Resolutions for a New Year: Your 2024 Outdoor Bucket List

The new year is just around the corner, and with it comes a slew of resolutions. The media is a hurricane of different ideas, like shedding winter weight, spring cleaning, or ditching the spending habit. Still, resolutions can add a lot of pressure to an already arduous task. Instead, why not do something that’s beneficial and won’t feel like another chore?

Venturing outdoors has a whole host of perks, like lowering stress levels and increasing attention.3 Being in nature also fosters a closer relationship with the earth, creating deeper appreciation and understanding. Hiking and long walks aren’t for everyone, so here are just a few things to add to your outdoor bucket list in 2024.

Don’t Fear the Cold

Since its winter in Wisconsin, it’s easy to want to curl up indoors and watch the frosty snow fall from the comfort of a warm blanket. Still, staying inside all winter makes for many dull months of brain fog. Plus, you miss out on the beauty of the snow-laden landscape. With the right gear, the freezing temperatures aren’t so bad.

If you’re feeling adventurous, ice skating, skiing, or snowshoeing are great ways to spend a snowy day. Many places have programs for renting and learning too, if you’re experimenting with a new hobby. If you’re on a budget, those may not be the best options. Some wallet-friendly activities include sledding, building snowmen, going for a hike, or visiting an outdoor market.

Try Plein Air

If you’re feeling artistic, why not get outside to create? Plein air is recreating nature from observation outdoors. While it’s traditionally painting, feel free to use what you have. Even sketching with crayons will work, plus it’s a lot less messy.

While it can be hard to muster up enough focus to meditate outdoors, plein air is a great way to practice mindfulness. Because it requires such attention to detail and awareness, it’s incredibly grounding.

Get into Gardening

It can be difficult to start gardening. It’s a big commitment, requires a lot of space, and can be quite an investment. Still, watering, planting, weeding, and harvesting create a wonderful routine for getting outdoors. The trick is to start small.

If you have a modest yard or just a balcony, container gardening might be a great fit for you. The humble pot is underestimated by most. Believe it or not, herbs, greens, beans, corn, tomatoes, and so much more can grow in containers. With a little research into the size and soil depth needed for your crop, you’ll have a bountiful harvest in no time.1

If it feels like too much to start gardening alone, a community garden is a wonderful space to learn the basics. With other, more experienced, gardeners to guide you, you’ll grow your craft and develop stronger ties with people in your town.

Start Bird Watching

We seem to be in the renaissance of birding. With bird watching groups popping up on college campuses and increased interest since lockdown, birding is growing to reach new generations. Birds are fun to watch in their natural environment, and nothing beats the thrill of seeing a new species for the first time.

Additionally, research even suggests that being near birdsong improves mental well-being. That’s an easy and cheap mood boost.2

Emotional Resilience in the Face of Climate Change

In recent years, there’s been a lot of discourse surrounding attitudes about climate change. Seeing the degradation of the environment has caused a lot of stress and anxiety for our future. While that’s entirely valid and climate change is certainly a problem, motivating forward progress through fear isn’t sustainable and villainizes our environment.

By fostering a closer relationship with nature and creating a deeper appreciation for what it provides us, we begin to act out of care for what we have in the present, not unease for what the future may hold.


  1. LaLiberte, Kathy. “How to Grow Veggies in Pots and Planters at Home.” Www.Gardeners.Com, Gardener’s Supply Co, 12 July 2023,
  2. Vance, Erik. “The Surprising Health Benefits of Bird-Watching.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Dec. 2022,

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