Goal Sabotaging Loophole #7 Questionable Assumption

In the previous post of this 10 part series we looked at the This Doesn’t Count Loophole, and today we’re looking at loophole #7, the Questionable Assumption Loophole.

We often make assumptions that dictate our actions- whether we’re aware of it or not – and often end up derailing good habits. Like the majority of the loopholes, they seem reasonable at a glance, yet when we really stop and think about them, don’t hold much truth. Here are a few examples:

“I’m at a concert so I have to have a beer.”
“On Saturday morning we have to have an indulgent breakfast.”
“I have a call in 2 hours, I can’t start a new project until after that.”
“I only have time for a 20 minute run, it’s not really worth it unless it’s at least 45 minutes.”
“This is a famous bakery, I have to get more than coffee.”
“These cookies are Gluten Free, so I can have more since they’re probably healthy.”
“I should wait until Spring Cleaning season to really deep clean.”

Any of these sound familiar? Some of these notions you likely created years ago, and don’t realize they aren’t a fact of life until you break them down. Maybe you have created such a solid healthy habit, you think you can ease off. You have been getting 8 hours of sleep for months and going to bed at a decent hour became routine and easy, so you stop setting your bedtime alarm and inch closer and closer to midnight, still seeing yourself as someone who goes to bed on time.

We quickly regress from our healthy habits after becoming complacent, and making these questionable assumptions chips away at the habits we’ve built.

What questionable assumption have you held onto for years?

Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation.

Goal Sabotaging Loophole #6 This Doesn’t Count Loophole

After the Planning to Fail Loophole, we’re halfway into the Goal Sabotaging Loophole series, and onto the 6th Loophole; the The Doesn’t Count Loophole.

A funny quote I saw summed up this idea; Calories shouldn’t count when the food doesn’t taste as good as you expected. It’s common to brush things off as not counting, and that’s just the problem; we can nearly always find a reason that our unhealthy habits simply “don’t count”.

It’s my birthday.
I’m traveling.
I’m pregnant.
I only had a few bites.
I’m so tired.
I did a really hard workout.
I’m so stressed I just don’t have time.

The list goes on and on. The truth is; everything counts. Despite what I truly wish were true, the nutritional content of a piece of cake is the same on your birthday as it is any other day of the year. Broken cookies are still cookies, and whether you’re tired or not, in the end you didn’t go to Zumba.

The truth is; everything counts. Click To Tweet

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t enjoy an indulgent meal on vacation, or skip your birthday cake, but recognize it as a treat and factor that into your daily choices as you normally would.

What do you say “doesn’t count” and how does that effect your choices?

More fun question: What do you wish didn’t count?

HIIT Cardio Circuit

Didn’t have time to workout today? No problem! While dinner’s cooking or as your favorite show starts, clear a little space and knock out this HIIT cardio workout in under 10 minutes and get your endorphins flowing!

Goal Sabotaging Loophole #5 Planning to Fail

My last post covered the Lack of Control Loophole, and today we’re exploring Loophole #5, the Planning to Fail Loophole.

I’ve talked before about how planning to fail can help you reach your goals by having a back up plan for when you hit a roadblock. However, there is another side to this concept of planning to fail, closely tied to the aforementioned Lack of Control Loophole.

Planning to fail essentially means you’re setting yourself up for failure.

“I’ve been hitting my portion control and no fast food goals, but we’re going on a cruise next week so all bets are off!”

“I’m taking the dog on a long walk, so I just have to walk by my favorite bakery.”

“I need to get some work done, but, sure, I can meet your for one drink before I start.”

You’re setting yourself up for an unnecessary challenge, often with no real expectation of sticking to your goal habits. I am constantly working with clients on how to eliminate elements in their routine that make it harder for them to stay on track; from not keeping trigger foods in the house, to having a gym bag in the car so they’re prepared for a workout.

Think about the plans you make with an ulterior motive. Those times you undermine your goals by putting yourself in situations you assume you will fail. What if you didn’t so readily accept failing? What if instead you focused on how to avoid or overcome the temptation?

In the above examples – going on a cruise, walking past an irresistible bakery, meeting a friend before you start working – you could take an alternate approach. You can go on vacation, but does it have to be a cruise? By all means go on a long walk, but take a different route. Meet a friend after you check at least one thing off your to-do list, or meet them at a coffee shop where you can bring your work with you.

Don't stand in your own way. Stop accepting failure before it happens. You are in charge of you. Click To Tweet

Don’t stand in your own way. Stop accepting failure before it happens. You are in charge of your actions.

Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation.

Goal Sabotaging Loophole #4 Lack of Control Loophole

Last time we went over the Tomorrow Loophole, which brings us to #4, the Lack of Control Loophole.

Much like the mindset found in the False Choice Loophole, we readily create excuses for not maintaining our goal habits that put the blame on others. Let’s look at some examples that invoke the Lack of Control Loophole:

“I’d love to get more exercise, but it’s been too cold/hot”
“I’m not a morning person, and that’s the only time I could workout”
“My schedule is too sporadic to have any routine”
“I can’t afford to eat healthy”
“I’m just addicted to sugar!”
“It was all-you-can-eat, who can eat a normal portion at those?”
“I don’t like the new kickboxing instructor so I stopped going”

On the surface, some of these statements hold some weight. Working out in the morning isn’t easy for a lot of people, for example, and sugar is a hard thing to cut out.

However, you are still the one in control of your actions. If you really want to do something, you get creative; where there’s a will, there’s a way.

This loophole isn’t always easy to recognize, so try taking a double take when you give yourself – or someone else – a reason you can’t start that heathy habit, or can’t stop an unhealthy one.

Here are a few examples of times I have personally witnessed the Lack of Control Loophole, and how it was remedied:

My mom’s hip was bothering her when she walked for long periods of time which happened to be her go-to form of enjoyable exercise. The cure was laying off it but no timeline was given. It’d be easy to say, “I can’t aggravate my hip, I’ll workout when it’s better”. However, she adapted and found a way to workout that wouldn’t set her back. She now does the recumbent bike and listens to podcasts to entertain her since she’s not outside with moving scenery, and she really enjoys it now!

My husband loves riding his bike when it’s nice out, but in Chicago there are a lot of months it’s not only uncomfortable to bike to work, but dangerous with the ice and snow. He knows he won’t go to the gym, so he got a trainer to put his bike on at home and now can watch TV while getting the workout in that he enjoys without changing his whole routine.

A friend was in crunch time for a test, and felt any extra time for herself should be spent on studying. Instead of foregoing the gym, she brought the text book to the gym and did the bike or elliptical (so her head wasn’t bobbing too much!) and sometimes brought flashcards. The movement actually helped keep her calm and focused while studying, all while keeping her exercise habit strong!

Photo Cred: Shape Magazine

There will always be situations where you’ll have to work harder to stick to your goals, but despite what you tell yourself, you have more control than you think. You also know yourself best. If it’s super hard for you to limit yourself when it comes to chips or ice cream, do not keep these things in the house!

Set yourself up for success by putting yourself in the drivers seat. This may mean getting up earlier, trying different classes until you find the instructor you like, having the waitress not put the basket of chips on the table. Be honest with yourself, and your goals, and bust your excuses by taking control!

Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation.

Goal Sabotaging Loophole #3 The Tomorrow Loophole

If you haven’t read the first two, take a moment to check out the False Choice Loophole, and the Moral Licensing Loophole.

The next loophole in this series is the Tomorrow Loophole, an all time favorite for procrastinators. Still, the Tomorrow Loophole isn’t limited to, “I’ll start going to the gym tomorrow”, but also includes making up for our actions tomorrow, “It’s OK if I buy these expensive shoes today, because I just won’t buy myself anything the rest of the week”.

We also tend to think of our future selves as this person who will no longer be tempted by our food cravings. Someone who suddenly enjoys going to the gym for a tough workout. Someone who resists splurging on a new jacket.

What do you think will magically happen when you wake up tomorrow? The truth is, we’re going to face the exact same struggles the next day, the next week, the next month.

Some people even fool themselves into thinking that extreme indulgence now will give them more self-control when the magic future day arrives. But eating a giant bowl of ice cream today doesn’t make it any easier to resist tomorrow, and spending an entire day watching TV doesn’t make a person feel more like working the next morning. – Gretchen Rubin

It doesn’t help, or make any difference for that matter, to justify your indulgences and unhealthy habits with the thought of doing it “tomorrow”. This is procrastination plain and simple. What if you instead told yourself, “I will workout today so it will be easier to workout tomorrow.” or, “I will not have a glass of wine and dessert so I will feel great in the morning.” and, “I will only buy what I came for so I can save for a vacation next month.”?

Look to your future self as someone benefiting from your actions today, not someone who is paying for your actions today.

Make your future self benefit from your actions today, not pay for your actions today. Click To Tweet

What do you routinely promise yourself you’ll do or not do tomorrow? How can you start doing your goal actions today instead?

Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation.

Goal Sabotaging Loophole #2 Moral Licensing Loophole

In the first post of this 10 part series, I laid out 10 common loopholes – or, justifications – we routinely use to brush off healthy habits, which end up sabotaging our goals. We looked at the first loophole; the False Choice Loophole, to recognize the times we inaccurately think a healthy/goal habit is mutually exclusive with another event or action when, in reality, there’s usually a way to fit both priorities into your life. (If you haven’t read part 1, it’s quick and worth your while! Do so here.)

Next up, the Moral Licensing Loophole.

Moral Licensing Loophole

If you’ve never used this loophole, please email me because you must be a unicorn. Moral licensing may sound highly sophisticated, but it can look like this: “I had a healthy breakfast, so I can have fries and a burger for lunch.” or, “I had such a rough day at work, I deserve a glass of wine”, and maybe, “I’ll push myself harder at bootcamp tomorrow morning so it’s fine if I don’t hit my step goal today”.

It’s ridiculous how off base our justifications can be! Having a rough day at work is hard, but it has nothing to do with having a glass of wine. It’s not that you can’t have that glass of wine, or a burger and fries, or an evening on the couch, but that is a separate choice from a rough day, a healthy breakfast, or future workout. The decision to break from your healthy habits is just that, a decision. Your actions don’t need to be justified or balanced by another action.

Ask yourself, will it get you to your goal or sabotage it, rather than trying to justify it Click To Tweet

Think about it; that burger and fries has the same calories and fat content whether you had a doughnut or oatmeal for breakfast. If you want to indulge at a meal, ask yourself if that is going to get you to your goal or sabotage your goal, rather than searching for how you can justify it.

What’s the last thing you invoked moral licensing to justify?

Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation.

Close The Loopholes That Are Keeping Your From Your Goals

We are amazing at finding loopholes (i.e. justification) to brush off healthy habits. In Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before, which I highly recommend, she addresses 10 loopholes we invoke that end up being roadblocks to reaching our goals. Maybe you use all of them at some point, or you could have a few go-to loopholes you use regularly. Either way, to maintain healthy habits, working on recognizing them as what they are and cutting them out by changing your mindset will help keep you on track.

In this 10 part series, I’m highlighting each loophole so you can more easily spot it when you start to use it, and not fall for your justifications so you can stay the course and reach your goals. Here are the 10 loopholes:

  1. False choice loophole
  2. Moral licensing loophole
  3. Tomorrow loophole
  4. Lack of control loophole
  5. Planning to fail loophole
  6. “This doesn’t count” loophole
  7. Questionable assumption loophole
  8. Concern for others loophole
  9. Fake self-actualization loophole
  10. One-coin loophole

False Choice Loophole

I’ve actually brought up the False Choice Loophole in a previous post, How to Handle Your Conflicting Goals, but in case you missed it I want to give a refresher.

An example of this loophole is when you want to get 7 hours of sleep, but also want to get up early to make a morning strength training class. Or, you want to cut out alcohol but don’t want to alienate friends when they invite you to happy hour or wine night. In other words, you have a goal action, but think another action makes it impossible to do; that they are mutually exclusive.

It's not that priorities never compete, rather there are ways to make both fit into your life. Click To Tweet

It’s not to say priorities in your life never compete, rather that there are ways to make both fit into your life if you give it some thought. It’s easy and comfortable to see a conflict and immediately make the easier choice (which is often the unhealthy habit!), but if you look at your schedule for areas you can create efficiency, you can most likely do what you want to do, while maintaining the habits you should do.

Here’s an example from my previous post:

You want to spend more time with your kid, but also want to get a homemade dinner on the table and you can’t find time for both. Making a grocery trip and cooking the thing you do with your kid is a way to combine these things. I can hear you groaning, “my child hates being dragged to the store!” What about when you’re choosing a recipe together? You’re now both working on a project together, deciding what to make, what you’ll need to buy, and they get a hands-on cooking lesson as you work together in the kitchen. Letting a 5-year-old prepare quinoa isn’t exactly feasible, but selecting a simpler recipe or having them be in charge of mixing ingredients together, certainly is.

This is a loophole I hear time and time again from clients, yet when we talk through the problem, they often arrive at a solution that satisfies both wants.

Over the next week, recognize times you’re choosing an action over your goal action and come up with a way to make both work. This could mean bending the “rules” for each; instead of going for a 5 mile easy paced run, you shorten your workout and add intervals so you have more time with your friends, but aren’t sacrificing a workout.

What creative solutions have you come up with to keep healthy habits strong?

Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation.

Fed Up With Body Shaming? Speak Up!

Body shaming is a hot button issue in the age of over-posting, -tweeting, -gramming, and -sharing. But, with as much as you hear the term, do you recognize it when it’s happening? And, when you do witness it, do you know how to react?

What Body Shaming Looks Like

Traditionally, we think of body shaming as the vocal outright criticism of another person’s body, but today body shaming takes many forms, including self-imposed shaming.

You may recognize it when it’s blatant, like when a friend notes that another girl, “really can’t pull of that dress with those arms”, but how about when you’re scrolling through your Instagram, see a #fitspiration pic and lament to your BFF how you will never have abs like that? Or, when your sister describes running into an old friend, saying, “I guess she’s not going to the gym like she used to!”

Celebrities are a target for this negative talk, getting backlash for their award show attire, not loosing baby weight fast enough, or loosing it too fast. Looking at the comments on practically any picture of a woman – celebrity or not – and learn just how harsh people can be to those they don’t even know!

For whatever reason, people feel they can comment on other women’s physical appearance, and we even compare ourselves – for better or worse – about things that are often out of our control but rather a result of our genes. Hearing, reading, and thinking these comments take their toll on our psyche, making it easier to believe these negative comments hold (excuse the pun) weight. We start to believe we should look a certain way, be a certain weight, have a specific physique, when in our logical mind we know it’s not actually true

How To Stop

Once you can identify body shaming when it’s happening – especially in not so obvious ways – now you’re ready to act. If you’re a quiet person like me, you’re thinking, “there is no way I’m hopping on a soap box!”. Relax, you don’t have to constantly and publicly blast offenders to have a positive effect and actively be anti-body shaming.

Let’s start with self body-shaming. You likely do this more than you realize, so when you have these negative thoughts about yourself, stop and confront them with what’s true. Here is a great post on how to deal with these thoughts and diminish the effect they have on your self-compassion and self-confidence.

Next, when you have a negative thought or utter something about someone else’s appearance, stop and try to pinpoint the root of these feelings. For example, you meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, and notice her arms are looking more muscular, and you later relay to your husband how, “she’s too buff, she hardly looks feminine anymore”. Could you be upset that she’s stuck to a strength training routine, something you’ve tried to do on and off? Are you jealous you can’t put muscle on that fast? Do you feel women shouldn’t have a certain amount of muscle? Why is that?

This may be a comfortable way to stop and check in with your own judgements and pressures you feel from social media, but speaking up when someone else is body-shaming takes a little more confidence. As we know, just because you don’t join in, staying silent isn’t helping, although literally walking away can send a strong message that you won’t participate.

We’re all used to the negative comments our friends say about themselves, only to set off a spurt of everyone else in the group pointing out their own flaws! Instead of joining in, say something you’re proud of, and it doesn’t have to be a physical trait. Simply stating, “I started running again and I already feel more energetic”, or, “I cut back on sugar and have been sleeping better.”

This doesn’t have to be done in a combative approach. Here are some examples of responses to common body-shaming statements:

Offer an alternate view
Shaming: “Her arms are manly.”
Anti-shame: “I would kill to have that muscle definition!”

Point out arbitrary societal standards
Shaming: “She would be pretty if she lose some weight.”
Anti-shame: “What does that have to do with being pretty? Who says she should weight less?”

Play devil’s advocate
Shaming: “She should lay off the dessert if she doesn’t want to be so fat.”
Anti-shame: “Maybe this is the first treat she’s had all month.”

Be direct and stop it
Shaming: “Did you see that dress Ashley was wearing? It’d look better a few sizes bigger!”
Anti-shame: “That’s rude, why would you talk about her like that?”

Don’t be a lemming
Shaming: “Let’s skip dessert, we don’t need the calories!”
Anti-shame: “I was looking forward to a sweet treat, anyone want to split?”

Show your confidence
Shaming: “You’re like me, we carry our weight in our hips.”
Anti-shaming: “I’ve always liked my curves!”

The more you confront body-shaming statements – whether with yourself, your friends, or strangers – the easier it will get, and the better responses you’ll have at the ready. When you feel you don’t need to say anything because you aren’t hurt by these comments – you’re confident enough to brush them off – think of those it deeply effects. Think of the younger girls growing up in a society where it’s OK to casually say hurtful meaningless comments. Do your part to point out when someone’s comments are rude, they honestly may not realize how uncalled for it is and how painful their words can be.

My favorite quote from Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, is that when she finds either herself or someone else comparing themselves to another woman she simply says, “great for her, not for me.”

Let’s be a little more like this!

If self-compassion is something you’d like to work on, join my 7 Days of Self-Compassion Challenge! You will receive a daily email with an exercise in self-compassion starting February 12th. Sign up here and give yourself a pat on the back!