Posted by Tim Stobbs on May 16, 2012
I’m currently trying an experiment on myself, which involves feeling guilty and a pair of shoes. But first I should provide a little background on this tale. I used to be runner a long time ago, actually in fact I used to be fairly damn good at 400m track race and I even used to run for exercise while in university for a while. Yet like a lot of things in life I changed and stopped doing it.
That all came to an end last week because I bought those damn guilty shoes.
But Tim, do you ever feel guilty? Goodness sake, you are planning to leave the workforce in just 8 more years. How on earth can you not feel guilt for that and worry about a damn pair of running shoes?
Well in this case, I would call it: structured guilt. I want to get back into some more healthy habits like running. After all if you don’t have your health who cares if you got another 20 extra years of retirement. So to achieve that end, I went out a bought a good pair of running shoes and the helpful advice of a store clerk who was willing to ask me all the right questions and present me with the only pair of running shoes in the entire store that would fit me (I have wide feet, so this happens to me a fair bit).
The problem was the price tag: $170 including tax. For running shoes? Yes. Shoes Tim? Yes. You sure? *sigh* Yes.
Needless to say that blew my little old $100 dollar budget right to hell. Then of course my friend who also runs, I told this tale to, so he keeps asking me if I’m running. Then I told a few people at work that I’m doing this and they ask. Then of course I way blew my budget and keep asking myself “Tim, if you paid a $170 dollars for these damn shoes, do you really think the excuse of ‘I don’t feel like’ is going to fly? Go for your run!”. Thus the term: structured guilt. If I don’t go for my run I have to face the fact I wasted that money, and tell several people about it. Now I’ve even told all of you, which will increase the guilt if I don’t use those shoes.
So that is my little tale of the guilty shoes. No malls were involved with sighs as I found the perfect pair of shoes that I just had to have. Instead the guilt exists only in my mind to get my butt out of the door at least four times a week. The good news is for a change of pace this does seem to be working, the next trick will be to keep it up until the habit forms in my head.
So have you ever used guilt to change a habit? Did it work or not?