spotting the loopholes

You may have come across Gretchen Rubin, who wrote ‘The Happiness Project’ and ‘Happier at Home’. She is currently writing another book, Before and After, on habit formation.

She’s posted a series here about loopholes:

When we’re trying to form and keep habits, we often search — even unconsciously — for loopholes. We look for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation. However, if we recognize this behavior, if we can catch ourselves in the act of loophole-seeking, we can perhaps avoid employing the loophole, and improve our chances of keeping the habit.

I think the loophole I employ most often is the false choice loophole. “I don’t have time to do x because I have to do y.” when in fact they are not mutually exclusive at all. usually x is something less fun. or uncomfortable. if I name it as that I am better informed and better placed to make the right decision for me.

being honest with ourselves is difficult because we have been self-deceiving for a really long time. it can be hard to spot the loopholes we create for ourselves, even when they are high up in a blue sky and painted red. today, I plan to listen more carefully to myself. to hear what I am really saying.