Often, the thing that keeps us from following through on habit change is ourselves. We can make justifications, excuses, and in the end, create “loopholes” so we can put it off or talk ourselves out of it altogether. Ready to break the cycle? Recognize what type of excuse you’re making to get at the real issue behind it. Gretchen Rubin recently published a series on the 10 different types of loopholes and how to spot them. Some examples of loopholes include:
“I’ll just check my email quickly before I go to the gym…oops, I don’t have time to go to the gym, after all,” or “I’m going to lie on the sofa so I can brainstorm ideas in comfort.” — Loophole-Spotting #5: Apparently Irrelevant Decisions
“I have to die of something,” or, “It’s too nice a day to spend doing this.” — Loophole-Spotting #9: the Fake Self-Actualization Loophole
While the general answer to this may seem obvious (just do it, already), the real answers come in the re-phrasing of the excuses and tricks Rubin gives to combat it. In the case of the last example, the Fake Self-Actualizations, she advises:
Here’s a test that can sometimes be useful: how do you feel about your exceptions later? Do you think, “I’m so happy I embraced the moment” or do you think, “Hmm…looking back on it, I wish I’d made a different decision”?
More Gretchen Rubin: The 4 Ways to Successfully Adopt New Habits.