If you are anything like me, New Years Resolutions really aren’t on my mind; It’s all about goals! Instead of dropping ten pounds or working out more, having achievable and motivating goals will actually get you to achieve those resolutions as well as having a whole lot of fun!
So what are your hiking goals? Here are a few for inspiration:
Visit a national park
Hike 20 miles in one day
Go on a solo hike
Watch the sunrise or sunset from the top of a mountain
Start a new hiking list
complete a hiking list (I’m sure there’s one or two you’re working on)
Go on a hiking adventure with your family, girlfriends, or significant other
Experience a meteor shower or supermoon from a summit
Introduce someone new to hiking
Lead a trip
Obtain a new certification (SOLO Wilderness First Aid is a good one!)
Play hooky and go hiking
Hike an international trail
Bushwhack (take a map and compass class first!)
Snowshoe up a mountain
Hike to a plane crash site, hidden waterfall, or another cool feature
Stay at a hut
Now that you have some goals in mind, here’s how to achieve them:
Make your goals specific, measurable, and attainable
Goals don’t mean much if you don’t have a game plan. If you are looking to start a new hiking list, identify which one you plan to do. Wanting to do a 20 mile day? Figure out how you’ll train to make that happen! If you are too vague in your goals, you won’t be able turn them into reality. Make sure that you are realistic with yourself. While it may seem wonderful to plan on hiking every single weekend, think seriously about your schedule and if that’s possible. If you start off the year missing planned events it’s hard to stay motivated. You could plan to hike every weekend, being sure to do one larger hike (whatever that means to you) once or twice a month and going somewhere locally the other two weekends if your weekends tend to be hectic.
Plan it out
I live by my calendar. I have started getting into the habit of planning out days off and personal time way in advance. If you are looking to head to another state to visit a national park in August, block out the time NOW! If you can make your reservations, even better. If not, even if you have to adjust some dates, it’s still top of mind vs being pushed away by other responsibilities. If you’d like to hike more consistently, plan out your year! Block off the first Saturday of every month for a hike or carve out a 2 hour block one morning every week to hit up a local trail. Make time for you out in nature a priority.
If you have a larger goal, get your training on your schedule and print out some inspiration for your fridge, desk at work, or bathroom mirror. Keep a reminder of what you’re going to accomplish this year! Looking to experience a natural phenomenon from a mountain top? Look up when the next supermoon, meteor shower, or eclipse is now so you can get a hike planned for that day! If you are looking to get a group together, it’s better to plan further in advance to be sure everyone has enough time to train and can take the time off.
Develop an Action Plan
I am a huge spreadsheet nerd. If I am planning to complete a hiking list I will get all the peaks on a spreadsheet which I can fill in as I complete them with the relevant details. I may even pre-plan when I will hike and get those on paper as well. While I may not stick to my plan 100%, it’s always nice to see if my goal is realistic. For example, if I want to hike the NH 4000 Footers in a year, I’d look to see which peaks I could hike together in one day and which are stand alone hikes. I then would make a spreadsheet for each month and make note of the number of hikes/peaks for each month. It could be that I plan to hike 1x each month except for June, July, and August where I hike twice. With the hikes I could peak bag, will I be able to complete it all in one year? You won’t know unless you put it on paper!
Think about what difficulties you may have to overcome. Is it a possible scheduling conflict? Unsupportive family? Lack of accountability? If you think about what might prevent you from achieving your goals, you can proactively plan around them. It could be as simple as finding a hiking partner or someone who you can get advice/support from. If you have naysayers in your life, you can discuss your goals with them and why their support is important to your success. Sometimes it just feels good to keep those people in the dark and get after your goals!
You’ll want to also figure out what resources you’ll need. Get those books and maps now as well as the necessary equipment. You’re more likely to follow through if you invest some money and are looking at those new trekking poles every time you go down to your basement. You can spend the next few wintery months marking up your books and maps, preparing for a great year!
How are you going to make this the best hiking year yet? I’d love to hear your plans and goals!