Successes, Great and Small

Page, AZ: So it's February. You've had a month to settle in to your New Year's Resolutions - and while they could be going great, some of us have inevitably done a bit of backsliding over the last month. Life has a way of getting in the way, and when you don't have the time you hoped you'd have, it's easiest to let the new things slide. It can be hard to feel unable to do as well as you'd like to at a new habit, whatever you're trying to do.

But we're going to let you in on a little secret that's helped us out a lot:

You don't have to be perfect.

It's so important, we're going to say it again. You don't have to be perfect.

Success, like most things worth striving for, can be seen as a spectrum. Sure, you might not have gotten to the gym today, but did you do some squats while you were watching Netflix? Stellar. Maybe that 20-mile backpacking trip has to wait for next month, but that two miles in the park? Better than sitting around at home. You might not be progressing towards your goals as quickly as you'd like, but you're still making progress - and that's what counts.

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Here at Leave No Trace, we talk a lot about cumulative impacts in a negative sense: the little things we do that might not matter in the moment, like walking around that mud puddle or picking all those flowers in the meadow, but that compound over time into lasting negative changes to the land. We also, on the other hand, talk about cumulative impacts in a positive sense - all the trash we pick up and every cool thing we leave for others to find improves everyone’s outdoors experiences. It's not all about big successes – though volunteering for a trash cleanup or trail work with your local stewardship organization feels good, too. It's also about those little successes, knowing that every time you go outside, you're doing your part to care for the lands you love.

For those of us on the road, success has meant not only keeping to our New Year’s Resolutions of self-care, but also making sure we’re caring for the land – picking up trash every time we're out on the trail, talking to others about Leave No Trace, and being the best people - and Leave No Trace stewards of the land - that we can be. But success is different for everyone - what can you do to maximize your successes this year, and how can you better succeed in practicing Leave No Trace? Maybe you’ll refamiliarize yourself with the Seven Principles? Correct a less-than Leave No Trace behavior when you're out on the trail? Take a Trainer Course or a Master Educator Course to better spread the Leave No Trace word? Every little bit helps.

Understand that you'll have better days and worse days when it comes to your resolutions - and when it comes to Leave No Trace - but as long as you're progressing, you'll find it's much easier to keep up all of your good habits for the new year.

We hope you enjoy the little successes, and Enjoy Your World!

Amanda and Junaid, Team East Central

Leave No Trace's Amanda Jameson and Junaid Dawud are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, and Klean Kanteen.