Monday, February 24, 2014

Top Ten Loopholes For Trying To Feel Good About Slacking Off

It has been about two months since the New Year's Resolution rush.  This is the time people start slacking on the new habits they wanted to implement to improve their lives.  Let's face it, long term change is hard.  It is fun and exciting to try something new and tell everyone how you are making a big change. 

After the excitement and the lack of attention wear off, we are trying to upkeep this change without much fun and encouragement.  We may start to question why we decided to make a change in the first place.  We may look for excuses to take a little time off from the change.  We may even look for a new way to describe our true desire for slacking by labeling it as an embrace of life or an acceptance of self, so that our slacking seems life-affirming, almost spiritual. But for the part of you that really wanted to change, create something better and empower yourself, the real goal isn’t looking to slack off and enjoy a few pleasures right now.  Rather, you want to be strong enough to build habits that will make you happy over the long term. Sometimes, this may mean giving up something in the present or demanding a little more from ourselves. 

Here is a way to help you when you are getting weak. The excuses we use are called loopholes.  It is human nature to look for loopholes when we are trying to form and keep new habits.  We look 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 avoid employing the loophole, and improve our chances of keeping the habit.

Here are my favorite loopholes people use and guise it in the form of spirituality, happiness and common sense.
  1. "You only live once."
  2. "I love life too much to deprive myself of this."
  3. "I’ll be sorry if I don’t at least try it."
  4. "I should celebrate this special occasion."
  5. "This is special, I have to act now or miss out forever."
  6. "I live in the moment."
  7. "I want to embrace myself, just as I am." (We can still accept ourselves and expect more from ourselves)
  8. "I should do something nice for myself."
  9. "I don’t want to become rigid and obsessive about denying myself this."
  10. "If I don’t make any demands on myself, I’ll feel happier."
Now we all need an exception now and then.  You can stay in control by planning for an exception. For example, pick a time to indulge and just indulge at that time. Usually, loopholes are used in the heat of the moment.  Here’s a question to ask yourself at that moment, "how will I feel about my exceptions later?"  Later will I think, "looking back on it, I wish I’d made a different decision?”

Remember, being aware of the pattern is the first step to changing it.

Stay healthy & well,

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