This is not your standard self-improvement article.

Many self-improvement articles are about discipline and deprivation. They’re about cold showers, and pushing through pain, and making yourself as uncomfortable as possible.

And with good reason.

Those tactics have proved to be pillars of productivity and accomplishment. I believe in them deeply, and have championed them plenty myself.

But I also believe it’s wise to switch things up from time to time.

So here, instead of focusing on pain, we’re focusing on pleasure.

And for me, there are few things in this world more pleasurable than doughnuts.

I love doughnuts. I love everything about them — the way they smell, the way they taste, the way they complement a cold glass of milk.

And I know I’m not alone.

I know you’re out there, standing in your office kitchen, staring at that box of bliss your co-worker brought in, torn between self-restraint and the saliva that’s cresting your taste buds.

To indulge, or to deny?

Indulge, I say.

Give in. Let go. Live.

Sometimes you have to be wrong to make things right.

Here’s why…

Disclaimer: If you have serious health issues or have been advised against such behavior by a medical professional, this article is not for you. Listen to your doctor, not me.

But, if you’re a (semi-)healthy person who believes in moderation and who’s tired from constantly toeing the line, please read on.

1. Doughnuts are perfection — and perfection is meant to be appreciated

Have you ever had a warm, glazed Krispy Kreme? Or a fresh powdered, iced or name-your-favorite-filling-filled doughnut from you local shop?

They’re unfairly good. That’s my thought as I take my first bite — it’s unfair for anything to taste this good.

Especially something so bad for you.

But I don’t care. I don’t care how many chemicals they’re infused with or how massive a glycemic spike they inflict.

Doughnuts are a culinary masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel of the 75-cent dessert. And they should be appreciated as such.

2. Doughnuts turn the ordinary into the extraordinary

There are certain items that, while formidable alone, get taken to a different level when paired with the proper accessory.

Peanut butter tastes better with chocolate. Hamburgers taste better with fries. Chips taste better with guacamole.

And coffee tastes better with doughnuts.

For many, coffee is a morning routine bedrock.

You have it every day, meaning it inevitably blends into your life’s blur. It’s forgotten as quickly as it’s consumed.

Not only that, its consumption is often rooted in functionality as opposed to fulfillment, a hit of caffeine in a styrofoam cup.

But when you complement it with a doughnut, it transforms into something more — something soothing, something satisfying, something you want to slow down to enjoy.

And just like that, your morning is no longer routine.

3. Doughnuts taste like childhood

Don’t you miss the days of being able to eat without consequence? Don’t you want to feel that freedom again, even if only for a moment?

Some of my favorite childhood memories are from the mornings when, instead of dropping me at the bus stop, my dad would take me for doughnuts before taking me to school.

Pulling into the parking lot, I could barely contain my excitement. And the second that shop door opened and that aroma enveloped me like a blanket, I knew I was home.

Powdered or chocolate iced? Those were my go-to’s. But I knew I couldn’t go wrong.

And as my dad and I made our way to my elementary, amid the thrill of our “Don’t tell mom” secrecy, the two of us ate our doughnuts, knowing the memory we were making would extend well beyond the last bite.

4. Doughnuts inspire commitment

One of the most troubling fallouts from breaking your diet isn’t physical; it’s emotional.

That guilt you feel afterward is difficult to digest. It’s a shame that lingers longer than any excess fat does.

But the surefire way to avoid this remorse is through commitment.

When you’re counting carbs and calories, you want to make those carbs and calories count.

Not only should you not waste them on marginal indulgences, you have to be 100-percent onboard with their expense.

There can’t be any doubt. If you choose to eat something, you’d better be all in. It’s not worth it if you’re not, because you’ll feel like a criminal when the deed is done.

Fully commit, though, and you’ll savor every bite.

And crime has never tasted so sweet.

5. Doughnuts provide motivation

The swimmer who puts in 5 a.m. pool sessions for years before seizing Olympic gold.

The writer who compiles numerous manuscripts before producing a best-seller.

The violinist who practices for decades before claiming a symphony seat.

Look at any high achiever, and you’ll see the value of delayed gratification.

Of course, inherent to the concept is that you are ultimately gratified. It’s what makes the delay worth it.

When it comes to clean eating, the ultimate gratification comes in the form of feeling better, getting stronger and boosting your long-term well-being.

But in the short-term, there’s also value in low-hanging fruit.

Think about this:

If you were to commit to working hard and eating healthfully, would you be more or less likely to stick to the plan if you also committed to treating yourself to a treat every so often?

Or, think of it like this:

Picture the mule dragging his cart driver in pursuit of the dangling carrot.

Now, instead of the mule and carrot, picture yourself in pursuit of a dangling doughnut.

6. Doughnuts promote progress

No days off. Not dead, keep going. Never stop never stopping.

These types of slogans are found on t-shirts and in hashtags (or, in the case of the last one, on satirical movie posters) to inspire an all-out, never-say-die mindset — the implication being that such a mindset is essential for success.

And that’s true — to an extent.

It’s also true that giving yourself a break is equally essential.

You have to sleep. You have to rest between sets. You have to give yourself a chance to recover.

Because if you don’t, it’s only a matter of time until you burn out or max out.

In my experience, the same principle applies to eating habits.

It’s why so many diets fail. They’re relentless, which makes them unsustainable.

Moderation is critical, both in terms of cheating (more so) and heeding (less so).

Unless you’re one of those lucky cyborgs who’s forever content with a menu of kale and quinoa, you have to periodically cave to your cravings.

You have to give in so you don’t give up.

It might feel counterintuitive, but reaching for that doughnut won’t impede your progress; it will perpetuate it.

7. Doughnuts are your reward

Those who don’t hesitate to grab a doughnut fall into one of three categories:

-They don’t prioritize their health.

-They have found the proper balance between discipline and decadence.

-They’re one of those touched-by-the-heavens punks whose well-being and waistlines are unaffected by what they put in their mouths.

But for you, a doughnut is a choice.

And if you’re deciding, it means you’ve been depriving.

You’ve been working out, and watching your diet, and sticking to the straight and narrow.

You’ve put in your time.

And now’s your time to enjoy it.

8. Doughnuts are dessert for breakfast

Dessert for breakfast…that was the dream as a kid, right?

As someone whose mother was health-conscious before it was cool to be, I know it was mine.

And while we’re here, who’s in charge of defining what constitutes breakfast? Their definitions make no sense.

Muffins are OK, but cupcakes aren’t.

Granola bars pass, but candy bars fail.

Coffee cake qualifies, but carrot cake doesn’t.

Cereal comprised of miniature chocolate chip cookies is allowed, but actual chocolate chip cookies are forbidden.

I’m confused.

That said, there’s no confusion about this:

If you’re eating a doughnut, you’re eating dessert.

And this way, you won’t have to save room for it.

9. Doughnuts are the good china you never use

Like many couples, my wife and I were fortunate to receive a set of china as part of our wedding presents.

And like many couples, we only use it on special occasions.

While I get that this is what keeps it special, a part of me wishes we’d take it out more.

I see it sitting there in the kitchen, all glorious and glistening, and I imagine what we’re missing out on and what enjoyment it could bring us.

This same scenario plays out during my office’s weekly breakfast.

Every Friday, I stare at the box of doughnuts in the breakroom, sometimes even opening the lid for added temptation/torture.

And every Friday, I invariably say, “Not today, but someday,” before turning to the refrigerator and filling my bowl with the blueberries I forced myself to bring.

But I’ve been at this job now for over three years, and that someday still hasn’t come.

10. Doughnuts set you free

I am a habitual rule-follower.

I won’t make u-turns where traffic signs prohibit them. I won’t go through express checkout if I have 16 grocery items. I will only board a flight when my group is called, even if my wife is in an earlier boarding group.

But one of the best years I had was when I habitually broke the rules.

I was in eighth grade, and one of my friends lived within walking distance of our school. During more lunch periods than we should have, we’d creep to the edge of the athletic fields, look around to make sure no one was watching and make a break for it — and not return until the next morning.

There was a thrill, a rush to the experience, not only because we were skipping class, but because we were doing something we weren’t supposed to do.

Eating clean, living right — these are guiding principles we aspire to, and that we should do our best to adhere to.

But life can feel so serious at times that, every once in awhile, we have to loosen the pressure valve.

We have to blow off biology, or abandon our spreadsheets, or say, “Screw it!” to our calorie counter.

Not in the name of our sweet tooth, but for the sake of our sanity.

11. Doughnuts will turn your life around

In the “Seinfeld” episode “The Opposite,” George, one of TV’s most accomplished losers, laments to Jerry that every instinct he’s had and every decision he’s made has been wrong.

To try to turn his life around, he decides to begin ignoring every urge toward common sense and good judgment he’s ever had.

Jerry supports this initiative.

“If every instinct you have is wrong,” Jerry explains, “then the opposite would have to be right.”

If your doughnut-less life isn’t as you’d like it to be, why not change things up?

Why not do the opposite?

New tastes, new perspectives, new experiences — this is how you grow, how you get yourself untracked and how you become the best version of yourself.

After all, if this strategy could get George out of his parents’ house, a date with an out-of-his-league woman and a job with the New York Yankees, think of what it could do for you.

12. Doughnuts give you a break from the real world

We live in complicated times.

We live in a world of love and war, of confidence and confusion, of fake news and alternative facts.

We have concerns about finances, health care and justice, and we have hope for technology, innovation and the capacity of the human spirit.

Check social media and it’s impossible to know if the end is near, or if this is just the beginning. (And which scenario is preferable.)

Wherever we find ourselves, though, it’s important to, every now and then, call timeout and get back to basics.

That doughnut? It’s about as basic as it gets. It has no pretenses. It is what it is. Literally.

It’s eggs. It’s flour. It’s sugar. It’s heaven. And it’s offering you the chance to mute the madness and indulge in one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Take it.

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