Most nights I have ambitious plans for the next day. I set my alarm hours before I have to be up, promising myself that this time I’ll get outside before work. This time I’ll make it out to see the sunrise; this time I’ll make it to the end of that new trail. Suddenly, it’s 6:00AM. It’s dark. It’s cold. That far? At this hour? I’ll go tonight, I promise myself as I roll over, and then it’s 5:00PM and after a long day of sitting in the office, a glass of wine sounds a whole lot better than another lap around my go-to loop – and just like that, I miss out on what is almost always the best part of my day; when I can motivate to go.
Arguably the hardest part of any adventure is getting out the door. More often than not if I can get myself to just put my shoes on and step outside, I end up spending much longer than anticipated exploring what my backyard has to offer. So why is it so hard to cross that threshold? What makes me press snooze so many times that I miss my chance to get out?
It’s taken time, and I’m still far from perfect, but for me, it’s meant a shift in perspective. I had to reframe my morning run from being a chore to being an opportunity. Rising for that early round of exercise has become my escape. It’s my daily respite from to-do lists, phone calls, and responsibilities. In the predawn calm my only thoughts are of the footsteps ahead, my only worry is whether I’m wearing the appropriate layers, and the only decisions I have to make are whether to turn right or left. My body wakes up with the sun as its glow illuminates the mountains, foothills, and finally the town nestled along the valley floor. I listen as the plants and animals shudder off the morning dew and begin their own ritual of rising to meet the day alongside me. Experiencing the crisp morning air and fresh sunlight propels me into a healthier headspace for the day ahead.
Social media has made sharing adventures many Instagrammers’ favorite activity, but at its core, adventure is very personal. It doesn’t have to be a monumental outing that leaves everyone involved too exhausted to so much as speak by the end. Adventure can, and should, be whatever you want it to be. That can change daily due to amount of time, energy level, and weather to name just a few variables. You can make anything an adventure. On my 20-minute jog this morning, I ran into a herd of elk, just off the side of the road, taking their morning drink from the creek at their feet. Adventure? Check. Challenge yourself to broaden your perspective and let the trail you’ve hiked hundreds of times become new again as you open your eyes and breathe in your surroundings to see what has changed, and what has stayed the same. It’s not important how epic your outing is; the important part is that you go. You never know what you might run into, or what revelations you might have along the way.
To help get myself out the door, I have to trick myself. I lay my clothes out the night before, in the order that I’ll put them on in the morning- socks, bra, and undies on top. I set my alarm and plug my phone in across the room, forcing myself to get up and out of bed in order to even consider hitting snooze. I reach out to a friend, and commit to meeting at a certain time and place. It’s harder to bail when you have someone counting on you, and easier to face those first heavy steps with some company at your side.
Whether it’s for 20 minutes or six hours, motivate for that adventure. Every day. Make what’s become routine exciting again: switch the direction you run a loop, buy a map (or app) for a nearby trail system and discover new trails you’ve never heard of. Go explore new places, and rediscover the old. You’ll always be happy that you did. It just takes getting out the door.