The Notepad is a monthly column written by @rubyclaireee exploring what it means to be a guest on this wild and abundant planet. Most of these thoughts have been scribbled, in some way, in the notepad she carries in her backpack (or pannier).


New Year’s resolutions can either be a motivating force or a suffocating form of self-torture. Ruby shares her top tips for making sure your adventure-based resolutions become a reality.

We’re midway through the first month of another year.

‘Can you believe it’s almost the end of January?!’ we say to the bank teller.

‘Time’s going so quickly, right?,’ we say to the retail worker.

‘I need a holiday from my holiday! HA HA HA,’ we say to our colleagues.

And just like that we’re swept into the chaos of time. We wake up at 7am, we scoop a bowl of cereal into our mouths and we trudge out the door to work. And then we do it in reverse. Trudge home. Scoop a bowl of something edible into our mouths. Crawl back into bed.

Some of us make grand plans for a new year. We write meticulous lists of Things To Do That Signify We’re On The Right Path. Many such lists are then posted to Instagram, alongside lengthy, aspirational captions. LOOK AT WHO I WANT TO BE THIS YEAR we shout. LOOK AT WHAT I AM COMMITTING TO. Please God, let me achieve this now that the world thinks I will! Accountability is fuel for the extrinsically motivated.

On many such lists (and my own) I have seen things like: ‘get outdoors more’ or, ‘go on three overnight hikes’ or, ‘visit five swimming holes I’ve never been to before’. I love it. It’s my favourite stuff to spot, because it signifies play. And delight. And spaces for rest and all that green space healing.


How to Make Sure Your Adventure Resolutions ACTUALLY Happen, Ruby Claire, campground, tents, smoke


But these goals have a tendency to fall off the end of our lists come December, because they, like a lot of things we aspire to be and do, won’t just fall into our laps. In order to prevent the end of year lament, when we pull out the list and feel a little shitty that we didn’t do what we wanted to do, I’ve listed three ways that have helped me make them a little more possible for myself.

I should make a note that our cultural obsession of doing and being and achieving should not weigh in on this. If you don’t nail your goals, who cares? You’re worthy simply for existing. But nature can heal us from grind culture, so I encourage you to make time for it.

Anyway, I digress. First up!

1. Change Your Goal

If you feel like you didn’t spend enough time outside last year, I’m sorry to say, writing it on a list is not going to up the ante for you. It’s worth looking at the reasons why you didn’t, and to focus on those first, in order to enjoy the outcomes. Let me use two examples:

Many of us struggle to find enough friends who want to head outside at the frequency we do. We manage to convince someone to join us on a hike and then they kind of sort of don’t feel like doing another one for six months. And you’re left standing there like WHAT ABOUT NEXT WEEKEND THO????

Instead of focusing on three hikes to achieve this year, focus on the people in your life who you enjoy spending time with, who share a love of the outdoors. Let nurturing and strengthening those relationships become the goal, and your like-minded hobbies will flow from there with significantly more ease.

OR, if you don’t have any camping gear, but you want to camp, and you want to invest in your own stuff, but you’re terrible with money, focus on your finance strategy instead. Consider a gear fund. Build that up, invest in good stuff, and then you’ll be ready to jump in as soon as the opportunity arises.

2. Make Your Goals Specific

If you’ve got ‘three overnight hikes’ on your list, write down the trails that you actually want to hike. Scroll through your screenshots, your saved Insta files, the We Are Explorers Adventure Map. Actually compile all of the digital collateral from other people’s lives and make a plan for your own.

You can’t wait for opportunities to present themselves. Sometimes they do, but you’re going to have far less adventure if you’re sitting around waiting for them. Having a list means that if you meet someone keen, you can immediately say: have you done the Scenic Rim Trail? It’s on my list and I’d love to go in the next month. Keen?

So many plans get lost in vague noncommittal chats in DMs.


How to Make Sure Your Adventure Resolutions ACTUALLY Happen, Ruby Claire, snow, snowshoe, people

3. Book it in Your Diary

Consider the weather, pick some weekends, and put it in. Just lock it in right now.

Why not? If it’s a priority, and it’s something you really want to do, something that will lift you up and bring you joy and make you happy, what’s stopping you?

Go forth this year. There’s so much to see out there, so much to do! Lace up your boots and pack your bag. You’ve got this.