Updated: Dec 10, 2019
A simple technique for improved productivity
You’ve set a new goal, along with the actions and intentions required to achieve it. You’re motivated and ready. You jump out of bed on day one and put your new plan into action!
Day two and three look the same but on day four you hit snooze on the alarm one too many times.
Day five is the weekend and you deserve a rest. Day six is Sunday so you may as well wait until Monday to start again. Monday comes along and for some reason the same motivation you had on day one just isn’t there. You stay in bed a bit longer, berate yourself for being lazy and start the day in a negative mood.
Sound familiar? It happens to the best of us.
In our busy, over-scheduled lives, it can be difficult to commit to new, healthy habits. Luckily there is a technique that can help. It’s called Habit Stacking.
What is habit stacking?
Essentially, it’s connecting a habit you don’t love, with something you do!
A big part of your daily routine is a series of habits that are so ingrained, you don’t even think about them. Habits becomes automatic and they are not always positive.
Spend a day being mindfully aware of your actions and behaviours. Select a positive or neutral habit that is deeply ingrained as your anchor. For example, you might want to stretch more often. So, you identify turning on the kettle as your anchor habit and stack your new habit on top.
Every time you listen to the kettle boil you stretch. Seems simple right?
What is the catch?
We are told it takes around 21 days to make or break a new habit and life is already busy! So even though you are stacking a new habit with an already ingrained one, how will you remember to stack it every single day, for 21 days?
Tools to support you
Set two alarms on your phone. One to wake you and one five minutes later that flashes up the new habit.
Consider visual aids such as a post-it-note on the kettle (or bathroom mirror if you stack a habit to brushing your teeth).
Start small. You can achieve big things from little changes. Remind yourself that small changes to your daily routine can create significant results in a year’s time.
Introduce one habit at a time. Once you are certain the new habit is ingrained, you can consider introducing another one.
Boost motivation by rewarding yourself once you have successfully implemented a new habit into your daily routine.
The future is bright
“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”
— Charles C. Nobel
Introducing positive habits can profoundly influence your future trajectory and habit stacking is a useful tool for creating long-term change.
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