We all have little indulgences we know we shouldn’t take part in. The concert we shouldn’t have spent money on, the ice cream that breaks our diet. It’s fine to want to break those habits, but if you’re indulging a little, don’t beat yourself up with guilt.
Photo by bark.
As personal finance writer Tawcan explains, indulging in a guilty pleasure isn’t the same as forming a bad habit. A guilty pleasure is temporarily breaking a good habit to give yourself a treat. A bad habit is when those treats are the norm, in place of a good habit. If you really are indulging a guilty pleasure, though, leave out the guilt. All you do is ruin the psychological benefit of indulging, by beating yourself up over it:
So when you’re eating that piece of delicious cheesecake with ice cream on the side and telling yourself that you’re having some guilty pleasure, you’re telling your subconscious mind that you’re eating guilt. Consciously you may feel good, but subconsciously you are making yourself feeling worse and worse.
Instead of spending a solid 2+ hours watching a movie in the theatre, having a good time, and not being disturbed, you’re telling your subconscious that you’re watching guilt and you’re missing out on all the different tasks that you’re supposed to do. You feel guilty for spending money on the movie ticket and feel guilty for not managing your time efficiently.
This is a delicate line to walk, because justifying too many bad behaviours can turn into a bad habit real fast. However, if you’re making conscious decisions about how to spend your time or bend your rules, make those decisions with conviction. Don’t just buy indulge the impulse to buy a movie ticket and then feel bad that you spent the money the entire time you’re in the theatre. Buy it, enjoy the film, and come back to your responsible life refreshed.