It took a while to break them in. But I finally did. And by now they were the most comfortable shoes I’d ever owned. So I wore them longer than any shoes I’d had before. I knew them, they knew me. We were buds.

Or so I thought. 

One day my shoes and I went walking in the California foothills. After an hour of scrub oak-dodging and coyote-spotting, we headed downhill. Very downhill. Before I knew it, I was running way too fast—any attempt at stopping would send me flailing face-first into an arroyo.

Near the bottom, I finally regained control. But then my shoes betrayed me. My foot twisted and I collapsed, ankle ligament ripped clean in half.

“You have reverse pronation,” the podiatrist said. “That means your feet slope outward.” No wonder I walk like Charlie Chaplin, I thought. And then he pointed at the soles of my shoes. Sure enough, the inner edges were barely worn, while the outer edges were cellophane-thin.

“But I…I broke them in,” I deflected.

“Yes. And then they broke you in.” He prescribed treatment and advised me to: “Choose the right soles (wider) and replace them when they wear unevenly—before they start to wear you!”

Habits do that. Even good ones. Routines, schedules, memorized patterns. We take the trouble to form them, most of which (not all) are useful. At first. But then they take over, unseen, and begin to form us.

Two examples:

Eating quickly seemed like a good idea when, at your first job, you had a sandwich and a Twix bar and 20-minutes for lunch. Not so good now that you’re middle-aged, overweight, and on a date at a classy (expensive) restaurant.

“You never let me finish talking!” your significo or soon-to-be-ex-best-friend complains. “You think only your opinion matters!”

But it made so much sense when you were a teenager and it was the only way to get a word in edgewise among your circle of hyperactive, un-snubbable buddies. So you formed a habit. And then it formed you.

Revisit it. Rethink it. Reshape your behavior patterns, lifestyle, character. Choose the right soul and replace it when it wears unevenly*. Maintain it ruthlessly. Monitor it vigilantly. And when it starts to wear you…

Change it!

*Galatians 5:1

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Habits

  1. Apparently (according to psychologists) you can break/change a habit in 28 days. Unfortunately I don’t think I can spare the time…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Tina says:

    Good advice. ☺ Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. misSfitLove says:

    That’s an excellent paradigm shift!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. boromax says:

    This is terrific! So great on several levels. I love how you include – or… conclude – Revisit and Rethink. Change! This can be helpful in so many areas of our lives, including what we have come to accept in our belief systems. We must be willing to “audit” ourselves and our mindsets from time to time.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Clever Girl says:

    Great metaphor! It takes courage to change.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Kiwiolckers says:

    Loved this. I needed to read something like this to make some little changes to my lifestyle.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Eliza says:

    I like.
    Habits are really easy to keep for life. It takes awareness to let go of what once served us but instead remains a trap now.
    Love, light and glitter

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Revisit it. Rethink it.” I like that gentle challenge 🙂 It’s do-able!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. pkadams says:

    Very timely, Teemley. I’m trying to break the habit of interrupting, also of doing thing for my kids that they should be doing for themselves. Among others. Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jane Sturgeon says:

    Graceful advice, Mitch. Thank you. x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jacobemet says:

    Excellent advice! Was like reading a devotional this morning. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The old shoes feel so good and comfortable. Yet when you get the new ones, you feel the support that was lost with the seasoned ones. Great post with a message from beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ann Coleman says:

    It amazes me how often we think that we don’t have the power to break habits that no longer serve us! It’s not only silly, but it’s self-destructive. Thanks for the reminder, Mitch. I needed this!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The example of eating quickly sure rings my bell.  Absurdly many decades after having something like 15 or 20 minutes for lunch in high school, I still have to make a conscious effort to slow down and chew thoroughly.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ooi Zao May says:

    Yes, you are right. I am trying to kill my obsessive thoughts manifested in my surveillance habits. I am trying to focus on the present instead of going back to cross check all the times because this habit is unproductive and taking a toll on my soul and heart. It is such a pain. I am trying to be process oriented instead of result oriented. Really really trying to enjoy my processes so that I don’t miss out anything. Thanks for sharing this:)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: The Biggest Health Risks of Hoarding | Mitch Teemley

  17. Pingback: Letting My Geek Flag Fly | Mitch Teemley

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