As humans, we sometimes focus on a certain component of our behavior so much that we don’t realize the other ways that behavior manifests in other areas. We have this entitlement about a decision we made, or a good deed that we did, and we feel like we get a hall pass on something else. This social phenomenon is called “moral licensing”. Let’s let Nir Eyal, a Stanford MBA, habit expert, and author of the incredible book “Hooked” break it down for us.
I feel like the examples Nir shared did a great job of illustrating the point, and now that we are aware of moral licensing, we can be more careful about not letting it get the best of us. Interestingly, we can apply the same reasoning with progress. Moral licensing also makes it more acceptable to take a break when we have already accomplished a lot. In both cases, it is important to view our wins as positive, but not as an excuse to have our performance suffer in another area.