How to Build an Outdoor Habit

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Since 2017 we’ve made a strong, purposeful effort to get outside every single day regardless of the weather. It’s become such an important part of my life that I’ve gone outside for at least 20 minutes for over 1,000 days in a row.

Building habits doesn’t happen by chance. Sure, the first few days are easy. But pretty soon things get a little more challenging — maybe the weather is bad or you’re just really tired or busy. And that’s when building and keeping a habit becomes a choice.

We have super busy lives. In my experience whether or not doing something or building and keeping a habit makes the cut comes down to one simple thing: priorities.

Make the time.

I am strong believer in the power of priorities. We have time for the things we actually want to do. If getting outside is a priority for you, I promise you can make it happen.

Decide what you’re doing ahead of time.

It’s harder to put something off when you’ve made a plan for it. If getting outside is important to you — and it should be — plan for it. Build outdoor time into your routine from the start. For example, we plan to attend a weekly local pub run no matter the weather, already have a ski trip on the calendar for December and plan to camp a weekend in September while visiting Denali National Park. I’ve also got a running list out nearby outdoor hikes and activities to pick and choose from. That way if we’re ever just hanging out we can instead be, well, hanging outside.

Prepare for success.

It’s easy to make excuses to stay inside as the weather gets colder. Eliminate those by making sure you own the right outdoor equipment. For example, in Alaska it’s all about layers, but you also need snow gear and a good pair of mittens to make things pleasant. We keep all of this stuff near the door in a bin so we don’t have to hunt for it when it’s time go outside.

Find a way to track it.

For many of us literally checking a box or finding a way to log what we’re doing helps us be successful. That’s certainly true for me, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve logged every single day of my outdoor time on Instagram using hashtag #humansoutside365.

Another easy to way to track is to color in or mark-up a habit tracker. If you already have our 365-day outdoor time habit tracker you’re all set. If you don’t have it but want it, all you have to do is sign-up for our newsletter.

Sign-up for the Humans Outside newsletter.

Get ready to try something new.

Summer sports are easy — or, at least, easier. But what about winter fun? For us, at least, that’s a little harder. That’s why we make the decision ahead time to try new things. Fat tire biking? Snowshoe running? Winter camping? Bring it on. We guarantee there’s a new sport or outdoor activity you haven’t tried yet. Get after it.

Looking for outdoor inspiration? The Humans Outside podcast is packed with it. The experts I interview and my own weekly outdoor diary are sure to help you get out there.

Be OK with going off script.

For us fall and the start of school means one thing: routine. We are creatures of habit, and we love that the same thing will happen at the same time every school day.

This year, however, life looks a little different. Routine may not be as easy to find, and when you do find it you probably won’t want to let it go. Still, we’re making a commitment to being OK with going off script. That means that we’re going take the kids out of school sometimes if the outdoor time is right. It means we’ll sprinkle those work vacation days throughout the year instead of letting them expire on December 31.

Ready to build outdoor time into your routine? Ready, set, go.

Have you subscribed to the Humans Outside podcast? Listen now!


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How does spending at least 20 consecutive minutes outside every single day since Sept. 1, 2017 change your life? 

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