Every decision or choice we make results in a consequence. Now that can be a good or a bad consequence. If our choice results in a good consequence we get rewards, and if our choice that we make results in a bad consequence then the results can vary. It may be a punishment, or a bad feeling within ourselves or a loss of a privilege. Just to take the time to examine the possible results will help us many times to make a decision that we will be pleased with in the long run.
If we choose to work hard in school or at an activity, this will result in us feeling good about ourselves and some form of success in that activity. We may improve in a skill, better our grades in a class, be chosen to help others. If we choose to give our time or money to a charity, this will result in our feeling good about being of help and we may see the results of our efforts. For instance recently I heard of an organization called Shelter Box. This is a box that is sent to disaster areas like Haiti and in the box is a tent for ten people and all sorts of supplies needed for living including 6 months supply of water purification tablets. This organization allows you to track the box that you contributed toward so you can follow where it has been sent and is being used.
If on the other hand we choose to lie to our parents, workmates, spouse or if we choose to cheat or steal in some manner then we will most likely be found out and will suffer some form of punishment. But lets say for some reason we are not found out and not punished in a public way. The hurt and damage done to ourselves, the way we feel about ourselves is long lasting. Every time we make a choice like that we damage our ability to be true to ourselves and others.
So how do we make good choices and practice self control? One way is to get into the habit of asking ourselves 3 questions: (1) Is the choice I make going to work? (2) Is this a safe solution? (3) Is this fair to myself and to others? Then evaluate them as compared to all the options and make a choice – not just doing the first thing that pops into our head!