How to find time and space for adventure
Do you wish you could spend more time outdoors? Why is it that other commitments seem to take priority, with great adventure plans relegated to ‘another time’?
Like you, outdoorsy fun has to fit around life’s other commitments. A few years ago, I took on 52 challenges alongside my full-time job in banking to see if I could make time for the things I care about – namely, sharing the joy of being outdoors and active.
With the aim of getting busy people active, over 450 people joined me over the year. The challenges ranged from hiking Snowdon, sea kayaking in Devon, swimming 5km, cycle tours of lidos and climbing centres as well as a rollerblade relay with Chief AQs, Anna and Emma! The ‘Exerk 52in52‘ led to setting up Team52 – a platform making it easier for people to get together and stick to their best adventurous intentions.
Today, in preparation for an awesome 2019, I am going to help you shift your mindset from feeling like you have no time, to finding space for the things you love. As you go through the seven steps, you’ll feel clearer and more confident in how to make time for your adventure dreams.
- NOBODY CARES IF YOU DON’T GO TO THE PARTY
Heard of JOMO – the joy of missing out? Make 2019 the year that you don’t do things because you ‘should’ or because you’re worried someone might be upset if you don’t go to that thing you don’t really want to go to. You’ll be amazed at the amount of time you can free up by saying no gracefully. Cramming more and more into our lives is unrewarding and exhausting. I now safeguard my downtime and weekends of adventure like my life depends on it… because it does in terms of mental and physical health!
Do this: Jot down what you want less of in any given week, and what you want more of. It can help shine a light on those trade-offs you can make to free up time.
(Annie’s idea of a Saturday night in the pic below – LOVE it!)
2. YOU DON’T LOSE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE, YOU ONLY FORGET IT
Choice is a cool thing. It’s implicit in the everyday habits we do without even thinking (screen time, commute, rushing, reading, meditation, taking the stairs). As well as in the decisions we make and forget that we can remake (job, career, home, evenings and weekends, people we hang out with, finances).
Regaining control of how we spend our time and energy is an exercise of trade-offs and boundaries. It can be strange and difficult at first but once you get in the flow, it’s hugely rewarding. One decision now saves one hundred later on.
Do this: Using the less of/more of list you make from point 1, pick one negative time-consuming habit you’re going to ditch, starting TODAY.
3. SET YOURSELF ONE CLEAR, MEANINGFUL GOAL
We live in a very goal-oriented time. It often means we set, or are given, multiple targets. We can get confused, lack a sense of purpose and feel disheartened. Feel familiar? Getting priorities mapped out is something Team52 help each of our members with.
Don’t set too many goals – one is enough to start with. Focus, feel the satisfaction of completing one, and then move to the next – you’ll get braver as you go. The last thing you want is overwhelm. If you have a few things you want to try, as with the 52in52, tie them together with one overarching purpose.
Do this: Scrap all the goals you have at the back of your mind. Release the pressure. Now if you could only do one adventure this year, what would it be?
4. DON’T ASK FOR PERMISSION
If I’d asked friends, family and colleagues what they thought about the Exerk 52in52 ahead of committing to it, I’m sure I would have been put off the nutty idea with the logic they provided. Instead, I just went for it. It felt right and I knew I cared about it so much I would have made it work.
Only you truly know what it feels like to be you. You deal with the consequences, good and bad, so go out there and try new things, feel the sense of purpose and satisfaction of doing things your way. Opinions are easy to give, and anyone else’s views will be laden with their own experiences and fears.
Do this: Take the action of someone who knows they are going to achieve their goal. Find buddies, block a date, borrow the gear (remember, you’ve got a whole community of fellow wild women to ask!)… just do it.
5. BITESIZE YOUR CHALLENGE INTO LITTLE CHUNKS SO YOU SAVOUR EVERY MOUTHFUL
By breaking your big goal into little chunks, you can pave the way, one step at a time. Steps can’t be too small. Little and often wins out in my book.
Celebrate each mini milestone as you go – maybe even keep a journal. You’ll feel the sense of triumph regularly, making it easier to ride the downturns and know that you’re moving forward.
Do this: What three quick and easy action points will move you toward your goal? By what date are you going to have done them?
6. BE SELF-AWARE OF HOW BEST TO HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
It’s tough to stick to your best intentions. Our monkey brain can wreak havoc. Having the right support lined up to keep you focused, calm and believing in yourself, is the cherry on the icing. It’s what Team52 provides, both in your individual team, as well as the whole community.
Do this: Share your intentions with your fellow wild women (aka the Adventure Queens community!) and if keen to give it a whirl, join Team52 too (my website!) for team mentality, progress tracking and personalised support. Make a chart (ticks or gold stars) to monitor too.
(Annie and Georgie below, founders of Team52)
7. ASK YOURSELF: IS THIS GIVING ME ENERGY OR SAPPING IT?
You will have moments of doubt. Some of them will be valid, and it’s ok to step back if you no longer feel the need to keep going in that direction. But how to know what to ditch, or it’s a blip you would do best to ride out?
Alongside the old pros and cons list, I find it useful to ask myself, “is this giving me energy or sapping it?” The sooner you cull a negative from your world, the sooner you’ll win back time for positive things that give you energy and make you feel great.
Do this: Ask yourself the giving/sapping question. Then act on it.
How are you feeling? Clearer and a bit excited about life?
London-based AQ, Annie is the co-founder of Team52 – helping busy people accomplish active challenges through a 52-week team-based platform. She loves walk n’talks, exploring, heading out on a solo run and bouldering with buddies! Join her @annieross5252 and @teamchallenge on Facebook and Instagram.