Make It Happen

Illustration by Kevin Howdeshell /

The world did not end, so now it’s time to make good on those New Year’s resolutions, Coloradans!

I’m all for New Year’s resolutions—as long as you have some real hope of actually keeping them. Resolving to exercise more, for example, seems like a guaranteed lost cause. Who really thinks they are going to start a life-changing workout routine during the coldest month of the year, jogging on icy sidewalks and hurdling snow banks when they’d rather be bundled up on their couch watching the Bourne Trilogy with a fresh bowl of popcorn and a hot buttered rum?

But resolving to do something like be a kinder, more forgiving person seems more than doable (and also more admirable). Yet, it also still seems like something you could start doing today if you wanted to. All you have to do is start saying, “Bless You,” when someone sneezes on you at the movies, for instance, or going Seinfeld-style and repeating “Serenity Now” every time someone talking on a cellphone cuts you off in the passing lane.

I think the secret to making resolutions really work—and thus have a more lasting impact on your life—is to keep them small, and doable in an hour, a day, or as the result of some incremental progress that will take at least a year to truly show fruit. Keeping them specific, to yourself and the place you live, might also help.

With that in mind, here are a couple resolutions for Coloradoans to consider as a great New Year gets underway.

Call in Well on a Powder Day

Some days you just feel too damn good to go to the office—especially when there’s better than a foot of fresh snow covering everything from your backyard to the peaks. Whether it’s cross-country skiing through City Park, split-boarding at Berthoud (with all the requisite gear and mental preparation for traveling in avalanche country!) or chasing fresh lines from the lifts, you absolutely owe it to yourself to let the weather set your schedule at least one day this winter. Number one because easily accessible powder days are one of the greatest perks of living in Colorado. And two because you’ll remember it more than almost any single day you’ll ever have at work.

Celebrate a Super Bowl Victory

It’s about time, right? Especially this year, because we’ve got Payton Manning and Von Miller, and Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker and Elvis Dumervil, and because the whole Denver Broncos team and town owe it to Champ Bailey to win one more World Championship ring before the Hall of Fame starts sculpting his bust. Sure you have to believe in the power of Bronco Nation’s collective will to help this one resolution become reality. But I bet every-single Mile High Magic making one of you thinks they’ve had a role in helping our orange and blue ballers win in the past. So start spreading some ‘Go Broncos’ mojo and let’s see how far we get! (As a side note, it does feel like the football gods are setting the table with the Rockies and Nuggets stinking so badly and professional hockey basically taking the season off).

Get Waaa-aaay Outdoors

Are Twitter and Facebook classified as an addiction yet? They will be. Just wait. Maybe the psychs will throw in cellphones and Skype, too, call each diagnosis “Communication-mania” and offer everyone marijuana-laden prescriptions to help focus their Wi-Fi addled ADD. Oh wait, weed’s legal now. So instead, take your other naturopath’s advice and settle your mind with a nice mix of solace and sweat. Get so far out into a ski hut, cabin, snow cave or yurt that you couldn’t call for help if you had to. Then breathe. Chill. And don’t forget to take a bunch of pictures to post on FB when you get back.

Pennies for Progress

Helping others is always a good way to help feel better about yourself. A couple of years ago, my wife and I read about and started setting aside all our pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to donate in a single sum at the end of the year. Each Christmas, we end up buying about $250 worth of dog food for the animal shelter. You could give your change to Breast Cancer Research, a wildlands/wildlife fund or your local soup kitchen. It isn’t much, but it adds up. And it’s cool how you think about your “pet” cause every time you put another 37 cents in the can after work.

Support Your Neighbor, Support Yourself

Along those same lines of improving your community as a sure way to improve your own life, one of the best ways to accomplish that goal is by spending money at a local business. Coloradoans are incredibly lucky not just in the number of local restaurants, outdoor/ski stores, and brewpubs we have on tap, but also in the amount of endemically distilled alcohol, handcrafted skis and snowboards, and bikes and apparel being built by our friends and neighbors. I like to think that every time we spend money on helping their dreams come true, we’re clearing out a little more dreamscape for ourselves.

Dream Big

Which I think is the entire point of this “resolutioning” business, that you do believe there is something in your life you can make better, and that by making it better you can have a better life. I certainly hope it’s true for you, because I have always carried all those brand “New Year’s” dreams for myself. Why wouldn’t you keep believing that you can still be a rock star, or own your own business, or run your first marathon, or hike the Inca Trail or really just be a good person who makes the world a better place by sharing your light?

It’s up to you what you resolve to do, because every resolution is really just a promise that you make to yourself. Here’s hoping 2013 is your best year yet! •

Peter Kray is Elevation Outdoors’ editor-at-large  and co-founder of The Gear Institute (

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