The Guilty Shoes

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 yearsHow 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? YesShoes Tim? YesYou 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?

8 thoughts on “The Guilty Shoes”

  1. IMO having the willpower to do something is much more valuable than carrot/stick approaches. My new running shoes were $60 USD, and I run a half marathon every weekend. And since I don’t actually rely on the cushioning to catch me (no heel running!), they should last at least 2 years.

  2. There is nothing in the world like the feel of a properly fitting pair of runners!
    In the days when I used to run, I allowed this major (seemingly extravagant) purchase because the shoes fit properly and felt fantastic.Yes I wanted to run more with these shoes than a cheapo pair with poor cushioning.Now I walk and have an equally expensive pair of light hikers that are a JOY to wear.Well worth the cost!
    Greg I think it’s great that you only paid $60. Each person is different with their shoe needs.
    Tim, if you like those particular shoes, next time look for discounts online (ie last year’s model).But then that guilt factor would be gone and you might not be inspired to run anymore….

  3. “Guilty feet have got no rhythm.”

    As long as you feel the guilt, you will not run well. Once it passes, you are on your way.

    I knew that BeeGee’s line would come in handy some day.

  4. I told myself that if I wanted to quit my day job,I would have to quit smoking as well…it costs too much.
    Its been over a year since my last cigarette.

  5. @greg,

    Oh, I know could have spent less, but I really wanted the staff to tell me exactly what kind of shoes I should be in. That helped a lot and was worth the cost. Also my willpower is fairly well used with saving already…there isn’t much left for other things.


    Yes I will likely next time shop around a bit more now that I know what I need for size and type. Thanks for the idea.

    @Retired at 44,

    Oh, obvious. I suppose that I’ve never had one is why I didn’t think of that.


    I tend to think of it as guilt and motivation all in one. I suspect after the habit is in me I’ll will drop the guilt because I will be enjoy it again.


    Now there is a good idea, link a goal to your main retirement plans.

    Thanks everyone,

  6. @bob, that line isn’t the bee gees, it’s Mr. George Michael of Wham fame. And oh so true.

  7. @ramona, Thanks for the correction. The moment I read it, I head the voice and said “yes! GM!” It’s crazy how many things float around in our brains, rising up at odd provocations.

    @tim, they can be very similar. Maybe guilt is what we feel when we back away from what we know to be a legitimate motivation.

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