Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quick Tip: The Evening Stroll

Fall's easing into my home state, Kentucky. For my money, there is no better time to live here. Gone are the oppressive heat and humidity of summer, replaced by clear air that crackles with energy. The trees are nearly magical in their beauty, caught between the silver greens of summer and the early yellows of autumn.

With the temperature a pleasant 75-85, it's perfect weather for an evening stroll. We've always had plans to make an evening walk part of our routine, but struggled with it. Since I often work late, I usually nap as soon as my husband comes home. Then there's dinner, clean up, exhausted TV watching and, finally, baths and bed for everyone else, work for me.

But that's changed recently. My daughter has finally gotten up the nerve to hop on her bicycle - she was a strictly Big Wheel kid previously. As children will do when they're learning a new skill, she's a bit obsessive about getting out on her bicycle. So every night, we're outside, walking or, in my husband's case, slowly pedaling his bike, while she confidently rides all over the neighborhood.

We're not alone. Since summer's heat has subsided, the neighborhood is alive with families pushing strollers, bicycling with little ones, and fathers and sons tossing footballs.

It's fantastic. I know an evening family walk isn't the most original of bonding ideas - but I think it's also one of those things we realize we could do, but don't do.

It doesn't have to be long. Even a 15 minute outing will increase your health, raise your family happiness quota and remind you of why it's good to be alive. My guess is, once you try it, you'll find it's hard to go back inside.

If you're having a hard time starting the habit, dedicate one week to trying it. My guess is, after that one week, you may be surprised to find you've created a habit your child won't let you forget.

And if that doesn't work, I ran across this Zen Habits post, "Engineer Life: Set Up Habit Changes So It’s Hard to Fail." The writer points out that to change a habit, you need to do four things:
  1. Increase positive feedback for the habit you want to form.
  2. Decrease positive feedback for what you're doing instead.
  3. Decrease negative feedback for the new habit.
  4. Increase negative feedback for the old habit.

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Anonymous kailani said...

I can hardly wait for the weather to get cooler here! Fall is my favorite season!

Thank you for joining us at the Carnival of Family Life.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous SummerM said...

Great tip! We used to do a walk together in the spring, but the heat of summer kept us indoors far too much. Now that it's autumn and beautiful again I can't wait to start talking walks together again. :)

7:31 PM  

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