“Can’t help myself, bad habits” … so the song goes. Only you can help yourself, and easily! All you have to do is embrace the concept of habit stacking.
Let’s talk about habits. Creating the life we want largely relies on our habits. These automatic behavioural responses influence how we think, problem solve and manage time.
However, the trouble is, habits are so engrained in the daily intricacies of our lives that we often don’t even realise we have them.
That can be a serious problem when you’re trying to reach a goal. Unhealthy habits can sneak in and slow down progress, when healthy habits that could help you make headway are not yet established.
You probably have very strong habits and connections that you take for granted each day. For example, your brain is probably very efficient at remembering to take a shower each morning or to brew your morning cup of coffee or to open the blinds when the sun rises … or thousands of other daily habits. You can take advantage of these strong connections to build new habits.
When it comes to building new habits, you can use the connectedness of behaviour to your advantage. One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behaviour on top. This is called habit stacking.
Habit stacking is a special form of an implementation intention. Rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location, you pair it with a current habit.
Creating a new habit can be a challenge and studies show it takes at least 66 days to establish a new behavioural pattern.
However, once a habit is formed it takes little effort to maintain and the more momentum your develop, the easier it is to stack additional habits to really transform your life.
Again, the reason habit stacking works so well is that your current habits are already built into your brain. You have patterns and behaviours that have been strengthened over years. By linking your new habits to a cycle that is already built into your brain, you make it more likely that you’ll stick to the new behaviour.
Are you ready to kick those bad habits to the curb? I recommend you start with these three tips.
- Don’t do it all at once – focus on one area of your day and start with stacking one new habit together with an existing habit.
- Use a current habit you already do and then stack the new behaviour on top of that existing habit. It might be getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, having your morning coffee, walking in the front door each evening, or getting in the car.
- Start small. If you wanted to run a marathon you wouldn’t start with running 42 miles first up. Make small wins your main focus as this requires little or no willpower, is simple and achievable and increases and builds your emotional momentum.
To learn more how to create a habit stacking support network, visit https://lozlife.com/creating-a-healthy-habit-support-network/.