Naturally, when you set goals, you want to achieve that goals. However, with most goals, it takes action, and one of the best ways to get momentum going is to create habits in your life that lead you towards your goal. Setting up to achieve is something that does not come naturally. It is hard. In fact, I needed to learn how to stack habits to achieve or even do some of the things I do daily.
Every day is a new challenge, and although you have a goal, some days you may not feel like doing some of the things that you need to do to get closer to your desired outcome. I know for sure that I don’t always feel like doing the tasks I need to or going for a walk, especially on cold winter mornings. This is being human. You don’t always wake up positively motivated to just go out and get things done or just go out and walk. It takes building up or psyching yourself up to do some things in life.
Just think about it. It took quite some years to put on the weight by enjoying some incredible food, so it will take years and effort to take off the weight. I can’t expect it to happen overnight, and I can’t expect it to stay off if I don’t change my ways. Creating healthy habits takes time.
“Learning to stack habits to do what I need to do to become who I believe I have the ability to become is a small price to pay.”Angie. LifestyleAnytime
What is habit stacking?
Habit stacking is effectively adding a new behavioural pattern to a current habit. It is stacking a new habit with a currently embedded habit. The old habit is the trigger for the new habit to attach, so it becomes part of your routine.
Naturally, you need accountability to achieve your goals. Accountability to self can be done in many ways;
- Sharing your progress on social media.
- Belonging to groups in apps like Strava. If you walk or run Strava is a great app to have a support group in.
- Belong to support groups where you share your goals and the steps you take towards them.
- Have an accountability partner. Having an accountability partner is an excellent way to share your plans, discuss your challenges, celebrate your wins and keep yourself accountable.
- Use an app like Coach.me to help you stay accountable and take action towards your goals.
3 Steps to help you stack habits successfully.
Believe in yourself.
You need to believe in yourself and what you are aiming for. If you find it difficult to believe you can achieve but really want to achieve the goal you have set for yourself, try reading daily affirmations.
I believe in myself and my abilities. I believe I can and will become all I want to be and live the life I would like to lead.
When you believe in yourself, you put in your best effort, as you know your chances of success are high. You also don’t give up, as you know that the journey takes time. You have faith that you will achieve. Achieving starts with self-belief.
You can do anything you put your mind to.
Own your goal and enjoy the journey.
You need to own your goal and want to achieve it. There is no point in striving for something you don’t really want. This is the importance of the goal being your goal and not someone else’s goal for you.
Naturally, I’m not about to start habits I don’t enjoy. Neither should you.
I remember reading once that you won’t go to the gym and work out if you don’t enjoy it, so why do it?
For me, the why is to get healthy. However, I also believe that everyone will find something that they enjoy participating in that will help them with their health goals.
When people say gym, they automatically think of sweaty bodies, fit people working out and pushing weights but gyms are more than that. I go to a local gym for aqua classes and bike combo aqua classes. After work out, you know you have worked out even in a fun water activity like aqua aerobics. One of the bonuses of water sports is the water supports joints as you work out.
Set yourself a challenge.
Over the past few years, I’ve participated in many weekly, 30 and 90-day challenges. This means for a set amount of days, you do a task or two to form the habit of change you would like. Some people may do the task daily, and some a few times a week. Either way, before the challenge starts, you define your goal and work towards it. Yes, work. No change happens without action.
Choose 7, 30 or 90 days and take action towards your goals by creating new habits. Stack habits upon habits to set yourself up for success. Creating new positive habits is the foundation of change.
Be prepared for the day.
To take action may require setting yourself up to achieve, and this, too is where habit stacking comes into place.
As mentioned above, you attach the habit to a current routine to stack habits.
Put your gym clothes out the night before so you have no excuse in the morning to get up and dressed for gym class as you have your gear ready.
The cue is going to bed.
The action is putting your clothes out for the next day. Creating a routine.
The reward is you are not searching for everything you need to get out the door in the morning to participate in your chosen activity.
No, waking any family members up as you tiptoe, getting ready at the unearthly hour you’ve decided on. Ok, that’s me. I’m a morning person and prefer to exercise in the morning. I know at the end of the day, I’m too tired.
To know more about building a habit-stacking routine, check out this post from SJ Scott author of the book habit stacking.
Unsure how to fit your new habit into your day read How to time block effectively.
Examples of how to stack habits.
- Put walking shoes in the car and go for a walk on the way home from work.
- If you are looking at drinking more water, place an app on your phone to remind yourself to drink. To start drinking more water, start with having a glass before each meal and coffee break.
- Wanting to read more, think about something you do daily, which you can attach to reading a chapter of a book. Your prompt to get your book and read could be putting the kettle on for afternoon tea. Get a reading tracker to help you track the books you read.
For me reading time is when I come in at the end of the day. I make a cup of tea and read a chapter of a book or at least 10 pages.
Naturally, if you have small children, you may not be able to do this undisturbed the minute you walk in the door, so reading may become a bedtime routine before you turn off the lights to sleep.
Habits eliminate the need for decision-making as you decide once and create a routine that fits in with your life. Tracking the habit until it is part of your life.