Yesterday, I kicked off a 5 part series on specific mindset shifts that have changed my life. We are all capable of making different choices, but lasting change requires not just that we act differently, but that we think differently. Changing the way you think is often more challenging but also, more impactful. To read the first post in this series, click here.

If you’d rather listen to this blog than read it, please click the play button. Otherwise, keep reading below! 

The other day I was out to dinner and the waiter brought a basket of hot bread to the table. I picked up a piece, smelled it and set it back down.

Not worth it“, I thought.

For most of my life, I’d have gobbled that bread up until the basket was empty & then secretly hoped that the waiter would refill it.

As I drove home I thought, “Did I used to just think everything was worth it?

When I’d eat a stale pack of hostess cupcakes from a very questionable gas station, did I think it was worth it?

No. I don’t think I did.

I just didn’t think about it. “Worthiness” wasn’t part of my decision making criteria.

There wasn’t much to my decision making criteria beyond, “I want it.”

I didn’t want to deny myself. I had no practice in thinking beyond that initial impulse & desire.

That brings me to the 2nd major mindset shift.

I evaluate whether or not something is worth it before I eat it.

And if I think it is worth it, I check myself after the first bite. Was I right? Is it worth it?

It doesn’t matter if it’s the bread, a drink I ordered, a protein bar or basket of sweet potato fries. I ask myself,

Is it worth it?

Am I going to enjoy it?

Considering that question reminds me that I can have anything I want, but I can’t have everything I want.

That’s true of food but it’s also true in life. I can give into every single indulgence & temptation. But if I do that, I can’t have high energy. I can’t be fit. I can’t be my heathiest self.

When I was at my heaviest, I ate lots of things I didn’t really enjoy. I’d eat an entire bag of average tortilla chips. They weren’t delicious. I ate them because they were there.

I’d scarf down $30 worth of sub-par chinese food. Was it good? Not really. Worth it? Jesus no. But, it was there.

That would never happen now.

I routinely leave drinks unfinished because it’s not worth it. I routinely throw away a protein bar or leave a bread basket untouched because for me, at that moment, it just wasn’t worth it.

Here’s an important clarification: sometimes I think it’s worth it before I start eating but a bite or two shows that it’s not in fact worth it.

Taking a bite isn’t a commitment. Just because I’ve started doesn’t mean I have to finish.

In fact, I’ve found that the first few bites are the best. After the first few bites, I’m not usually paying much attention.

I try to build the habit of asking myself again, after a few bites, “Is it worth it?”

Also, sometimes I just don’t know. When I’m on the fence, not sure if something is worth it or not, I’ll ask a couple additional questions like,

Would I go out of my way to get this?

Would I pay for this?

The other day, while at a conference, there were a couple of Andes mints included in my conference lunch. I wouldn’t go out of my way to drive to the store at buy Andes mints, ever. So, they aren’t worth it.

What is worth it, for me, varies depending on the day. .

I love ice cream but most ice cream isn’t worth it. A random red velvet cupcake from the grocery store bakery? Nah.

The Andes mints in my conference lunch? No. Not worth it.

Tequila shot with a friend? It depends.

Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes no.

That’s why we have to keep asking the questions.

Is it worth it?

Am I going to be glad I ate this?

Will I feel better tomorrow if I say no?

If I say yes to this, what am I saying no to?

We can have anything we want, we just can’t have everything we want.

To read part 3, click here