The start of a new year brings excitement, hope and a desire to change for the better. The concept of New Year’s resolutions is dated back to the ancient Babylonians, who made promises to their gods for the upcoming year. Fast-forward 4,000 years to present day and it is still common to make promises to yourself at the start of a new year. From facing a fear to a commitment to volunteer, read on for a list of 7 common new year resolutions. We’ve paired each resolution with a piece of advice and Outward Bound’s approach to help you achieve your goals in 2017.
1. Volunteer More
Volunteering can help improve others’ quality of life as well as your own. It can give you a sense of purpose, increase motivation and improve self-awareness. Start small with your volunteering resolution. See how much time you can realistically spend per week, month or year on volunteering and then look for local outlets in need. A good resource to find volunteer opportunities near you is VolunteerMatch.org.
Outward Bound’s approach: Almost every Outward Bound expedition incorporates an aspect of service and volunteering. Longer expeditions such as the Florida Keys to Costa Rica Leadership Semester give students the opportunity to spend multiple days volunteering in local communities; building homes, restoring trails and working on local farms.
2. Get in Shape
Improving physical fitness is a common New Year’s resolution that can easily fall by the wayside without a proper plan in place. Write down your goals and the necessary steps to achieve them. Want to start working out in the morning before class or work? Start small by committing to one day per week. Find a partner or an early morning fitness class that will help keep you motivated and get you out of bed.
Outward Bound’s approach: Signing up for an Outward Bound expedition is a great way to jumpstart your fitness goals. While you don’t need any prior experience to go on course, you will be most successful if you’re in good shape. Check out our 8-week fitness plan on how to prepare physically and mentally for an expedition. Once you’re on course, your physical abilities will continue to develop through backpacking, paddling, rowing, climbing and other outdoor recreation. At the end of course, don’t be surprised if you are in the best shape of your life.
3. Face a Fear
Everyone has fears, but sometimes fear can hold you back from achieving your goals. Start by pinpointing exactly what your fear is and go from there. Identify the potential reasons behind the fear, work to increase your confidence and take baby steps to overcome.
Outward Bound’s approach: An Outward Bound expedition is the perfect opportunity to face your fears in a safe and supportive setting. Want to overcome a fear of heights? Sign up for an Outward Bound rock climbing course. By learning the fundamentals of rock climbing and the technical skills involved, your confidence on the wall will sky rocket. Knowing that you have the skills and knowledge to succeed is one of the most important steps in overcoming any fear.
4. Complete a Specific Fitness Goal
In addition to getting in shape, having a specific fitness goal to complete is a good way to keep your New Year’s resolution on track. Want to hike your first mountain? Pick a specific peak, research the trail, pick a partner and start training! Experts suggest training for 2 to 4 months with a mix of conditioning hikes, cardiovascular fitness and strength training.
Outward Bound’s approach: Students on an Outward Bound expedition often have the chance to complete unique fitness goals through outdoor recreation. If your goal is to hike a 14ner (14,000 ft. peak), sign up for an expedition in the Colorado Rockies, North Cascades, or overseas. Looking to run a 5k or 10k? Most courses include a Personal Challenge Event, which can include a long-distance run. Want to break your record of miles paddled in a kayak or canoe? Students on a Boundary Waters Canoeing expedition can paddle around 10 miles in one day!
5. Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill is a great way to increase confidence, stimulate your brain and develop self-reliance. First, pick a topic you’re interested in such as learning a new language or playing an instrument. Then, research different programs, classes, training books or software. Dedicate a realistic amount of time to practice each week and share your progress with your family or friends.
Outward Bound’s approach: If you are interested in learning technical wilderness skills and real-world interpersonal skills, an Outward Bound expedition is the place to do it. Technical skills range from navigation, backcountry camping, wilderness first aid, rock climbing, sailing, rafting and more. While interpersonal skills focus on teamwork, confidence and leadership. In the end, you will return home with an entire bank of skills to add to your repertoire.
6. Increase Confidence
Confidence is one of the most difficult skills to master, as well as one of the most important. You often hear that confidence is the key to success and can contribute to an overall higher quality of life. So how do you become more confident? Here are three tips:
- Identify your strengths and remind yourself of them everyday. These strengths act as affirmations that will remind you of your abilities and provide a confidence boost whenever needed.
- Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Then do it again and again. Turning an uncomfortable situation into a comfortable one is a great way to increase your confidence in areas of weakness.
- Prepare and practice. Often what lies beneath confidence is weeks, months and years of practice. Do you admire your friend’s public speaking ability? He probably has spent hours in front of the mirror. Do you wonder how a wilderness Instructor can look up at a towering mountain peak and grin, rather than grimace in fear? It’s because she has put in the time to train, educate and prepare herself for success at 14,000 feet.
Outward Bound’s approach: Students on an Outward Bound expedition are constantly stepping out of their comfort zone. Whether it’s taking the late shift to navigate a sailboat on ocean waters or climbing an exposed peak on technical gear, students get to prepare for and then execute amazing feats that provide lasting confidence for years to come.
7. Reinvent Yourself
It is common to see the new year as a time to reinvent yourself by making some serious changes in your life. Whether it is making a change in career or deciding to go back to school, it is important to map out what you want in life and the steps it will take to get there.
Outward Bound’s approach: The Outward Bound Pathfinder program is specifically designed for young adults looking for direction in life. These 30-day expeditions focus on goal-setting, clarifying values and strengthening decision-making skills. For those who are not sure where they want to go in life, the Pathfinder program can be a vital step in helping create a vision for the future and building the skills to make it happen.
Sticking with your new year resolutions can seem tough, but remember, there is more in you than you know. To help you achieve your goals in 2017, we are offering up to $500 off when you enroll on select courses, now until February 14th, 2017.
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