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Get "a foot out the door" to get 1000 hours outside

This year, in 2023, thousands of families are pursuing more time outside by committing to the 1000 hours outside challenge.

This challenge was created by mom of five Ginny Yurich as a way to combat the slow slide into days dominated by screens. If most kids can spend 1000 hours in a year in front of screens, SURELY a mere 1000 hours outside had to be possible.

Since Ginny first started blogging through her own challenge, thousands of families have attempted the same.

Unfortunately for those of us in southern New Hampshire, the first exciting days of this new challenge are in JANUARY.

It can be deflating.

Whether it's the dark, cold, wet days of winter or the steamy, muggy, buggy evenings in July, some days it's just hard to motivate yourself to go outside EVEN when you know it's good for you!

So I have tried to leverage the psychological power of the foot in the door phenomenon.

Except I think of it as more of a foot OUT the door.

This psych 101 theory says that if you can get someone to agree to something small, they are more likely to do something bigger later.

Maybe your teenager asks you for $5 for lunch money. If you say yes to that, you're more likely to agree when they follow it up with, "well, actually can I just have $20 because I was going to go to the movies after school too?"

You agree to volunteer for one task at your child's school and somehow you end up on the PTA.

We've all been suckered in by the foot in the door phenomenon.

So I make it work for me to manage my motivation.

I'll let you in on a little secret. This last weekend, I didn't go outside for like, three days straight. We got almost a foot of snow and I really didn't want to go outside and get wet and cold.

But I also know I am a way better human and nicer mom when I am let out of my enclosure for a bit every day for some fresh air and activity.

Instead of thinking I have to go out for some huge adventure, I pick something small.

A walk to the mailbox. Brushing the snow off the car. Clearing off the porch.

I get my foot out the door--just for a quick thing. But once I'm outside, the switch is flipped and I actually want to be there.

Spontaneity Makes Memories

The other night my husbands car got stuck in the snow when he was trying to move it around to shovel the driveway, and he needed me to go outside and help him.

I begrudgingly went out, and as soon as I got to the driveway, the magic came over me.

The cold in the air, light glowing on the snow, the stars bright overhead. We ended up lingering outside, and eventually our kids popped onto the porch having pulled on their boots and coats all by themselves!

Kids always want to join the fun.

We had the best time and I knew in the moment that it was a memory I'll treasure forever.

So, if you're an indoor cat but you want to increase your time outside, try using the foot "out" the door phenomenon.

Use these snowy/icy winter ideas to trick yourself into longer stints outside.

I'd love to hear any others that help you get your foot out the door.

Check the mail

Refill the bird feeder

Throw out the trash in your car

Pick up rogue sticks

Put the dog on a leash and walk to the end of the driveway instead of just opening the back door

throw out a fresh scoop of ice melt

Join an outdoor playgroup

Find a small way to get out the door, and once you're out there, you just might want to stay!

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