Why I often ask myself ‘Is there a better option?’

Like most of us, I have many good intentions, though it’s easy to forget them or to slip slightly off track every now and again.

To try to combat this, and in a bid to halt the little bad habits that creep into everyday life, I try to remember to ask myself if there is a better option. I aim to do this many times every day, for example:

  • If I have a spare minute or two, fire my phone into life and head for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the BBC football website, I aim to ask myself ‘is there a better option here?’
  • If I go to grab a Kit-Kat, Twix, or any other sweet treat (usually when my wife and daughter are out of the way…), I aim to ask myself ‘is there a better option here?’
  • If I flick on the TV and aimlessly channel-hop before settling on yet another episode of A Place in the Sun or Man v. Food, I aim to ask myself ‘is there a better option here?’
  • If I feel the need for an alcoholic drink, I aim to ask myself ‘is there a better option here?’
  • If I fancy a takeaway, I aim to ask myself ‘is there a better option here?’
  • If I think there’s an easy, comforting, straightforward option to pass an hour or two each evening, such as compiling a new music playlist, I aim to ask myself ‘is there a better option here?’
  • If I pick up one of my guitars and am tempted to spend an hour just playing anything that springs to mind, I aim to ask myself ‘is there an easy option here?’
  • Etc. Etc. Etc. The list could go on and on and on.

The problem I have is that all these examples are great options. Great, that is, if I want to stay overweight; want to wake up with a hangover and waste a full day through tiredness; want to spend too much money on fast food; or want to idle away my time without achieving any of my longer term goals. The problem is that the better options require a little more effort; a little more time; a little more restraint; and certainly a little more discipline. They are almost always harder to start and most definitely harder to complete. Relating to the above examples, some better options would be:

  • Putting my phone out of reach for much of the day. Certainly severely reducing the amount of time spent browsing social media.
  • Resisting chocolate and other unhealthy food choices and eating more fruit and nuts.
  • Only flicking the TV on if there is a definite programme I want to watch and even then, not watching excessive amounts during any given day.
  • Drinking low-alcohol drinks or anything else that will keep me from getting drunk and waking up with a raging hangover.
  • Focusing on my to-do list items rather than opting for the easy / comfortable tasks.
  • Only picking my guitar up if there is a specific tune I need to learn or perfect.

Sometimes, I opt for the better options. I suppose it depends on my frame of mind and how motivated I am at the time. Other times, I opt for the easy, comfortable options (don’t we all from time to time?). I’ve done the latter more than I’d care to admit recently and I really do need to become more disciplined and remember to ask myself the better option question, though it’s so damned easy to forget at times. Perhaps I need to tattoo the words ‘better’ on my left knuckle and ‘options?’ on my right knuckle. That would act as a really effective prompt, whilst edging me toward my (clearly impossible) dream of becoming some sort of long-haired, bearded, tattooed Adonis (think a Bolton version of Jason Momoa, if you will), though I’m not sure my wife would approve of the knuckle ink…

So, the battle goes on. I’m really interested to learn if anyone else has any methods similar to the ‘what are the better options?’ question which help you to make good decisions rather than bad? There’s always something to learn!

As always, thanks for reading and take care.

Mick

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