Why do we do things we know we’ll regret?

“Sometimes, when Seth is gone, it’s just so relaxing. I can watch whatever I want on TV, I can eat cereal for dinner…”

“The #1 reason you look forward to your husband’s business trips is so you can eat cereal for dinner?”

“Kara, you know how much I love cereal!!”

Right she was.

Last night, I was talking to my college roommate + best friend Michelle. She is, in every meaning of the word, a cerealaholic (throw that term at Webster’s). I’ve definitely seen Michelle put down three boxes of cereal in one week. Impressive, yes; but she also ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Homegirl’s macro ratio must be heavily skewed in the carb direction.

There was a time when I would cut off a left limb for a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Or Honey Bunches of Oats—man, I would kill for Honey Bunches of Oats right now. There’s just one problem: If I buy it, I’ll eat the whole damn box in 36 hours.

When we do things we know are bad for us.

I consider myself a pretty self-aware girl: I know I hate biking so I’ve never tried Soul Cycle. I pay out of my ass in rent, because I know I’d be miserable in the suburbs. I don’t bother folding socks because I know they won’t match anyway.

Howeverrrrrrrr, I know I can put down a box of cereal in a day, but sometimes I say fuck it and buy it anyway. It’s a monthly ritual.

My last splurge was two weeks ago when I grabbed a box of Puffins at Trader Joes. [If you don’t know what Puffins are, they are the most delightful bite of peanut butter crunch you ever did see. Pour milk over those bad boys, and you have yourself a bowl of breakfast crack.]

I think the world is ending whenever I’m moderately hungry. On this particular day, I was starving before I even swiped my credit card at checkout. It’s a full mile walk from the store to my apartment, so I tore open my box of Puffins for the trek home.

With a quarter mile to go, for fear I’d finish the whole box before I arrived at my building, I threw the whole damn thing in the trash.

Why do we do the things we’ll regret? Who knows, and who cares.

Does it really matter why we do things we’ll regret? Does it matter why we drunk dial our ex, eat the whole pint of ice cream, or get sh*t faced on a Monday? Does it? Not really—because we are human beings. We are not invincible. And no matter how much we hate our bad decisions, we will continue to make them.

I can’t answer why we make poor choices, but I can help you get over it.

When I think about the things I’m good at, building resilience is my #1. Of all my life’s fuck-ups, not one has broken me down and kept me there. So here’s how to get over it:

When you slip up, forgive yourself for doing so and let your relapse stay in the past. Accept the things you cannot change, and you cannot change something that’s already taken place. All you can control are the things you are physically doing, and the things you will do in the future. So if you f’d up last night and called your ex boyfriend, sorry honey—there’s no going back. From this point forward, you need to put your energy into not picking up your phone when that dick calls back.

I know how hard it is to forgive yourself, but the only way to move forward is to tell yourself it’s all okay. By holding a grudge against your own actions, you are only giving power to that action. If you beat yourself up for devouring a cupcake, you’ll only feel less in control the next time you come face-to-face with the dessert bar.

Everyone screws up. Even the most straight-laced, annoyingly perfect prince/princess you know, screws up. Your job is not to punish yourself when you lose control—your job is to take that control back. What’s done is done, and by dwelling on it you are only bringing a past event into your present being. Your job is to leave whatever fuck-up you committed in the past where it belongs, and regain control of your future actions.

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For All the F Words
You have flaws. You f-up on a daily basis. And that should be ok.