How to Make Better Decisions With This One Simple Tool

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Have you ever heard the analogy that when you pick up one end of a stick you also pick up the other? I’ve heard this concept used to teach people how to make better decisions by helping them realize that choices have consequences. But it’s not actually very helpful or clear. 

The good news is, there’s a far better analogy that will help you evaluate your choices so you can make better ones. I call it the price tag tool, and today, I’m going to teach you how to use it to improve anything you want to about your life.

The Price Tag of Eating Sugar

“We’d better want the consequences of what we want!” — Neal Maxwell

I’ve recently started doing this quirky thing where I snooze inspiring emails for a week. Every time a snoozed email shows up at the top of my inbox again, I read it to reinforce whatever life-changing principle it teaches. Then I hit snooze again so I can keep being reminded of it.

The other week I saw a video on YouTube about what happens when you quit sugar and I thought I’d want to remember it. So I emailed the link to myself and when the email came in I snoozed it for the following week.

Now each week I see this email, watch the video, and get reminded why sugar isn’t worth it. 

At first, I was considering just trying to cut down my sugar intake based on what I’d learned. But then I thought about it a different way and asked myself this question:

“What is the price tag of sugar? What is it costing me to be able to eat it?”

I began a mental list of the costs of eating sugar based on the video I’d watched. I thought really deeply about whether this price tag was worth what I was getting from it. Here are some of the costs of eating sugar that really swayed me:

  • Fatigue
  • More hunger (which also means more hangry)
  • Mood issues

As I considered each of these I realized that the price tag of sugar isn’t worth it. I wanted to quit it at this point but didn’t feel that avoiding negative consequences was strong enough motivation. So I thought about the positive consequences of giving up sugar. I imagined the price tag of having all the opposites of what sugar was making me miss out on.

I learned that giving up sugar would, among other benefits:

  • Give me back my energy
  • Help me regulate my hunger (and hangriness) better
  • Improve my mood

In other words, the price tag for having energy, regulating hunger, and managing emotions better was quitting sugar.

Make Better Decisions by Evaluating the Price Tags of Your Choices

“Every action we take has consequences. I’ve found that… the person who can best judge the consequences of their actions will be the most successful.” ― Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: The Final Empire

Everything you choose has a consequence, whether you like it or not and no matter how conscious or unconscious those decisions are. By adding a little more intention to your decisions with the price tag tool, however, you’ll find that your life can improve a lot more rapidly than you think. 

I decided to give up sugar only a week ago and already I’m seeing major changes in my life. I’m hungry less often and less severely, I have way more energy than ever, and my wife confirmed that my mood is better. I’m paying the price and getting rewarded with positive consequences in return.

You can have this same turnaround in every area of your life by asking yourself what the price tags are of certain decisions in your life.

What’s the cost of staying up late? Eating out too often? Being selfish? Wasting time

What’s even better is that you can use this tool to evaluate what you need to pay to reach your goals. 

What’s the price tag of getting fit? Exercise, rest, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 

What’s the price tag of happy relationships? Selflessness, quality time, and loving others with actions as well as your heart.

What’s the price tag of a successful business or career? The patience to work years doing the basics so that you master them and create a reputation of excellence that gets you where you want to go. 

Everything in life has a price tag. Take the time to thoroughly evaluate the price tags of all your biggest decisions in every area of life. You’ll find that you have the clarity and motivation you need to easily make better decisions. And your life will get better immediately.