How to Use 'No' to Get to More 'Hell Yes' in 2018

This blog is about New Year’s Resolutions. I know what you’re thinking “Wait, Resolutions? In March?” Well, yes, it is March, but it’s been a busy start to the year, and I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator. I’m not usually one to set New Year’s Resolutions, so this year, I’m setting more of an intention... trying to live by a mantra.


Those who have been to a yoga class know what I mean. At the beginning of the class, the instructor prompts you to set intentions for your practice. If you’re like me, sometimes it works – I think about sending love and light to a distant relative or friend in need, I consider what bodypart could use a little more limbering up than the rest. But most of the time, I can’t stop my mind from racing – I think about my workday or what I’m going to make for dinner, or often times it’s “Wow, what a cool tattoo that girl has” or “Ooh, nice tights.”

Well, I’m kind of the same way with New Year’s Resolutions! I’m distracted by what others are promising themselves (or more likely promising to social media). I don’t sit back and consider my goals for the year. It’s easier to be sucked into the “go to the gym more”, “eat less sugar”, “read more books’’ goals like everyone else, than to have a real heart-to-heart with myself.

This year I am going to commit to saying “no” more.

The author and her husband in Costa Rica.

What?! You might say, why would I want to set that intention? It sounds negative and pessimistic. Sure, on the surface it does. But by making this commitment, I’m opening a world of making my yeses better, to spending more time on the ventures and people who make me better, happier, and more productive in the long run. (I recently read in Tim Ferriss’ book, Tribe of Mentors, that Derek Sivers has a mantra he lives by when presented with a request. He asks himself if that request is a “hell yes, or no”?)

At face value this mantra may seem extreme but when I really think about it, it’s empowering. Our time is quite the commodity these days. We tend to fill our years, months, days, down to the second with something. Everyone is busy all the time, rushing around, either in reality or in the digital world. Heck, if you're reading this blog, I’m willing to bet you’re multitasking. Are you also listening to music? Were you scrolling through Facebook or walking the dog or even in the bathroom? Chances are, yes.

We tend to fill our every waking hour with something, and my intention is to weed out the riff-raff and focus on the Hell Yeses!

Hell Yes to Family!

Family has always been important to both me and my husband. We say often that we hit the family jackpot with both of ours. They’ve always been so supportive of us and our siblings. Both of us haven’t always taken the traditional route when it comes to life’s trail, but our families have always been there for us. The last year has been fraught with highs and lows and now more than ever visiting and spending time with our families are one of our top priorities.


Hell Yes to Friends!

We’ve been in Roanoke, Virginia, for about three-and-a-half years now and not only is it a rad place to live and recreate, it’s also full of rad people. We’ve managed to find ourselves in the company of some amazing folks doing some impactful things. This year I’m setting the intention to spend more time with them doing purposeful activities. Having deeper conversations and going on (dare I say) rad-er adventures. This leads me to my third Hell Yes…


Hell Yes to Adventure!

“Go big or go home” is an overused saying for a reason. And while any time spent outside is time well spent, this year I plan to spend more time on big adventures. The last few years we’ve gone big in our personal lives. Three years ago, we backpacked in Chilean Patagonia. Two years ago we hiked the John Muir Trail. Last year we got married in Costa Rica and traveled in Nicaragua, which was filled with the adventure of surfing and waterfall jumping all while traveling with 10 family members.

This year, we are planning to break into the world of bikepacking. Sure, we are experienced backpackers, but we are completely new to carrying all of that on bikes, traveling 45+ trail miles a day, and we aren’t used to all that time in the saddle! So what better way to get into a new sport than total immersion! Go big or go home, right?


We plan to start with a 270+ mile bike race called the RockStar VA. It starts in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and ends in Roanoke, Virginia. It highlights some of the region’s best singletrack trails and scenic gravel roads. It starts April 7, and we hope to do it in seven days. I’d say, “or less” but I’m a realist – we’re beginners!

So, in 2018, if it isn’t a HELL YES, it’s a no for me. Here’s to more family, friends, adventure and ultimately more quality time in the great outdoors. I hope that you are inspired to fill your year with more “No’s” and a handful of Hell Yeses. My assumption is that you will be healthier and happier in the long run if you strive to do so.

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