Most New Year’s resolutions are so ambitious few people manage to actually achieve them. This year, set goals that will make your life better and that you will enjoy accomplishing.
Run a marathon. Even the greatest of couch potatoes can work up to running a marathon by applying some self-discipline. There are many programs available online or in your community, and they all tend to follow the same plan: start slow and work up to it. By adding a little more distance every week, you’ll soon build your strength and stamina to the point where you can run (or walk) the entire 42.2 km.
Try a new solo activity. Yoga, tai chi and Pilates all offer various degrees of stretching, strength and meditation. All of these can be done outside to enhance your connection between your body and nature. Drag a mat out to the park during lunch, or start your day on your patio, doing poses. If you already engage in a strenuous sport, use one of these controlled activities to stretch and learn better breathing habits.
Learn a new sport. Everyone knows that cross training is the best way to stay in shape, so line up a new sport in 2014. You’re a runner? Take up swimming. Rock climber? Get a bike. Do something that works a different part of your body and gets you to move in a new way.
Coach a kids’ team. You don’t have to be great at something to pass along how much you love doing it. Find a youth centre and sign up to coach a sport. You’ll have a great time with the kids and — who knows? — you may discover the next superstar.
Donate old equipment. Maybe you’ve switched sports or upgraded your old gear. Maybe you just hate to clean. Whatever the reason, if you have a closet full of gear you aren’t using, haul it out and take it to a community centre or kids’ club. You’ll gain a free closet and many new friends.
Volunteer. Wildlife shelters are often looking for enthusiastic volunteers. If animals aren’t your thing, join an organization that works on keeping hiking and cycling trails clear in parks and conservation areas. Kayakers can put their skills to good use by reporting on streams and rivers in the area.
Go somewhere. Taking a trip can be as simple as getting on a train and heading to the next province. If you haven’t explored your own country, this is the year to do it. Take a few weeks and see Canada from coast-to-coast. Head north for midnight sun or Northern Lights or south to Niagara Falls and Middle Island in Lake Erie. Our country is huge — and meant to be explored.
Camp in the great outdoors. Nothing clears your head and calms you down like a night in the woods. Even an overnight venture is enough to reset your attitude and make the coming week a bit brighter. This year take the kids and make it a family adventure — complete with ghost stories and roasted marshmallows.
Unplug. Set aside (at least) one day per month to turn off every electronic device you own — phone, camera, computer. Whether you hike, paddle, ski or cycle — do it without checking your social media page or looking at a single email.