Every New Year, millions of people look at themselves in the mirror and decide to make a change. But, we’ve also experienced that moment where the excitement and newness of the year wears off and our resolve falters: Life happens. We get busy. We return to the comfort of old routines. One of the best tricks to make a resolution stick is to give it structure—a time and place set aside for working towards your goals. In 2020, consider The North Carolina Arboretum as your accountability partner! There are plenty of opportunities here to help you reach your goals and give structure and lasting-power to your resolutions.

Setting Your Sights on Fitness? Hit the Trails!

Get outside, breathe the fresh air and let the natural beauty of the Arboretum’s expansive 434-acre campus inspire you to get moving. With more than ten miles of interconnecting hiking and biking trails that are well-marked and monitored, you can craft a fitness routine that is safe and suited to your ability level. The scenery is always changing, so there’s always a new view to enjoy, too.

Research shows that one hour of hiking can burn more than 500 calories, and that hiking on outdoor terrain can also be better for your joints versus walking on asphalt or concrete. In addition to helping with weight loss, cardio activity, such as hiking or biking, can help lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Getting outside and exercising can also be good for the mind and spirit. Research shows that hiking can help combat depression and offers other mental benefits, including increased creativity and decreased stress.

If you need a little extra accountability, consider joining one of the Arboretum’s free Guided Trail Walks. Held April – October on Tuesdays starting at 1 p.m. and on Saturdays starting at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., walks typically range from one to two miles in length and focus on the Arboretum’s natural and cultural history.

Looking for some extra company to get you through your hike? Bring your four-legged friend to join in! Leashed dogs are always welcome on the Arboretum trails, but please be respectful and clean up after your pet.

Focusing on Mind and Body? Take a Class!

Learning is a lifelong journey, and any journey is easier when you are joined by others along your side. This year, surround yourself with a community of people working towards the common goal of  learning and self-betterment by signing up for an Adult Education class at the Arboretum. Expand your mind, get in touch with your creative side or deepen your knowledge of subjects ranging from fine art and craft to health and wellness to natural history, horticulture and beyond. Classes are taught by some of the region’s leading experts and are designed to accommodate a wide range of schedules. Registration for the Winter/Spring Semester will open on January 13, so don’t miss out!

For parents looking to help their little ones’ minds grow, check out the Arboretum’s Youth and Family Programs, including Wee Naturalists, camps and more. Children in grades K-8 can also sign up for the Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE program, an incentive-driven science enrichment program that engages students to go outside and photograph plants and animals found in nature.

Wanting to Get Involved? Donate Time!

If you’re looking to give back this year and may not have a huge budget, think about donating your time and talents by becoming a volunteer at The North Carolina Arboretum. Volunteering can be a great way to get involved in the community, meet new people and contribute to a worthy cause or organization. According to a 2015 Forbes.com article, volunteering offers a wide variety of benefits, including time management, skill development, and improved health and mental well-being.

The Arboretum is home to nearly 500 volunteers who contribute their time, talents, enthusiasm and energy year-round. By becoming a volunteer at the Arboretum, you may learn new skills, making a positive impact on the environment and help advance our mission of connecting people with plants through hands-on support. Volunteers at the Arboretum can work seasonally or year-round, and positions can range from guest services to horticulture and gardening to educational programs. For more information on volunteering at the Arboretum and current opportunities, please click here.

We hope that these fun, attainable activities will help make 2020 a wonderful year for you!