Why planning an adventure is better than a new year’s fitness resolution


The new year is here! The mince pies and mulled wine have settled and, for most, it’s time to reluctantly head back to work. Going back to work after Christmas festivities isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but all is not lost! Now is the perfect time to start planning your 2018 adventures!

Having an exciting trip or challenge planned for the summer is the perfect motivation for reaching, and sustaining your 2018 fitness and wellness goals.

The problem with New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

Famously a time of year for unrealistic fitness goals, dreary guilt-driven gym visits, and broken resolutions. In January each year gym signups nearly double, yet up to 80% of well-meaners barely use their new memberships past the first couple of visits.

Paying money for an activity you don’t enjoy to work towards a hazily defined goal of “keeping fit”, that has no real measure of success, is perhaps why so many lose motivation and ditch the new regime after a couple of weeks.

The great thing about committing to an adveture goal this year is that improving your fitness is a handy by-product of your preparations, not the means-to-an-end! Most trips require a reasonable degree of fitness but as you walk/run/cycle/trampoline through your training plan you can drift off thinking about the incredible experiences and stories you’ll be creating, rather than running the endless treadmill to nowhere!

Once you have an exciting and adventurous goal on the horizon things become much easier and you’ll find new motivation everywhere. You’ll know why you are training, what needs to be done and you can have fun with it along the way. What’s more is there’s no right and wrong training for a adventure trip! Sure, it’s useful to get out in the hills and do some walking, but improving you base fitness you could try literally anything active!

So for your resolution this year, instead of saying you’ll sign up to the gym or go running twice a week, try setting an ambitious goal. It will become apparent what you need to do to gain the skills or fitness you need as you go, and what’s more you’re sure to be happy with the outcome rather than finding out that going to the gym three times a week has done nothing more than to restrict your social calendar and lighten your wallet!

Set a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG)

“A challenge is not a challenge if you know that you’ll succeed before you start!”

When choosing your 2018 adventure goal, try choosing something that will push you out of your comfort zone. Something that will force you to learn new things or take on something you don’t yet have the experience for. There’s no benefit of choosing something that you could do tomorrow, just so you can “win”. It doesn’t have to be cycling to Australia or running for a marathon, just make it something that you’ve always wanted to do but never thought you could. Learning how to approach the challenge, gaining the required skills and improving your fitness will all be elements of your preparation, not just a means-to-an-end. If you commit to an exciting end-goal the training will pass in a breeze and you will find yourself fitter and with more purpose than ever before, you might even find you enjoy it!

Whether it’s fitness, career-related or making simple changes to improve your work-life balance, aiming for an aspirational goal will force you to break down the required steps and give you the motivation to keep going. What’s more, is that whether or not you achieve the intended ambition you’ll reap benefits you may not have known you would before you started; improving your fitness, skills, knowledge, meeting people and have some plain old fun along the way!

So be brave, be ambitious and swap that boring fitness resolution for a Adventerous BHAG!

Tips for setting your adventure goal

  • Be ambitious – Push yourself to try something you haven’t done before or something that seems out of reach. Even if you don’t make it, you’ll gain the most “reaching for the moon”.
  • Don’t take things too seriously – It will be more fun if you can laugh along the way, don’t put too much pressure on the final outcome, just enjoy the ride.
  • Personalise it to yourself – For some people, it might be working towards climbing their local hill, running a marathon or maybe climbing Kilimanjaro!
  • Join forces – Things are much easier and enjoyable when you have someone to share the highs and lows. Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for people to team up with!
  • Tell everyone – It’s harder to back out onceit’ss out in the wide world. Use the positive peer pressure to egg you on!

Removing Barriers


Once you’ve set your goal you need to work out what’s standing in the way of accomplishing it. For taking on an adventurous challenge or goal that could be fitness, financial, logistical or time constraints/existing commitments. Whatever they are, write them down on a piece of paper and pin it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Even in the depths of winter there will be something you could be working towards to bring you closer to your goal!

If you don’t know what the barriers are, or what your goal is going to entail, then its time to go and find out! This is the fun part! Want to Climb Mt. Everest? Well, you may find yourself gaining climbing experience in Scotland first as part of your journey! Want to set a 10K PB? Well, how about high-intensity sprint training and mobility work to maximise your speed?

Find people who have done it, people love talking about their own experiences and adventures, join Facebook groups, read books and find specialists in that field.

Once you know what you have to do, it will be much easier to do it!

Helping you prepare for your adventure

At the Grand Adventure Company, adventure is what we do and we’d love to help you achieve your goals.

Whether planning to climb Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, the Inca Trail or still in need of some adventure inspiration we go well beyond just organising the logistics of your trip. Based in the Lake District, we are on hand to help in any way we can. We provide all the information you need about each trip or challenge on our tour pages and also provide International Trekking Training Weekends throughout the spring and summer, to help you get ready.

To celebrate the start of the year we’ll be posting an article each week with some top tips to prepare for your trekking adventure. This will include top tips on equipment and clothing, how to pack for your trip and other logistics, as well as fitness and a weekly training plan to get you ready for summer mountains! Look out on our Facebook page or subscribe to our monthly newsletter to read everything you’ll need to know when preparing for your adventure.

Want to learn more in person? Why not join one of our International Trekking Training Weekends? Perfect if you are considering if a trip is for you or already signed up and looking to build your experience before you travel!

About Author

Before founding 'The Grand Adventure Company' James worked in a variety of different roles from planning school expeditions around the world to organising high-altitude and remote mountaineering ventures. These roles led to all sorts of adventures from travelling across Mongolia in a 'Russian Forgon' delivering tourism training to remote Mongolian nomads to visiting communities damaged by the Nepal earthquakes to assess damage and setting up community projects in the regions. James is a qualified Mountain Leader, Leave No Trace trainer and expedition leader and holds membership to the British Mountaineering Council, the Mountain Training Association and aspirant membership to the British Association of International Mountain Leaders. In 2013 James cycled solo from London to Sydney. More recently, James completed the infamous '24 hour Bob Graham Round' and can usually be found in The Lake District running and cycling up mountains.


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