It’s never too late to change your fitness habits, but if you’re looking for motivation then New Year’s Day is a good place to start. My outdoorsy adventurous New Year resolutions offer a unique challenge each month to get you off the sofa, out of your comfort zone and into the fresh air.
January — Try a Winter Sport
There’s a reason most New Year resolutions fail by the end of January. With long nights, cold days, and lingering hangovers, it’s easy to slink back into old habits. However January offers ideal conditions for a variety of winter activities. Ice skating and curling are both easy to learn and affordable, and great for those short on time. In January many travel companies offer cheap deals, so skip the store sales and treat yourself to a last-minute weekend away to a winter wonderland. You could be fat-biking and ice climbing in Finland, or shredding the slopes snowboarding in the Alps.
February — Take on a Challenge Event
Looking for something to get you into the habit of exercising? Training for a challenge is a great way to persevere with an outdoorsy New Year resolution. It gives you a goal, a training schedule, and other people to motivate you throughout the process. The event can be as simple as a weekly Parkrun to a marathon. Don’t limit yourself to running either; choose whichever activity you enjoy best and find the limits of your ability with it. There’s loads of challenge events year-round, so choose what seems the most realistic, and more importantly, fun, for yourself.
March — Conquer a Fear
Again, I think there’s never a bad time to face a fear that’s stopping you from living your life to its fullest. However making adventurous New Year resolutions are a great opportunity to reflect and identify how you can push yourself. In fact, setting yourself a challenge is a great method of ridding yourself of any barriers stopping you from getting outdoors. Many outdoors instructors are experienced in handling common fears as well, so climbing instructors will know how to help you beat a fear of heights, or kayaking instructors can teach you to keep a calm head if your kayak overturns.
April — Get a Qualification
Like a challenge event, qualifications are a great opportunity to build confidence, learn more skills, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Whether it’s a climbing certification or even a mountain leader award, a qualification can help you improve your skills or even offer a gateway into a new career.
May — Learn Navigation
There’s nothing more freeing than being able to put on your boots and walk wherever your heart desires. Understanding navigation opens up a whole new level of adventures outdoors, and gives you more confidence to venture off the beaten path. Not only that, but spending time hiking has also been proven to boost your mental health. With my resolution in 2020 being to spend more time outdoors, I’m looking forward to navigating further from the well-trodden roads.
June — Go for a Wild Swim
Not gonna lie, wild swimming is one of the most challenging adventurous New Year resolutions for me. Does anyone else feel as though they’re turning into an ice lolly as soon as they dip into the water? Despite the freezing limbs, I keep returning because it just looks like so much fun. The Outdoor Swimming Society has groups and members all over the UK, so if you’re stuck for companions and destinations, they’re the people to contact. In 2020, you’ll find me donning the wetsuit and exploring more of the UK’s wild waters — come join me!
July — Go Wild Camping
Wild camping can be a daunting challenge to take on, but the freedom of sleeping in some of the prettiest places in the UK is worth the effort. Take the time in 2020 to learn wild camping essentials and beg/borrow the right equipment, and you’ll have the confidence to venture farther and spend more time outdoors in 2020.
August — Plan a Microadventure
Adventurous New Year resolutions can be found right in your backyard. Like Alastair Humphreys explains, a microadventure is a short, simple, local and cheap excursion from modern life. Whether you live in the hectic bustle of London to the remote wilds of the Highlands, microadventures give everyone the opportunity to explore their neighbourhood. Living in London, I was amazed to discover on a microadventure canoeing along the Thames just how many islands exist along the river, and the various birds that call it home.
September — Take Part in an Environmental Challenge
If part of your adventurous New Year resolutions is giving back in some way, then sign up for an environmental challenge. Whether it is collecting trash, planting trees or improving footpaths in parks, these small actions help improve the local environment and address issues like path erosion. Check your local outdoors groups and charities for upcoming events, or download the Littergram app to help your local community identify areas that need some green TLC.
October — Be an Explorer
The UK’s landscape can appear wild and rugged, but mankind has been shaping it for thousands of years. Grab a copy of Wild Ruins or Wild Ruins BC and discover the stories behind the remnants near you. Alternatively, grab a copy of Hidden Histories and plot a route; once you know what signs to look for, you’ll find humans have left their mark all over the UK!
November — Plan a Sustainable Adventure
As we become more conscious of the effect of flights on the environment, eco-friendly trips grow in appeal. While November is the time when the days grow shorter and colder, there’s still plenty of opportunity to organise a self-powered adventure. Cycle or walk to a destination instead of driving, or hike a popular trail. These adventures can still be fun and inexpensive; in fact, I’ve created several weekend itineraries for folks based ‘darn sarf’.
December — Share the Joy of Adventure
After 11 months of adventurous New Year resolutions in 2020, December is the time to share the activities you’ve enjoyed most with someone else! Adventures are always more fun with others, and sharing what you’ve learnt in 2020 can help others start their own adventures!
What are you planning on doing in 2020?