As we crawl out of our collective beds or other places we crashed after last night’s fun and games, some of us are working on New Year’s resolutions. You know the drill: Eat less, work out more, get along better with friends and family and blah blah blah. Most of this stuff is out the door by end of January. However, instead of just cynically dismissing this as a modern-day silliness, a 21st-century equivalent to carefully watching the Hogmanay first-foot, it’s worth thinking about the ideas of resolutions seriously, and perhaps applying them to our life on two wheels.

I think most of us end up making New Year’s resolutions because we know we can do better. Author John R. Dallas Jr. says “Each year’s regrets are envelopes in which messages of hope are found for the New Year.” Leave aside the considerations that you’re overweight, weak, lazy and fighting with your in-laws—if you think about your last year on two wheels, I suspect you have something you regret.

Maybe you had a dumb crash.

Maybe you delayed a repair project.

Maybe you saw a bike you wanted to buy, but didn’t (or couldn’t).

Maybe you gave up riding, and you miss it.

Maybe, at the start of the year, you said this was it—the year you’d take the trip, have the grand adventure, and you didn’t.

Was 2023 a disappointing year? Did you miss out on the trip you planned? I planned to ride to Cape Breton and also restore my blown-up DR650 (Seen here). Neither happened! Photo: Zac Kurylyk

Now is the time to look at that regret and do something about it. It starts with a resolution, a plan, but you need to do more than just plan. You need to start forward progress as soon as possible. If you’ll need two weeks’ vacation to do that BDR, then book it as soon as you get back to the office. If you want to improve your riding skills, book that training course now! If you want to travel overseas, start shopping flight deals and price-comparing rentals or tours.

You’ll need to get started now, because modern life is so busy that other things will replace your moto-fun if you let them.

One piece of advice that I’ve learned over the years—if you really want to accomplish some sort of moto-goal, make sure you are OK to follow through on it without anyone else’s participation. In other words, determine that you will do the Dalton Highway, not that you and your buddies will do the Dalton. Only you can devote the focus and energy to make sure your plans come to fruition. A few years back, I had good riding buddies tell me yeah, they’d do the Trans-Labrador Highway next year, this year just wasn’t possible—and then COVID-19 kept us all home. I was very glad I’d made the trip when I could, even though that meant I’d had to ride alone. You’ll be in the same boat unless you see yourself as the master of your own moto-destiny, no matter what others do.

You, and only you, will have the desire to follow through on the goals you set for yourself. Want to ride to Panama? Make a plan that does not require your riding buddies to come along as well. Plan your own life and your own ride. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

I suppose I am being a bit hypocritical here, though, as I have no big plans of my own for this year. I have been wanting to do the new Cabot Trail Adventure/Dual Sport Route, but I ran out of time the last two years and I expect I’ll run out of time this year. I have a plan to start a new mini-ADV/dual sport mapping project of my own through the province of Prince Edward Island, but that will only happen as it fits around the edges of family and work life. I want to return to Newfoundland for 8-10 days of adventure riding, but lining up the details will be tricky. And at some point, I want to make another stab at the James Bay run that I failed on last year due to forest fires… and I have an outstanding invitation to go ride the interior mountains of British Columbia, and I’ve been wanting to do some of the ADVrider rallies for some time now.

I honestly realize I can’t do it all, and neither can you. But even if I can’t go on all the trips I’d like, I will start working towards at least one or two of them this week. If they don’t work out, it will almost certainly be because some other opportunity arose, and I’ll take advantage of that instead. Calvin said to Hobbes in the last daily episode of their newspaper comic strip, “I’m resolving to just wing it and see what happens.” I don’t want to be that slack; I want to make a plan, but I also realize I need to be ready to adapt. Because of my work, and because I am a family man with kids, and because we live in a crazy world, I do not pretend that I can make a New Year’s moto-resolution and accomplish it with 100 percent certainty. But I do know that I’ll almost certainly have the chance to ride to beautiful places on new bikes, to visit old friends on two-wheels and meet new friends. However those chances present themselves, I want to take them, and I think you should too.

Happy New Years Day! And if you have a resolution of your own this year, tell us below!

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