Outdoor Diary: Here’s My New Home-Based Summer Goal

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Episode 306

When summer is short and you want to do everything, having a goal or adventure list for each summer can help keep you from feeling paralyzed by options.

And having one that’s designed to give you something to do for just a few hours on any given afternoon? That keeps the fun rolling without exhausting everyone in the process.

So how can you create a goal list that hits the mark without feeling impossible? Listen now.

Some of the good stuff:

[:45] We all know I like lists, OK?

[:58] The “problem” of getting stuck in a rut (or is it?)

[1:22] My summertime planning problem

[1:50] A solution for this

[2:10] Going with easy

[2:30] What we’re doing

[3:10] Bonus: free

[3:52] How this is different than big stuff

[4:15] There are no rules

Connect with this episode:

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

I think we all know I’m a big fan of goals, checklists, challenges and other motivational things like that. After all, that drive is why I started a test for myself to see if I even could spend 20 consecutive minutes outside every day for a year. We all know how that went and is still going here about 2,100 days ago.

Now that I’ve been doing this for a long time, there’s always a little bit of a problem of getting stuck in a rut. Actually, it’s only a problem if you want it to be. I think there are seasons where getting quote unquote stuck is the sensible thing to do. There’s comfort in repetition and doing the same thing within your outdoor time, day over day. That sounds like the calming acts of winter to me.

But when it’s stuck-stuck for me is in seasons where I really WANT do new things but simply lack the motivation or organization. For me those feelings come to a head in the summer. The endless daylight up here in Alaska has an urgency with it. You know it won’t last. Are you using it the best way possible. And on those really, really nice days — are you out there taking advantage of it?

It’s easy to get paralyzed in the face of that urgency. In a world of possibilities, how do you pick? So instead maybe you don’t pick, and then never make the adventures happen. Bummer.

Or. You could take a beat and come up with a series of summer goals. Maybe it’s a bingo card or a list of activities to try. Maybe it’s a list of places you want to go. Maybe it’s big travel and complicated. Maybe it’s simple.

The important thing is to take the time to come up with it.

Which is why I have recently spent some time figuring out what kinds of weekday, easy adventures sound good for us this year. I’ve learned the hard way that exhausting ourselves with constant big goals isn’t fun in the long run. Might feel good, but then you’re tired and there’s pressure because you said you wanted to do the thing, and why aren’t you doing the thing?

So instead, this year I’m trying something a little lower key, but still requiring effort and still pushing in a newness.

This year, we’re visiting local parks.

I know, not rocket science, right? But when was the last time you sat down, listed out or googled the locations of alllll your local parks, including the tiny ones and the slightly unkempt ones, and then made a purposeful effort to take your lunch there or visit for an hour or two in the afternoon?

Some of them will be further away from your house — do those when you have more time. Some of them will be close by. Going takes effort and a little planning, but not too much. They might have different features or recreation options.

We have a variety of playgrounds, picnic areas, bike paths and trails, hiking trails and lakes. There are trees and grass areas and sometimes fire pits. So that means among our many park options near and a little far, our options for free – minus gas of course – fun with stuff we already own include:

Biking, hiking, hitting the lake with a kayak or paddle board, swimming, picnics, frisbee or throwing the ball around, playgrounds, setting up the hammocks, reading a good book in the shade, fishing and having an impromptu campfire with smores.

Some of these are more complicated than others — packing up the kayak can feel like a huge effort sometimes, for example. But they represent a wide variety of options that we can do any given day.

Finally, this is different from bigger goals that are more like trips or big bucket list items. These are weekday or based-at-home things. We have other goals for where we want to travel overnight or things we want to do that are bigger adventures.

To make this daily activity idea work for me, I hit Google and created a list of local parks — city, county or borough and state. If I didnt know where they are, I made a note of general area. And when Im thinking about what we’re going to do on any given afternoon, I check the list to see what we havent done yet.

Also, there’s no rule that says you can’t go back to somewhere you really enjoyed. Actually, there are no rules at all truly, but that rule is definitely among those that don’t exist. We had a great picnic at one lake area recently, and while there I spotted a bike park we wanted to try. So back we went a few days later to check it out.

And that’s how my outdoor time has been looking — summer adventures no matter the weather, which has been really cold and rainy by the way with highs in mid 50s at most. We took the kayak and paddle board to a lake recently then set up the hammocks and had a snack and read a book for a little bit. We’ve done two bike parks and had a picnic almost every day. It’s an easy pace that’s giving us lots of room for fun and rest all mixed together.

You can see photos from that on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram. And I want to see photos from your outdoor time, too. Tag me with #Humansoutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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