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A Personal Guide for Setting Your 2024 Outdoor Goals

As we wrap up another year of incredible outdoor adventures, it’s time to cast our eyes to the horizon and envision what 2024 holds for us. I’ve put together this exclusive piece, combining my own experiences with insights from our vibrant outdoor community, to guide us in crafting meaningful and exhilarating outdoor goals for the upcoming year.

A Look Back to Forge Ahead

Let’s start with a bit of introspection. Reflect on your most memorable outdoor moments from this year. Whether it was scaling a challenging peak, mastering a new camping skill, or just enjoying the serene beauty of nature, each experience has added a layer to your outdoor persona.

Equally important is to consider the setbacks – those trails we couldn’t complete, or trips that remained plans. These aren’t just missed opportunities; they’re valuable lessons that pave the way for smarter, safer adventures ahead.

Crafting Your 2024 Outdoor Aspirations

Setting goals for the new year should be as exciting as planning a new adventure. Think about these key areas:

  1. Skill Enhancement: Identify a specific outdoor skill you wish to improve. It could range from advanced hiking techniques to wilderness first aid.
  2. Embracing New Challenges: Is there a daunting trail or a peak that’s been on your wishlist? Let 2024 be the year you conquer it.
  3. Commitment to Regular Adventures: Set a realistic frequency for your outdoor activities. Consistency is key to staying connected with nature.
  4. Environmental Advocacy: As guardians of nature, let’s commit to its preservation. Participating in conservation efforts or educating others about sustainable practices can be rewarding goals.

The Path to Achieving Your Goals

Break down your goals into smaller, actionable steps. If improving navigation is your aim, start with map reading, graduate to compass use, and then to GPS navigation. This method makes your goals more approachable and achievable.

Here’s an example of breaking down goals for improving navigation:

Goal: Improve navigation skills

  • Step 1: Start with map reading
  • Step 2: Graduate to compass use
  • Step 3: Progress to GPS navigation
  • Step 4: Test yourself during a backpacking trip


By following this method, you can make your goals of improving navigation more approachable and achievable.

While I know this to be true, I cannot tell you the exact reasons why. But I can take a few educated guesses behind this paradox. Here are the four reasons I think winter 14ers are so great, despite the misery they can create in the short-term.

Gear Audit and Upgrades

Assess your current gear and consider necessary upgrades or replacements. Proper gear not only enhances safety but also enriches your outdoor experience. Also, explore new gear that aligns with your 2024 goals.

Physical Training for the Great Outdoors

Depending on your objectives, physical fitness may need to be ramped up. If challenging treks are in your sights, integrating strength and endurance training into your routine will ensure you’re trail-ready.

Fostering Community Spirit

Our tight-knit community is a treasure trove of support and knowledge. Share your aspirations, seek advice, and find companions for your adventures. Together, we grow stronger and more connected with nature.

Adaptability: The Adventurer’s Mantra

Flexibility is crucial in the outdoors. Be ready to modify your plans in response to changing conditions or personal circumstances. This adaptability ensures that our adventures remain a source of happiness, not a cause for stress.

Chronicling Your Adventures

Consider keeping a journal or blog of your outdoor journey. It’s not just a record of your achievements but also a cherished collection of personal growth and unforgettable memories.

Contributing to the Great Outdoors

Finally, let’s pledge to give back to the environment. Our actions, however small, can have a significant impact on preserving the natural world for future generations.

Remember, I’m Here to Help You Reach Your Next Summit

As we embark on a year of new adventures and challenges, I’d like to remind our $10 and $20/month tier members that you have exclusive access to my personal trip planning and coaching services. Whether it’s planning your next summit attempt, building new skills, or preparing for a significant climb, I’m here to tailor a plan that suits your unique aspirations. Don’t hesitate to reach out – let’s make your mountain dreams a reality together.

For our dedicated $5/month members, consider upgrading your membership to unlock these personalized services. It’s more than just a step up in perks; it’s an investment in your outdoor journey, providing you with tailored advice and guidance to help you conquer your next big challenge. Elevate your experience and join our higher-tier members in transforming your ambitious goals into achievable realities.

Signing Off

I’m eagerly looking forward to hearing about your goals and sharing our journeys together. Here’s to a year of adventure, growth, and unparalleled experiences in the great outdoors!

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Download my Colorado 14ers Planner for Your Next Summit!

Become a subscriber to download my free 14er planner. It lists all 58 peaks in the perfect climbing order. Get it now & start planning!