No doubt about it, we are living in the era of Big Wellness. Every day we are deluged with content about mindfulness and micro-steps, fitness hacks and Face Gyms. The result? We’ve never been more educated about healthy practices—and never have we felt guiltier about our pleasures. And yet, given all we now know, the science makes clear that some of our bad habits truly are terrible for us. And repeating them indefinitely is getting harder to rationalize. Damn you, Goop. (But also, you know, thank you.)
Are you scrolling yourself to sleep at a way-too-late bedtime? Do you feel you need a glass (or two) of wine every night to relax? Are you avoiding the gym despite your costly membership? Hooking up with your cringe-y ex? Shopping your way into debt? Relying on screen time or sweets as an essential parenting tool? We’ve all got stuff we need to work on—even if most of us don’t openly share our shame.
But even though our toxic habits are somewhat individual, we all justify them according to a universal blueprint.
As defined by happiness and habit expert Gretchen Rubin, a concept called “loopholes” is at the center of almost every poor decision we make. Loopholes are the stories we tell ourselves in order to stay stuck in a toxic habit loop; they’re the excuses we use to let ourselves off the hook, to enable ourselves to avoid doing the things we should do and continue to do the things we know we shouldn’t.