Outdoor Habit Stack Your Way Out of the Quarantine Blues

Tim J
January 25, 2021

I grew up in a city surrounded by mountains. A paradise if you designed your life right. But if you're like me and most of the other people in the city. Then the mountains are like postcards in the background. Like old friends that you don't think to call.

Simply put, for me, the mountains are not a part of my day to day, or my week to week.

If you're someone who puts off visiting the "mountains" (beautiful places), if you're too busy to experience the good things in life (like a sunset), or if you don't know how to include adventures in your weekly routine , then keep reading.

I've worked out a simple 5-step system that'll help you habit stack your way from a simple activity to a full on adventure. 

Step 1. Choose a Physical Activity

Step one is for you if you've been inactive for a while. You need to pick a simply physical activity that you can do 3+ times a week. This can be as simple as walking around the block or doing a set of 30 jumping jacks.  

Here's a list of activities if you can't think of any: 

Short walks -> slow jogs -> 1km runs -> bike rides  -> simple exercise routines

It's crucial that you include this activity into your weekly schedule. Find a time to do the activity 3+ times per week.

Step 2. The Gateway Exercise

Now that you've chosen a physical activity think about 2 milestones, or things that you could add to your activity. Milestones are the logical steps towards something greater than where you're starting.

For example, if you're going for short walks - a milestone could be a 5km walk after two weeks. A second milestone for short walks is to go on a day hike after a month of walking

My chosen activity is low-intensity-running. My first milestone is a 10km run after two weeks. The second milestone is to go for a run in the mountains once after one month.

Think of your chosen activity as a gateway to something bigger and better.

You can work backwards and ask yourself:
What's something I'm not doing now that I'd like to do in the future? Then break down the steps from the goal and figure out where you can begin.

If you goal is to camp on a mountain top. Then he initial exercise you need to start doing is walking. 

Step 3. Invite People into your Journey

With trail running I wanted an experienced trail-runner to take me out for my first runs. I reached out to a community, I met a person, they took me out, and now we're friends. How cool is that!

My new friend trail-runner-Ben blew me away with his hospitality, and the interesting topics that he brought up. Plus, we struggled through 2x 7km runs together and it feels as though we'll remain friends, even after this project is wrapped.

My point here is that I highly recommend inviting people into your plan. You can tell them about the journey you're designing. That you're starting with a simple activity and building it into a real adventure.

Realistically, you'll be more likely to achieve your goal if you do it with other people. Because you won't want to let them down. 

Plus if you're your adventures include suffering (like long distance runs) then you'll forge an even deeper friendship by the process of being vulnerable together. 

Daniel Coyle

The Culture Code

Cooperation doesn’t simply descend out of the blue. It’s a group muscle built according to a specific pattern of repeated interactions, and that pattern is always the same: a circle of people engaged in the risky, occasionally painful, ultimately rewarding process of being vulnerable together. 

Step 4. Get Uncomfortable and Become Comfortable

One of the keys is to push yourself--a little bit further than you're comfortable with--during the milestones. This is how you prepare for the milestones.

Trail runner Ben kept talking about getting into a flow-state. A state where you're so comfortable with the activity that you lock into it and your movements feel smooth and consistent.

For a couple brief moments--during our trail runs--I was able to imagine what a flow state would feel like. But the truth is that it doesn't come easy. In fact, it comes after lots of strenuous effort.

To get to a flow state is uncomfortable, but once you get there it's very rewarding.  

Step 5. Outdoor Habit Stacking is the Key

If you're like me, then you're currently in some form of lockdown or quarantine. And it's a bummer to sit around, especially this time of year when there is less sunlight. I crave the wide open skies, and the sounds of the water against the shoreline. 

Luckily, most places let you get out of the house especially if you're doing exercise. So, outdoor exercise has become our greatest ally to rewarding experiences. 

My goal with this post is to set you up for success by outdoor habit stacking your way to an adventure. Because, for me life is all about experience. I want to feel a connection to a place and have that moment become a part of my story. 

So if you're feeling low. Or if you're discouraged that life has boxed you in. And if you're ready to take a step towards a real adventure--a life filled with wide open skies and beautiful moments--now is the time to begin. Starting today, starting right now, you can habit stack your way to a more fulfilling life. 

I'll see you in the mountains!

Tim J

About the author

He's a video content creator who loves a good adventure. He's been studying storytelling for the last three years and hopes to help take ikario content to the next level.

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