Forming good habits can make your life easier. Okay let me try to back up that statement. I see myself as a semi-structured person. I try to keep track of my to-do's which I do with the awesome app from Microsoft called To Do. It's just another app where you can write down a task and tell it to remind you of it later. I've tried Todoist and others but this is the one that stuck. One feature that I like is that it keeps my tasks synchronized across devices. I have become so reliant on this that if I don't write down a task in the app or somewhere else I consider it forgotten.
So having an app is all well and good but to make a bigger change in my life I need a system. Here is where habit stacking comes in. In his book James Green talks about the how the brain has all these connections between neurons that build up and get stronger when used and fade over time when they go unused. Like garbage collection for the brain. This can be applied to habit forming. People say they want to get in better shape or improve their skills in a particular field, but have a hard time sticking to it over time. It turns out that it is not the lack of motivation or willpower, like this study found, but rather a lack of a system. Planning and setting up a system that you can follow, will enable you to more easily start and more importantly keep up with your goals.
- First step is to make it clear. A hint of a reward in the future that will hook you in.
- Next step is finding something attractive that trigger a feeling you associate with the habit.
- Third, make it easy. Lower the bar and you are more likely to go through with it.
- Lastly satisfy yourself with the reward you promised yourself in step 1.
The circle described in the four steps can be a powerful way to make new habits. Applying this concept to habit stacking we can build a great system for change. When you wake up in the morning and go to the bathroom, before you take a shower think of something small that you can put in your daily "morning stack". If you insert a small exercise before you take that shower, nothing big just a few sit-ups or something that you are comfortable with, you can extend your "morning stack" ++. Incremental stacking of good habits are accumulative. Meaning you get more out of it and see bigger improvements than the energy you put in.
Hopefully you got something out of these methods. I've slowly started changing some of my routines by adding a small step to my morning and are allways thinking of little things I can do in the moment. Maybe I'll revisit this post in a few months to give an update to my findings.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
This post was originally published on my blog Helmen Design