How One Small Decision Can Save You

Posted by Jill Chivers in Attitudes and Habits, Shopping Strategies, Shopping, Clothes and Emotions

Here’s something else I discovered the enormous power of recently:  the power of making one small decision.

How making just one small decision can lead you down a path that helps you, or one that hinders (or even hurts) you.

Here’s what happened

I was driving home from a lunch with friends and was thinking about stopping in at a huge shopping mall on the way.  This mall houses my favourite tea store, T2, and I’d run out of Irish Breakfast tea.  Now, I have four other teas I can drink but I was lapsing into justification thinking “Well, Irish Breakfast is my strongest black tea, which is great for that kick I sometimes need to get the blood pumping in the mornings“, which I knew was the thin of the wedge to give me the excuse I needed to stop at this large mall.

Because, you see, I knew I wouldn’t stop in to just the T2 store. I knew I’d find myself wandering around a number of the other stores in that mall.

So there I was, driving along Gympie Terrace in Brisbane, with the first turn off to this mall coming up.  Should I go in?  What harm could it possibly do?

A lot.

For me, in this particular situation at this particular time, finding myself in a shopping mall with 350 stores in it, would have been bad.

Why? Because I was not in the right emotional state to be there.  I wasn’t any of the things that I recommend others be when they go shopping – I was tired, I was fractious, I was distracted, even a bit upset.

I was far from positive, alert and “resourceful”: the recommended state for conscious shopping.

To find myself in a crowded Sunday afternoon shopping mall was the last thing I needed.  It would not have been a soothing or grounding activity.  It would have further agitated me.

So I drove on by.  I skipped buying that Irish Breakfast tea. And as a consequence, I bypassed a lot of other things as well.

The big thing that struck me was how that one decision – to drive on by, to not go in — saved me from making any further buying related decisions that day.  Which is what would have ended up happening.

Like dominoes falling, one decision leads to another

If I had made a different decision, one to go into the mall, I would have been faced with many other decisions.  Decisions I was not really fit to make.

Should I buy the chocolate chip chai tea as well, since I’m here? 

Should I stop into this cute shoe store, which the 40% off everything sale sign out the front? And since I’m here, should I try on these animal print driving shoes?  And since I’ve tried them on and they fit so great, should I consider getting them, since they are such a great deal? (ignoring for the moment how many other shoes I already own)

Should I look in the women’s wear department, since I’m already in here looking at accessories?

On and on, other decisions would have presented themselves to me.  Overwhelmed before I went in, I would have been further challenged by being in such an over-stimulating environment.

At the very least, it would have left me emotionally further depleted. At the very worst, I would have ended up buying a bunch of things I didn’t want or need, which I would have felt bad about.

And that one decision – to drive on by, to not go in — saved me from all of that

I drove on home.  I curled up with a book and a heat pack on my frozen feet.  I read a little, I had a nap.  I spent a cosy night in, eating leftovers and watching a movie with my husband.

And like a binge drinker in recovery, I woke up this morning feeling a great sense of relief that I hadn’t stopped in to that mall, that I had made one small decision that had a huge impact.  I drove on by.

What small decisions can you make that will take you closer to where you want to go?


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