Do you ever wonder why you continually make bad decisions and choices while everyone else has their shit together?
In an effort to understand why some people make bad choices (ok, not some people but me), I have been watching others who seem to make smart decisions effortlessly. One thing I noticed immediately was that they all have one thing in common: knowing when NOT to make choices.
My husband is an alcoholic. Twenty five years dry now. Every day, he must make a conscious decision not to drink. It does get easier, I am told as time goes on, but one can never get lax and forget that addiction can rear its ugly head at any time, any place. I can not tell you how proud I am of him. Addiction is so hard to beat and sustain. Lengthy times of sobriety are a great accomplishment. Not to make light of it but if you told me I had to give up chocolate, I don’t know if I could do it.
I have gone to many AA meetings with him and they are so inspiring. Here is a group of people who struggle everyday to make good choices. They share their stories so that others don’t feel alone in their battle. They share their stories so others can learn from their mistakes. But most of all, they support each other and share their bits of wisdom for making good decisions every single day.
One of the best acronyms I have ever heard came from a meeting and anyone can use it in their lives when they are faced with a dilemma. The next time you are thinking about making a decision, HALT! Stop and think if any of the following factors are playing into your decision-making process.
This is much more than a “don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach or you will end up buying all of aisle 4” kind of philosophy. When you are malnourished, your brain doesn’t function properly. You end up making a decision that fills an empty gap when the only thing you really need to do is feed your stomach. A glass of juice or even water can temporary work. Get a few calories in you and you will be surprised how different your thinking is.
One of the strongest emotions is anger. And yes, sometimes we need to feel it so that we can release it. Decisions made when angry are usually rash and more often than not, regretted at a later time. Let the emotions play out but leave choices to a time when your feelings are stable. In the moment, we tend to perceive situations as personal and they usually are not. Once the emotions are settled, a rational mind makes circumstances easier to analyse.
We all like to be alone at times but feeling lonely and unconnected, even in a group of people, can really wallop your self-esteem and confidence. We may do things that are not in our character or that do not fit our life plans. It’s so easy to go along with the crowd when we want to feel included. Be true to yourself and your needs/wants. Wait.
Lack of sleep can play havoc with your brain functions and greatly affect your perceptions of your surroundings and your situations. Don’t sleep for weeks on end and you can even begin to experience hallucinations. There is a reason for the old sayings, “You should sleep on that” or “It may look different in the morning”. A rested brain is capable of rationally analyzing events and better prepared to make good decisions.
No more making bad decisions and living with regrets: remember HALT. Ask yourself the next time you are making choices if that is a good time to be doing so. Eliminate the factors above, and then tackle the problem or situation from the best vantage point.