I really love this time of year. Those few days between Christmas and New Year are always packed with activities, obligations and chores, then the celebrations themselves fill your time. But now, a few days into the new year, it really does feel like a fresh start.
It’s exciting and motivating, and naturally it feels like time to set goals for the year ahead and think about the things I want to achieve, while I’m galvanised to action. I do like the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but never manage to pin down my hopes and intentions into one fully-formed idea in the past, let alone strive to keep to a plan or smash a target by a certain time. And don’t New Year’s resolutions tend to end in failure anyway?
But, I think it’s essential to keep developing as a person, to learn new skills and improve or master others, to try new experiences and fulfil ambitions, in short to become a more rounded, insightful and appreciative person. So, I’m going to go with the crowd and set myself some goals for the year ahead, keeping them bite-sized and thus hopefully achievable.
Here’s what I’ll be working at in 2015…
Explore more of the UK and Ireland
Based in the UK, I’m lucky enough to have an amazing diversity of landscapes practically on my doorstep, from remote island beaches, sleepy fishing villages and dramatic coastlines, to rolling hills, windswept moors and challenging mountains, to quaint rural villages and buzzing cities. I’ve travelled considerably in Scotland and Wales, and I know some parts of England pretty well, but I really should explore more of my home country. The TGO Challenge in May, organised through TGO (The Great Outdoors) Magazine, will be a great start, as I’ll be trekking across Scotland from the west coast to the east. And I’ve got a few ideas for long weekends and day trips around the country, that just need fitting into my calender. I visited Ireland and Northern Ireland for the first time ever last summer, spending a few days in the north and only one night in Dublin. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get there, and I hope that I’ll get back again this year.
Spend more time outdoors
I’ve had quite a tough time over the last few years, being made redundant from a job I enjoyed (and, even if I say so myself, was really good at) then really struggling to find something new. It forced me to re-evaluate and reflect on the things that I value and how I want to work, but it wasn’t an easy process. Walking in the woods, running along the canal, and working with my conservation volunteer group were essential in helping me cope with the depression and anxiety I suffered, so it’s important for me to keep those things up, and to do more when the opportunity presents. As well as making more hiking trips, I’m aiming to spend at least 30 nights sleeping outdoors through the year, which started with a camping trip for Hogmanay. I’ll post updates on Instagram and Twitter with #30NightsOut, so you can follow along.
Get skilled in the things I love doing
Learning new things usually features highly in lists of New Year’s resolutions, but I’m going to concentrate on doing more of the things I can already do, and become an expert at them. I love hiking, and have been going out in the hills since I tagged along with my dad as a child. I’m also quite experienced at planning hikes, navigating, and reading weather conditions once we’re out in the mountains. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been building a logbook with my experience, which I’ll use to work toward the Mountain Leader qualification. There’s a skills course to do first, then I’ll garner quality mountain days over the rest of the year, which should hopefully lead to some great opportunities to explore parts of Scotland and the rest of the UK.
When I’m blogging I set my own work programme, but really I’m only accountable to myself. It’s not the best situation when you’re a terrible procrastinator with a butterfly brain and plenty of distractions. To keep myself on track, I’ve started a journal to note everything I accomplish each day, no matter how trivial it seems. I can jot down a few words about each small milestone; what I learned, problems I encountered, how I got around obstacles, how I can move forward. It’s still early days, but I’m feeling good about my goals for the year ahead.
What are your goals for 2015? If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these suggestions.