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.

Published by Samantha Kellgren

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