of the beautiful nature that surrounds you and have more lasting memories.

Just like everything else, outdoor photography may not be for you, but it likely doesn’t hurt to try it out. At the very least, you will have captured some memorable photos of your outdoor adventures. You may be surprised by what you can capture when you have a camera on hand.

Create or join a network of fellow outdoor enthusiasts

Going on outdoor adventures alone can be fun, but it can also be fun to go with a group of people who are just as enthusiastic about the great outdoors as you are.
In 2020, you might want to try joining a group of adventurists or, if you can’t find a group, create your own group of people who are open to going on outdoor adventures throughout the year with you. These groups can easily be found/made via social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter.

You can also make an effort to find people who live in your community. Who knows, maybe your neighbor or church leader is an avid adventurist waiting for someone like you to come explore with them.

Organize and revamp your gear

If you are truly an outdoor enthusiast, chances are you have a decent amount of outdoor gear. Having a lot of gear can be great; however, it can also be a hassle. Maybe you have an entire room full of gear that is either unusable or rarely used.

If that’s the case, you should definitely go through your collection and throw out anything that’s unusable, donate what you don’t use, and reorganize the way you store your gear. After all is organized, determine what you want/need to buy for the new year and make a plan or budget for how you will buy that gear.

The more organized you are, the more you will be able to get out of your gear. Going through your gear at least once each year can help you avoid gear failure during trips and can give you a good idea of what you need for the upcoming year.

Try at least two new outdoor sports

You may have a long list of outdoor activities you already enjoy, but it might not hurt to try to add to that list each year by setting a goal to try at least two new outdoor sports in the new year.

You can try anything like running a specific race (like a half-marathon), swimming, outdoor competition shooting, rock climbing, hunting, etc. Trying new outdoor activities can help you get out of your comfort zone, help you meet new people, and even help you find a new passion. New may not always be better, but there are chances that you’ll love a new sport you try this year.

man standing on cliff edge

The bottom line

Regardless of what outdoor-related goals you set for 2020, make sure they’re fairly realistic and achievable. You certainly don’t want to look at your list at the end of the year and find that you haven’t been able to accomplish anything on it.

Of course, there are things that unexpectedly take place that may draw you away from achieving your outdoor goals, but try your best to make goals you really feel you can do this year. After all, good goals can make this next year the best one yet.

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