Goooood Morning! It's a beautiful Monday and I want to take a few minutes of your time to cover how I am changing my process for developing new habits. Typically, I use willpower/self-discipline to force myself to adopt a new habit. I am usually pretty good at following through with habits, at least from my perspective. After about 4-5 months though, the truth comes out. As my environment changes and new stresses appear it can be challenging to keep those new habits I was trying to adopt. I usually blame this on “being suuuper busy.” We all know the truth, willpower is the fossil fuel of our energy system; a limited resource.
I just finished reading Atomic Habits by James Clear and the part of the book that stood out the most to me is when he covers the concept of habit stacking. I was not familiar with this technique, I am very excited to try it out and I hope you will too!
Habit stacking is the action of tying a new habit you are adopting to an existing habit you have. For example, a habit I currently execute consistently is brushing my teeth before bed every night. A habit that I would like to start is journaling every day. With habit stacking I can take advantage of my teeth brushing habit by “stacking” a journaling habit right after it. The habit would sound like this “after I brush my teeth at night, I will journal for at least five minutes.” By doing this, science says, I am more likely to stick to journaling, because I have tied it to a habit I am already consistent with.
You can also stack multiple habits on top of each other. For example, “after I brush my teeth at night I will spend five minutes writing in my journal. After writing in my journal I will do 10 pushups. After doing 10 pushups I will meditate for 10 minutes.” Habit stacking is a great way to help us follow through on our habits.
Before I let you go, I think it's important to add that you should use environmental cues to help remind you of your habits. In the case of the example above you could put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror saying “journal/pushups/meditate.” That way you see it when you brush your teeth at night and remember to follow through. Eventually the act of night time teeth brushing will be a cue to journal/pushup/meditate, no sticky note necessary!
That's all from me today, have a wonderful Monday filled with success and self-improvement!