Goals for a memorable 2024

Goals. Intentions. Objectives. 

Anything but resolutions.

At the start of any new year we look at a blank slate and ponder how best to fill it. Traditionally, we’ve referred to these slate-fillers as resolutions. And over time, the term has become burdened with negative connotations. Primarily because “resolutions” tend to be things we don’t really want to do. They’re things we think we should do. Like lose weight.

Admirable and healthy as losing weight might be, in and of itself it’s hard to muster the motivation to see you through 10, 20, 30 pounds or more.

This is why I don’t make resolutions. Rather, I set goals. While you may think this is a simple matter of semantics, well, it probably is. But to me, “goals” has a more positive connotation. Something to cheer about when achieved. Think of the enthusiasm of a soccer announcer when the rare point is made: “GOAL!” Think about it: have you ever heard anyone shout “RESOLUTION!”?

Goals excite us. The following goals, for instance, the one’s I’ve set for 2024. And because I love a good gimmick, we’ve borrowed from “The Happiness Project” author Gretchen Rubin and her 24 for 2024 List, which looks at goals based on a format involving the numbers 2 and 4. You’ll see.

  • 2 backpack trips of 4 days each. I got out once this year, for a two-night trip on the Appalachian Trail. That’s unacceptable. I have no idea where these two trips will be, I just know they will be.
  • 1 weekly hike of at least 6 miles (2 +4). I’ve gravitated to shorter hikes over the past couple years, and I love them. Still, I need a good leg-stretcher on a regular basis. My first weekly long hike was this past Sunday at the Butner Game Lands. Not sure where this week’s will be.
  • 24 books read. Good thing I like a quick YA novel every once in a while.
  • 24 new trails. This is the one I’m most excited about. It’s so easy to get stuck hiking the same trails over and over — not that a hiking rut is the worst rut you can dig. Still, I love discovering a new trail, new either to me or new period. The latter was the case with my first new trail of 2024: the 1.8-mile Fox Trail at Mayo River State Park, which was inaugurated as a First Day Hike on New Year’s Day (see photo). 

I have other goals for 2024 — 24 total, of course — but these are the outdoor-relevant ones (most of the books — say, 8 [2×4] — will be adventure related). And they’re good, goal-worthy goals, no? The kinds of goals that will motivate a person to make 2024 a satisfying and, more importantly, memorable year.

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