Just This Once


We’ve all said it...

I’ll have another piece of candy, just this once.

I’ll skip going to the gym, just this once.

I’ll watch another episode, just this once.

If it really were just this once it wouldn’t be an issue. The problem arises when all of the ‘onces’ start adding up and we become frustrated with our lack of progress or wonder why we can never seem to change.

A lot of this has to do with human psychology.

We are wired to dismiss or ignore small slips. We minimize the seemingly insignificant choices that bombard us every day when compared to the big stuff.

Conceptually we know that consistent small steps every day add up to big gains over months and years.

But in the moment, it is easy to ‘make an exception’ (just this once), because this tiny action seems so insignificant when compared to the big picture.

We humans are really good at taking the easy route that will feel good immediately, and generally terrible at delaying gratification or making an investment in a far-off future self.

When 100% Compliance is 10x Easier than 99%

If just this once was only 1 time out of 100 (it is usually a lot more than 1/100), that would mean you were successful 99 times out of 100.

99% SEEMS like a good track record right!?

But here’s the thing… hovering at 99% is much more exhausting than being 100%.

The world is an unending stream of extenuating circumstances.

You WILL be tempted. You WILL have a ‘bad’ day. You WILL find excuses.

If you haven’t decided ahead of time to be 100%, these situations will force you to make a decision. To use your willpower.

These micro-decisions start to add up. Each one successfully navigated, means that the next one will be a little harder to resist.

And then the ‘just this once’ beast starts to rear its ugly head again.

This is where being 100% can make your life easier.

If you can set yourself up to be 100% ahead of time, you will not have to deal with all of that decision fatigue.

Ways to be 100%

One of the best examples of 100% being easier than 99% is Intermittent Fasting.

Intermittent Fasting may have some physiological benefits. The real benefits for weight loss and healthy eating probably have more to do with the fact that people are not eating for 14+ hours (sometimes 16 or even 20). No grazing. No worrying about what to eat. Because of this change, people generally eat far fewer calories over a 24-hour period than a more traditional meal schedule.

It is easier to resist temptation when you have removed the option completely ahead of time.

Another example is getting the ‘bad food’ out of your immediate space. Get it out of the house completely. Or move it to the garage, in a crate, under another crate.

The same thing goes for Netflix. Set your sleep timer to turn your TV off at a reasonable hour and commit ahead of time to leaving it off once it shuts down.

Delete social media accounts off your phone. If the apps aren’t there, it will be easier to not get sucked in.

And then there is visiting the gym. Decide what days you are going to go to the gym each week and then sign into class ahead of time. No matter how you feel, commit to driving to the gym, and walking in. If you are having a really rough day, sit on a rower for a few minutes, do some mobility, and go home. But convince yourself ahead of time that NOT coming is not an option.

Just this… NOPE

Instead of being tempted to say just this once, decide ahead of time what areas you will be 100% in (check out our podcast/article on Identity and Principles to help you decide, or these articles if you are a subscriber: Part 1Part 2).

Set your environments so you don’t have to be constantly vigilant and avoiding temptation.

Stop lying to yourself and saying, “just this once”.

Start being 100% in the important things and stop fighting so hard to stay at 99%.

And start becoming more awesome.

Thrive on.



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