Here’s Exactly How to Build an Outdoor Habit (Sarah Hays Coomer)

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Sarah Hays Coomer Humans Outside Podcast

So you want to start a new habit like going outside every day no matter what, but you always seem to get derailed somehow. What are you doing wrong? And how can you keep yourself on track?

Sarah Hays Coomer has written a new book about exactly that. Hear Sarah talk in our Season 3 premiere not only about the how of building a habit, but the power of figuring out what you need, where it fits in your life, how to keep it going and the power of nature in all of that.

Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

Some of the good stuff:

[2:22] Sarah Hays Coomer’s favorite outdoor space
[3:23] How Sarah first connected with the outdoors
[6:21] Why it’s important to go outside especially when you don’t want
[8:40] About Sarah’s book, The Habit Trip: A Fill-in-the-Blank Journey to a Life on Purpose
[9:28] How to create a habit
[13:15] How to know what you need
[18:45] How going outside impacts creating a habit
[22:35] What is a habit reward?
[26:14] The practice of creating a habit
[31:39] How does developing a habit help you create more?
[35:47] A few great tips for creating habits
[40:57] Sarah’s favorite and most essential outdoor great
[42:37] Sarah’s favorite outdoor momen

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Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation on The Humans Outside Podcast. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

Register for our newsletter to win a decal:

Follow us on Instagram and share your outdoor life with the hashtag #humansoutside365.

This post contains some affiliate links.

Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation on The Humans Outside Podcast. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

Amy Bushatz 00:52

So you want to start something new going outside every day, no matter the weather, maybe you think what I do that 20 minutes sounds great. Maybe you think any time will be more than you have now. Or maybe you think 20 minutes is a little messy and you want to do more. For this and any other change in your life, you have to develop a habit. And you’ve probably been here before deciding to add something new to your life or removing something from it full of resolve only to find after a few days or a week that there are plenty of reasons to not do this awesome sounding thing. If we’re talking about heading outside a little each day, those things could easily be that you are busy or that the weather’s terrible, or the couches nicer. Or they’re just things that sound better in that moment. And that’s where learning how to develop a habit comes in figuring out how to make that happen for you is a journey, a trip if you will. And for that we have today’s guest, Sarah Hayes Coomer is a Mayo Clinic’s certified wellness coach, a certified personal trainer has focused on her career on changing the way humans think about their bodies, and presence and relation to the world. She’s written three books, including the habit trip a fill in the blank journal to a life on purpose. And today she’s going to talk to us about building habit and are heading outside fits into it. Sarah, welcome to the humans outside podcast.

Sarah Hays Coomer 02:08

Thanks so much for having me, Amy.

AB 02:11

So we like to imagine ourselves and our guests favorite outdoor space. Now I’m in Alaska, you’re in Nashville, Tennessee. But if we were going to imagine ourselves somewhere with you, where would that be?

SHC 02:22

So I have a spot at the very top of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California, where I go to even now I fly back there and go to that spot every single time I’m in Los Angeles, because it grounds me every single time you can perch and you can see all the way to the ocean. You can see downtown, the whole display and it’s a beautiful place to think

AB 02:44

I love that, that use the word grounding. Because isn’t that just, you know that we have these spaces that we go back to? That just that’s how it feels. You know? It’s like, okay, we’re good. Yeah, it

SHC 02:59

Really, this year has been tough because I haven’t been able to get back there. It’s it really is the spot. I it’s like a pilgrimage. And I go there every year at least once a year, if not more, if I can. Yeah.

AB 03:11

Well, your journey to who you are today, even how you ended up in Los Angeles has a lot to do with recognizing the power of spending time outside in nature. Can you tell us about that and how you became someone who likes to go outside?

SHC 03:23

Yeah, so um, I started out as well, originally I was in the arts, I was a singer songwriter, I was in theater. And I struggled a lot. This was in my late teens, early 20s, even into my mid 20s, really, really struggling with body image and eating disorders and depression, anxiety, all of that stuff. And as I was living in Los Angeles, I was working a day job in human resources. And I was just I was exhausted, I was tired of getting up in the morning every day hating the body that I was in. And the only way that I had found to find peace was to step outside, it actually started even earlier, when I was living in New York City, I would go to Central Park and literally just stare at the leaves just to find some sort of peace and like you say grounding. And so in Los Angeles, I found I live near Griffith Park. And I discovered that if I, if I went up there every single day, sometimes I could only bring myself through that fog to make it just up that first little hill which would be 1015 minutes, and then turn right back around and come back home. But other days, I would get going I would get over that hump and then I would go for you know, two or three hours. And it became I became aware that the days that I wanted to go the least were the ones that I needed to go the most. And it was literally a form of therapy that I believe saved my life. So So, that spot I would return to again and again and again, and it changed me. And it changed my career path and everything else in my life. So that that was really where it started.

AB 05:12

I we’re gonna talk about habit here in a second. But I just really resonate with this idea that the days you don’t want to or the days you do need to. And it’s, you know, for, for what I do, and what some of our listeners do, which is just this minimum 20 minutes could be more, right. It is that like, That’s exactly right. You know, the days I’m like, Oh, my What? Like, I, my personal, like, biggest hated weather, like most hated weather is rain. Okay, so it’s just like, don’t like being wet? Like, how is this so hard to understand? Okay, so the day is like 45 degrees, and just are the days that I’m like, I really don’t want to do this. But guess what, the weather is also impacting my attitude inside. Yep. And maybe it’s impacting how I see myself. And maybe it’s impacting how I’m interacting with other people. Maybe it’s impacting the tremendous amount of coffee I’m now drinking, right? Like, all of these things are reasons or the time of spending the A sucked into social media into that spiral, right? Like, all these reasons, are great reasons to go outside on the day that I least want to. Well, I hear that,

SHC 06:21

yeah. And I heard your podcast recently about, you know, standing outside drinking your coffee for five minutes and saying, okay, that’s not gonna be enough. Yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna need more than that. So and then you learn, you know, what happens when you push through that and get past it, you have a very specific, you know, parameter around the goal that you have set. And it you know, once you learn how pushing past that benefits you, every time you do it, it gets a lot easier to keep going even in the rain.

AB 06:53

It does. And also, you, you know, it’s it’s a practice, right? So you learn over time, that what makes it better than other days, right? Like, not every day of doing this thing is so not every day of your hike was high quality, right? I’m sure there were times we were distracted or thinking about something else. Or, you know, for me, my some of my outdoor times, not high quality, right? It’s, I might have my phone with me, that’s really the biggest killer. Or I’m just thinking about something stressful, or I’m doing my outdoor time in a non ideal space. So like, theory is any 100 times better than no outdoor time. But if you had to pick a walk in the woods, or a stroll in the drop off area of the airport, I think it’s better. Right, right. Yeah. So arguably, the stroll in the drop off area is better than staying in the airport. But it’s a sliding scale. Yeah, no, no,

SHC 07:53

I’ve done that too. I’ve walked outside of airports and just stood with my face in the sun just for a minute just to get that vitamin D in that little boost it really it actually is really quite lovely can be if you can just focus your attention on what you got and ignore the exhaust.

AB 08:11

Yeah, so Oh, so good. Okay, so let’s just dive in. I’m really excited to talk about your book and the journey of creating habits, which is really your book is a journey it’s not for our listeners who haven’t read it I hope you do. It’s not a written as so much a how to habit book, although it does address those things so much as literally like a guided meditation with journaling towards building a habit. Am I describing it? Well, is that accurate?

SHC 08:40

Yeah I mean, it’s a storybook. It’s a fantasy world storybook inspired by, you know, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. So it’s it’s you you dive into this fantasy world where you are the expert and the hero in your own story. And you get to fill it out as you go to learn and make it make it your own story. So it’s it’s really it’s a fun, strange adventure.

AB 09:05

Yeah, so but first before we talk about like this journey, and some of this other stuff, I want to level set a little bit and, and touch on sort of the nuts and bolts overview of habit formation, right? Just like what do we need to know about forming a habit? So what do experts say? What have you found about how, as an expert yourself about the how of developing a new habit?

SHC 09:28

So there’s a couple of things first, before you can even begin to develop a new habit you need to know where you are, you need to know what you need, you need to know what feels out of whack. And then sort of drill down into the nitty gritty of that, which is what the first part of the book does. And then you once once you have heighten that awareness and remove some of the judgment around it, so it doesn’t it’s not being part of a guilt cycle, which is really a common way that people get tripped up. Then you’re looking for three elements, which there’s a great book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg that I quote in the book, where he really outlines all of this stuff. So you’re looking at the cue, what is triggering the habit? What happens right before it? Where are you? Who are you with what are the circumstances around this thing that keeps happening again and again and again, that you don’t want to happen. And then the routine, which is the habit itself. And by the way, this happens with both positive and negative habits. So it’s, you know, you can look, you can, you can sort of dig into these little details for both so that again, you can remove that guilt from it. So when you’re in the actual habit, which is the routine, and then the last part, which is the reward, which is the payoff, so the habits that we have in our lives are there for a reason they’re there, because in the past, we have gotten some sort of payoff from them some sort of relief or positive reward. So even if it’s a habit that is no longer serving you, it’s something that’s there, because in the past, it has done something for you. So if you can figure out what’s the cue, what’s causing it, and then what are you getting out of it, you can replace that middle step, which is the actual routine. So if there’s a need that’s being filled, somehow, you can find other healthier ways to fill that need.

AB 11:20

I understand, I want to talk about all of those things. But I want to focus back on understanding what you need, because I think that this is a really critical step. Like I’m sure you think this too, because you’ve built a career on this. This is really critical step that’s not always talked about in habit books, like habit, experts, that I’ve read and heard often sort of skip this part right there just like we were writing this with the assumption that you already know what you want to do. But as you noted with guilt, right, like somebody the good idea fairy in the military community, that’s it, that’s a phrase we use, right? It’s the good idea fairy is like, this person or fairy that presents things that seem really good in that moment, or sound good to one person, but aren’t necessarily good for the good for everyone, or good overall. Okay? So good idea fairy, could be somebody something that’s like, you know, I want to go on a really restrictive diet on January 1, right? And now everyone you know, is doing it, so why wouldn’t you do it? Or like, all these people who, and you know, I’ve definitely done this in the past to go back to the gym, like, I’m gonna get really healthy. And then, like, you know, you can wait 15 days in the gym will be empty. Yeah. And I wonder if those people, and you know, myself when I’ve done this, because I I’m like a junkie for challenges. I think everyone here knows that, like, some people who I’m doing a challenge. I was like, ooh, a challenge. Doesn’t even have to be anything in my goal list, it’s a siren song for me. Right. And I’ve had to develop a habit of saying, No, but part of that is understanding what I need. So talk to us about that. How do you know what you need? Yeah, so

SHC 13:14

There’s a there’s a, it’s a skill, and like you were talking earlier about having a practice. So like, what? So there are a number of exercises in the book to help you try to figure that out. But what you’re doing is, so I start at the beginning of the book by placing you in this world, where you have what we call a body house, and I start talking about how maybe the paint is a little chipped on the outside and starting to peel off. And you know, do you need, you know, do you need a power washer to get that off? Or do you need a little spackle scraper? Like what are the what are the where, what are the pain points that you’re dealing with? So you’re in your body house. And then we jump into this orb, which is basically I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, images of people rolling around in the countryside, where they’re like bouncing, bouncing into each other and bouncing into, you know, mountain sides and things like that. So those are big plastic, you know, means of transportation. And that resonated with me a lot. I talked a lot about that with my groups in my last book tour. And it made me feel like this is what we’re doing everyday. We’re sort of bouncing off of things and trying to get our footing and just feeling like we’re tumbling head over feet. So the whole construct of the book is about building an infrastructure inside of this orb. So you are finding solid footing, you’re finding bars to hang on to you’ve got padding to protect your head, all of these little elements that you can build to support so these are the habits you’re trying to build.

And so and then we traveled through these 10 areas of life that impact our well being. So as you think about how do I find out what I really need the most, we look at these 10 areas well being in a playful way, just getting a kind of a snippet of what’s working and what’s not. And then we distill those into three lists, which are, these are the things that I’m just not even going to deal with this right now, I can’t even deal with it. These are the ones that are working great. And then these are the one or two that are not feeling right. And they’re feeling like things that I can actually address that I really want to address. So you can find what is drawing you forward? Where is your curiosity piqued, where it is what you need, marry with what you love? And how can you pursue those things in either micro or macro ways. So we just have to, you have to get that lay of the land. And a big part of that is breathing. So as you work through this stuff, and going outside helps with that a lot. You can get perspective, and get a practice of getting perspective so that you can tell, hey, I started this challenge, and I was really super into it for like three days. And also, no, it’s not me, it’s not working for me, it doesn’t feel good. That way, instead of persisting and beating yourself up for extended periods of time, you can go, No, actually, I’m not really into that. And I’m moving on, and then you can find something else that works for you better. So that breath that step away. And perspective is really important.

AB 16:32

I just love this, because I like I just said, I think that and that we’re we frustrated ourselves with not being able to form habits, because we are not giving the process the consideration and thought that it needs. Yeah. And then we think we can’t form habits because we didn’t do the homework first, or we didn’t decide like we just didn’t set the stage.

SHC 17:00

Yeah, and we don’t give ourselves the authority to make a decision like this is this is not actually what I want. I’m not actually looking to lose 20 pounds, like that number is arbitrary. What I’m looking for is energy and freedom and reduction of pain, and you know, all of those things, what is it that we’re actually going for? And how do those things get built into our lives? Right?

AB 17:29

That makes so much sense.

AB 18:05

So where does going out, you touched on this just a second ago, but I want you to expand on it, if you don’t mind, where does going outside fit into understanding what you need.

SHC 18:45

So one of the areas of of well being that we talked about is space. And that means your environment that means where you spend the minutes of your days. And when we get into these boxes of our physical environment, they limit the way that we can perceive ourselves and our lives. So if we can step out of that, and breathe some fresh air and there’s all kinds of studies you know about this now, you’ve quoted them on your podcast many times, you know they they’re there now people doctors are prescribing forest bathing or outside time as as literal physiological therapies. So when we do that, we are able to release our breath, release our diaphragms open up our chests get Vitamin D, strengthen our bones, our joints, all of these things are so micro, they’re so tiny but over time if you have if they happen again and again and again, they change your brain. So they change the way you see yourself and your place in the world and your family and your community and ultimately, global interests. From there, it just grows and grows.

AB 20:08

So you mentioned that the different, like, your space, and you have these, I think it was 10 different areas. So when I was reading that I’m, you know, I’m thinking about going outside, because apparently that’s what I do all day long.

SHC 20:23

Not a bad thing to think about.

AB 20:26

That’s what we’ve gotten to guys just a warning, if you keep going outside, that’s what’s gonna happen to you. What are some of the other areas? Play. You had fitness in there. And just some other things that I thought, you know, this also corresponds with going outside, right, like when I’m outside, sometimes I’m playing right when I’m going outside. And sometimes I’m exercising. It’s just, it was a it was just an interesting intersection for me.

SHC 20:57

And there’s s you know, people is one so how are you spending time with other people outside? You know, and, and spirit and finding your voice? All of those things? Yeah. And even things like money, money is another one. So you know, what happens to the way that you perceive your career or your next step in your life, to build your your bank account, and your outreach and your connections and networking and all of those things? I always get ideas about who to reach out to or another project to do or a blog post or write or whatever, always reliably when I am outside.

AB 21:37

Yeah, that’s such a good point. I didn’t even think, I like I had totally breezed by finance. When I was thinking about this. I was like, oh, money that doesn’t have anything to do with this. Yeah, you’re right. That’s so good.

Okay, so one of the things you talk about is based on research that the key decisions to successful habit building is reward. And you touched on this earlier. But can you unpack that a little bit? What does that mean? What is this reward? Because, you know, for someone like me who’s struggled with, you know, food stuff my whole life, I know, you understand this as a wellness coach. When I hear reward, I think cake.

SHC 22:20

Well, someday you and I can sit down for a piece of cake.

AB 22:25

I’m like, oh, good, we did this thing. We get snacks. Now maybe that’s part of being a runner to like, Oh, I’m like, I did this so hard thing. But anyway, neither here nor there. What do you mean by reward,

SHC 22:35

Reward can be anything. I mean, you know, people know that, like, if you brush your teeth every day, you wake up feeling less, you know, gross in the morning, that is a reward. You know, when you you know any any habit that you have in your life, the reason you’re sticking with it is because there is a payoff in the end, there is something that you’re getting out of it. So you’re reducing fatigue, you’re reducing anxiety, you’re finding relief, somehow you’re finding peace your blood pressure goes down your your body changes when you have some sort of reward. And of course these things happen to with with bad habits or things that we don’t, I don’t like calling them good or bad, but unhelpful habits. So over time, really the reward is the is the key to the thing. So you need if you can find Okay, this is the habit that I’m doing again and again and again that I don’t like I am watching TV at night and snacking excessively. What is it doing for you? What is what is it providing for you? And what is another way that you can get that aim? So if it’s you know, stress reduction, if it’s distraction, if it’s the only time of the day that you allow yourself to put work down? What are what are the things what are the ways that you can still get that reward in a different way. And then there’s, you know, there’s some work involved in the initial process, you’ve got some inertia going, you know, to to get moving, but then once you’re moving you keep moving with it because you’re still getting the reward and you’re feeling better about it. So it’s, there is a little bit of effort and friction there. But if you can, if you can find a way to really reinforce that reward and stay focused on that that is the thing that will keep pulling you forward.

AB 24:28

Yeah, so as you’re talking I remembered in Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project book she talks about giving herself gold stars, I think, so the reward doesn’t have to be like psychological like you can literally reward yourself by coloring in a gold star. And this is actually why people like habit trackers we have some of those on humans outside I’ve got a 30 day and a 31 day because not every month is created a habit tracker if people want to do just a month or I’ve got a 365 day one and they’re done. Like you color in the thing, heck, you could print that bad boy out that 30 day one and 31 day ones. All these are free, by the way, are pictures of leaves for the winter season. And if you don’t like coloring just cross those bad boys. All right? I’m a big fan of just a simple calendar like my like I’m a I’m a list. I like a list guys can’t lie to you. And my so there you go. That’s my reward. Right? I make a list every day. And the reward is that wonderful feeling of the pen across the page. Sounds crazy. To do it. I promise. It’s a thing.

SHC 25:36

Yeah, that sense of accomplishment. Yeah.

AB 25:38

Yeah. I mean, y’all listening to this? I know some of you out there write stuff down after you’ve already done it just so you can cross it off. I cannot be alone on this.

SHC 25:51

No, that’s that’s reward, right? Absolutely. And that’s the beauty of this book, it doesn’t tell you do this XYZ, it tells you how to find the thing that’s going to work for you. It’s going to make you feel rewarded. So yeah, absolutely. That would be yours. That’s awesome.

AB 26:06

What is the role of reflection? And keeping a habit? You talk a lot about this. So I can’t wait to hear from you.

SHC 26:14

Yeah, so there’s a process a practice that I talked about a lot in the book, which is listen, breed, respond. So a lot of times, what we do is we have a knee jerk response to something. So you’ve got a cue routine, you’ve got the thing that triggers you, and then you’ve got the response. And so if we can learn the practice, create a way of divorcing the cue from the routine, and creating a tiny little space in between them, then we have the ability to decide. And we can make a different choice, especially if we know we’re going to get the same reward in the end. So that space in between, you can’t change anything. If you don’t have awareness, there’s just there’s no chance you’re just you’re on autopilot, you are we are animals, you know. So we have this beautiful consciousness that other animals don’t have that we can just we can see what’s happening, pause, and then make another choice. Now, sometimes that pause can be as small as a breath. And sometimes that breath could be 20 minutes outside, it could be an hour outside, it could be any kind of routine. It’s like, you know, I remember back in the 80s and 90s, there was like a thing about for dieting, there was a thing around dieting, where you would wear a rubber band around your wrist and just snap it like that, or eat an ice cube or, you know,

AH 27:53

The things we do to ourselves guys, right,

SHC 27:55

Right, hang upside down on the couch, like things that will up end your brain a little bit and just give you that moment. Now. I like to build those in in a more peaceful rewarding sort of way. But yeah, so so anything that allows you to make space between the impulse and the response, I think is really, really helpful.

AB 28:19

And it’s also, I wonder if it’s taking time to examine why like, if you have done the work to determine that a habit is good for you, let’s say you’ve looked at your day. Yeah, I think going outside every day would be helpful for me. And now you’re doing it and it’s really much harder than you thought it would be having that space to say why is that true? Like why is this easy for some people, but not for me? Like what? What practical or physiological or whatever things are standing in my way? Maybe it’s, you know, here in Alaska. And I and I’ve heard this quite a lot recently, because it’s winter everywhere. The problem is them cold, right? You know, like, I don’t like being cold. A lot, actually. Like, I don’t want to go outside. I don’t like being cold. Well, guess what? We have solutions for that. Yeah. You don’t have to be cold. Yeah, you just have to spend a lot, you’re gonna have to spend a little bit of money to make it happen. But if you want to do this, there are ways to address this problem. And now guys, I have become like the most extreme outdoor clothing user in the land because I wear so many layers now. I’ve completely given up on being cold. Yeah, you know what, no one’s getting an award or prize for being cold. There are no prizes for this. So I’m going to be warm and I wear I look like a walking sleeping bag at this point, like a ginormous human marshmallow. Because I have so much puffy jackets and layers and I’ve got the you know, like who is that knows me. That’s how you, that’s how you know because then you know if I’m in public, I got the face mask just my eyes and marshmallow close, right, man, am I happy.

SHC 29:54

Yeah. You know the thing is when you talk about like, why is it so hard? For me like that is, first of all, you’re working on perspective and awareness right there. You’re looking at what the obstacles are, and you’re finding creative solutions to overcome them. But the thing that’s pulling you forward so there’s a narrow two chapters in the book about what what matters? Why does it matter to you? What are your values? What are what is the I call it like a magnet that’s pulling you forward? Or what is your, what is your north star that is pulling you that you are aching to fill in your life? What are these core values that you have? There’s a whole chapter where you figure those out? And then what are the strengths that are that come to you like, easy, easy, like melted butter that you can just lean on? Like, okay, here’s the problem, I’m cold. That’s why I don’t want to go outside. But I want to go outside because it feeds these values that I hold. And so what are my strengths and figuring that out? You’re a list maker, right? You’re a detail oriented person. So you went in, and you figured out okay, the problem is, I’m cold. And so these are the ways that I can solve that. So, you know, it’s really you, you can find those tools, and they’re not once you know what they are, they’re easy to lean on, because they’ve always come naturally to you. It’s not like I’m asking you to do something that’s completely out of the box.

AB 31:21

Yeah, yeah. So good. And, and it’s a muscle, right, like doing this makes it makes you do it more. Yeah. So talk to us a little bit about that. How does the act of successfully developing one new habit help you develop other new habits?

SHC 31:39

Yeah, so this is a clinical term called self-efficacy, It means that you have not you have, you have learned that you are capable. And once you know that for a fact, then you believe that you are capable of doing other things. So it has a snowball effect. And it just grows from there. But so many of us are caught in this cycle of feeling like a failure and being unable to complete things and being focused all on that. So that’s why I talk about micro dosing, wellness in the book a lot. Because if you take on a small habit that feels good that you want to do, and you learn over time, however long it takes you a week or a month or three months or a year that you are capable of doing it, because you like it. And because it feeds what matters to you, then you’ll go, Oh, I was able to do that. And I can do something else. And it you start to have this natural pull forward so that you’re not it’s not like you’re clawing and scraping your way forward. You’re hungry for it.

AB 32:51

Maybe that’s where the five, that five minutes comes in. Yeah, I mean, you mentioned earlier, that part of my story is I did this initial challenge where I just was like, you’re gonna go outside every day. No rules. Just go. Yeah, see how that goes. And one of those days was really literally just, I should probably I should find the picture from the day I take a picture every day. It’s how I how I log it. I want to journal, but no, I’m not journaler that’s not I mean, I’m a journaler, but that’s not gonna happen every day. I will take a picture. Okay, so anyway, so take a picture every day. There was literally one of those days. I mean, we’re talking in the summertime, it’s not 50-below or anything that I was like, it’s raining. And I sat stood on my porch, it had to have been towards night to like, the end of the day, like I forgot, you know, so they’re with a with like tea or something. And I got wet for a minute and went back inside. couldn’t have been more than maybe four or five minutes. But that taught me that I could do it. Yeah. So maybe when developing a if you’re trying to develop a habit going outside every day, starting with less than 20 minutes, even though I think that’s ideal. And I talked about that in a previous episode or diary episode. So we don’t need to do it here. But it’s like, again, no one’s getting a prize, except for the reward to keep yourself


Yeah, yeah.


Yeah. And there’s no rules there we want.


Yeah, you know, I love that thing about taking a picture. I actually just had a conversation last week with my a client of mine, who, you know, we’re in the city or in the city. And she has been basically afraid to leave her apartment since COVID hit. And she went outside for the first time and took a walk. And it was I think, 10 minutes or so. But I said send me a picture. Every time you go outside, send me a picture of the sky. Just take a picture. And so I just love that you that you do that every day. I think that’s a great idea.

AB 34:44

Yeah, and I actually asked people, I’ve got a little hashtag #humansoutside365 and people can share their outdoor time all on, you know, wherever they are with that. And then we can all sort of be like, Oh, you know, fist bump, right? Yeah, yeah. And that’s a reward. But I like that I wanted to. It was an accountability for me. Yeah, to me that I’m going to take and post this picture every day. Now the reality is, sometimes I get in bed at night. I’m like, man, like, I forgot to post that. I wait the next day like there are no rules. We do what we want. But I do take a picture every day to like, prove to myself that I was there.

So yeah, so great. I want to leave people who are listening to this with some actionable steps. Okay, so we’ve been talking a lot about actionable stuff, a lot of practical things. Maybe you can leave us just with two or three things help us get started with developing new habit, whether that’s outside or inside, that you can leave us with?

SHC 35:47

Yeah, so I it’s because it’s important for you to find your own urgent urgency to find the thing that is really striking you as getting your spark? Yeah. Yeah. What what is what is the thing that is getting in your way that you can think about either and I talked about macro and micro habits. So if if the big thing is, I want to change eating, and watching TV before I go to bed, what are some small adjustments that you can make to that. So I don’t want to go in and say, you know, everybody should be doing X, Y, and Z, because it’s, it’s, it’s unique to each one of us. But the things that we that we are longing for and aching for are the same, we need connection, we need to feel vital and alive, we need to feel awake, we need to feel like we’re contributing and connecting with other people. So I would say the first step would be to pin your location. Look at these 10 areas, see where you are? Find out which of those those one or two are feeling urgent? And then dig into those to see what when is it happening? Where is it happening? Who am I with? And then what is the actual behavior? And then what am I getting out of it? And then dig around, just play. Brainstorming is my favorite thing. It’s one of my favorite things is just literally throw stuff at the wall, just like what what is it? What could it be crazy ideas, things you’ve wanted to try things you’ve done in the past, you know, throw things out, and then see if there’s one of those that you can just pick up that you know, you could do, you know, you can do it, you’re not trying to take something away from yourself. You’re just trying to add something in or switch something out. That is gonna make your life richer and more full and complete. And play around with that. That’s another thing we didn’t really touch on too much. But this this idea of play and exploration, we’re trying things, we’re just trying things. And also going outside will help you do some of that brainstorming too. But try them. And if they don’t work, try something else. Like there’s no you know, nobody’s watching nobody’s you know, saying like you’re a big failure because this thing didn’t work out just wasn’t the right thing for you. So find the next one.

AB 38:17

Yeah. What’s another tip? Maybe one more thing we can walk away with?

SHC 38:21

Yeah, I think I think so we talked about so we’re basically we’re micro dosing or micro dosing habits. We are experimenting and playing around without getting caught in the guilt cycle. Another thing is our bodies are our greatest teachers. So if you’re really confused, and you don’t even know where to begin, start by thinking about when your shoulders like pay attention to your physiology, when are your neck and shoulders tensing up, when is your pit of your stomach go like, Oh, this does not feel good to me. That’s, that’s the thing to pay attention to. Whenever that’s happening. If it’s a person that you’re having to interact with, or a situation in your life, or a daily routine that isn’t working for you, your body will tell you. So if you can track over the course of a day or a week, and find out where those little points are that are feeling wrong, pay a little bit more attention right there. And try to figure out what it is about that that’s bugging you and see if there’s another way to play with it.

AB 39:25

That’s so good. Like, I’m really glad that I that you mentioned that because that’s really one of the pivotal moments where I started doing this outdoors thing was when I noticed that within a few minutes of my walk, I was like, you know, I’m not even meaning to just like huge sigh, and it’s like, ooh, what is that about? You know? And because I wasn’t looking at my phone, I had the presence of mind to say, What’s that about?

SHC 39:53

Right? And then to know that, you know, I want to do that again every day for free,

AB 40:03

And it’s available to me every day for free. But, you know, I love the permission that you’re giving us here, which is just the term we use and hiking or training is to scale in, right? So you’re not starting with 30 miles, you’re starting with one or two.

SHC 40:18

Yeah. So and you can, if you never get that urge to move on one or two, it can be there and your life will change. Because of that one or two. So good. Absolutely.

AB 40:29

I love it. I love it. Okay, we’ve arrived to the end. I love to ask my guests, just for some leftover stuff. Call it the leftovers round, because why not? We ask our guests for their favorite gear and most essential gear, but you know it that makes it sound like it has to be like a physical object and it’s so doesn’t so maybe you have a favorite thing that you like taking outside. most essential. Maybe you don’t. What is it if you do so?

SHC 40:57

My my favorite thing is probably this is really dork-tactic, but I have a I have a fanny pack that is allows me to bring my water effortlessly with me on my hikes.

AB 41:10

So you are not the first. I heard that before

SHC 41:14

But yeah, so um, yeah, so I just discovered that last summer because I was so tired of in the summer of having to like not, like lug it in my hand. I’ve got dogs and I’m always you know, and the fanny pack is dog treats phone. You know, and then my, my water bottle. So that’s Yeah, that’s that.

AB 41:33

Awesome. fanny packs, not just for Disney World, right?

SHC 41:36

No, no, no, also not for old lady. And so yeah, and then for essential I have a difficult relationship with hiking boots. They feel really stiff to me. And I feel really sort of out of control with those. Now I’m not, you know, scaling Mount Rainier. So it’s, it’s a little bit I need to have a lighter, lighter shoes. So I like to have trail runners, which have the grip that they’re flexible and lighter. So that’s my that’s my and if I have something with no grip, I just I’m not Yeah.

AB 42:10

Do you have a favorite brand?

SHC 42:12

Um, no, the ones I have right now are Adidas. But they’re not, I’m not religious about that.

AB 42:19

Yeah, cool. Awesome. Okay. And finally, we’re gonna walk out of this envisioning with you your favorite outdoor moment. So if you close your eyes, as yourself just in the outdoor moment that just fills you with joy and peace and all that good stuff. Where are you and what are you doing?

SHC 42:37

So I’m, I’m always at the top of a mountain whenever that happens. So whether that’s on skis or having hiked that the the view that we started with in Los Angeles, or I love the Rockies, skiing in the Rockies, as well. So both of those just there’s always a pause for me. There’s always a sense of grounding and just feeling purposeful, even though I don’t, you know, it’s not about some grand purpose. It’s about being present in the moment.

AB 43:10

So thank you so much for being on the humans outside podcast today.

SHC 43:13

Thank you so much for having me. I think what you’re doing is really, really great.

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