The year winds down. Only a few weeks left in 2016. As the notion settles in, panic begins to race through your mind. “Where did the time go? How is it almost 2017?! Did I do anything truly notable this year?? How did I get so OLD?? What am I going to do with my life? I’m running out of time, I better make my New Year’s resolutions if I have any chance of being a better me!!”

Resolutions are overwhelming. Big, lofty goals without any action plan and that tend to require an entire lifestyle shift all in the snap of a finger when the clock strikes midnight. Perhaps that is why only 8% of Americans actually achieve them.

This year, I propose that you try a different approach. One that I believe could lead you to your best year yet. A year filled with experiences, overcoming challenges and learning new things.

Forget about New Year’s resolutions and create a 2017 Outdoor Bucket List.


“But why an outdoor bucket list? How will this help me make more money, get healthy or be a way cooler person??”

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Without going down the rabbit hole of benefits of the outdoors, there are three things you will experience by spending more time outside:


Vitamin D, endorphins, fresh air. It’s like the cocktail of happiness is pulsing through your veins. This will organically lead you to start improving other areas of your life. Maybe you’ll step up your game at work, get more quality time with your family away from all the devices or light a spontaneous spark in your relationship. The snowball effect will start rolling.


Kickstart weight loss, improve brain function, reduce stress, increase creativity, the list goes on. Getting outside will naturally check off on those pesky little fitness resolutions you would have had at the top of your list anyway. And hiking is way more fun than the elliptical.


You are the total sum of your experiences (Judy Mann). As you layer them on, you discover new perspectives, you learn more about yourself, you become a person of greater depth and substance. You know… like the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man. You will have stories to tell and scars to show for it.

While I recommend including some solo activities, you don’t have to seize your list alone. The best part is creating new memories with those you care about. Involve those around you, have fun, take pictures, be silly, disconnect and truly live in the moment.

The key is to actually getting off your butt and making these experiences happen. I know it can be difficult to muster up the motivation. Yes, sometimes it’s easier to choose sitting in the AC with a cold iced tea, feet kicked up and a plate of fried chicken on your lap… but I promise when you put in the effort to get up, get out and just do something in the fresh air, that’s when the magic happens. You never know which days will lead to the stories you’ll tell forever.

Try it with your significant other or kids. Make your own lists and compare notes. Hang them on the fridge and take turns picking what you’ll do next. Plan ahead if needed, schedule time outdoors into your weekends, do what you have to do to start living more life outside your four walls.

In case you need a little inspiration for your own, I’m sharing with you my 2017 Outdoor Bucket List:

  • Fly fishing in Charleston

  • Open water scuba diving

  • Visit St. Augustine

  • Swim Devil’s Den Spring

  • Go oystering

  • Go scalloping

  • Hybrid fishing/camping trips

  • Catch a tarpon

  • Dance in the rain

  • Get my Captain’s License

  • Run a 5k with the love of my life

  • Sleep in a hammock by the water

  • Host a charity fishing event for disabled and ill children (November 18, read about it here)

  • Watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain

  • Host a backyard BBQ

  • Buy a home, build a dream backyard, hang some bistro lights and sit under the stars every night with Mike Downs

Once you make your bucket list, please share it with me in the comments section, on Facebook or email me at I would love to see how you’ll be spending your time outdoors next year! And be sure to shoot me any tips you have for my list.

Happy New Year!