we’ll wear many shoes in our lives.
slippers on that rainy day when your heart first got broken and you can’t seem to understand where the love went and where to go from here. maybe you’ll wear blue polka-dot rain boots when you get lost walking on campus in a new state and you’re feeling insecure about your ability to see the next four years through. cowboy boots covered with mud when you are driving down a country road at midnight after dancing in red dirt all summer long. flip flops for those summer days when you spend the entire day outside, blisters on your feet and vowing to yourself that you’ll make the most out of these days. black shoes for when you walk across the stage and grab that diploma. the same shoes for your first professional job. first funeral. first formal dinner. your favorite pair of sneakers on the day where you feel stuck inside and not sure of how to move forward.
and along the way, those shoes will pick up pieces from every place you’ve been. they’ll collect the dust, grit, and particles- all of the necessary steps that it took to get there. but where will you walk and where will you go? i probably talk about this too often, but it continues to have relevance in my life. the person you are isn’t where you say you’ll go or all of the things you say you’ll do; the person you are is where you have been, the direction you are headed, and what you are doing to get there. action then, not words or promises, is what defines us. today, right now.
and so if your new year’s resolution or personal goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, do you have your gym shoes on? are you lacing them up and going on that walk, jog, or run? are you choosing to go to the gym, take the stairs, drink more water, or eat nutritiously rich foods? and if your dream is to graduate from high school, college, or enter in to the workforce, do you have on your comfortable sneakers, workbooks, or dress shoes? are you showing up for class? putting in the time, effort, and self-discipline to get there? and if you want to travel the world, are you saving money now? are you making the sacrifices needed to get yourself there? are you reducing your spending and increasing your work? and if you want to be a writer, do you have on your favorite pair of christmas socks while you develop your characters and story line? and if you want to pass that test or get that promotion are your behaviors leading the way? are you elaborating on your dreams and focusing in on your passion, strengths, and talents?
you get the point.
what i’m asking is if you are taking the individual steps to get you to the finish line you hope to cross. because we all know you don’t make it to the end with just one step. races are completed and won after a series of continuous, focused effort. it’s by adjusting your pace, taking deep breaths, and resolving your mind to finish what you started that we ever get there.
and if the answer is no, it might be useful to determine whether your goals match your priorities. i think one of the hardest questions we can ask ourselves is: if we aren’t working on what we believe to be most important to our individual lives, then what are we trading our goals for? maybe its for comfortable nights filled with our favorite reality television, or sleeping in all afternoon. maybe it’s the satisfaction of getting that extra dessert, buying that new article of clothing, or staying up all night. and although i believe that sometimes these things are exactly what we need, i also know how easy it is to stop working on a goal before we actually there. and so i wonder how often we set ourselves up for continued disappointment, dissatisfaction, and stagnation because our short-term needs and wants get in the way. i wonder how often we get pulled off track because our excuses lead us astray. are we trading opportunity for comfort? our success for immediate gratification? what i know is that every action you take is the result of choice– the choice to move forward or the choice to say where you are at. what are you choosing?
and so it comes down to this moment. can you make that first step today? with or without motivation, can you find the discipline within your self to take one action that will get you closer to your goal? can you close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and remind yourself that you can do anything that you will yourself to do? because the truth is, you are full of possibilities. full of untapped capabilities and unused resources. and i think life is about utilizing our inherent potential. now is always a good time to start.
whether it be flip flops, winter boots, sneakers, sandals, or high-heels, put on the shoes you’ll need to get yourself where you want to go. it’s not so much the shoes that matter as it is the person that’s wearing them.
maybe you’ll go barefoot.
but what matters is that you put one foot in front of the other until you get there.