Often motivation is the biggest challenge to getting outdoors. The question is not if we want to get outdoors. Of course, we know we will feel better with fresh air and moving our bodies. But we are over-committed, over-worked, over scheduled, over anything that takes away from a few more minutes in bed. These are 5 ways that help us get out the front door and go from “I should be getting outdoors” to “I’m doing it!”
1) make a plan to meet a friend
I have a deep love-hate relationship with the snooze on my alarm. I can turn a 9-minute snooze easily into a 63-minute marathon of snoozy 9-minute snoozy catnaps in my comfy bed missing the opportunity to get up and out. But if I know there is someone waiting for me then I might still sneak an extra 9 minutes… but I get out of bed in time to make our meet up time. And it is a win-win you go from I should go for a walk/hike/run to getting up and out of the house and doing it! Plus, you get the bonus of having quality time with your friend. Accountability is key.
2) have a goal
While I am not a huge fan of doing things just to check a box, having goals is a great way to stay motivated and give your workouts a purpose beyond I should be getting out more. I know lots of people who have taken on the 52-Hike Challenge and it has been life-changing for them. Be sure to set yourself up for success by creating mini-goals that may lead to a big goal. If your goal is too big or daunting it is easy to get discouraged.
3) sign up for a race and create a plan
The nice thing about races is the variety. In general, there is one for everyone, pick a distance that will challenge you but not crush you. Remember the goal is to be motivated to get outside and training for a race will do that. You can find training plans online for all fitness levels and race distances to help you prepare with a plan. Find a race that excites you for some reason. Fun – look into a Disneyland race or Rock & Roll race series. Charity based – one that supports a cause you want to fundraise for. Cool swag/medals – the finisher hardware makes for great pics. 😀 Location, location location – proximity might be more important – or a beautiful location! Also, this also could factor in #1 and #2 from this list!
4) join a community of like-minded folks
With social media today it is pretty easy to find a specific group that matches your interests. Women Who Hike is a great example of a group for women that has chapters all over the country and hosts group hikes for all levels. All their ambassador trip leaders are screened and qualified to lead groups. This is super important especially if you are a bit of a newbie. Make sure the group that you are joining has safety as a top priority.
5) get out of your comfort zone and embrace being a newbie!
Be ok with being new or bad at something… this is harder the older we get. We unconsciously go through life being proficient at things and when we try something new find it extremely frustrating when we don’t get it right away. I found this a lot when teaching stand-up paddle boarding. 30-40 minutes into a class adult students would be very frustrated if they couldn’t stand up… on a board… floating on the water! I gently would remind them that we have been doing this for all of 30 minutes of their entire LIFE! Take a class under professional guidance to learn a new skill and get the tools you need to be successful. You might find a new activity you love! I love this article from Adventure Journal, How About a Round of Applause for Adult Newbs!
Another thing to remember is getting outside is getting outdoors! Find nearby nature, a park, walking or running path, local trail… stop and listen to the birds and nature. You don’t have to be in some remote wilderness setting to get the benefits of being outdoors.