spend time outside

How to Motivate Yourself to Spend More Time Outside

We all know that spending time outside is good for us. It’s an opportunity to breathe fresh air, soak in the sunshine, and decompress from all the things that stress us out. But if you’re like most people, you’re comfortable inside and you sometimes find it hard to motivate yourself to head outdoors.

How can you do it?

Examine Your Schedule

First, take a look at your schedule and see if you can figure out what’s keeping you from going outside. Are you spending too much time watching TV? Are you working extra hours that make it hard to find recreational time? Do you want to spend more time with family members who chronically stay indoors?

The solution to your indoor isolation will depend on what you find here. In some cases, it may behoove you to narrow down your list of responsibilities so you have more time to get outside. In other cases, you may need to address problematic habits or try to persuade stubborn family members. At the very least, you should be able to uncover one of the root causes of your lack of outdoor time.

Create Something You Enjoy in Your Backyard

Next, assuming you have the space for it, create something you genuinely enjoy in your own backyard. Most people are much more likely to spend time outside if they can do so conveniently, and there’s no more convenient place than your own yard.

These are just some ideas to get you started:

  •       An outdoor kitchen. One option is to create a kitchen in your own backyard. Yes, you probably have a kitchen inside that’s more convenient and available year-round. But having an outdoor kitchen is a totally new experience. You’ll have a supplementary area where you can do more cooking, a gathering space for outdoor parties, and a beautiful piece of architecture you can enjoy when you’re just lounging in the backyard. Cooking in an outdoor kitchen is also advantageous because the fumes dissipate more easily, and cleanup is simpler.
  •       A garden. Alternatively, you could plant a garden. If you’re looking for something colorful and beautiful, you can plant a flower garden and tend to it regularly. If you’re looking for something more practical, you could plant a vegetable and herb garden – and use it to fuel your creativity in the kitchen.
  •       A patio. Another option is to construct a patio or a deck, where you can set up outdoor furniture and lounge or enjoy the company of others. With so many customization options, you’re bound to create something you love.

Find a Park You Like

Many major cities now have a goal of ensuring that everyone within the city is no further than a mile or two from the nearest park. See if you can find a park that resonates with you, and spend some more time getting to know it. If you’re not sure what parks are in your area, this could become an activity in itself; visit every park within reasonable driving distance to see which ones are your favorites.

Get a Friend Who Loves the Outdoors

It’s much easier to motivate ourselves to do something if we have someone to do it with. That’s why it pays to have a friend who loves the outdoors. Chat up the friends in your current group to see if anyone has an outdoor hobby for which they want a new partner. If no one in your group is the outdoor type, consider branching out to make some new friends.

Travel to New Places

You’ll naturally spend more time outside if you’re traveling to a new location. This is especially true if you’re traveling somewhere with beautiful natural scenery, like a national park in the United States or a foreign country known for its amazing landscapes.

Pick Up a New Hobby

Finally, consider picking up a new hobby that forces you to spend more time outside.

  •       Hiking. Hiking is a simple activity, but that’s part of the appeal. With minimal gear and a decent trail, you can get in shape while surrounded by beautiful scenery.
  •       Bird watching. Bird watching, or birding, is a very straightforward, yet stimulating activity that will keep you outside and exercising. Consider going with a group so you can learn to identify new species.
  •       Mushroom foraging. Mushroom foraging may seem like a tedious hobby, but finding a rich patch of rare mushrooms can be exhilarating – and tasty. Just make sure you have a confirmed positive match before eating anything.
  •       Archery. If you’re looking for something a bit more stationary, you could consider taking up archery. You may even be able to get started with a target in your backyard. Just be extra cautious if you’re practicing archery in any space other than a dedicated archery range.

Setting Goals

At the beginning, consider setting goals for yourself so you can feel good about your progress and establish a routine. For example, you might set the goal of spending 30 minutes a day outside, or three total hours in a given week, distributed as convenient. 

Once you begin to naturally appreciate the benefits of the outdoors, it’s likely that you’ll no longer need these guardrails shaping your journey. Until you get there, just take one step at a time.