My Outdoor Time Became Less Miserable When I Started Focusing On This (Outdoor Diary)

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Humans Outside episode 347

If the annoying perky people in the world are right and your perspective really does determine your reality, then there’s one tried and true way to make heading outside in less than great circumstances — weather, schedule, whatever — just a tiny bit better.

I’ve tested what it’s like to go out there with a bad attitude.

So, what happens when I take a different track?

And what happens if I do when things are really, really hard? I’m talking -15 degrees, blowing, very frosty, don’t want to be there, have other stuff to do hard?

Let’s find out.

Some of the good stuff:

[:35] A reality check

[1:03] What happens when you have a bad one

[1:45] I know this because I’ve tested it

[2:20] A little hunting for the good and what I’ve found

[2:58] A smart aleck saying that’s true

[3:59] Check in on me on this

Connect with this episode:

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

They say your attitude determines your perspective, and I hate to say it because it’s absolutely the worst when the perky people with all the optimism going down are right … but they are right. It does.

And when it comes to going outside, I know it’s because I’ve tested it quite extensively.

Winter is a trying time in the attitude department. There is plenty to be miserable about, and it’s very tempting to lean right into that feeling. If you’re someone who has no outdoor habit and does not go outside in bad weather, they attitude can lead you into grumpily huddling in your house, deeply annoyed by what’s happening outside your window.

And if you’re someone who does have an outdoor habit but also are feeling very grumpy about the weather situation, that attitude can sour your time when you do go out there. You probably won’t make an effort to find something that you do like. You’ll probably just go out there and scowl at whatever is happening, burn down the clock, and go home.

And believe me, I’ve done that. It wasn’t that fun and I don’t recommend it. For example, for my first year going outside I spent multiple cold, windy winter days box checking my outdoor minutes while waiting for school pick up. For reasons I cannot explain I would put on my hat and jacket and pace outside the elementary school with a timer set, then pick up my kid and go home. Even now I can hear the rope and metal clip clinking against the flagpole in the wind. I’m sure I gained some fresh air benefit from being out there. But… yeah.

So what is the key to reducing the misery factor of heading outside in less than ideal circumstances? Hunting for the good.

Through my challenge outdoor time that I have learned when I hunt for the good in life — that’s outside or during hard indoor circumstances — I always, always find it.

It is by hunting for the good that I noticed the way these little ice drops had formed on the bottom of leaves after a major recent snowfall.

It is by hunting for the good that I realized I enjoy the sense of accomplishment I feel after shoveling heavy snow from my driveway.

And it is by hunting for the good that I have found a whole pile of winter sports and activities I actually really enjoy and look forward to doing — cross country skiing, snowboarding and ice skating among them.

When the snow started to fall this year the local ski club shared a saying. It goes: If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy but the same amount of snow.

If that’s not the absolute truth.

I’m recording this episode a little earlier than usual as we’re about to head into a very busy week. In the weather forecast for tomorrow is what they have called a blizzard but seems to be mostly just a wind storm that is going to blow around snow that’s already on the ground. It’s supposed to hit at its worst at about the time we usually go to the weekly outdoor community run. Am I going to go for a run in the windstorm? That is very much to be decided — and really depends on what exactly is blowing around out there because I don’t need to get hit by a flying 2×4. But if it’s safe enough to go, we will go — and that’s because hunting for the good has taught me that braving 30 minutes in some very frosty wind and that can include free whole body sand blasting is actually pretty fun if you do it with other people. There’s nothing quite like finishing something that hard and silly and then looking around and trading stories about it.

You can see photos of me doing a variety of hard and silly things on Humans Outside on facebook and instagram. And I want to see your photos too. Share them with #humansoutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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