Today’s “Try this Tuesday” is a habit hack. I absolutely love habit hacks!
This is a relatively simple one and helpful for small habits you might want to implement into your life quickly and efficiently. Credit goes to James Clear for this habit hack entitled “Habit Stacking”. (From his amazing book “Atomic Habits”).
Habit Stacking Formula: “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].
Told you it was simple.
AND, once you have successfully added that stacked habit; you can always stack another one after. Here are some real life examples of how you can put this to work in your life.
Taking my vitamins: Brushing Teeth [CURRENT HABIT] + Taking Vitamins [NEW HABIT]
After I brush my teeth in the morning, I will take my vitamins.
The current habit of brushing teeth is one that most people don’t ever forget to do. It’s done daily; on autopilot; and not one often resisted. This is an excellent foundational habit on which to stack.
I personally often forget to take my vitamins in the morning. I don’t enjoy taking them and I am usually rushing out the door in the morning, so that doesn’t help. This is a habit that needs to be stacked. In order to make this work, I also move my vitamins into the bathroom and put them in the same drawer as my toothpaste.
This now becomes an absolutely easy task for me to do.
Sometimes, a slight change in your environment and a habit stack are all you need to get going on something.
Drinking More Water: Trip to Bathroom [CURRENT HABIT] + Water Refill [NEW HABIT]
When I am at work, every time I get up to use the washroom, I will make a trip past the office kitchen and fill up a glass of water. I need to drink it before I use the washroom again. Self-explanatory.
Meditating: Alarm Goes Off [CURRENT HABIT] + Sit and Meditate [NEW HABIT]
Immediately after my alarm goes off, I move to the floor, sit on my meditation cushion (which is right beside my bed) and meditate for 1-5 minutes.
Making Healthy Lunches: Prepare Dinner [CURRENT HABIT] + Make Lunch [NEW HABIT]
When I am preparing dinner, I either cut up some veggies to go with my leftovers or make a salad for my lunch the following day. (I am already making dinner – adding this in might take me 5 minutes – and then there is no excuse for buying lunch the next day).
Journaling: Wash Face (at night) [CURRENT HABIT]+ Write in Journal [NEW HABIT]
You may remember me mentioning in my last Try This Tuesday post that I have a really cool 5-year journal. Sometimes, I would forget to write in it for a week or two at a time, and then really struggle to remember what happened each day. Instead, I implemented habit stacking into my life to remember to write, as I know that reading this later (in 2, 5, or even 10 years) will give me enormous happiness.
Ok – you get the idea. The point is to tie things you are already easily doing day in and day out to something you want to introduce. Start smaller and build on it, remembering to select strong “anchors” (current habits).
Think about (and write down) a bunch of daily tasks that you do on autopilot, and select from those as your anchoring habit.
Please let me know if you implement this into your daily routine, as well as any clever anchor habits you use! I’d love to hear from you.
Finally, if this type of thing sounds interesting to you, make sure to check out James Clear’s book. It’s great!!