I was at a celebration recently, and was given this advice: Think it through.
It can be about picking up a drink, saying something unkind, hitting the snooze button, eating ice cream for dinner. Think it through. Play the tape all the way to the end. It’s not just one glass of wine – not for all of us. For some of us, it’s a glass, plus a six-pack, plus soul-crushing guilt and twelve candy bars while drinking shots alone in your living room.
It might feel good to say something snappy and nasty to someone who’s hurt you – but, hours later, are you going to be filled with remorse and bad feelings?
It might feel awesome to hit the snooze button – but does hitting snooze mean that you miss your morning run and feel lethargic all day long as a result?
Once you’ve thought through the entire scenario in your mind, you can make an informed decision about the next right thing to do at any given moment.
This morning, I was at Target. Because apparently I had thirty minutes to kill and a hundred bucks to spend. (I find it nearly impossible to spend thirty minutes in a Target without spending a hundred dollars. But maybe that’s just me.)
I’d been in the store for about ten minutes. Teddy was in the stroller, and there was about fifty dollars worth of ABSOLUTELY STINKING ADORABLE baby clothes in the basket beneath the stroller. I sat on the floor and pulled the clothes out. I laid them in front of me and started looking at them with a discerning eye.
Think it through.
I have a tendency to be an impulse shopper – especially during moments when I’m experiencing anxiety. My anxiety this morning was pretty minor – I was a little flustered, trying to get Teddy ready for the day, deciding whether to drop by the farmers market to help out Tee or just head to my morning meeting. I felt indecisive, which is a big trigger for me, and that led to me trying to numb with an impulsive purchase.
Today, however, I got a little flash of what it would be liked to buy all or some of those clothes. How would I feel later? Later, I’d realize that I really didn’t need those things for Teddy – he has plenty of clothes handed down from others. And I’d remember that I really enjoy getting him clothes at a local consignment shop, where I can get an outfit for just a couple of dollars and it feels more like an adventure than a Target run ever does. And I’d remember that Tee and I are trying to watch our spending, which means I’d get a guilty feeling showing her the clothes. None of the outfits were exciting enough to be worth the guilty feelings I’d experience later for my impulsiveness and the mindless quality of this endeavor.
So – in other words – I thought it through.
I put all the clothes back. I bought a cup of black coffee, and I headed to my meeting.
It was a half-hour well spent, even though I had nothing tangible to show for it. I started thinking about other times when I can utilize this sage advice and save myself from mindless impulsivity.
Like the afternoon fruit snacks I buy on the way home when my day’s been stressful. Think it through, KEM – you’re going to spoil your dinner and feel sluggish after you eat these. (We’re talking several family-size-esque bags of fruit snacks. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one of those tiny little packets with approximately seven fruit snacks inside all by its lonesome in my life.)
Like the lure of group complaining – I can get totally sucked into a group bitching session. But later, I inevitably will feel that yucky internal not-good feeling that comes when I am not being my best self. I hate that feeling.
Think it through. A beautiful piece of advice.