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Easy Choices Hard Life, Hard Choices the Best Life

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I often tell my kids (usually to no avail) to make the right decisions now so their options are greater later on in life.  I use the analogy of a tree with good decisions being branches on the tree.  The more good decisions made will lead to more branches providing more options later on in life. Certainly, the opposite needs to be said just as strongly – easy choices hard life – where the easy choices are continually playing video games and drinking soda.  To illustrate, the quote from Jerzy Gregorek, the weightlifter and author of “The Happy Body”, amounts to the same message.



Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.

— Jerzy Gregorek


As a guy in his 50s this message holds more significance than you think as we already face a battle with aging and all that that involves.  This article tackles the importance of confronting hard choices head-on, despite the allure of immediate gratification. By prioritizing long-term well-being over short-term comfort, you can pave the way for a more fulfilling, healthier future.


The Consequences: Easy Choices, Hard Life

Making easy choices may seem appealing, especially as we get older.  For example, choosing convenience, comfort, and quick satisfaction can lead to a cycle of short-term gratification to the detriment of long-term well-being. For a man in his 50s, such decisions can exacerbate health issues, leading to increased stress, heightened risk of chronic diseases, and compromised mental health.


  • Immediate Gratification vs. Long-Term Effects

Easy choices like not exercising regularly, eating unhealthy food, or avoiding social interactions might provide immediate comfort but can result in long-term issues in health. These decisions can increase the aging process, reduce quality of life, and increase the chances of age-related illnesses


  • The Impact on Mental Health

Aside from physical health, the appeal of easy choices can also impact mental and emotional wellness. For example, research shows that consistent stress and lack of engaging activities can lead to changes in the brain affecting memory, decision-making, and mood [1][2]. The National Institute on Aging shows that long-term stress, often made worse by easy, avoidable choices, may help worsen various health problems, including cognitive decline, digestive issues, and sleep disorders [3]​​.


Ice cream sundae - easy choices hard life


  • Social and Lifestyle Repercussions

The multiplying effects of easy choices extend to social interactions and quality of life. Doing less challenging activities by yourself can lead to loneliness and social isolation as well as health problems such as depression and heart disease [4]. Furthermore, a lifestyle lacking challenge and growth can lead to feelings of regret [5].



The Power of Hard Choices

Making difficult decisions is necessary for growth and improvement. This applies more so for men over 50 who want to regain their vitality and well-being. Making hard choices may be difficult but can make a huge difference in your life.


  • Building Resilience and Confidence

Choosing the difficult path requires addressing fears, uncertainties, and discomfort. However doing so is important to building resilience, as it forces people to face difficult situations head on. By overcoming obstacles, you improve your self-confidence and develop a stronger sense of personal achievement. Regular decisions that lead to self-improvement builds a mindset geared towards conquering rather than avoiding life’s challenges [6][7].


  • Long-Term Rewards

Committing to tough decisions often leads to long-term benefits that greatly outweigh the comfort of easy choices. SMART Goals lead to higher performance and fulfillment. By setting and pursuing challenging goals, you build upon your capabilities which allow you to reach for and achieve more difficult goals. This increases your self confidence and improves your quality of life​​​ [8]​.


Coping Skills for Handling Life’s Hard Choices

Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes it puts obstacles in our way forcing us to make difficult uncomfortable decisions.  These decisions can transform every aspect of our lives including career, relationship or health. Such choices should involve careful thought.


  • Evaluate Long-term Benefits vs. Immediate Gains

Focus not only on the present but on the long-term outcomes of your decisions. Delaying gratification by focusing on future benefits over short-term comforts can lead to more rewarding results in the long run​​


  • Balance ‘Head’ and ‘Heart’ Decisions

Decisions should balance logic (‘head choices’) and emotion (‘heart choices’). While choices involving emotion provide short term satisfaction, logical decisions tend to consider long-term goals and benefits. The best decisions consider both dimensions​​.


  • Assess Your Ability to Handle Disappointment

Think about the future outcomes of your decisions. Consider whether you can handle the worst-case scenario and if you would be able to bounce back from the negative consequences of your decision. This approach helps you make choices that align with your resilience and coping skills​​.


  • Problem-Solving and Embracing Values

Look at decisions by reflecting on your core values and understanding how they relate to the situation in front of you. Decisions should involve a strong consideration of these values compared to the impact of a decision. Recognize you will feel uneasy when it comes to difficult decisions but this is part of personal growth.


Practical Examples and Strategies

Sometimes a hard life is a consequence of making a number of choices that lead to failure. While no one wants failure we do value the opportunity to learn from our failures.  A hard life can be followed by an easy life based on making a number of poor choices and learning from them followed by a series of good (hard) choices.


  • From Easy to Hard

The following people demonstrate the transition of going from a hard life from making easy (or bad) choices to a better life by making hard choices.


Tony Robbins: Robbins was broke, working as a janitor barely making $40 a week. He decided he didn’t want to live that way any longer.  He went from being poor, doing his dishes in his bathtub to empowering others to take control of their lives.


Robert Downey Jr.: Downey struggled with substance abuse and lifestyle choices that led to multiple arrests and stints in rehab. He eventually made the decision to overcome his addiction, seek help, and commit to sobriety to became one of the highest-paid and most respected actors in Hollywood.


Mike Tyson: Tyson rose to fame and fortune but faced a number of personal and legal troubles due to his involvement in criminal activities, substance abuse, and erratic behavior. He made the hard decision to confront his demons, seek rehabilitation for his addictions, and rebuild his life transforming himself into a respected figure in the boxing world and acting.


  • Strategies for Making Hard Choices

Understanding and Altering Current Habits

Begin by reviewing your current habits, understanding their triggers (cues), routines, and rewards. For example, stress might trigger unhealthy habits like overeating. Recognizing these patterns is the first step in creating change by creating habits that support your hard choices.  See 12 Micro Habits to Improve Your Life and Regain your Edge and Keystone Habits: Unlock the Power of the Ordinary to learn how to make habits support your hard choices.


Positive Self Talk

Change your mindset by using positive self-talk, reminding yourself of your successes and capabilities. Use positive self talk to reinforce your choices. To change your lifestyle in any way, you  need to commit and be consistent [9].


Cope Ahead with Stressful Situations

Use Dialectical Behavior Therapy‘s cope-ahead strategy by preparing for anticipated stressful events. See yourself effectively managing the situation and rehearse coping mechanisms to reduce anxiety when faced with the actual scenario [10] .


Maintaining a Balanced Perspective

Maintaining a balanced perspective is important when dealing with a myriad of life’s complexities. A balanced perspective helps manage stress, helps weigh the importance of the immediate, and improves overall well-being.


  • Easy Life vs Hard Life

The option of “hard life” vs. “easy life” is a bit of a misnomer.  The idea that if you make only the difficult decisions in life your life will end up being easy is unrealistic. Life is unpredictable. Regardless of how successful you are, “shit” just happens.  Rather than aim for the “easy life” you should aim for the most optimal or best life possible.


  • The Role of Support Systems

Hard decisions aren’t often made in a vacuum.  They usually involve other people.  Even the most basic decision to eat healthier, for example, will involve your family members. Having people around you who can support your decisions help ensure you have greater success in reaching the best outcome. Similarly, having someone let you know if your decisions aren’t the best will help keep you on the right path.



Embracing the mantra “Easy Choices, Hard Life; Hard Choices, the Best Life” can serve as a powerful reminder of the impact our decisions have on our life, particularly for men over 50 who have lived the consequences of both types of decisions.


While the path of least resistance may seem appealing, the long-term consequences of easy choices can be dire. Health, happiness and one’s ability to regain their edge follow from balancing short term needs with long term goals. In fact, opting for more challenging, lifestyle choices today will pave the way for a more rewarding tomorrow​​.

Check out 5 Simple Ways to Smooth Life’s Ups and Downs.

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the support and guidance of your physician when you are unsure about any health issues.

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Daily Tip

Alcohol? Red Wine is the Better Choice

Pouring a glass of red wineChoose red wine when drinking alcohol for a number of health benefits. First, it contains antioxidants like resveratrol, which support heart health by improving cholesterol levels and blood flow. Additionally, it can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that boost overall health. Plus, moderate consumption of it may help improve gut health and support longevity. With these benefits, it stands out as a healthier option compared to other alcoholic beverages. So, next time you want to drink alcohol, choose red wine for its health benefits.

Check out Easy Choices Hard Life, Hard Choices the Best Life.

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