Did we reach our goal of 500 miles in 2020?
As of this writing, Dan and I hiked/snowshoed a total of 504.25 miles in 2020. In the course of those miles, we ascended 33,427 feet. Which is equivalent to trekking to the top level of the Empire State Building 26 times.
My husband and I walk for the sheer pleasure of being outdoors together in God’s magnificent creation.
For the previous five years, I hiked in these Cascade Mountains mostly alone. By choice. As brave-making endeavors.
And now, oh joy, I have a hiking partner, road trip companion, Chai-tea-sipping, makes-me-laugh, kind, wise, thoughtful husband—the person I most enjoy doing things with.
Most of us have heard of the benefits of outdoor physical activity—it’s good for our hearts, it can help us get a better night’s sleep, ward off depression, and help keep the pounds off.
But consider this: outdoor physical activity also triggers creativity.
A friend recently shared an interesting article with us: “Your Brain Was Made for Walking” by Jeffrey Davis, Psychology Today, reproduced in Reader’s Digest, Nov 2020.
Our creative mindset is triggered by [outdoor] physical movement, which is exactly why walking—with your dog, a friend, or alone—feeds creative thinking.
Davis encouraged readers to set a creativity goal instead of a fitness goal.
“Turn off your phone,” he wrote, “and give yourself the chance to be present in the world, to hear conversations and natural sounds, to notice the way people move, the way the sun reflects in a puddle.”
What if …
No matter that goal-setting sometimes gets a bad rap, it has its benefits. Goals provide direction and focus, motivate us, and offer a sense of personal satisfaction when achieved.
In our case, the 500-miles-in-2020 goal was fun and challenging. And it drove us outdoors more frequently than we might otherwise have gotten.
What if we set a creativity goal for the coming New Year that would involve getting outdoors on a regular basis?
What if it could be fun and challenging?
And what if—as a side benefit—it provided quality of life for facing those hard and holy moments that show up from time to time?
We can. It could be. It will. Speaking from experience.
SIDE NOTE: There’s one more benefit of walking not yet mentioned: It can introduce us to new friends. Meet Olaf.