150 Hours: A Quest to Spend More Time Outside

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Like most self-improvement projects that I’ve decided to jump into, I got the idea for spending more time outside on Facebook.

Someone shared a link about the #150hoursoutside project, which is intended to help kids spend more time outdoors.

I connected immediately with Leah, herself an “idea person” prone to creating or jumping into new projects. But even more so with the concept of setting a goal to spend 150 hours outside in 2019.

I have good friends who are serious runners, horse trainers, dedicated hikers, elementary teachers, and avid gardeners. They regularly spend time outdoors in support of their occupations and their hobbies. Me? I could go weeks only being outside to get in and out of my car at the grocery store or the library.

My sister tells a story about a kid in her preschool class on a field trip to the zoo, asking if they could please turn down the A/C. She had to tell him, “That’s just the wind.”

I can relate.

150 hours over the course of one year works out to a little less than 3 hours per week or a little less than half an hour per day. That seemed perfectly reasonable. It takes about 15 minutes to complete a lap around our block, so doing that a few times most days is definitely achievable. (I do appreciate a good SMART goal!)

I had an early advantage: we had several days of 50- and 60-degree weather, definitely not the norm for Kansas City in January. It was easy to take longer walks in sunshine and chilly—not frigid—weather. I started out with a streak of ten days in a row of spending at least half an hour outside.

But then the ice came. And the snow. And the single-digit temps.

Honestly though, I think I’ve found it easier to bundle up with two pairs of pants and a fleece-lined hat than I will find handling peak Midwestern heat this summer.

In any case, the time outside has literally been a breath of fresh air. Sometimes I take along a podcast or album I’ve been enjoying, but mostly I walk in silence. I’ve been meditating on my big-picture goals and my daily to-do lists, drafting the things I’m writing at the moment (like this post), or just remembering to enjoy looking at the trees. Plus, it beats sitting in front of my HappyLight—no matter how much I appreciate its full-spectrum glow this time of year.

I’ve discovered that it takes me about 15 minutes to get to my local library branch and 20 to get to my favorite grocery store, which make perfect (non-shopping) afternoon errands to complete on foot.

So far I’ve got 10.5 hours under my belt, which puts me just slightly ahead of schedule for the year. I’m genuinely enjoying the #150hoursoutside challenge, so I’m excited to continue taking afternoon-slump strolls and keeping my FitBit well-fed each day.

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