The other day, I had the best drink of my entire life. Hands down. A fresh cocoa bean margarita. Amazing! If you’re following me on Instagram, you probably saw it in my stories.

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I was on a working vacation for 10 days and there were treats, sweets and alcohol absolutely everywhere.

One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to a Mayan cocoa bean farm & factory. After the tour they were selling Mayan chocolate bars & cocoa bean margaritas, pina coladas, hot chocolate and the like.

Of course I bought the cocoa bean margarita. It was E P I C. I literally watched them put fresh cocoa beans into the blender as they made it. Delicious doesn’t do it justice. It was one of the best drinks I’ve ever had.

Totally worth it.

As I savored the special drink I thought, “This is exactly why I don’t drink random, average drinks throughout the trip.” Most drinks just aren’t worth it. If they are average, they aren’t worth it.

When I indulge, I want it to be exceptional. That, to me, is worth it.

There’s nothing special about a generic margarita. Tasty, sure, but not worth it. There’s nothing special about an average piece of red velvet cake on a dessert buffett. Yeah, I love red velvet cake but I’m only going to eat it if it’s truly worth it and it’s only worth it if it’s awesome.

I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve had enough average and below average indulgences to last me a lifetime. They didn’t make me happy. In fact, they made me unhappy.

When I indulge, I want it to be worth it. I want to indulge in the kinds of things that are so good you want to tell someone about it.

The reason I’m telling you about this cocoa bean margarita and what’s worth it to me is because I didn’t use to think this way. I didn’t get it. I wasn’t selective. Everything tempted me. I struggled to turn down a free grocery store cookie in the break room at work.

None of it was worth it but I wasn’t even considering that. I wasn’t in the habit of considering if it was worth it. I was just eating whatever looked good at the moment. It wasn’t a strategy that worked for me. It wasn’t a strategy that made me happy. But, it was my strategy.

The reason I wasn’t thinking that way then is because I wasn’t choosing to think of it that way. I wasn’t questioning my own operating system. I wasn’t looking for a different way to think about it versus the simple “good food, bad food”.

I hadn’t established any standards for indulging. I had ideas and hopes but not strategies I practiced regularly.

After the margarita I started to think about how I created this shift.

How I moved from just eating what tempted me and relying on willpower to really being discerning about what’s worth it and what’s not.

How did I train myself to implement standards and determine worthiness?

I started by simply asking myself, “What is really worth it?” What’s not worth it?

I began journaling about these questions with the perspective of the day at hand, not just life in general.

For example, I’d ask myself, “Is there an indulgence today that will be totally worth it? Why is it worth it? Are there indulgences I might see today that aren’t worth it? What are they? Why aren’t they worth it?

When I asked those kinds of questions about the daily perspective, I’d remember as I walked into the meeting room with donuts that I know they aren’t worth it. I know they aren’t worth it because they only last a few seconds, they destroy my energy and make the rest of the day harder.

I’d also rank indulgences on a scale of 1-10 as I evaluated them. I still do this regularly. Every night while on vacation I’d look at the menu and evaluate if anything was worth it. Did anything look like it was a 10? Usually not.

If it did, I’d try a bite. A bite. Then, after that bite, I’d re-evaluate. Is it a 10? If not, I move on.

I saw a delicious looking red-velvet cake and I got a slice. I took a bite. It wasn’t a 10. It wasn’t worth it. I set it down and moved along. If I’m going to indulge, I want it to be awesome, like that cocoa bean margarita. It was a 10. Totally worth it.

In episode 397 of the podcast I talk about the importance of creating standards & bright lines. Definitely check out that episode if this is something you need help practicing.

For now, try the daily strategy. Ask yourself what, if anything, will be really worth it today. Ask what you might encounter that isn’t worth it, why it isn’t worth it and how you’ll respond to it.

When you indulge, make sure it’s really worth it!