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.
Fifth of ten loopholes: The Questionable Assumption Loophole. A very popular loophole! Consciously or unconsciously, we make assumptions that influence our habits—and often, not for the better. They often become less convincing under close scrutiny.
Dramatically changing my eating habits has allowed me to hit my goal weight, so now I can return to eating normally.
If I wait until I’m more in the mood to do it, I’ll do a better job.
It’s ridiculous to pay for a gym/a trainer/a home treadmill/a personal organizer/a financial advisor to help me with this behavior, when I could do it perfectly well for free on my own. (Especially if you’re an Obliger, forming those external systems of accountability are key.)
People who follow strict rules will inevitably fall off the wagon.
This will help me sleep.
If I indulge massively now, I’ll feel so disgusted with myself that it will be easy to be good.
Unless I can sweat for an hour, it’s not worth exercising.
I’ll just have a few bites. (A reasonable assumption for Moderators but not Abstainers.)
How about you? What are some questionable assumptions you’ve made?