How do I make a Sneaker List?
Step 1: Choose a personal goal.
Ex: “Boost Confidence in Social Situations”
Step 2: List all the areas in your life where you avoid doing that goal.
Ex: “Parties, Networking events, Dinner with friends, etc.”
Step 3: Ask yourself these two questions: “1. What am I GAINING by staying in my comfort zone? 2. What is it COSTING me to stay in my comfort zone?”
Ex: “Avoiding going out on dates means I can’t be rejected BUT it also means I am ruling out the possibility of finding happiness in a relationship.”
Step 4: If you realize that maintaining your comfort zone boundaries is costing you more than you are gaining, it is time to come up with smaller steps that might push you outside of your comfort zone within that particular goal area. This is your Sneaker List.
Ex: “Talk to a stranger on the street/at the grocery store/in the mall, Intentionally make a fool of myself in front of strangers, Have one friend over for dinner, Have a few friends over for a game night, etc.”
Congratulations, you now have a Sneaker List! If you would like the support of the Sneaker Experiment community, send your list to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your list will be posted on the site and you can share your progress as you go! (Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions before you submit your list.)
Ok, I have a list. Now what?
Think through your anxiety about those situations and consider the logic surrounding your anxiety. Does your anxiety hold up to logical scrutiny?
Ex: “Anxiety: I’m afraid I’ll make a fool of myself & my friends will laugh at me/Logic: I’ve rarely made a fool of myself in the past and even if I do, I’m surrounded by friends and I can laugh with them.” If your anxiety is more about making a fool of yourself in front of strangers, maybe your logic sounds more like this, “I don’t know these people, I will never see them again, why do I care what they think about me?”
Now make your way through your Sneaker List, starting with the least anxiety-provoking item and working your way to the scariest one on the list. Keep your logical insights in mind. Once you reach the top of your list, look back at your avoidance list from Step 2 and consider whether or not those items still evoke the same level of anxiety in you. If not, give them a shot.
Congratulations! Your sneakers are now scuffed! Feels better, doesn’t it? Why not set your next goal and create another Sneaker List?
Sample Sneaker List:
GOAL: Boost Confidence in Social Situations
1. Talk to a stranger on the street/at the grocery store/in the mall
2. Intentionally make a fool of myself in front of strangers
3. Do a silly activity with one friend
4. Have one friend over for dinner
5. Have a few friends over for a game night
6. Go out dancing with friends
7. Do a silly activity with a bunch of friends
8. Attend a party/networking event
**NOTE: Feel free to add a little “(Note to self:)” with further instructions or the point of the Sneaker. Click HERE for an example of one of MY lists.