The Ohio State University Financial Code of Ethics (bear with me) starts with the following paragraph:
Financial ethics is a fundamental and vital principle based on the expectations of individuals to do their best to distinguish between right and wrong and to always try to do what is right. Ethical behavior is not simply a matter of character. It is a matter of decision making, and ethics are advanced or depleted one decision at a time. Every individual is capable of making choices and is accountable for the consequences of those choices.
For some reason, I love this concept. Advanced or depleted one decision at a time. It’s a phrase I turn to time and time again, in a wide range of circumstances. It can get me out of the door to running club on a cold night after a rotten commute (going running gets me one step closer to my marathon goal). It can bolster my will-power in the face of chocolate and cream cakes (not eating this one now gets me one step closer to my pre-marathon weight-loss goal).
But it’s also forgiving. Missing that session or eating that cake are not catastrophes, but small detours which can be recovered from. Because if I’ve depleted my fitness goal today, tomorrow I can advance it. One decision at a time.