Tag Archives: Loophole-Spotting

Loophole-Spotting

We often use loopholes to justify breaking our good habits. A popular loophole is the Lack of Control Loophole. We argue that we don’t have control over the situation, and circumstances have forced us to break a habit. However, we usually have more control than we admit.

  • Someone brought bagels to the meeting, so I had to eat them.
  • Traffic always makes me late.
  • These chips have been specially engineered by the food industry to be irresistible. 
  • My kids take up all my time.
  • We opened a bottle of wine, so we have to finish it.

Sound familiar?

Loophole-Spotting

We often use loopholes to justify breaking our good habits. A popular loophole is the Planning to Fail Loophole. When it comes to keeping our good habits, instead of fleeing temptation, we often arrange to succumb. We make a chain of little decisions that allow us secretly to engineer the very circumstances that we’ll find irresistible. 

  • 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. 
  • I’m done eating for the tonight, but I’ll go into kitchen and look in the freezer. Just curious.
  • I’ll buy some cookies — not for me, but in case someone stops by.

Sound familiar? 

Loophole-Spotting

We often use loopholes to justify breaking our good habits. A popular loophole is the One-Coin Loophole. An ancient teach story asks, “Can one coin make a man rich?” You’d say no. But if you add one coin, then another, then another … a man becomes rich. In the same way, with habits, any one “coin” is insignificant, true, but we only develop good habits one “coin” at a time. 

  • I haven’t worked on that project for such a long time, there’s no point in working on it this morning. 
  • One beer won’t make a difference.
  • What difference does it make if I spend this afternoon at the library or at home on my couch? 
  • Why wear a helmet today? What are the chances that I’m in an accident today? 

Sound familiar?

Loophole-Spotting

We often use loopholes to justify breaking our good habits. A popular loophole is the False Self-Actualization Loophole. This loophole is disguised as an embrace of life or an acceptance of self. But for most of us, the real aim isn’t to enjoy a few pleasures right now, but to build habits that will make us happy over the long term. 

  • You only live once.
  • I love life too much to deprive myself of this. 
  • It’s too nice a day to spend doing this.
  • I’ll be sorry if I don’t at least try it.
  • This is special; I have to act now or miss out forever. 

Loophole-Spotting

We often use loopholes to justify breaking our good habits. A popular loophole is the False-Choice Loophole. We pose two activities in opposition, as though we have to make an either/or decision, when, in fact, the two aren’t necessarily in conflict. 
For instance: 

  • If I join that group, I won’t have any time with my children. 
  • I don’t have time to exercise; I’ve got too many emails to answer. 
  • If I go to sleep earlier, I won’t have any time to myself. 

Sound familiar?