When you fail to approach a goal honestly, you set your self up for endless procrastination. You come up with excuse after excuse, always forgiving yourself for never getting anything done. Gretchen Rubin, writing for the Happiness Project, calls this the “decoy habit” and wants you to stop.
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Decoy habits are harmful, I think, because they allow us to pretend to have certain aims or values that we don’t really have. Maybe we don’t want to admit what we really want to do, or maybe two values are in conflict. Ironically, I suspect that if my dinner partner had said, “I don’t intend to exercise,” and accepted the consequences of that habit, he might help convince himself that he should exercise. But by voicing the decoy, by saying, “I plan to start exercising,” he avoided acknowledging his true intentions.
We agree. In the past we’ve noted that admitting something isn’t a priority is better than saying you don’t have time for the same reason. When you make excuses, you lose control of a situation. When you approach it honestly and don’t find yourself a scapegoat, however, you can approach the problem head-on and seek out a solution.
Beware of the “Decoy Habit” [The Happiness Project]