10 Outdoorsy New Year's Resolutions for Seattle-Area Adventurers

After celebrating the New Year, here are some ideas for how to make 2016 the best yet.
After celebrating the New Year, here are some ideas for how to make 2016 the best yet. Wonderlane
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For many people, the turn of year is a time for self-reflection and examination, a time to get one’s priorities in line and make a plan for how to live in accordance with them. In other words, it’s the time for making resolutions.  

New Year’s resolutions often revolve around getting in shape, strengthening relationships, living more richly, and doing what we can to make the world a better place. Another bonus for adventure-loving types? All of these things can be done while getting outside. And with that, we bring you 10 outdoorsy New Year's resolutions for how to make the most of 2016 in Seattle.

1. Train for a big event.

Climbing Mount Rainier is a challenge for the bucket list.
Climbing Mount Rainier is a challenge for the bucket list. Samantha Larson

Whether you’re a runner, biker, or hiker, having a specific challenge in mind will give you structure and motivation to kick your training into high gear. Sign up for the Seattle Marathon , the 200-mile STP cycling race , or commit to climbing Mount Rainier next summer. Not only will you get in great shape, you’ll get a great experience out of it, too.

2. Brush up your backcountry skills.

One of the best parts about getting outside is that feeling of self-reliance it can provide. But the skills of a bona fide outdoors person take a lot of time and effort to acquire. Resolve to get there by taking a class that fills in some holes missing from your repertoire, be it wilderness first aid with The Mountaineers or avalanche awareness with the Northwest Avalanche Center .

3. Inspire others to enjoy the outdoors.

If you’re already an outdoor maestro, step up to the plate to share your skills and start training the next generation. Whether that means introducing newbie friends or family to your favorite sport or volunteering with an organization like The Mountaineers or the Cascade Bicycle Club , enabling others to do what you love can be almost as satisfying as doing it yourself.

4. Bike to work.

Fresh air, morning exercise, free fuel ... there's a lot to be said for the cycling commute.
Fresh air, morning exercise, free fuel ... there's a lot to be said for the cycling commute. Green Lane Project

Biking for transportation is a win-win-win: good for your body, good for your wallet, and good for Mother Earth. Plus, with the Bicycle Master Plan in the works , cycling in Seattle will get even more convenient and safer in 2016 and beyond—even more inspiration to get pedaling.

5. Visit a new neck of the woods.

Even though there are so many beautiful options right in our backyard, some days you may feel as though you’ve fallen into a rut. If that sounds familiar, remember: There is so much more to explore in the Seattle area, as well as the rest of Washington. So, the next time you feel as though you’ve taken one too many laps around Discovery Park or Green Lake, plan a weekend excursion slightly further afield, like to the Olympic Coast , Darrington , or the Methow .

6. Explore with like-minded adventurers.

Cycling clubs like the Cascade Bicycle Club are a great way to meet like-minded adventurers.
Cycling clubs like the Cascade Bicycle Club are a great way to meet like-minded adventurers. Cascade Bicycle Club

One of the best parts about going outside is having people to share along in the adventure—and there is no such thing as having too many adventure buddies. Join one of Seattle’s many running or biking clubs, check out a meet-up group, or start hanging in one of the city’s climbing gyms, and chances are good you’ll find some fast friends who will open you up to new experiences and adventures.

7. Take date night to new heights.

Dinner and a movie is nice, but taking your date outdoors instead is more memorable (and often more fun). Whether you want to woo a new beau or spend some quality time with with your sweetheart, pack a nice picnic and hike up Little Si or Wallace Falls, and you’ll surely make a lasting impression.

8. Try out a new sport.

Methow Trails has the most extensive opportunities for fat biking in Washington.
Methow Trails has the most extensive opportunities for fat biking in Washington. Methow Trails

Maybe whenever you hear chatter about fat biking , split boarding , or SUP , your interest piques—but you haven’t gotten around to actually trying it yourself. Well, there’s no time like the present! Make some concrete plans to give a new sport a whirl in 2016 with a class, tagging along with a more experienced buddy, or renting some gear. It might be the key to unlocking the doors to your best adventures yet.

9. Have an altruistic adventure.

Signing up for a charitable race makes being a good Samaritan easy (or, at the very least, it can be a nice way to add motivation to resolution number one). Combat pollution with Ride Around the Sound or Climb for Clean Air , support cancer research with Obliteride , Run of Hope , or MMORE , or autism research with All in for Autism .     

10. Get outside—every day.

Getting outside every day is an excellent goal to aim for in 2016 (and every year, for that matter).
Getting outside every day is an excellent goal to aim for in 2016 (and every year, for that matter). Alki Kayak Tours

In case you need more reason to get out, studies have shown that exposure to nature helps reduce stress and refocus our minds. Be it in the form of a walk in your neighborhood, a jog around Seward Park, a bike ride on the Burke, or a paddle in Lake Union, make time for yourself to do what you love, in the places you most love to do them. Do it because you can, because it’s good for you, because it will reconnect you with the world, and, most of all, because it will make you happy.

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