How to get out of an outdoors rut
It was happening and I didn’t want to see it: I was in a rut. A solid two week run without a single afternoon spent outdoors, the calluses on my hands (so carefully curated through weeks of climbing and mountain biking) slowly getting softer, my will to go out in the cold getting weaker with each episode of The Big Bang Theory. I blame it on a combination of holiday turkey, dumping snow and post-vacation blues. But I came out the other side and lived to tell the tale, and just so happened to take away a few important reminders about the importance of getting back out there, no matter how deep your rut is.
Get up and go to bed earlier Ben Franklin was a wise guy—he knew that going to bed and getting up early makes all the difference. Nothing zaps motivation like a poor night’s sleep, so if you’re a night owl, try to reset your entire schedule and force your body to get used to it (at least for a few weeks). Start by going to bed half an hour earlier each night, then waking up half an hour earlier. Having that extra time in the morning will allow you to get menial daily tasks out of the way early (hello, last night's dishes), freeing up time later in the day for getting outside. If you tend to hit the snooze button, leave your alarm clock or phone across the room so you’re forced to get out of bed. Just try your hardest not to dive right back under the covers.
On that note…wear your outdoor clothes to bed If you prefer to hit the trails first thing in the morning before you even give a sideways look at the laundry, then wear your base layers to bed. Prepare a snack and fill your Nalgenes ahead of time while you’re at it. When your alarm goes off, you’ll hate having to change out of your outdoor gear if you haven’t used it!
Enlist your friends Knowing someone will be waiting for you at the trailhead or at the chairlift will keep you in check and force you to be on time. Get a running group together and compete for time, or make a pact with a friend that you'll surf after work every Thursday. If no one can join you, announce your plans for getting outside on Facebook or Twitter—with all eyes on you, you’ll be less likely to skip your outdoor plans.
Try something new There are so many different types of outdoor activities that it’s practically impossible to get bored. Try out cross-country skiing, rent a pair of ice skates, borrow your brother’s kayak…even switching from a mountain bike to a road bike can shake things up enough to give you a new challenge. Are you always hiking? Please, put down the trekking poles and do something, anything, than your usual go-to.
Buy new gear Say goodbye to your ratty, matted fleece and hello to the sleekest, shiniest new version from Outdoor Retailer this year. Just kidding—you don’t need to blow your retirement money just to feel the rush of getting new gear. But when all else fails, sometimes it’s a new pair of boots, a new bikini, or heck, even a new pair of wool socks that can be the motivation you need to get back out there.