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Jill Sanford | 12.14.2018

It’s that time of year again, and whether the transition into 2019 represents a fresh start or a continuation of what you are grateful for, the new year is a great time to set your intentions for what you want out of life.

For most of us who like spending time outside, our big-picture goals are often tied up with our outdoor accomplishments. Whether your goal is to compete in a race, ski a new peak, or just get outside and breathe clean air on a regular basis, here’s five top tips that will help you have your best year yet in the outdoors.

1. Make a Bucket List

A few months back, when a case of wanderlust hit me hard, I was plagued by indecision about where to go. I made a list of outdoor adventures that I could do within a half-hour of my home. And then I made several more lists, including places I could get to within a three-hour drive and things I could do under five hours.

Now, when I find myself with a few hours to kill or a weekend with nothing on the calendar, I can pull up that list and take a lot of the planning and guesswork out of the decision making process. It’s made it much easier to call up my go-to adventure buddies and just hit the road. I sometimes struggle to be spontaneous, and this strategy has helped me satisfy my inner planner and scheduler.

2. Get a Date on the Calendar

That being said—I do love to plan! There’s something about having an epic trip on the calendar that keeps me centered. I am more likely to be productive at work or stick to a certain workout plan if I have something to look forward to, whether it’s a flight booked for next summer to Hawaii, next month’s backcountry ski trip in the Eastern Sierra, or a half-marathon coming up in Zion this April.

Instead of making lose, tentative plans with my adventure partners, I try to get something on the calendar as early as possible so I have something to look forward to and work toward.

3. Keep a Workout/Adventure Journal

Not only does a workout journal help hold me accountable and stick to a training plan, but it also helps me reflect on my outdoor adventures. Flipping back through it, I can see my progress as an outdoorswoman.

A 7-mile hike with a scramble at the top might have been something that took me all day a few years ago, whereas now I can accomplish it in a few hours and even lead beginners up the steep slopes. I love to document my outdoor pursuits because it helps me reflect on where I’ve been, which in my experience is great motivation to keep growing and achieving.

4. Learn Something New

Many of lovers of outdoor adventure have a few sports that they live by and others that put them a little outside their comfort zones. In 2019, consider learning something new.

We all have that one sport that we’ve seen our friends pursue with passion but haven’t quite felt comfortable tagging along on yet. You might be surprised how much fun it is to be a beginner at something if you can set aside your ego, and with the natural crossover between outdoor sports it's likely you'll pick it up in no time.

With the shorter daylight hours and more unpleasant weather, winter is a great time to take classes, read up on a new sport, and really hone your knowledge of a skill so your adventure buddies will think you’re a natural by the time you actually make it out onto the skin track, crag, or wherever you’re about to find yourself.

5. Microadventure More

There’s a reason why Outdoor Project has featured so many microadventures over the last couple years: they are amazing! And they are the perfect solution if you are a weekend warrior who needs a little pick-me-up during the workweek. Whether your goals include fitness or the psychological benefits of getting outside more, fitting in a microadventure now and again will work wonders for any outdoor enthusiasts who craves more time outside.

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