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Your outdoor New Year’s resolution

Choose one that will stick past January

Steph Sanderson By Steph Sanderson

#GetOutside Champion Steph Sanderson lets us in on her survival guide to making New Year’s resolutions stick past January.

New year’s resolutions are a minefield of grand ideas and promises to do and see all the things you’ve never quite got around to before.

I’m particularly prone to Resolution Fever; I love bonkers ideas and, when I look at the year ahead, I see a blank canvas waiting to be filled with new places and new activities. Let’s be honest though, it’s hard to get resolutions to stick.

This year, as a sort of ‘New Year’s resolution survival guide’, I’ve come up with few areas that you and I can all consider to make sure that, this time, our new year’s resolutions hang around past the end of January.

Outside is where I feel alive mug

1. Understand why you’re doing it

It can take around two months to make a habit. We’re all filled with energy for our resolutions for the first couple of weeks but, if you’ve picked a challenge that’s too big to swallow or that you’re not really interested in, you’ll struggle to stick at it when the cold and dark of February is lingering.

Understand why you’re making your resolution. Is it something you truly want? Is it important to you? If the answer is no, you might be better off pursuing something else.

2. Make it realistic

If you’ve never done anything seriously outdoorsy before, but want to make it your resolution, then consider why it’s taken you until now to get around to it. Do you struggle to know where to start? Maybe you’re not confident in your navigation skills?

Instead of setting a resolution for a big outdoors challenge set a resolution to take down the barriers that have stood in your way before. Explore the to look for walks in your area that have already been planned, or look for a navigation course.

Public footpath sign

3. Be held accountable

If you tell people you’re doing it, then you’re really going to have to. If you enjoy writing, start a blog or a social media channel to track your progress. Not comfortable with going so public? Tell a friend what you’re planning to do so they can check in with you. They might even want to join you!

4. Try a January resolution and review it at the end of the month

A year is a long time and you’re more likely to feel like a failure if you don’t make it all the way through. For a resolution that smacks more of ‘trying something out’ than ‘commit, or else’, try taking it a month at a time.

I like to use journalling to review my progress. That way, I can look back over what I’ve done, and work out if it’s something I want to continue with, or whether it’s the right time to move on to a new challenge.

My New Year’s resolution

I’m right there with you in wanting to do better and setting a resolution. I’ll share mine with you now: I want to walk one of my local walking routes, the 100 mile Leicestershire Round.

I’ve applied my own resolution rules here: I want to explore more of the Midlands, because it’s where I’m from and I think there are a lot of hidden gems to explore. It’s local to me, so getting started doesn’t involve the big drives that can put me off before I’ve even begun a Lake District or Scotland walk. I want to break it down into realistic pieces and do it over the year.

Finally - Gulp! - I’ve told you all, so there’s no backing down!

Published 27/12/2019

Steph Sanderson By Steph Sanderson


If there’s something high, Steph will jump off it. If there’s something muddy, she’ll run through it. And if there’s a diem to be carped, she’ll carp it.

Follow Steph on Instagram.