I’m a huge fan of Allbirds sneakers. They are an easy company to support and support them I have. I think collectively we have ten pairs at the house and I recommend them to anyone that will listen. One friend who recently stayed with us went home and bought four pairs - he’s one of those “I shop once a year” guys, usually when he comes to visit me.
My insider secret is that they machine wash exceptionally well. Cold wash, AIR DRY, use a gentle detergent and I use the delicate cycle - they come out looking new.
I love the original wool ones but I have to say the Tree Runners are now my favorite. They have a unique texture that makes them more interesting. I take my army green high-top Tree Runners with me whenever I travel. They are super lightweight making them very easy to pack and, while they are not an exercise sneaker, I can happily do a whole day of art museum-ing in them.
On my last trip the laces kept coming undone. I kept retying them in vain and they would unravel themselves 30 minutes later. Mark suggested I tie them the opposite way and I instantly recalled this Ted Talk. Yup - it’s a Ted Talk on tying laces. But it’s cool and it’s under three minutes. While I had watched this video a few years ago, I had this information, I continued to tie my laces the way I always had.
And it’s a simple change; tie the shoelace in the opposite direction. Nothing else changes. As I knelt down to re-tie my shoe it amazed me how much mental capacity it took to do something the opposite way to my habit. Something this simple actually took focus and effort - two words I would never use to describe the act of tying my shoelaces.
I have found the same thing in yoga. We are frequently queued to switch the leg we step forward on; the leg we cross over the other in seated poses; or even the thumb we put on top when we grip our hands together. Something seemingly simple but so effortful in practice. When I go up into handstand leading with my right leg my entire body works in concert and I can get into the pose. When I lead with my left it’s like lifting dead weight, like I am doing the pose for the first time.
No wonder it’s so hard to change our other habits in life. Like much bigger stuff than what foot you put in front of the other. Or which bunny ear goes around the other bunny ear, if that’s the way you learnt to tie your shoes.
July is a great time to reflect on the changes you want to make in your life, all those lofty goals. It’s the 7th month so we are officially halfway through the year. Take a look at your resolutions or intentions and then go and tie your shoe the opposite way. Change is hard, it takes focus and it takes significant mental energy. Instead of spending the next 6 months defeated by unrealistic expectations of yourself can you find one - small - change that you can really focus on? Give yourself a month to implement that change and then maybe, just maybe, you can add something else in August?
My boxing teacher challenged our class to devote one hour a week to something we have been putting off or avoiding. I love that challenge. We can all find one hour across a week. That’s less than ten minutes a day. I double-dare you. Let me know how you get on.