Break 10 Bad Habits in 2017 by Spending More Time Outside

Even more reasons why exploring the great outdoors should be your #1 New Year's resolution.

You’ve spent the last few weeks stuffing yourself full, splurging on gifts, and drinking every night “in the holiday spirit.” And just like that – it’s all over, and 2017 came out of nowhere.

Maybe this last year went really well for you, or maybe you can think of a few things you’d like to change in the New Year. Today we’re taking a look at 10 common bad habits you might like to improve – and how spending more time outside can help you do that.

1. Excessive Drinking

Is alcohol our friend or foe? For some, the answer can seem to change every weekend. Once in a while it’s nice to get a break away from alcohol altogether, and planning an outdoor adventure is the perfect way to do that.

For baby steps: Alcohol can be a great addition to the great outdoors. And when you do find room in your backpack for a bottle of whiskey or six-pack of IPAs, you’re probably exercising more moderation than you would at your local bar. That’s progress.

2. Media Overuse

Maybe you watch too much TV, or can’t remember the last time you were without your phone, or the fact that you spend most of your working day glued to a computer screen. The fact is that all of us don’t just consume media constantly; it consumes us.

Give your eyes (and brain) a break by disconnecting for a weekend outside. Once you have the chance to look up at your surroundings, you might find you prefer them to your television set anyway.

3. Frivolous Spending

Like most of the things on this list, it is so easy to lose track of this. Designer clothes, eating out, big nights in the city – the excuses go on. And while it’s great to treat yourself once in a while, it’s even better to treat yourself to an uninterrupted weekend outdoors.

One of the best things about spending your vacation time on activities like backpacking, hiking, or bike touring is that they’re cheap! Once you’ve collected the basics in outdoor gear, you’ll find that your trip spending dwindles down, and your next adventure budget goes up, up, up.

4. Neglecting Loved Ones

Life is busy. It’s easy to get caught up with crammed schedules and to-do lists, and even easier to slump onto the couch at the end of a long day. And while you’re feeling exhausted about your own life, your friends, family members, or significant other can easily feel just as ignored.

There’s no better way to reconnect with a loved one than sharing a day, weekend, or entire week out in the wilderness. Between the beauty of your surroundings and the time you’ll get to spend together, sharing an experience outside is one of the best ways to revive a relationship.

5. Overeating

The scariest part about this one: Most of us barely even notice when we overeat. The good news is that spending time outside is a great way to reevaluate your relationship with food and kickstart your body into healthy nutrition.

When you plan a trip into the great outdoors, you get to reconnect with food as a fuel source. Calculating what you’ll need, how much, and organizing it into a packable weight is all part of moderation. Plus, odds are, the hiking or biking or whatever activity you do will demand more calories.

6. Under eating

Just as it’s easy to overeat in your normal 9-5, it can also feel natural to skip meals or make due with snacks when your day gets busy.

For the exact same reasons as in our last bad habit, spending time doing outdoor sports and activities is a fantastic way to restart your relationship with food. When pulling off a demanding all-day hiking trip, you have no room for faintness, weakness, or improper hydration – you need to eat plenty of carbs and sugar to keep your body running. Go on and enjoy that chocolate – you deserved it!

7. Tobacco

You’re simply not going to be the fastest ultra marathoner, or toughest mountain climber, if you smoke a pack a day. Restricting or quitting your tobacco usage can open so many doors for success – and the outdoors can help get you there.

Next time you set out for a weekend excursion, try leaving the cigarettes behind. Test your mental and physical limits, and see how smoking less can improve your health and athletic performance. Check in with us after your next summit.

8. Cursing

Swearing is an easy habit to pick up, especially depending on your social surroundings. But dropping the F-bomb in the woods is going to feel just as weird as it sounds.

Backpacking and hiking with friends is a great way to enjoy stimulated conversations, without the need to swear all the time. Besides, you can come up with more creative words to describe something totally awesome, or totally awful. Trust me.

9. Anxious Habits

Picking at your nails, playing with your hair, and biting your lip will fall to the wayside once you hit the trail. Spending time outside is an easy way to pound out your anxieties foot by foot, mile by mile, without reverting to an anxious mannerism.

Go ahead and load up your pack, so you can take a load off of your worries.

10. Multitasking, Overpromising, and Taking on Too Much

We multitask every day. We wear different hats every day. We think about a million things at once, every day. We get it; everybody wants to be able to do it all.

But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do everything all at once. Learn how to say “no” once in a while, instead of stretching yourself thin with social promises and work projects.

A weekend in the outdoors can give us perspective. Spending time outside makes it easy to step back and look at the here-and-now. What supplies do I need to pack? Which route is the best to take? How will I build this fire?

Bring it back to basics: What’s going to help me survive today?

People: 2017 will be here before you know it. What resolutions will you set to better yourself in the New Year?

Published: December 27, 2016

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Rachel DavidsonExplorer

Seattle

Mountain climbing, trail running, and writing all about it. New to Seattle! Hit me up to show me around or go on an adventure.