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8pm Friday evening—I’ve just finished dinner and haven’t gone on my 30-minute walk for the day, yet. Luckily, it’s nearing the end of April, and the sun is only just setting. I grab my torch and keys, put on my boots, and head out the door.

There is a walking track immediately outside my front door that eventually leads to a pub—it’s 15 minutes there and 15 minutes back. Friday night is often the time we decide to treat ourselves – the end of the week has arrived, and we have a couple of days off. So, I was set on stopping at the pub for a quick pint before turning around and heading home.

While on the way, I thought about how this could be a great test of restraint. What if I just got to the wall before the pub, tapped it (as I often do during the week) and walked back? How rewarding would drinking a pint alone in a busy pub really be?

In the two thousand or so steps I took to get there, I lightly fought my juxtaposed thoughts of immediate gratification and my long-term goals of better health. Somehow, I had turned this walk into a battle between the person I have become and the person I once was.

My walk towards the pub now symbolised the journey we all take in life, filled with temptations. In those 15 minutes, I had genuinely not made a choice either way. It took until the last 10 seconds to make up my mind… I tapped the wall and walked home.

The decision to either enter the pub or tap the wall and return home encapsulates our constant fight between desire and discipline. Self-restraint is a victory for controlling our impulses. The act of self-discipline, even in small, everyday decisions, can have a profound impact on our overall character and growth.

More often than not – tap the wall.

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