How to Make (and Keep) Bowhunting Resolutions
A new year often brings new bowhunting goals. Whether this past season was your first year bowhunting or your 50th, you likely learned something and evolved as a bowhunter. Your bowhunting goals should evolve, too. Use these tips to make a bowhunting resolution, and then stick with it all year.
What’s a Resolution?
A resolution, of course, is a firm decision to set a new course. Many people make resolutions when starting something new, which makes New Year’s Day a popular starting point for changing bad habits, learning a technique, or improving a skill. Bowhunters must always resolve something, so let’s learn how to set and achieve bowhunting resolutions.
How to Create and Achieve Resolutions
- Make the Resolution Achievable
Strive to pick one resolution for the new year. It should be specific, measurable and attainable. Avoid picking a vague resolution or one based on someone else’s suggestion. Choose something meaningful to you. In this case, reflect on the just-completed bowhunting season and decide what you should change for 2021 hunts.
- Build Steps into the Resolution
Focus on one goal but decide which steps you must take to achieve it. A goal with bite-size pieces makes it more achievable. Your plan must explain exactly what you will do in the year ahead. Consider the challenges you’ll face and how to overcome them. Take small steps daily. Trying to achieve too much too quickly brings failure.
- Write it Down and Tell Someone
To help achieve your resolution, write it down and make it public to hold yourself accountable. Keep your written resolution on your car’s steering wheel, or your bedside table or bathroom mirror so you’ll see it regularly. Also post your resolution on Facebook or share its details with family and friends. Ask them to follow your progress. Regular reminders revive, reenergize and hold you accountable when you feel down.
- Work Regularly on Your Resolution
Set daily or weekly alarms on your smartphone, and take five minutes to make progress. Consistent reminders make resolutions part of your routine. By making your goal a priority, you’re unlikely to forget it.
- Give Yourself Grace, but Get Back in There
Change is a process and old habits die hard. Learning new techniques takes time, and improving a skill takes practice. If you slack off or forsake your resolution, don’t dwell on it or feel guilty. Just get back on track by making up for it. If you didn’t shoot for five minutes on Monday, shoot for 10 minutes on Tuesday. If your plan isn’t working, reevaluate your goal and create a new plan. Be flexible and forgiving, but persevere and keep trying.
- Stay Positive and Motivated
Change might seem easy at first, but as you progress in your resolution you’ll likely face challenges, and possibly forsake your goal or lose your drive. But you believed you could do it when you chose your resolution, so don’t give up. Keep believing in yourself and apply every effort to achieve your goal. To stay motivated, celebrate small victories or accomplishments you built into your resolution.
If you can’t think of a resolution that excites you, consider these:
- Find New Hunting Spots
Encourage yourself to expand your options or explore new places to hunt. Study public-land options, learn to read aerial maps, buy and use a compass, scout the land for signs of your quarry, and determine how you’ll hunt there based on its terrain, winds, and deer patterns.
- Recruit a Bowhunter and be a Mentor
To share your passion, dedicate yourself to helping and teaching others. Find someone interested in learning to bowhunt. Invite family or friends, or check with people at work or church. You could also ask an archery shop to help you connect with someone who wants a mentor. Then, help them choose gear, set up their bow, find places to hunt, identify deer sign, and hang treestands or trail-cams. Click here for more mentoring tips.
- Tackle a Conservation Project
Get involved in conservation efforts to help wildlife, wild places and bowhunting’s future. Bowhunters support conservation by buying tags, licenses and equipment. Those purchases help manage wildlife, but state agencies and conservation organizations also do hands-on projects that benefit species we hunt. Do your part. You can also help plant food plots, remove trash from public lands, or lend a hand at the range.
- Shoot Competitively and for the Top
Joining leagues or competing in tournament are great ways to improve your accuracy and strength. To fine-tune your resolution, strive to achieve a specific score or rank among the competitors.
Visit an archery retailer for gear, information or a place to practice as you tackle your resolution.