Monday, 14 May 2018

Why is it so hard to make 'good' choices?

I like to think that I'm a reasonably intelligent woman. I manage to stumble through life without too much trouble most days and I have mastered being a civilised being in an increasingly complex world. So you'd think that making choices about my life would be a doddle, wouldn't you?

Well it's not as easy as that in Johanne's World.

I have a great gift for self sabotage. Wherever there are choices to be made I will veer towards the 'bad' choice like I'm magnetically drawn to it and have left my free will in dry dock. It doesn't even matter what I'm making a choice about, it can be anything and I am perfectly capable of making a 'bad' choice.

I know that giving subjective values like 'good' or 'bad' to choices is a bit silly but it helps to focus my mind on what I mean. A choice is neither 'good' or 'bad' in reality, it is just a choice but in certain circumstances I need to assign such values to my choices to differentiate between them.

Take food for example. I am old enough (God, am I old enough!) to know which foods are 'good', nutritious and have health and well being benefits for me. I know that I have a weakness for certain foods and do not exercise any form of control when eating them - I'm looking at you pasta, white bread and crisps! For me these are 'bad' foods and choosing to eat them is 'bad' for me, makes me feel sluggish and piles weight on or stops me losing weight. So you'd think it would be easy to choose the 'good' foods and to shun the 'bad' foods, wouldn't you? Wrong! I keep choosing the 'bad' foods, over and over again, for years and years and years. I sabotage efforts to make healthy choices, 'good' choices and I reel from one shameful episode of crisp scoffing to another toast binge.

So why do I sabotage myself like this? I wish I knew. I'm fed up of trying to sort out my diet, trying to improve my fitness, address my health concerns only to sabotage my own efforts. It's getting to the point where I don't want to start again and am on the verge of accepting that I will never make things any better. And that's a depressing thought.

I guess what I'm saying is that my ability to make 'bad' choices is stronger than my desire to improve my health. I feel really sad typing that as it sounds as if I have no control over my own life and lifestyle choices.

It's not only with food that I manage to make 'bad' choices either. Every day I wake up full of good intentions for writing. I fully intend to turn the TV off and the laptop on, to be productive and creative. And most days I leave the TV on and waste hours watching junk daytime TV, the laptop left cold in its case and my stories remain unwritten and untold. Again, I sabotage my efforts by making a 'bad' choice.

So what should I do? How do I break this cycle? I'm not sure, I really don't know if I can. Perhaps it's just part of my DNA or personality and I have to accept that. Maybe there is a way out, I'm not sure. I know that I can't keep sabotaging my efforts and feel good about it. I need to find a way that works for me, a way to make the 'right' choices, the 'good' choice for me.

And that's what I have to do now, to start making 'good' choices. I'm not sure how I'll do it, after all I have many years of self sabotage experience behind me and it won't be easy changing the habits of an adult lifetime. But I want to do it and that's got to be positive, hasn't it? Wish me luck ...

Thursday, 10 May 2018

What to do when a book recommendation isn't doing it for me.

I'm very lucky to have many good friends who recommend books for me to read. Some are even kind enough to pass books on when they've finished reading them. And sometimes I have found a real gem this way.

But what do I do when someone sends a book that they've loved but that leaves me cold?

It seems mean to discard the book. After all it was given with love and good intentions. But as I get older I'm less tolerant of spending time on things that don't bring me joy. And life is too short to spend it reading books that I don't enjoy. I'm also less bothered by stopping a book that isn't doing it for me. I used to think that I had to finish every book I started, even the real stinkers. I prided myself that I had only abandoned one book - Captain Corelli's Mandolin, I'm looking at you! Now I will put a book down and walk away if it isn't speaking to me. After all there are so many books to read and so little time.

But what do I tell the giver of the gift? Do I confess that the book wasn't for me? Or do I spare their feelings and say it was OK?

At the moment I'm struggling with a book that just isn't doing it for me. I find the writing clunky and it's grating on me as I read. I'm only a few pages in so I'll give it a little longer but if I don't get gripped soon I'll have to leave it. It's only fair to all the other book cluttering my desk, table, chest of drawers etc.

Sometimes, something has to give. And it's sometimes a disappointing book.