Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Gretchen Rubin's Go Outside 23 in '23 Challenge

Gretchen Rubin is an author of multiple books (5 of which have been on the New York Times bestseller list), the podcast host of Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and the founder of The Happiness Project (which bears the same name as her top rated 2009 book). She's done a few TED talks and has been a key speaker at many companies. And yes, when it comes to happiness, there's an app for that too. You could say, happiness is central to her studies of human nature and her world. If there's any question about it... check out her manifesto (her mission statement on steroids).

In the past, Gretchen Rubin has invited her Happier  community to take on annual challenges. Some of hers these past few years: "Walk 20 in '20," "Read 21 in '21," and "Rest 22 in '22." (That first number per phrase refers to the number of minutes she's challenging folks to engage in that activity.) 

Her challenge this year: Go Outside 23 in '23 Challenge.

Why, might you ask, is this a worthy challenge? It's no surprise that going outdoors can help boost your mood, center you, and assist with your over all mental health and sense of calm. I love the end of her comment in her explanation on the Happier App website: "Going outside can include anything from walking to bird watching; from yardwork to enjoying your morning coffee on your porch — as long as the door closes behind you, it counts!" She also talks about it in Episode 409 of her podcast. It's our daily dose of "Vitamin N: Nature." It hopes to help us all attack our ever-growing-tech addictions and our own Nature Deficit Disorder. 

I will admit, I do a great job in the spring, summer, and fall with my hours outside (and have written about it many times before), but winter is hard for me. But every now and then, a warm sunny day in a coat, under a blanket, and on the hammock help remind me of the glory warmth of that sun on my face. 

This year, the Happier App & Gretchen Rubin are centering their challenge through the Happier app. Slightly ironic, using tech to help you unplug from tech... however, the app also serves as a habit builder for positivity and mental productivity. If you are a person who is motivated by tracking of behaviors or accomplishments, this can help build accountability. Inside the app also a daily mini journal and photo log aspect of the app that allows you to lock in your memories. The extra neat piece is that there is a participation goal. Their hope: 1 million entries in the app by the end of 2023 by users. If their goal is met, the app will make a donation to the nonprofit global reforestation organization One Tree Planted, who donates a tree for every dollar donated to them. [At this writing, One Tree Planted has donated over 40,000,000 trees since it was founded in 2014.]

Whether or not you commit to doing it through the app, it's agood idea to plant "go outside" in the back of our minds. We all could use a little more naturescape and escape! I do love the extra incentive with the idea of donating to the outdoors by BEING outdoors. Together, every little action, adds up! 

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