For New Year’s resolution dropouts: outdoor goals you’ll actually want to keep

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For years we’ve resolved to save more money, eat healthier and hit the gym more and each year come April, you’ll find us skipping our spin class to grab Brooklyn’s most expensive burger and fries with the rest of our resolution-breaking friends.

But not this year! This year we resolve to make resolutions that we’ll actually keep. Below are a few outdoor goals that will hopefully inspire you to give yourself a break from the old standbys. Just don’t go too crazy with the credit cards and maybe eat some more kale.

Push our limits

We got into this stuff for the exhilaration of doing something challenging or a bit scary and now it’s time to recapture that feeling. This year we’re going to try a solo hike and we think this overnight backpacking trip in Harriman State Park (which is just outside NYC) is just the thing. That means relying on our own navigation and outdoor skills so we’re not taking this one lightly—we’ve taken a few wilderness skills courses and led a couple of group hikes to test our navigational know-how. We’ve got a few more things to master (like being alone with only our thoughts for more than 10 minutes) but we’re considering this resolution well underway.

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Get stronger

We know we said that we’re skipping the old “go to the gym three times a week” line but this is different! A few of our other resolutions require that we flex some specialized muscle groups and we want to feel powerful when we do. Luckily in this day and internet age, there’s a custom workout for every activity. We’ll be sticking to a few that will help us tackle harder and longer rock climbing routes—so count us in for a stronger core, forearms, biceps and lats (that’s apparently personal trainer speak for back muscles).

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Try a new outdoor activity

We’ve thought we’d like surfing ever since we were kids (we blame repeated exposure to the movie Blue Crush) and now’s the time to test that theory. And we mean now—we’re not letting the cold weather stop us. As surfing is completely outside our wheelhouse, we decided we needed to enlist help from some experts. Luckily there’s a ton of surf schools on the beaches near NYC (check out New York Surf School in the Rockaways and Corey’s Wave in Montauk). If surfing isn’t your thing, check out our roundup of guide services in and near the city. One’s sure to offer an activity you’ve seen in a movie and dreamed of trying.

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Give back

We always sign up when our office hosts a volunteer event but this year we want to be proactive about giving our time. We’re looking to give back to the outdoor areas we couldn’t live without or help others get outdoors.

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Experience the outdoors in the city

We don’t give NYC enough credit for being a place to experience the outdoors in and of itself so we want to spend less time underground on the subway and more time above ground enjoying the cityscape from the seat of a bike. We’re fair weather bike riders so you won’t find us commuting to the office on our single speed but we do resolve to try to ride it to brunch instead of jumping on the F. Who better to inspire us than WE Bike NYC—a women’s biking group that hosts community rides to points of interest (or bars) around the city. If the weather holds, we’ll be at one of their January rides (see “fair weather bike riders…”). Fingers crossed!

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Make the adventure last longer

Planning a lot of weekend adventures is making life go by too quickly. We wanted to slow things down a bit by meditating and reflecting on our experiences so we started to keep a simple travel and adventure journal but we want to kick it up a notch in 2016. We downloaded Day One—a journaling app that lets us set reminders to jot down a few sentences about our outdoor experiences. The app also records locations and weather and let’s users attach photos to each entry. We’re all about unplugging when we’re outside but this seems like a pretty good way to spend the train ride back to the city after a day out.

For more adventure ideas, check out the rest of Sorta Outdoorsy’s oeuvre.