It’s easy to know you want to make a change or even what kind of change you want to make. But how can you create a habit that actually works for you? How do you know the right actions to take to make that habit sustainable long term?

The answer might just be found in mindfulness and knowing enough about who you are and what you need. That understanding can establish a habit that works for you, says our guest, Sarah Hays Coomer.

Sarah is Humans Outside’s unofficial very own habit expert who authored the book The Habit Trip, A Fill-in-the Blank Journey to a Life on Purpose. She’s also a Mayo Clinic and nationally board certified wellness coach, author of the Forbes column Hey, Health Coach and a personal trainer.

[3:39] Sarah Hays Coomer’s favorite outdoor space

[4:50] How Sarah became someone who likes to go outside

[8:45] How to create a new habit

[14:41] Examining yourself to understand what you need

[19:14] What, exactly, is mindfulness?

[22:21] What mindfulness has to do with creating a new habit

[24:57] Can you create a new habit without mindfulness?

[28:35] The important difference between rules and power-over

[34:08] How mindfulness can impact a non-mindful habit

[40:00] Sarah’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[43:44] Sarah’s favorite outdoor moment

So you want to create a new habit — maybe it’s heading outside daily for that 20 minutes, maybe it’s something related, maybe it’s something else entirely. It can be easy to pick a really aggressive goal, or, on the flip side, toy with committing to something and then back out because you don’t want to disappoint yourself.

In the happy middle, though, is aiming for a habit that both improves your wellness life and gives you what you need. So how do you get there? In this episode of Humans Outside, Sarah Hays Coomer, a wellness coach and habit expert joins us for a third time to talk about creating a habit that focuses on what you need, gently. Listen now.

[2:34] Sarah Hays Coomer’s favorite outdoor space

[3:55] How Sarah became someone who likes to go outside

[7:33] The nuts and bolts of a habit

[16:27] The role of sustainability in habit picking

[19:35] How to create a gentle guide for what you need

[26:57] What counts as going outside?

[32:40] Is habit building a muscle?

[37:29] Some tips for a gentle wellness practice

The New Year offers a natural starting point for launching a new challenge — and has Amy reflecting on all the ways heading outside daily has changed her life. Now registering for the Humans Outside 365 Challenge can offer you a dose of extra motivation to make it happen.

[:27] Outdoor memories

[:54] How Amy has changed from her time outside

[3:10] Why getting outside is tough

[3:39] Humans Outside Challenge kits

[4:28] Where to find Humans Outside

It’s the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean light can’t be found. In fact, the light is easier to find in times of darkness than any other time. In this Outdoor Diary Amy explores how that is literally and figuratively true for her.

[:31] The darkest time of the year

[1:22] A decision

[2:23] Getting outside (even when it’s dark)

[3:33] The Humans Outside Challenge kit

[4:40] Where to find Humans Outside

Nothing demonstrates the way Amy loves where she lives in Alaska the way the annual holiday festival in her small town does. Spending that full day outside amidst Hallmark Christmas movie-level merry making in some very, very cold weather has Amy contemplating what her outdoor habit has to do with learning to love where she lives.

[:28] Amy meets Palmer

[2:36] Finding community

[4:59] Learning to love where you live

[5:21] The gifts of going outside

[6:36] Humans Outside Challenge Kits