All the Bad Habits We’re Hanging On to in 2022
New Year's resolutions are for the birds
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Here at Outside, we’re all for pursuing your best self. We also believe that the path to fulfillment is paved not with relentless discipline, rigorous training plans, or—God forbid—diets but with joyful abandon.
This year gave us plenty of challenges: COVID surges, climate catastrophe, and, to cap it all off, a painfully slow start to the ski season. Why heap more on the plate with a New Year’s resolution? This year, as always, we resolve only to loosen up a little, and celebrate the bad habits, vices, and indulgences that give more than they take.
Driving an Absolute Disaster of a Car
While I’m writing this, my 2006 Subaru Outback is relatively clean. There’s a bike stem and vise-grip pliers on the passenger seat, a few rolls of film in the cup holder, and biodegradable glitter inside the console, where a bottle of it exploded. There’s an ice scraper and a bike pump and a box of meat sticks on the back seat, as well as three helmets and a pair of skis in the trunk, along with my bike shoes, ski boots, three fanny packs, a fly rod and waders, and books I need to return to friends. An amanita muscaria key chain is rolling around under the driver’s seat. Can’t forget the rocks and shells in the ashtray, the masks slung around the rearview mirror, or the dinosaur toy glued to the dash. This car hasn’t seen a vacuum or a wash in at least two years. And you know what? It gives me joy. It makes sneaking in a quick bike ride or tour that much easier, since my gear is all in one place. It’s pleasant chaos, my mess, and I’ll keep it. —Abigail Barronian, associate editor
Saving My Run for the Afternoon
When most people hear the word marathoner, they picture someone who dutifully rises with the sun to log their miles before getting on with the rest of their wholesome day. I’ve been a runner for most of my life, but I’ve never been much of a morning person. When left to my own devices, I’ll almost always save my run for lunchtime or the end of the workday. (This past summer was the longest period of time I’ve ever stuck to a consistent morning running habit, thanks to some persistent training partners.) Sometimes, yes, it’s me procrastinating. But most of the time it’s that my body feels better when I haven’t just rolled out of bed, and the midday habit forces me to take a break that I’d otherwise find a reason to skip. I’ve heard all the arguments for starting the day off right by getting your workout done first, and most of them are… correct. But that won’t stop me from stubbornly squeezing my run in between Zoom meetings in 2022. —Molly Mirhashem, digital deputy editor
Stopping for Ice Cream
Anytime I’m driving north on northern New Mexico’s Highway 84 to climb, kayak, run, or camp, I stop at Bode’s, the local gas station and general store in Abiquiu, to pick up a green chile burrito and a chocolate malt from the Frosty Cow, the ice cream stand in the parking lot. I’d love to blame my habit on being seven months pregnant, but let’s be real: the beloved Bode’s has been on my route for years. —Abigail Wise, digital managing director
Leaving Books Half-finished
For the past few years, I’ve set an overly ambitious goal on Goodreads (a site I highly recommend) to read 52 books per year. I’m not exactly proud to admit that I’ve yet to reach that goal; it’s just that I have a tendency to pick up a book, get through a few chapters, and put it down. It’s now late December, and I’m still 36 books short. I love reading, but I just don’t have it in me to soldier on through a story that isn’t doing it for me. Better to hand it off to a friend or a used-book store and keep searching for the one that’s going to keep me turning the pages deep into the night. —Kelly Klein, associate editor
Watching Trashy TV
I know that after a long day at my desk or in the mountains, the virtuous thing to do would be to curl up with a book or the latest hot documentary film. But if I’m being honest, all I really want is to have my friends over to watch the current season of The Bachelor/ette (or Bachelor in Paradise, I’m not picky), drink wine, and yell at the TV so loudly that we need to turn on subtitles. It’s a break for my brain and more stress-relieving than any after-work run or gym session. —Maren Larsen, podcast producer
When you’re surrounded by hardcore, dawn-patrol-devoted, extra-early-rising coworkers, sleeping past 8 A.M. on the weekend can feel like a guilty indulgence. But we’re facing a third pandemic year, more remote work, economic uncertainty, etc., etc., in 2022, so I’m giving myself some grace and allowing my body to sleep as long as it wants. That could mean 9, 9:30, heck, even 10 A.M. on the weekend and 8:30 A.M. on weekdays—after all, isn’t the ability to roll out of bed and walk ten feet to your computer one of the perks of working from home? Next year will be all about finding the good in the bad, and feeling less stressed and better rested in the morning is unequivocally good. —Kelsey Lindsey, senior editor
…And Hitting Snooze Again
I have been sleeping in—until an hour before work and midmorning on the weekends—for the past two months. I can’t say I feel much remorse. It’s been completely restorative to get a full eight to nine hours of rest each night. My 2021 resolution was to work out four to six days each week, and I stuck with it religiously from day one, always knocking out my exercise first thing and often before sunrise. But in November, the pool I swim at closed for repairs, and the darkness of daylight savings and the cold of winter hit me hard. Maybe it was the continuing COVID crisis or a symptom of perimenopause, or maybe I just felt overworked. But as soon as I started sleeping in, I couldn’t stop. It feels luxurious. Some mornings as I watch the sun hit the juniper trees outside my bedroom window and slowly turn golden, I snuggle deeper beneath my covers and relish the heat and the fact that I’m totally relaxed. My reasoning: just like there’s intuitive eating, this is intuitive sleeping. I know I need to get back on the regular fitness bandwagon soon, though—and we all know how difficult that is. It’s my new New Year’s resolution. —Tasha Zemke, copy editor
Making Coffee in My Moka Pot
After an annual blood test revealed that my cholesterol levels were creeping up, I looked for ways to lower them. Studies show that unfiltered coffee can inflate blood-cholesterol levels, which seemed like an easy change to make. I tried drip coffee, and while it adequately delivers caffeine, it is a poor substitute for coffee made in an aluminum Moka pot. Stovetop coffee tastes infinitely better. Plus, there’s the ritual of filling it, the addict-soothing sound of liquid bubbling up through fine, aromatic grounds, the immediacy of drinking it the moment it is ready. It evokes memories of my time in Europe, where I bought my first Moka pot at an outdoor market beside a train station. I’m sorry, but that’s worth a bit of cholesterol. (Also, I won’t give up bacon either.) —Jonathan Beverly, senior running editor
I’m notoriously rough on my outdoor gear and have destroyed too many bike parts, skis, boots, frame backpacks, and running shoes to count. My gear tends to fail at the worst possible moment and in hilarious fashion, and my poor wife regularly has to rescue me in the car. Why does my stuff break? I blame my size—I’m six foot three and weigh 190 pounds. Plus, all of my rides or runs tend to be carried out at maximum effort, now that daddy duties and work have compressed my daily window for fun. And finally, I’m awful at performing routine maintenance, like lubing chains or waxing my skis. My mantra is: ride it hard, put it away wet, and pray it won’t snap in half next go-around. I do not recommend it. —Fred Dreier, articles editor
In 2022, I will continue to abuse my body while not treating it to enough recovery. I’m a dad of two young children now, and while I usually find enough time for a daily bike ride or run, I don’t often get around to the foam-rolling and yoga sessions that were once integral parts of my routine. Instead I return sweaty and unwashed to my keyboard or the stove and start taking care of business. My body is definitely worse off for it, but it’s certainly better than not exercising at all. —Will Taylor, gear director