One of the better books that I have read lately is Atomic Habits by James Clear. I have been fascinated with habits for a long time. It is amazing to me how something small and seemingly inconsequential can make an enormous difference for the positive…or the negative. This book was an extremely good read as it breaks down habit formation in detail. There is one concept that really stuck out: habit stacking.
What is habit stacking? From how I understand it from Atomic Habits it is batching habits together so that the completion of one triggers the initiation of the next. For example:
1. At 5 am every morning I get up.
2. I read my bible first thing. It is the way I want to start my day.
3. Next I read a nonfiction book. I originally set out to read one page. I set the goal low on purpose to give myself some quick wins. I have since raised my goal to 3% of the book. I read off my Kindle app so it is easy to track.
4. I then get up and get ready, including taking my vitamins for the day.
5. I am then off to workout before going to work.
These are all I have stacked up at the moment, but the point is to have one action lead to the next. It makes it much easier to set positive habits this way and stick to them.
I was a little skeptical when I first started the exercise. I had a hard enough time sticking with a single habit, much less tackling several all at once. It took me a long time to get where I read my bible every morning. Now, I haven’t missed in over 500 days. With that anchor habit in place, I have been able to stack other habits around it.
I also find it amazing that I feel so much more productive in my days…just from reading my bible, reading a book, and getting ready in a timely way. And working out consistently. That is a big one. When I execute this cleanly in the morning, I am ready for my day.
Lately I have been brainstorming other things to stack. Even with my success in the morning and with what I have accomplished, it has been hard stacking habits at other times during the day because I don’t have that one anchor habit to lean on. Or, I didn’t until recently.
I have started a habit of blogging every night before I go to bed. If you have read some of my posts and have found typos or mistakes…I apologize. I am doing my best to keep my every day goal. With this habit becoming more solidified, I am trying to identify other things to add to it. I haven’t gotten there yet, but with a new year right around the corner I want to start off strong and finish even stronger.
Do you have habits that you practice daily? Do you practice habit stacking? How is it working?