Hello 2016 The Importance of Habits (1)

My September Hike it Baby 30 challenge was so hard. It was one of those months where I was buried in so much office work and life stuff. Everyday I had good intentions of getting on a hike and doing things, but at the end of the day I was exhausted. At 5:30 I would jump in the car instead of walking to Mason’s daycare the half of a mile distance.

Then I would get home and beat myself up for just not doing anything that day but sitting at a desk or running errands. And if I did walk to daycare I would unconvincingly pat myself on the back in a lame attempt to convince myself that I did “something” and that was better than nothing.

By the end of the month I had 30-something mainly pavement miles in my hike log, but it wasn’t a very satisfying victory.

Why are we so culturally hard on ourselves? What is good enough? Why is it so hard to convince my overachieving Type A self that it was still outside time and that was the intention?

The Hike it Baby 30 started in November 2014 with my friend Beth Silva texting me from the trail one afternoon. She had shown up for a hike and 15 minutes before it started the mom cancelled because there was rain in the forecast. While I don’t have the exact text in front of me, what she shot my way went something like this, “I can’t believe the hike got cancelled! I am on trail and there’s no rain. I am actually overdressed and sweating.”

What’s funny is the Hike it Baby 30 was born out of my friend Beth telling me about her hubby trying to hike a 30 mile trail in Portland called the Wildwood in one day. He failed. New shoes, out of shape, bad blisters. Beth was hiking a section of that trail that spans Forest Park in the middle of our city. It divides Portland from our more suburban neighbor Beaverton. This was also the same trail I was on and did my very first Hike it Baby hike with a handful of women. I think Beth was actually even on the exact same trail.

As she hiked along with her daughter Ramona we had a little text conversation. “We should hike the whole 30 miles next month! Want to do it with me?” she asked. “Totally!” I shot back. What a great idea. That sounded challenging and fun. At the time I didn’t even think about the fact that we were entering into November and things were about to get cold and wet.

As Beth and I texted back and forth I thought “how cool would it be if we could have tools to track how many hikes we were doing? And if people got prizes for going more miles?” In a simple afternoon the idea behind Hike it Baby 30 was born.

In November I started the HIB30 Challenge fresh. By the first week I already had 12 miles. By day 10 more than half of my miles my 2.5 year old had hiked on his own! As the month progressed some days we were out the door and it was all smooth and others were more challenging. Always I had to remind myself that the simple act of shifting into that thinking of “just get out no matter what,” is the key.

Hello 2016 The Importance of Habits (2)

And some days, wow it’s hard. On those days when Mason is sobbing in his car seat, “Noooooo hiking. No. No. No.” the whole way to a hike. Or when he tears off his socks and tosses his shoes so deep under the seat it takes me five minutes to find them when I get to the hike. Toddler moments are so different than when he was a sweet, sleeping infant.

But it’s all a learning process and you just have to press on. The benefits aren’t always immediate but come over time as you get outside more and more. Together we are replacing being hard on ourselves for eating chocolate cake or not losing weight or whatever not very relevant things we say we should or shouldn’t be doing with a really good habit!!!

Collectively we are now conscious of the importance of getting outside more and more. And now we all know that feeling of awesome from getting out…so see half the battle is won. Thanks to the community and the Challenge you now have a habit built into you that has become important enough for you to take daily notice when you are not doing!!!! That’s a win in my book because for all of those days you do get out, not only will you be happy, but you will see a change in the world around you from your child to the friends you make.

Looking forward to seeing you all on the trail in 2016!

Five tips to getting you out there this week!

1. Join the Hike it Baby 30 Challenge and get in the Facebook room right away so you can get inspired.
2. Make a firm date with a friend or another family for a hike on the first weekend of the month. Follow it up with something fun and warm like coffee or pizza to make sure the outside will be rewarded by some inside fun.
3. Submit a hike to the calendar and maybe even a series of 1 a week for a month so you will do a months worth of hikes. Check in with yourself at the beginning of the month and write a note of how you feel and then read that again at the end of the month.
4. Watch the weather. If you see a break in the bad with some good plan around that! Make all else wait!
5. Get your whole family on board for January family #optoutside time. Make everyone in your family hold you accountable. Set a goal like, “I am going to go for 4 walks or hikes this month.” If you say it out loud or even post it on Facebook you are more likely to do it.

shanti on trailShanti Hodges is the founder of Hike it Baby. She’s finding having a toddler to convince to get on trail is more challenging than loading up a little baby, but is learning it’s all about habit and just making it happen! Send her your best tips for getting motivated to get yourself and your little ones on trail to shanti@hikeitaby.com

COMMENT ON ARTICLE

More in

How one mom is breaking racial barriers to find her place on trail

When I think of all the things that I am, a writer is not at the top of the list, […]

Nature Babies: Why Having Young Kids in Nature Is So Important for Their Health

Nature Babies: Why Having Young Kids in Nature Is So Important for Their Health By Judy Klein, MD I was […]