By Crabby McSlacker
Nah, I'm not talking about "going inside" as opposed to "going outdoors."
And I'm certainly not advocating that you get even more virtuous shit done within the confines of your homes or offices or gyms.
Or combinations thereof...
Photo: Pierogi Gallery
In fact, this time of year, outside is probably the place to be! Well, at least if your weather conditions and allergies and schedules permit. So this is more about going psychologically "inside" versus "outside," at least in terms of how you frame goals or experience your life.
This is also one of those periodic Goal Support posts, where the lovely people who stop by here are sometimes kind enough to check in with what they're up to lately, as well as to offer encouragement to others by replying to comments.
Anyway, here are a couple weird thoughts on the whys and hows of "going inside"... in Q & A format 'cause why the heck not? Let's pretend that someone actually stayed awake long enough to ask a few Q's for me to A.
Wait, Crabby, "Going Inside With Your Goals?" WTF Are You Talking About?
I just mean focusing on the subjective world that exists in your brain, rather than worrying so much about more tangible achievements, benchmarks, other people's opinions, or other external indicators that you're doing well or sucking at what's important to you.
The goal is to be happy, energetic, engaged, fulfilled, blissful, and carefree regardless of whatever crap you are succeeding at or not succeeding at according to the arbitrary outside world. This doesn't mean not challenging yourself--it just means doing so in different way.
Well That's Pretty F--king Vague, How About a Few Examples?
Instead of: "I will lose 5 lbs this month" you could reframe as: "I will experiment with healthier food choices and will try to move more and see what I like and what I hate about it."
Instead of: "I will stop screaming bloody murder at my kids even when they behave like crazed orangutans on methamphetamines," try, "I will try to notice more when I am getting stressed and cranky, and pay attention to what I'm saying to myself that might be making it worse."
Instead of: "I will start exercising 5 days a week instead of 2 like I've been promising myself for the last decade," you could aim for: "I will figure out when I have actually enjoyed exercising, and do something concrete to create more of that good stuff and see if I feel less inclined to want to shoot myself."
Instead of: "I will get every damn thing on my to-do list done today if it kills me," aim for something more like: "I will try to bring a little joy or playfulness to every chore I undertake today."
If you're pretty bossy with yourself and don't feel comfortable with mushy sounding targets like those, you could always externalize an internal practice. For example, you could aim to spend a half hour daily doing something like: meditating, yoga, brainstorming new career ideas, journaling about the ways you might be holding yourself back, adding to a gratitude list, or pondering whether you may have accidentally married a total asshole and what you might want to do about that.
What are Some Practical Advantages to "Going Inside?"
Stress Reduction! Mental goals may sound wishy-washy and time-wastey, but improving your peace of mind and overall happiness can lead to concrete physical and financial rewards.
People who focus on mental processes and personal growth and not just external achievements tend to sleep better, avoid acute and chronic health problems, have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight, form more and better personal relationships, and ultimately get a lot more shit done than externally-focused stress-bunnies do.
Discovering and cleaning up self-defeating behavior: Ever seen a friend or family member keep getting into the same dumb situations over and over? And you marvel at how they could be so clueless as to not see the ways they bring these disasters on themselves with their own twisted thoughts, feelings, and reactions?
Any chance YOU are sometimes that clueless nincompoop? Sometimes taking a step back and going "inside" can magically make the world stop picking on you.
Well, ya never know.
What if I Don't Freakin' LIKE Going Inside Because It's Creepy or Boring or Really Messy in There?
Okay, so that's a problem, and not an uncommon one. Making your interior introspective space a peaceful refuge and not a haunted house of self-flagellation, fear, defeat, and chaos can, for some people, take a little work.
But even realizing that it has been a problem is a good first step, and I'll bet if you are not entirely comfortable being alone with your thoughts and feelings, some ideas for how to make that easier may already be occurring to you!
Or if not, I will probably bore you all more posts about going "inside" before too long. I think I may be entering a phase of going mental again (in all senses of the word), and wanting to write more about some of that stuff. I know there are other bloggers who able to gracefully sneak in a little of the psychological and philosophical into fitness writing, like over at Mind Fit Move or Happiness Is a Dish Best Savored Hot. But can a neurotic crankpot like Crabby McSlacker possibly have anything useful to add? We shall see.
Update: Just saw that Charlotte at The Great Fitness Experiment, who is always eloquent and hilarious when writing about psychological aspects of health, has a great post today about living in the now, be sure to check it out!
So how are you guys doing? Working on anything specific or just taking life as it comes? Any thoughts on "inside" stuff?