I’m not sure where the month of January went, but it seemed in a hurry to get there. Time flew right by, at least for me. In the spirit of New Year, Same Me I added very little to my plate related to challenges or resolutions. I picked my WOTY (create) and set some yearly goals that support my vision for the year.
Through that process (and this blog) I came across one new habit I wanted to add to my life. It takes me a long time to build a habit, and so I try to avoid stacking too many new ones together at the same time. The new habit I’m trying to adopt is Gretchen Rubins “Go Outside 23 in 23” – the goal of this challenge is to spend 23 minutes outside every day in 2023.
My plans are a little less grand. I’m not someone who does well with an “every day” challenge. I miss a day or feel overwhelmed trying to shoehorn something in and then get resentful and annoyed at whatever the task is. Or disappointed with myself that I “couldn’t even get that little thing done.” So I’m taking a more gentle approach to this outdoor habit/challenge.
I’m aiming to spend 23 minutes outside on MOST days in 2023. And by 23 minutes I really mean some amount of time I wouldn’t normally spend outside on any given day. My lowest time spend for January was only 5 minutes, but it was a struggle that day to get those minutes in and so I am counting them.
So far I’ve got a fairly good split of 23+ minute days and days in the mid-teens. And more than a few days of 0 minutes. I love winter, but I’m not a winter sports person, therefore my outdoor winter wear is fairly limited. January in New England was a mixed bag of bitter cold, downright balmy, and rain. So much rain. I also ushered the new year in with a nasty cold that refused to take leave, so spending longer than necessary in the cold, wet weather didn’t seem wise on some of those days. All told I checked off 16 days in January that I added outdoor time into my routine.
Rubin recently made a blog post titled “Tips for Going Outside in Cold or Wet Weather” which included strategies from podcast and social media followers to get more outdoor time into their days. I was glad to see there were many folks taking compassionate measures and modifying in ways that best suited their lifestyles. Some comments shared:
– determining what temperature is too cold (“23 in 23, above 23 degrees”)
– heated socks and gloves
– investing in comfortable cold weather clothing, such as a snowskirt
– turning a garage space into a recreation area where the doors can be open even on inclement days
– spending time looking outside from a sunny window when it isn’t feasible to get outdoors
This habit appealed to me as someone who works from home quite often. I also have a home gym where I do most of my fitness-related activities, and overall I was feeling like I needed more fresh air and time in nature. Last year we added more outdoor space onto our home, and I want to build my practice of spending time outdoors and enjoying those spaces more.
Are you doing the “23 in 23 challenge” or something else similar? Any tips for getting outdoors on those days where you just don’t want to put pants on (I just layer up in my pjs and go stand on the deck with a warm beverage)?
Amy Smith is a professor of Media & Communication and a communication consultant who lives north of Boston. Her research interests include gender communication and community building. Amy spends her movement time riding the basement bicycle to nowhere, walking her two dogs, and waiting for it to get warm enough for outdoor swimming in New England.