Mental Loopholes

We listen to thoughts that end up as stories we tell ourselves over and over again. These stories sabotage our efforts to change.

Here are nine mental loopholes to be aware of that can send you down a wrong path.

Moral Licensing

You get to do something bad because you’ve done something good.

Example – “I exercised this morning, so I’ll have a mocha frappuccino for dessert.”

False Choice

You create a false “either-or” choice.

Example – “I’m so busy doing research that I don’t have time to sit down and eat a proper meal.”

Lack of Control

You tell yourself that your lack of control forces you to break your habit.

Example – “I was planning to eat without distraction but my favorite show came on.”

Arranging to Fail

You plan in a way that almost guarantees you’ll succumb to temptation.

Example – “I’ll buy a package of cookies to have on hand when my friend comes to visit.”

This Doesn’t Count

You tell yourself that your commitment doesn’t apply in a particular circumstance.

Example – “I’m on vacation, so I don’t have to worry about my trigger foods.”

Questionable Assumption

You make an assumption that negatively influences your habit.

Example – “I only have five minutes to meditate, so I might as well skip it since that’s not long enough to benefit me.”

Concern for Others

You tell yourself that concern for others forces you to break your habit.

Example – “It would be rude not to eat the dessert my mother-in-law made for me!”

Fake Self-Actualization

You break your habit by disguising something else as the higher purpose.

Example – “I’m saving the world with my work – I don’t have time to take care of myself!”

One Coin

This one originates from Erasmus’ Praise of Folly which states, “If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.” Often, when we consider our actions, it’s clear that any one instance of an action is almost meaningless, yet at the same time, a sum of those actions is very meaningful.

Example – “Even though cookies are my trigger food, I’ll just have it this one time. It’s not going to make a difference.”

Be aware of those thoughts! Remember, “Thoughts are like airplanes flying in the air. If you ignore them, there is no problem. If you pay attention to them, you create an airport inside your head and permit them to land!” (Elder Paisius)

Get up in the watchtower of your mind and observe. Don’t go through life on autopilot. Self awareness is a first step in breaking strongholds and can help you intentionally move toward the vision that you hold for your own health and wellbeing.

I wish you wellness and peace on your journey.

If you need additional support weeding out negative thought patterns that are not serving you well, contact me to see how health coaching can support you on your journey.


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