Walking home from work has been the greatest new habit I have ever adopted. Three or four days every week, I take a one hour journey on foot from my office to home. It's great exercise, some time outdoors on the busiest of days, and good for the mind and spirit. I usually listen to podcasts while I walk, but sometimes I memorize a poem, or take photographs along the way.
The weather these days is cool and damp, and it's still dark outside from about 5pm. Andy has helped me find protective outer wear to make the journey safe and comfortable. I have a rain jacket and pants, reflective velcro arm bands, and now my two bright blinking light beacons - one for the front of my jacket, and one for the back of my backpack. I mostly use sidewalks, so the walk is pretty safe, except for crossing at intersections. It's amazing how left-turning drivers check for oncoming traffic, but not for pedestrians crossing side-streets. I make sure the way is clear before I step off the curb, and try to be as quick and visible as possible. Still, yesterday a guy nearly drove over my toes, turning left around me. I don't know what he was thinking.
Anyway, all of this gear requires me to suit up before I leave the office. I put on rain pants, jacket, running shoes or boots, toque and gloves in the changeroom at the rec centre before I leave. I am experiencing a bit of an obstacle in this process, however. I can't seem to remember to put my shoes on after I put my rain pants on. At least half a dozen times recently, I have got all ready to go then thought "Du-oh! there's my rain pants! Now I have to take off my shoes, put on my pants, and put my shoes back on!" It's a nuisance, and makes my feel annoyed at myself for my persistent absent-mindedness.
Starting this coming week, I have decided to try out a few strategies for remembering:
1. Note to Self - I will put a note inside my running shoe that says, "pants first." (I usually use my running shoes at lunchtime in the weight room, so this strategy will also help me not show up in the weight room without exercise pants. If I find myself forgetting to put the note in my shoe, I may just write it on the outside of my shoe with a sharpie. This will be a good conversation starter.)
2. Proximity Rules - When I get my outdoor gear out of my bag in the changeroom, I will put my shoes down at the end of the bench, and my pants near me, so I will naturally put the pants on first. If I find myself walking around the bench for my shoes, and wondering why they are so inconveniently placed, I may remember, "Oh yeah! shoes after pants!"
3. Aversion Training - If I forget again, and put on my shoes before my rain pants, I will not take the shoes off. The pants have zippers and velcro all the way down the outside of the leg. This is to facilitate putting the rain pants on if I am out on a trail somewhere, where I need to keep my boots on my feet. I suspect it will be a bit of a bother to undo and redo the zippers and the velcro. This will likely cause me to say, "Oh NERTZ! I don't want to have to do that again."
4. Reward - When I remember to put my pants on before my shoes, I will give myself a gold star, which I will stick on my shoe. Whenever I see the gold stars, I will smile to myself that I have not completely lost my marbles. I will also get home five minutes sooner than when I have to re-do part of my changing routine, and that's a reward in itself.
question: do you have something that you persistently forget or mess up?
mompoet - look for gold stars on my shoes!