Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin

My experiments in the pursuit of happiness and good habits


Video: “You Only Live Once,” “Life’s Too Short to Skip the Brownie,” and the Fake Self-Actualization Loophole.

September 24th, 2015

Episode 130 of 428 episodes

In my latest (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. 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. In Better Than Before, I describe all ten categories of loopholes; in this video series. I’ll describe them, one by one. Eighth of ten loopholes: the Fake Self-Actualization loophole. This loophole comes in the disguise as an embrace of life or an acceptance of self, so that the failure to pursue a habit seems life-affirming—almost spiritual. But for most of us, the real aim isn’t to enjoy a few pleasures right now, but to build habits that will make us happy ...

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