Two is better than one, right? Well, most of the time it is, at least when its something positive. The same thing holds true for habits, if you can work on two at one time, isn’t that better than one? Of course it is.
The idea behind habit stacks is that you combine a habit that you currently have with one you need. I’ll give you an example, each morning I get up, let the dogs out and fix me a cup of coffee. I know I need to drink more water and that when I first wake, that’s a prime time to re-hydrate. So, as I run the water to brew my coffee, I fill a cup of water and drink it while the coffee brews. I have taken my current habit (coffee) and added the needed habit (drinking water). I have now stacked them.
The habit stack can be taken a bit further and added to work on temptations as well. An example would be dealing with social media. You know you are tempted to get on and look and you realize the time trap that it can be. So, knowing that you are this way, let’s incorporate something positive into the mix. You love social media but know you need to get more exercise in as well. You pull out your phone to check social media, then do 10 pushups, then check social media of choice. The pushups are the habit you need and the social media is the habit you want.
We couldn’t discuss habits and not talk about outside factors.
Group of 5
I have always heard that you are the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most. Over the years I have found this to be more true than I initially gave it credit for. We tend to pick up things from those around us. Be careful with this one though, we pick up both good and bad habits, so be wise with your choice of 5.
Expanding on the group of 5, but when in larger crowds, we might fall victim to what I call the “herding mentality.” The crowd starts to influence the way you think. You begin to question what you think is right because the masses are all going another way. With the news, social media, and everyone you know having an opinion, be sure to stick with what you know and believe. It can be exhausting trying to fight for your position while the tide moves the other way one you. This can be where many habits falter.
People We Admire
Whether it’s someone we want to imitate or someone we want to impress, either way, the people we admire influence our habits. This could be what we do for someone we are dating, or our boss, or our neighbors, or someone in our social circle. Whoever it is, they yield power that they may not realize or understand. Be cognizant of this in your actions. Are these actions for you or for them?
“You don’t ‘have’ to, you ‘get’ to”James Clear
By changing that one word, you change the whole process. Immediately things begin to shift. Your mindset, when it comes to habits, can help you more than you realize by just changing that one word.
“Better is the enemy of good enough.”Voltaire
Also, realizing that you aren’t going to be perfect the first time you do this new habit, will be helpful. Trying to make it better and not doing is way worse than doing it badly. The key here is to do it. Put in your reps, put in the time, don’t worry about perfection.
They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. That’s a nice thought and saying, but in reality, its different for everyone. The key isn’t the number of days you do something, it’s the number of times you do it. The more you do it, the more likely it will be to stick.
“Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior”James Clear
Where we do things also affects our mindsets when it comes to habits. A cluttered desk is sometimes harder to concentrate at than a clean one. An environment surrounded by sweets and candies will be harder to resist temptation when you are trying to eat better. And just the opposite, if your environment if full of good stuff, it will be easier to eat that way.
Your ultimate success or failure does not rest on a single choice. However, it does rest on the accumulation of choices. With every decision, there is one that is better for you than the other. If you make a bad choice, that’s ok, just try to not make two in a row. If the day starts out badly, that doesn’t mean it has to end that way. Choose to do something positive and start collecting those small wins. But it all comes down the choices you make…not one singular choice.
Speaking of small wins. To begin to get some under your belt, break them down to the smallest of wins. If you want to read more books, read one page. If you want to be a writer, write one sentence. If you want to eat healthier, eat one healthy meal. If you want to be more fit, start with one pushup. Take that win. Then come back tomorrow and do it again. Remember, we have already talked about getting the reps in and being consistent. Be consistent with the small wins.