New year, new you, right? You might not need to overhaul your life, but there are always improvements to be made. Here are a few ideas to make 2015 a landmark year, whether by expanding your own horizons or helping others to do so.
#1 — Face Your Fears: Knock out some fears with exposure therapy. Afraid of heights? Do a cliff jump. Tight spaces? Have a guide take you through a cave. Doesn’t have to be extreme – a ten-foot jump might feel like a 100-footer to the uninitiated. Just has to be done.
#2 — Run Without Music: Try running without headphones for one week. Take in the sounds of the trail underfoot or just hear yourself breathe.
#3 — Run Farther: There’s no better motivator than a starting line, so sign up for a race that’s one step farther than you’ve ever run. If you’ve done a 5k, sign up for a 10k. Marathoner? Try a 50k. Either way, you’ll be a more accomplished runner than you’ve ever been.
#4 — Visit Another Culture: Experience a place that’s totally unfamiliar to you. It’ll expand your horizons and you might be surprised at how similar people are across a wide range of cultures. I went to Jordan in 2013 and it changed my perception about the Middle East and humanity as a whole.
#5 — Swap Your Skis for a Snowboard (or Vice Versa): Yes, we’ve all heard about why your sport is better and why the other one sucks. But you don’t have the right to talk crap about something you’ve never done. So go rent a board or skis and give it a try. Then talk all the crap you want.
#6 — Put in Some Work: You ride lots of trails. You might have even torn up a few muddy ones. We won’t judge you…if you put them back together. Look up a local mountain biking club via Google search or through the International Mountain Biking Association. They’ll be happy to help you get involved.
#7 — Put Your Camera Down: Next time you see something gorgeous, don’t take a single photo. Every time you see something amazing, just be in the moment. Keep that scene for yourself. You can post the next one to Instagram.
#8 — Help Others Get Outdoors: Got some new gear for Christmas? Good for you! Why not put your old gear to use: hold a garage sale and donate the proceeds to NOLS or Big City Mountaineers. Don’t have extra gear? Volunteer some time with those organizations or others like First Descents.
#9 — Take Someone With You: No, not your usual climbing partner. Take someone who’s never done your sport before and show them the ropes (climbing pun. Boom.). Show them why you love doing what you to. You might end up with a new belay buddy.
#10 — Volunteer at a Race: You might have participated or watched a few races, but have you ever helped out? Make it a point to volunteer at an aid station or registration, or to pick up race markers. It’ll give you a new appreciation for the people who put events together. Hell, you might even have fun.