Pros and Cons is a great skill for when you want to avoid engaging in a behavior that has been a problem in the past.
So, let’s say you’ve had a really, really bad day at work and your boyfriend says that he needs a break from your drama but promises that he will call you tomorrow morning.
Your old solution? Go to Aldi on your way home and buy a bottle of $2.99 wine.
What would a Pros and Cons skill look like for this situation?
First, let’s figure out the pros of tolerating the distress and not drinking an entire bottle of wine:
· You won’t feel physically sick tonight or in the morning
· You won’t be quite so tempted to do something you’ll regret later in the evening
· You’ll feel a little more in control
Second, what are cons of tolerating the distress and not drinking:
· You’ll have to figure out some other way to distract and self-soothe
· Whatever you choose may not be as effective as drinking
· You might want to engage in another destructive behavior if you choose not to drink
Next, figure out the pros of not tolerating the distress and drinking:
· It’s going to be very (and quickly!) effective in helping you distract from the fact that you had a bad day and that your boyfriend doesn’t want to deal with you tonight
Finally, come up with a list of cons of not tolerating the distress and drinking a bottle of wine:
· You’ve been making a lot of progress lately and it’s nice to feel in control of some behaviors
· You want to be in a good mood when your boyfriend calls tomorrow and if you drink, you probably won’t be feeling well in the morning
With the Pros and Cons skill, you’ll want to prepare your list before the urge hits to do something you might regret later. This is a great problem-solving skill that can help you to balance aspects of both acceptance and change in your life.
In the end, the decision to be skillful (or not so skillful) is yours.