Can’t Seem to Form Better Habits? This Life Hack Is the Secret to *Finally* Getting Results
Jul 5, 2022   •   Kimberly Hipolito
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Jul 5, 2022   •   Kimberly Hipolito
When daily life starts feeling like a mindless routine, you might feel like you’re stagnating; not growing. If you get that sudden and forceful urge to try new habits, we’ve got some bad news: that urge is temporary. Relying on emotions is ineffective, and these abrupt and sharp turns in establishing a new habit could lead to burnout.
James Clear’s breakthrough book Atomic Habits explains that instead of forcing yourself to change overnight, the most realistic way to build new habits is through tiny changes. Through a method called habit stacking, you can get remarkable results.
Here’s how it works.
Habit stacking is a technique that focuses on systems, not goals. Setting goals is easy, but if you want to get results, you should focus on building better systems to achieve those goals. To do this, you should use your existing habits to your advantage. This is called habit stacking.
To make things clearer, you just need to identify a current habit and pair it with a new one. This way, it’s easier for you to learn and adjust.
After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].
For example: After I make coffee in the morning, I will write my journal.
If you already make coffee every morning, you can attach a new activity after that so you can create a new practice. By doing this instead of suddenly rehauling your routine, your brain can slowly adapt. And because you linked this new activity to an existing habit, it’s more likely to stick.
Grab a pen and paper or type it in your phone. Make sure that they are in bullets. Think about your morning routine. Do you use your phone the moment you open your eyes? What’s your afternoon routine? Do you regularly cook lunch or you’re used to skipping meals? Think about your evening ritual. Do you take a bath before you sleep? Jot it down.
Now that you have a list of the things in your current system, what other things do you want to include in your daily routine? Think about what you want to change, achieve, and improve. Do you want to start working out or learn how to cook? Write that down.
With your two separate lists, try to connect them together. For example, you want to continue your old habit of making coffee in the morning but you also like to start writing your journal. Put them together so you can do it right after the other.
Make sure that you’re consistent. Remember that you are slowly training your brain to get used to this newly built habit. It might get tough during the first few weeks but once you’ve attached it in your system, it will just come naturally.
Check how you’re doing. Ask yourself if you’re reaching your goals. If so, it would be nice to treat yourself from time to time. If you’re struggling, that’s okay. You can always try again. You’re not in a race so be kind to yourself. Make every morning a chance to restart.
You got this! You might experience some setbacks, but don’t be discouraged, and just try again. Remember that small progress is still progress, be kind to yourself, and one day, you’ll surprise yourself with how far you’ve come.
We’d like to hear about your habit-stacking journey. Drop us a comment. What habits would you like to stack?
Kim has an INFP personality type, one of the rarest across the population. She is an Aries who lives through humor and Marvel references. If not writing (or pretending to do so), she’s dissecting every Taylor Swift song or rewatching her favorite series.
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