It’s the start of a new year, and even if you don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions, why not come up with a few targeted ones this year, aimed at increasing your love of the outdoors or getting outside more? Having specific goals can help, and resolutions are a great way to set some of those goals and help you make a plan to get closer to any existing outdoor goals you might have.

The important thing to remember is that these are your resolutions. Your buddy might have resolutions about the outdoors that differ greatly—and that’s okay. No resolution is too small. In fact, smaller resolutions can be a great way to help ensure that you meet them, providing the positive reinforcement and encouragement you need to keep going and meet a bigger goal.

If you’re having trouble thinking of resolutions, here are some suggestions to get you started!

New Year's Day snowshoeing

Do a New Year’s Day Hike

New Year’s Day hikes, also known as First Day Hikes, are A Thing, apparently! It’s a great way to set the tone for the new year and to start the year off with a small success. This helps keep up your motivation and provides positive reinforcement to keep the momentum going. My son and I are signed up for a First Day Hike and I’m excited to start the year off in a way I’ve never done before.

If you’d like to find a First Day Hike near you, simply Google “first day hikes,” and your local state park or another website should pop up with first day hike information.

New Year's hike

Introduce a Friend to the Outdoors

Not all of our friends love the outdoors, it’s true. But some may simply be intimidated, not have a buddy with whom to do things, or just don’t know how to get started. Why not ask a friend to join you on your next hike, go on a bike ride, or even just take a short walk. This is also good for accountability if you’re looking to maintain a regular outdoor activity schedule.

Why not take this opportunity to try something new that you’re not familiar with? Take a wilderness medicine/first aid class together or a navigation training. Find an outdoor activity that you’ve always wanted to try and see if there’s a local Meetup group for it! The possibilities are endless.

Planning an adventure

Plan A Big Outdoor Adventure

Sometimes getting out of our comfort zones involves a Big Outdoor Adventure: a road trip with a friend to a national park, an extended camping trip, deciding to section-hike or through-hike the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail—the sky’s the limit. Do some research, set a goal, and start training and saving!

If it’s not something you can do right now, don’t let that stop you from dreaming and planning. No one said it had to happen this year. But in the meantime…

Backyard camping

Make a Point Not to Forget the Small Adventures, Too

Many of us live for longer weekend hikes or camping trips, start planning next year’s epic trip before going on this year’s trip, or mourn that we can’t do big trips or extended outdoor excursions (and all the while, jealously eye the Instagram feeds of those who can do those trips). But here’s the thing: you don’t need a big adventure. Are they nice? No doubt. But it’s the small outdoor adventures that make up our lives, right? These are the ones that are accessible, allowing us to enjoy them more. They’re the little things that help add the outdoors to our everyday lives.

Try a new local hiking trail. Join a local birdwatching group. Camp in the backyard with your kids, or by yourself. Don’t have a yard? Ask a friend if you can borrow theirs! Splurge on some gear or something you’ve been eyeing but putting off for that “big trip” and use it on your small adventures. It all counts, and it’s all important.

Trip planning

Learn About Somewhere New

I’m a huge fan of travel guides. As a single parent of a young child, it’s not feasible to go everywhere I want to go. In the meantime, I plan the trips I can and keep reading about the places I love. Have you always been drawn to the desert? Pick up a travel guide! Have your eye on a national park? There are plenty of travel guides. From there, why not check out books about these places and travel through the pages? I know if I can’t hike Rim 2 Rim of the Grand Canyon just yet, at least I can read about the canyon and its geography and ecosystems.

Outdoor journaling

Start a Nature Journal Practice

Did you know that nature journaling helps keep your brain healthy and relieves stress? It also encourages us to slow down, really observe and see the world around us, and take stock of the little things in the natural world. It doesn’t have to be pages a day—why not start a nature journal practice by taking 10 minutes each morning to sit outside or even near a window, jot down the date, temperature, and general weather, and either write or draw (or both!) what you see. Try it for a month or two and see how it goes. If you need some encouragement or inspiration, check out the book Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie.

What outdoor-related resolutions will YOU make this year?