On Tuesday’s GetHiking! New Year’s Day hike, I was struck by how many of the hikers had hiking goals—ambitious ones—for 2019. Vaughn committed to five backpack trips in the first half of the year, and Linda was good for at least three. Deb was booked for an adventure in South Africa, and was planning to visit New Zealand. One hiker planned to complete a section hike of the 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
The following originally ran here on Jan. 1, 2012. The sentiment holds.
“You know,” Chris said, “there aren’t too many people who could do this.” After catching his breath, he added, “And I don’t mean people our age. I mean people, period.”
It’s an all-too-familiar lament this time of year: I meant to get out more, be more adventurous. I don’t know what happened …
You look back on the camping weekend that instead turned into a garage-cleaning weekend, the paddle trip that wasn’t because the water wasn’t just right. The hike that, as the day neared, you didn’t feel you were in shape for.
And now, the year drawing to a close, you find yourself melancholy with regret. You felt this way at the end of last year, now that you think about it. And perhaps the year before that as well.
To be clear, no one gets out enough. Asked, “Getting out much?” I doubt anyone has ever replied, “Sure. More than enough, actually.”
There’s not getting out enough and there’s not getting out anywhere near enough. Followed by a heavy sigh.
The good news?
Now is the time to make sure the pattern doesn’t continue, that you don’t feel this same way again next year.
Start by putting your woe-is-meness to good use. How many nights would you have been content — no, happy — to have spent in a tent this past year? Write it down: that’s your 2016 goal. Same with your number of days on the trail. Was it half as many as you’d hoped? Write down your ideal number. Maybe you wanted to try backpacking in 2015 — but didn’t. Add that to the list. Likewise, your number of days on the water, or whatever your adventure of choice.
Making a list of adventure goals is a good first step. In fact, it’s the key step because these are the goals you want to reach, unlike those health goals from New Year’s resolutions past: to drop three sizes by bikini season, to evict refined sugar from your diet, to see your toes again.