10 Loopholes - Do You Break Your Good Habits?
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âDo You Break Your Good Habits? Avoid These Loopholesâ âDo You Break Your Good Habits? Avoid These Loopholes.â 1.Â False Choice Loophole âI canât do this, because Iâm so busy doing that.â (This is one I often use, myself). I pose two activities in opposition, as though I have to make an either/or decision, when in fact, the two arenât necessarily in conflict. I remind myself that whenever Iâm inclined to think âCan I have thisÂ orÂ that?â I should stop and ask, âCan I have thisÂ andÂ that?â Itâs surprising how often thatâs possible. Is the habit that I want to foster really in conflict with my other values? Usually, if Iâm honest with myself, itâs not. 2.Â Moral Licensing LoopholeÂ We give ourselves permission to do something âbadâ (eat potato chips, bust the budget) because weâve been âgood.â We reason that weâve earned it or deserve it, or that some âgoodâ behavior has offset something âbad.â 3.Â Tomorrow Loophole This loophole depends on âtomorrow logic.âÂ NowÂ doesnât matter much, because weâre going to follow good habitsÂ tomorrow. Tomorrow logic undermines good habits by making it easy to deny that our actions clash with our intentions. TODAY TOMORROW 4.Â Lack of Control Loophole âI canât help myself.â This is aÂ veryÂ loophole. We argue that we donât have control over the situation, and circumstances have forced us to break a habit. However, usually we have more control than we admit. 5.Â Planning to Fail Loophole Itâs odd. When it comes to keeping our good habits, instead of fleeing temptation, we often arrange to succumb. In what Dr. Alan MarlattÂ dubbed âapparently irrelevant decisions,â we make a chain of seemingly insignificant decisions that allow us covertly to engineer the very circumstances that weâll find irresistible. 6.Â âThis Doesnât Countâ LoopholeÂ âIâm on vacation,â âIâm sick,â âItâs the weekend.â We tell ourselves that for some reason, this circumstance doesnât âcountâ â but in fact, while we can always mindfully choose to make an exception to our habits, there are no magical freebies, no going off the grid, no get-out-of-jail-free cards, nothing that stays in Vegas. 7.Â Questionable Assumption Loophole A very popular loophole! Consciously or unconsciously, we make assumptions that influence our habitsâ and often, not for the better. They often become less convincing under close scrutiny.Â 8.Â Concern for Others Loophole âI canât do this because it might make other people uncomfortable.â We often use the loophole of telling ourselves that weâre acting out of consideration for others and making generous, unselfish decisions. Or, more strategically, we decide we must do something in order to fit in to a social situation. Maybe we do -- and maybe we donât. 9.Â Fake Self-Actualization LoopholeÂ âYou only live once! Embrace the moment!â This loopholeÂ comes in the disguise as an embrace of life or an acceptance of self, so that the failure to pursue a habit seems life-affirmingâalmost spiritual. But for most of us, the real aim isnât to enjoy a few pleasures right now, but to build habits that will make us happy over the long term. Sometimes, that means giving up something in the present, or demanding more from ourselves. 10.Â One-Coin Loophole âWhat difference does it make if I break my habit this one time?â This is the most insidious of loopholes -- insidious because itâsÂ absolutely true. This loophole gets its name from âthe argument of the growing heap,â which I learned about in ErasmusâsÂ Praise of Folly.Â According to a footnote, the argument of the growing heap is: âIf ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.â What loophole do you invoke most often, to get yourself out of a habit that youâre trying to keep? Download My Free Habits Manifesto Learn more tips for a happier life and healthier habits at GretchenRubin.com SIGN UP HERE