A This is a singular action deliberately taken
A That is an advantageous result that flows from the This. They work together—if I do This, then I get That. That’s the This-That. Simple (although not easy).
My most elemental This-That is early rising. If I get up by 0400, then I will exercise that day (all else being equal). If I don’t, I won’t. The This is get up by 0400 and the That is exercise.
An action that is a This is usually also a That. For example, if I sleep five hours (at least) at night, I will get up at 0400. The This is sleep five hours and the That is get up by 0400. Since get up at 0400 is the This to the That of exercise, it is both a This and a That.
Exercise is a This-That Loop
Exercise is an important That, but it is also a critical This. If I don’t exercise in the morning it’s hard for me to fall asleep at night. I know that if I exercise, then I will sleep five hours that night (all else being equal).
But, as I said before, I have to sleep five hours to get up by 0400 and I have to get up by 0400 to exercise. That means that sleep five hours > get up by 0400 > exercise is a This-That Loop that doesn’t have a start or end point. Each This is also a That for the point on the Loop that precedes it. If I fail on any particular This, then the Loop is broken—at least for that day. And that is disadvantageous for me, because the Exercise Loop is elemental.
Consistency + Duration = Durability
I have a lot of This-That Loops in my personal and professional life. Each one is a response to a particular problem, like the Exercise Loop being the remedy for the problem of inconsistent fitness. The longer I’ve had a particular Loop, the less I have to think about it. The less I have to think about it, the more unlikely it is that the Loop will break.
Consistency + duration = durability. That is the key to strong This-That Loops.