When people start out trying to meet their goals, they think in their minds that they have to give 100% total commitment to it, never straying from the path they have set themselves. For a goal such as losing weight where you set self-imposed bans on junk foods or sugary snacks for an indefinite amount of time, this can be very hard to achieve. All it takes is one slip and you have broken your goal and lose motivation to continue.
In a recent paper in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, they argued the point that it is actually better for meeting goals by planning and scheduling these lapses in – recognising the fact that most people struggle to give total dedication every single day. By adding in these “hedonic deviations”, it gives people a sense of control as well as keeping motivation up to continue on.
The Slow-Carb diet is one example where a “cheat day” acts as this built in hedonistic outlet.
We self-hackers should be thinking in probabilities: meeting our goals 100% of the time with 90% commitment is far better than meeting our goal 0% of the time with 100% commitment. Recognise your flaws and know that breaking a lifetime of bad habits will take time to change so for certain goals and where appropriate, expect yourself to stray from your daily goal habits and factor in contingency/redundancy where you think you need it – particularly when first starting out.