Habit Loopholes

Last December I took the Design Your Habits: A Hands-On Introduction to Behavior Design course on Skillshare. This is a great short course and I recommend you check it, although it is no longer free, at least for me.

It helped me refresh the classic habits stuff like Habit Loop, tiny actions etc. But a new thing I learned in this class is the Habit Loopholes proposed by Gretchen Rubin of Happiness Project.

A loophole is an another term for excuse. So here are the 6 loopholes she says prevents us from doing our habits.

1. Moral Licensing Loophole
I have been so good. It’s okay for me to do X.
I saved so much by not buying X so I deserve to buy Y.

Danger: The reward for doing your habit is you get to not do it. Messes up habit by training brain that habit is painful.

2. Lack of Control Loophole
My kids/spouse/dog is taking up all my time.
The dog ate my homework.
I am too stressed to deal with this right now.

3. Planning to Fail Loophole.
Oh look, I forgot my workout shoes/shorts today.

4. This Doesn’t Count Loophole
Tries to create a special exception to your commitment.
Classic example: I am on vacation.

5. The Questionable Assumption Loophole.
Operates on an assumption when examined closely, is not a valid assumption at all.
I can’t work until my office is clean

6. Fake Self Actualisation Loophole
Tells you to cast off your responsibilities because life is short.

7. One Coin Loophole
What difference will one day make?
One beer won’t make a difference.

I think being aware of these loopholes is important because as someone said, with better awareness we make better choices. With better choices come better results.

Published by Chaitanya

I am a family man, perpetual learner, coffee drinker, dessert eater and Happiness Engineer at Automattic. I also read, write, move, and meditate.

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