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Jesse Weber | 12.19.2017

If you love the outdoors, you know all about goals. Goals are important in any walk of life, of course, but hiking, biking, climbing, paddling, skiing, or any other outdoor activity demands a certain obsession with goals. Reaching the end of the trail, the top of the mountain, the bottom of the rapid, or whatever the objective--goals are a huge part of what motivates us to get outside.

The coming of the new year is, for many, an especially good time to think about goals, so what better time to inspire new adventures and goals in the outdoors?

Go big

The first goal that might come to mind is something big. Ambitious objectives are what drive many of us to train hard, learn skills, and be the best we can be. Lofty goals are certainly not the only way to satisfy ourselves in the outdoors, but there's nothing wrong with dreaming big.

Go small

An all-out endeavor may not be what you're looking for in 2018, but there's no shortage of smaller rewards to seek, and consistency is the key to big achievement over time. Try setting a goal like getting outside at least once per day, going on one new hike per week, or setting a new personal best time on your regular route. No matter where you live, there are ways to enjoy more fresh air and discover new places. Here are some of our favorite adventures from around the country that are easy to do in a day or less.

Go far

The world is full of amazing destinations--those that inspire us so much that we save our money, clear our calendar, and pack our bags. A great goal for 2018 would be to travel to a different state or even a different country. This makes a challenge not only physically, but in many other ways dealing with the rigors and thrills of travel. Here are some popular destinations for international travelers that you may aspire to see for yourself.

Go near

Traveling is of course not required. Getting outside in your own backyard is often the most rewarding adventure. We have a tendency to take for granted what surrounds us everyday, so set a goal to discover something new close to where you live. Here are some examples of parks that are close to metro centers but absolutely worth visiting.

Give back

The outdoors that we all enjoy can only stay enjoyable if we work together to maintain them. Of course no matter where you go, you should follow the rules and do your best to leave the place better than you found it. When you find a place you really love, however, consider going the extra mile by making a donation, volunteering on a trail work day, or something as simple as packing out trash left by someone less responsible than you. 

Speak Up!

Another key to enjoying the outdoors is ensuring access. If we don't treat these places responsibly, or if others don't recognize the value of outdoor recreation, we risk places being shut down to public access or converted to other uses. Show that you care by how you vote, how you spend your money, and where you spend your time. Find opportunities to educate others on responsible recreation, and inspire others to get outside for themselves.

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