The art of owning your choices

written by Philip Stefanov  |  MARCH 22, 2022

Here is something you might not know:

We tend to make decisions based on emotion and justify them through logic. For example, let’s say that you want to buy the newest BMW 5-series. Externally, you might be coming up with reasons, such as:

  • Geat fuel economy
  • Excellent safety rating
  • The lease isn’t that expensive

But internally, the fundamental factors driving you to buy the car are closer to:

  • Status
  • Driving dynamics
  • Beauty

In other words, the car makes you feel a certain way, and you want to buy it. But your rational mind then comes up with the logical reasons why getting that car would be a sound financial investment.

Think back to the last few personal purchases you made, excluding essentials like groceries. I can guarantee that all of them were in some way attached to emotion.

So, where am I going with this? It all relates to the choices we make and how we choose to justify them. Yes, that includes fitness-related decisions.

You see, everyone would like to be future-oriented and make the best possible decisions for their bottom line. Sadly, things don’t always go that way because we are human and can fall for the trap of instant gratification. For example, you might want to be lean for your beach vacation three months from now, but that’s later. The large bag of chips is here now and calling for you to dig in and have a good time.

The bag of chips is bringing out positive emotions, but you can rest assured that you will come up with logical reasons why you should enjoy it without feeling guilty:

  • “Eh, the vacation is three months from now.”
  • “What harm would a single bag of chips do?”
  • “I’ll eat a few hundred fewer calories tomorrow to make up for this.”

I’m not saying that justifying your choices is necessarily bad. But maybe there’s a better way: owning up to your choices and being objective.

Justifying decisions enables you to repeat the process in the future, which isn’t necessarily bad. For example, if you can afford it, why not get the fancy car you desire? But justifying decisions can sometimes lead us down paths of unproductive choices that get in the way of progress. That one instance of eating a bag of chips might turn into a weekly or daily occurrence.

Owning your choices is more productive because you become more objective. More importantly, you stop looking for reasons why a harmful behavior isn’t that bad for you. You become more honest with yourself, which allows you to look for actionable ways to stop repeating behaviors holding you back.

For example, I found myself struggling with chronic dieting and binge-eating a few years back. I remember coming up with countless good reasons why I should eat whatever I wanted and lying to myself that I would make up for that later. Of course, ‘making up for it’ meant slashing my calories in half for the days following the binge. I always told myself I would stop doing that until the following weekend came around, and I repeated the process, coming up with new good reasons.

It took a while for me to gain control of the situation, and one of the things that helped me was that I stopped justifying my choices and became brutally honest with myself. I looked at my decisions and saw how counterproductive they were. Then, I began reminding myself that I was only doing that to please myself and that it was spinning my wheels for months.

The process took a while, and I still felt tempted to return to old behaviors. But these reminders helped me overcome that plateau and put myself on a new productive path.

Thank you for taking the time! Until next week,


Sign Up Today

Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly newsletter. Each week, I share one insightful and actionable piece of content like the one above. Over 10,000 people receive it every week. Sign up below to join the community.

No spam. Enjoy the content for free and unsubscribe any time.