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Top These Outdoor-Related Resolutions

January 14, 2019
By COL(Ret.) Grey D. Berrier II , Ohio Valley Outdoors

I don't know about you, but the last week of 2018 following Christmas and then again on New Year's Day, I seemed to continuously come across pieces in print, on TV, on the Internet, and even on the radio about New Year's resolutions. The content seemed to be about a 50/50 split between informative pieces suggesting how to make/keep your New Year's resolutions and marketing efforts strongly suggesting you need to purchase this or that item as part of your New Year's resolutions.

The new year is a great time to start over with a clean slate and I read a few articles online where psychologists explained why it's human-nature to make New Year's resolutions. From my experience, most people's New Year's resolutions seem to focus on either starting a good habit or eliminating a bad habit. Listening to TV/radio commentators, reading what authors had to share, and even hearing what family members and friends intend to do in 2019, New Year's resolutions cover a broad spectrum including: health, personal fitness, relationships, finances, employment, education, getting organized, sleep, travel, hobbies, and even leisure activities.

Surprisingly, nowhere amongst all those messages about New Year's resolutions for 2019 did I hear or read anything that was specifically outdoor-related. That got me thinking, since we both know the outdoors are such a big part of your life and mine; it would only be appropriate to make one or more New Year's resolutions that revolve around being outdoors and participating in beloved outdoor activities. Maybe you've never considered making some outdoor-related New Year's resolutions. They can definitely be somewhat more enjoyable and interesting to try keeping than those that pertain to other areas of life.

Article Photos

Outdoorsmen and women know there are so many viable options when it comes to outdoor activities and only so much time available. The author’s 2019 New Year’s resolution is to make time to participate in all of his favorite outdoor passions at least once each month during 2019 and then just enjoy the journey. Photo by Grey D. Berrier II

To get you thinking about potential outdoor-related New Year's resolutions, please allow me to share mine for 2019. Not only will you get a better idea regarding what I'm talking about, but putting my 2019 outdoor-related New Year's resolutions in print will also give me even more incentive to do exactly what I say I'm going to do this coming year. Now, I'll be perfectly frank with you, my personal 2019 outdoor-related New Year's resolutions do not primarily revolve around either starting a good habit or eliminating a bad habit. They are more time management-oriented and are focused on doing certain activities I'm passionate about on a regular, monthly basis.

You see, I keep track of my outdoor-activities in my daily planner, I've been doing most of my adult life, and a recent review of several planners from the past decade revealed how I would often times go a few months without doing a certain outdoor activity. Committing to doing something at least once a month will force me to take a close look at the time available, the weather conditions, and all my prior commitments in order to plan out in advance how I'm going to be able to fit it all in each and every month in 2019.

Without any further fanfare, here's my list of 2019 outdoor-related New Year's resolutions for your consideration:

1. Hunt at Least Once Each Month This may seem like an easy thing to commit to, but checking my past planners, the most likely month I've regularly missed hunting in has been March. February has always had its focus on coyote hunting and April brings spring turkey season, but I realize I need to get in either a crow-hunting excursion or a very early groundhog hunt (my personal observations document they usually start coming out of hibernation around St. Patrick's Day) to keep this resolution. Hunting hard and hunting often has often been the primary reason I've overlooked doing other outdoor activities in October, November, and December in past years, so I'm going to have to be more proactive in working things in around my hunting excursions, especially during those peak months.

2. Fish at Least Once Each Month This is almost embarrassing, but checking my records, it's been six years since I fished during the month of November. I've always made time for either an October smallmouth outing or a steelhead trip, but I've allowed treestand time to take complete priority over time on the water each November since 2012. There were a few other times in either January or February when we didn't have safe ice that I didn't make the effort to get out, but I know I'll need to find and fish open water during those months in 2019, if we don't get an extended cold snap.

3. Hike at Least Once Each Month The good news is that I just need to keep doing what I've been doing for decades. Based on my logs, I didn't find a single month where I didn't get in a least one hike of five miles or more. Twice over the years, I met the goal on snowshoes, since there were 10 inches or more of snow on the ground at the time; but I'm prepared to do whatever it takes in 2019 to keep in up out on the trails.

4. Paddle at Least Once Each Month This is somewhat of a recycling of a prior New Year's resolution I've made and kept in the past. Living along the Shenango River makes it convenient to get in a few miles in either my canoe or kayak by either putting in or taking out by our house. I caution others who consider making this commitment to ensure they have the proper training, experience, clothing, and gear to be on the water when air temperatures are below freezing and water temperatures are only in the 30's. I realize an extreme cold spell in January or February could necessitate an extended drive south to find open water, but the long-term forecast for 2019 doesn't make that seem probable at this point.

5. Peddle at Least Once Each Month Having both a hybrid bike and a road bike makes this an achievable goal given all the outstanding rails-to-trails venues we have throughout our area. Without ever making this a written goal in the past, a quick check of my logs revealed I've met this mark a few times in past years. During the winter months, this will involve close coordination with the weather forecast, but it wouldn't be the first time I've ridden in the snow, though I'd prefer not to, if I can avoid it.

6. Camp Out at Least Once Each Month While I was still in the military, this was almost a given considering the amount of time we spent in the field while serving in the Field Artillery. Since my retirement six years ago, I've missed a month here and there, but my new Kelty light weight two-man backpacking tent gives me plenty of incentive to head out overnight in all kinds of temperatures and weather conditions. I've had numerous outdoor people tell me they haven't slept on the ground in a tent for decades and they're the ones who are missing out on the more remote places Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia have to offer.

7. Explore Someplace New at Least Once Each Month I don't know about you, but I have an extensive list of places I want to go and explore at some point in the future in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and other states and Canadian Provinces to hunt, fish, hike, paddle, peddle, and camp. That list seems to keep growing and making a commitment to get to at least one of them each month is something I'm really motivated to do.

8. Read at Least Two Outdoor-Related Books Each Month There are so many good works out there by outdoor writers and I have a stack of unread books in my personal library that seems to keep growing. Gifts from family members and periodic trips to the book section at our local Ollie's Bargain Outlet has me well-stocked in reading materials for the foreseeable future and it will necessitate reading at a two book-per-month pace to get through them all. My wife got me a copy of Hiking Waterfalls in Pennsylvania by Johnny Molloy (Falcon Guides, 2018) that I'm currently reading. It's a detailed hiking guide to over 100 waterfalls throughout Pennsylvania and while I've already visited roughly 1/3 of them, exploring the other 2/3's will help me meet my resolutions to hike, camp out, and go someplace new in 2019 and beyond.

There you have it, my eight outdoor-related New Year's resolutions for 2019! With planning and commitment, I think they are achievable and they'll be something I'll truly enjoy passionately pursuing in 2019. Maybe, next year in the Ohio Valley Outdoor Times, I'll summarize my 2019 experiences meeting my New year's resolutions to hunt, fish, hike, paddle, peddle, camp out, and explore someplace new each month. Hopefully, this will motivate you to consider making your own 2019 outdoor-related New Year's resolution. Here's to fervently meeting your own outdoor goals this coming year and best wishes in the woods and on the water in 2019!



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