In my new (bestselling) book, Better Than Before, I identify the twenty-one strategies of habit-formation, and one is the Strategy of Loophole-Spotting.
I’m doing a video series in which I discuss the ten categories of loopholes. I love studying loopholes because they’re so funny. And ingenious! We’re such great advocates for ourselves — in any situation, we can always think of some loophole to invoke.
Well, what is a “loophole?” When we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes, for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation. However, if we catch ourselves in the act of loophole-seeking, we can perhaps reject them.
Third of ten loopholes: the False Choice Loophole.
I have to admit, this is my personal favorite.
If I join that group, I won’t have any time with my daughters.
I haven’t been exercising. Too busy writing.
I don’t have time to work on my draft, I’ve got too many emails to answer.
If I go to sleep earlier, I won’t have any time to myself.
I’m so busy, I’ll make those appointments once things calm down.
Even outside the context of a habits, false choices often appear as a challenge to a happiness project.
I remind myself that whenever I’m inclined to think “Can I have this or that?” I should stop and ask, “Can I have this and that?” It’s surprising how often that’s possible. Is the habit that I want to foster really in conflict with my other values? Usually, if I’m honest with myself, it’s not.
How about you? Do you find yourself invoking the false choice loophole?