Do you ever say, “If only I hadn’t messed up”? Or “If only life were easier”? Or “If only I had made a different choice?” Or “If only I were more like so-and-so?”
So often we live in the land of “if only” and “I should have.” This is not a pleasant place to live.
Not only does this sap our energy and make us constantly discontent with life, it also keeps us from looking at our real-life options.
We spend so much energy thinking about what we should have done or what we wish life were like, that we have no energy left over to stop and think, “Okay, I can’t change reality, but what can I do?” And is what I’m currently doing, working?
If you struggle with regret and if only, an option chart will help you renew your mind. Since this is kind of a hard tool to describe, I’m going to try to be a real techy person and explain it in a recording.
Since this is the first time I’ve ever tried to put a recording on my blog and I’m not a techy person by any stretch of the imagination, let’s use my own trial today for example. First I’ll truth journal and then I’ll make an option chart.
Beliefs: 1. I can’t believe this is so hard. 2. If only I were more of a techy person. 3. Maybe I should do this later. 4. Or use a different example. This isn’t a very good example. 5. Maybe I should skip it altogether since it will be so hard to figure out. 6. Besides, I probably won’t be able to figure it out anyway.
Truths: 1. This is not surprising! Most techy things are hard in the beginning for me. Why should this be any different? 2. But I’m not, so I might as well accept it. God can use this struggle for good in my life. 3. I have been saying that for almost two years now. I could say that ’til the day I die. Let’s just get it over with. 4. Oh well. If I go for perfection, I’ll never get it done. Let’s just do this. 5. No, Barb. You want to do it. Get it done! 6. I bet I will!
Truthfully, just truth journaling would probably have been enough to make myself do this, but since this is supposed to be a post about option charts, I better continue on! Here are the steps to making an option chart:
- Put in the column headings. List what you want in the column headings. In this case I want a recording on my blog, but I also want an easy life. I also want a close relationship with God, so when I’m making my own option charts, I always include a “Relationship with God” column. But because I can’t fit three columns in the blog format and my main purpose of this post is to show you how to make an option chart, I’ll leave the “Relationship with God” column out of it.
- List what you really want: In this case, what I really want is for it to be EASY to put a recording on my blog.
- Cross out that option if it’s not a real-world option and write “NOT AN OPTION!!!” in huge bold letters to drill it into your head that this is not a real-life option so you might as well stop thinking about it!
- List some real world options. Try to include the ones you’ve been using.
- Evaluate each option by placing up and down arrows. Up if they’ll get you what you want. Down if it won’t.
A recording on my blog
The Fun & Easy Life
|Give up: Just say, “I’m never going to put a recording on my blog because it’s too hard.”|
|Keep planning to do it but never get around to it.|
|Beat myself up because I’m such an inept person.|
|Try to do it, but demand perfection!!|
|Accept the fact that 1) this won’t be easy and 2) it may not be very good. Remember that life is about God and that 1) I should be willing to sacrifice for Him and 2) I don’t need a perfect recording because God loves me no matter what so that even if everyone in the world says, “Barb, this is a terrible recording!” God will say, “Who cares? Life isn’t about perfect recordings!”|
If you’d like to listen to my explanation of these charts, click on the play button at the top of this blog or below. The recording is 3 minutes 47 seconds in length, and surprisingly–after procrastinating this project forever–it took about 25 minutes to figure out and do!
What I always find when I do option charts—and you can do these for all areas of your life—is that I regularly do those middle options—the ones with all the down arrows. When I see what those options are doing to the rest of my life, it opens up my eyes to how crazy I’m being.
The option chart is a great way to renew your mind, especially if you’re dealing with regret or wishing life could be different. If you’d like to give it a try, click on this link for a blank option chart, or just draw your own in your journal: Option Chart.
Note: This wouldn’t really be a renewing of the mind (looking at life from a biblical perspective) experience unless you had a “relationship with God” column. I have a full explanation of the process with a relationship with God column in Freedom from Emotional Eating.
Update: Here is another post with a relationship with God column: Christian Weight Loss: Is Fun and Easy Possible?