Getting outside can be tough. It feels so good when you do it but it just seems like there are so many obstacles in between work and laundry and dishes and cutting the lawn and actually getting out there.
Some days I can get outside without even thinking about it. Some days, I feel like I’m imprisoned inside and drowning in a todo list. I might be able to see outside if I can just swim through all these pages of items to check off.
The last couple of years have changed getting outside from an optional thing to a required thing for me. It’s not just nice, it’s a must-have. If I’m stuck inside too long I feel like I have cabin-fever. I start going squirrelly. At first I had no idea what was wrong with me. I just happened to feel good the weeks I got outside. But then I wouldn’t feel great the weeks I didn’t and couldn’t figure out why.
Once I figured it out I started planning out every adventure I could. I’d have lists of adventures to do and places to go. I could mountain bike here, trail run there, hike that day and sail on this day. I just replaced my indoor todo list items with outdoor todo list items. Not ideal but it’s better.
I’ve been following the British adventurer Alastair Humphrey’s for a while now. I love his down to earth style with everything, even though he’s been on some huge expeditions. And he’s got a good solution to actually getting outside on a regular basis:
I’m sure many other people have thought of this before but no I’ve seen has written about it so much. Lots of people get out of microadventure all the time, they just don’t call it that.
What is a microadventure?
Not a huge adventure but a small one. The best part of the microadventure is that they are intentionally small. They are easy to do because they don’t take much time, can be done anywhere in the world and don’t take much gear. You can go overnight if you want but you don’t have to. Even a couple hours is enough for a microadventure. Trying to plan that huge perfect adventure and failing? Just do a microadventure instead. They fit much better into a busy lifestyle.
He’s run a microadventure challenge in the past. Your Year of Microadventure digs into microadventures and challenges you to do more. Go small and go more often.
Other tips to get outside
I like things on a schedule. I don’t have to think about them as much. If I have a scheduled time and day that I get outside, then it just happens. There are no questions. It doesn’t get pushed around by other things on my calendar. If time is already booked off in the calendar, that’s precious time and never gets bumped.
Make a trigger
Habits start with a trigger. You can make going outside a habit by starting it with a trigger. Days of the week can be a trigger. So if it’s Saturday then you go outside. Or time on the clock. It’s 12pm on a weekday so I go for a microadventure away from the office.
Change your environment
Habits are like elephants and you are the rider. If the elephant is going to sit on the couch and watch TV then you are too, there is no dragging it around. The trick with the elephant is to force it outside with changes in your environment. If you change your routine so that you walk home from work then you’ve forcing the elephant to go outside. If you schedule time with friends outside on a microadventure, then the elephant has no choice, it’s going outside. Don’t let it choose. Force it outside.
What adventures are you going to do this year? Are you going to break out some microadventures?