I’ve often found that adopting new – and better – habits can be quite a challenge. The reason they’re likely not already a habit is probably because we don’t necessarily enjoy it all that much. However, one of the ways I’ve discovered that really helps me adopt a habit and take it to heart is to find some way to make it more entertaining to me.
One of my recent goals, as part of an effort to continue getting into better shape, was to start eating more yogurt. I don’t hate yogurt, but it’s certainly not something that I would normally and voluntarily eat as part of my daily routine. The next time I was at the grocery store, I was struck by just how many varieties of yogurt there actually are! I had been planning on buying blueberries and adding it to the yogurt, when I noticed how many varieties of blueberry yogurt were on sale at just this one store!
Of course, my first thought was a mix between feeling blessed for the variety of choices we have and feeling disgusted by the extreme over-abundance of everything that is available. Putting that aside, my next thought was that this presented a good opportunity to help habituate yogurt as part of my daily life. I decided that I would buy all of the different varieties of blueberry yogurt that I could and review each one of them – yes, this sounded fun to me!
This would two things. Motivate me to eat the yogurt so that I could review it, and also ultimately, help me find a yogurt I really like. If I were just to buy one, it might be one I didn’t really like. And as I found out, some I actually hated, and some I really enjoyed. So now I’m not only in the habit of eating yogurt almost every morning, but I also know exactly which ones I like!
You might, at this point, be wondering exactly what this has to do with philosophy. Worry not.
For Aristotle, virtue was a form of habituation. The virtuous person makes their decisions about how to act on a day-to-day basis not through long chains of reasoning and pro/con lists, but rather out of habit. For example, if I see someone in need – say, a child drowning – I should not try to calculate the cost/benefit analysis of saving the child as a utilitarianist might, but rather, simply save the child. In fact, Aristotle goes so far as to say that if I have to think about what the correct decision is, I’m not actually virtuous yet – though I may be on the path to achieving virtue.
And so, in writing the reviews you will read below of more blueberry yogurts than I could have imagined existed, perhaps the habituation of yogurt into my diet is a small step toward the virtue of temperance .
And my scale for the reviews: 1 is worst, 5 is best.
Yoplait Greek 2x Protein
Taste: 3 Not much flavor, a little bitter in after taste. Blueberry is hard to mix, so some bites strong flavor, others not so much.
Texture: 2 Pretty dry
Appearance: 2 Not very appetizing when first opening
Color: 2 Light purplish after mixing
YoCrunch Greek Parfait
Taste: 4 Yummy, with strong blueberry flavor.
Texture: 5 I really like the crunch that’s added in
Appearance: 1 It actually looks pretty gross all mixed together
Color: 2 light purple
Activia Selects Greek Thick & Creamy
Taste: 1 Not very good tasting. There’s a weird, almost astringent flavor that’s off-putting.
Texture: 1 Apparently I’m not a fan of thick and creamy. It’s more like I’m forcing myself to finish this rather than enjoying it.
Appearance: 4 Very light purple, and it came pre-mixed unlike the other I’ve had. For some reason
Overall: 1 Although it looks nice, I can’t get over the taste.
EnLiven with Probiotics
Taste: 5 Has a really delicious, sweet taste that sets it off from the others I’ve tried.
Texture: 4 Very smooth, almost pudding like.
Appearance: 5 Premixed deep purple color. Actually looks appealing.
Chobani Greek Yogurt
Taste: 2 I’m realizing I don’t like the flavor of the Greek yogurt as much. There’s a lingering bitterness that I find ofputting.
Appearance: 3 Decent, but not outstanding. Before mixing, it didn’t look appealing.
Color: 4 Medium purple
Oikos Green nonfat Yogurt
Taste: 4.5 Really good!
Texture: 3 It has that “greek” texture.
Appearance: 2 Looked disgusting when I opened it and had to mix it.
And the winner is: EnLiven with Probiotics!
In conclusion: what are some ways you’ve discovered to help make achieving your goals more fun?
For further reading: