• Sandy Reynolds

Are you comfortable?

It took a breakdown and a breakthrough for me to bite the bullet and purchase new running shoes.  I walk/run 5-7 km per day, so conservatively over the two years I owned my shoes I covered about 3,650 kilometres (2,268 miles) in them. Manufacturers suggest you replace your running shoes every 800 kilometres (500 miles). I was long overdue. 

I ignored it when one toe broke through the mesh on my left shoe. And then when it happened on the right foot I decided to have a serious look at my shoes. When I turned them over I saw that the entire sole was breaking down. Not only was the tread worn down, but it was also worn through. I was almost a barefoot runner! There was no denial now. I needed new shoes.

Why would I put off something so simple as replacing shoes for so long? I dislike breaking in new shoes. I love the feeling of a well worn-in pair of shoes. I like to feel comfortable and I'm not alone. You might not have a hard time replacing shoes but I’m sure there is something in your life you hold on to until it’s completely worn out. Maybe it’s your favourite sheets or towels. One day you are folding them and you realize that they’ve seen better days.

It’s hard to let go when we’ve become attached to something in our lives.Never underestimate the significance of comfort.  We don’t just hold on to material things, we hold on to people, places and mindsets. We hold on to habits that no longer help us achieve the results we want in our lives. 

And it's no wonder. Being willing to change means being willing to be uncomfortable or at least inconvenienced. Getting new shoes involved multiple steps and decisions. It meant scheduling time to go to a store. And of course, they were sold out. So I had to go to another store in another mall. And then I had to try on several pairs, make a decision and finally spend more than I wanted to spend. Wearing my old shoes every day took far less effort.

I think that is why it often takes a breakdown or a breakthrough to move out of our comfort zone. We need something to get us going. When it comes to change we need to find ways to make it easy to change. And we need to make it difficult to stay the same. It's why working with a coach can help people get unstuck and take action.

But here is the thing - the first time I went out in my new shoes I felt like I was walking on giant pillows. Like the proverbial frog in the boiling water, I hadn't realized how much I was tolerating with my shoes. I thought they were comfortable but I had just grown accustomed to not having great support or padding. I made a promise to myself to not wait until my shoes were disintegrating to replace them next time.

As you go into the new year, there are likely areas in your life you are tolerating. You may not even think they are so bad because you are used to adjusting for them. Maybe you can still do up your jeans. Maybe you can still pay your bills. Maybe you can avoid whatever situation is causing you frustration. Sooner or later, the things we are avoiding dealing with have a way of catching up with us. We discover that taking action is not as painful as we thought it would be. You'll discover that you have been holding yourself back. And what you thought was comfort was just tolerating something that wasn't working.

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