Habit Stacking

How are you with new habits?

This week’s Mental Sunshine is all about how you can get new habits to stick in your life.

It’s inspired by an author named James Clear, who talks a lot about habits.

He says that if you want to get a new habit to stick, you shouldn’t try and link it with a time or a location – but rather, tie it to an existing habit.

The things we do out of habit are done without any conscious choice –

We’ve just got used to doing them over time so our brains form a sort of set routine where we do them without thinking – it saves brain power for use on other things we really do need to think about.

We can take advantage of this by stacking our new habit on top of something we already do – so that it’s easier for us to do it. It forms part of the over all habit.

The formula for this would be that after or before an existing habit, we commit to doing our new habit.

For example, “after I’ve put the kettle on in the morning, I will perform squats until it has boiled” or “after I’ve eaten my dinner I will say at least one thing I am grateful for today.”

If you’re already in the habit of doing the first thing, you can take advantage of this by making the second thing a part of that habit.

Alongside this, make sure the things you need to make this easy for you are in the right place.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks about keeping a kettlebell in hit kitchen so that he can do kettlebell exercises while he waits for the kettle to boil –

If he tried to set up this habit but kept his weights in the cupboard under the stairs, he wouldn’t be so successful at doing it!

Stacking, waking up early, going swimming and taking pics of a beautiful sunrise has its rewards…

Think about the new habit you want to introduce, find a way to tack it onto an existing thing you already do without thinking, and make sure it’s easy for you to do.

In no time, you will have added a new habit to your life, and improved your mental sunshine!

I’d love to hear how you get on with this one; have you managed to implement a new habit? Tell me about it!