I truly believe that habits are the structural foundations of our lives.
Having an offset balance of “bad” or “good” habits can either set you up for guaranteed success or guaranteed failure, especially if you have a specific goal or aspiration in mind. A concept I’ve come across from researchers, public speakers, and teachers like BJ Fogg and James Clear is the concept of habit stacking. Habit stacking is as simple as stacking one habit on top of another to eventually establish a fixed routine. Habit stacking is a great way to incorporate solid routines into your life to lead you in the direction of guaranteed success.
Habit stacking has to initiate from an already-established habit in order for it to become a part of a fixed routine. Believe it or not, most people have hundreds, if not, thousands of already-established habits in place that can be used to build an even-greater fixed routine via habit stacking. Think about the habits you already have established currently. At first it may seem challenging to come up with even 5 already-established habits, but it’s actually quite easy upon further examination.
One way to start is to think about what habits you already have established in your morning routine. Standing out of bed, checking your phone, using the bathroom, (hopefully) brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and eating breakfast are all already-established habits. Take one of these already-established habits and tack on a new habit to immediately follow it. For example, if one of your aspirations is to become more intelligent, then reading may be a habit you would like to establish. Suppose after putting away your breakfast dishes you read 5 pages out of a book on a topic you’d like to learn more about. This establishes a habit of reading that is not too daunting to complete regularly. This also sets you in the direct path of your aspiration of becoming more intelligent, regardless of how much reading you actually do initially.
One problem with goal setting and creating aspirations most people face is starting too big, too soon. If you try to read an entire book after breakfast, not only will it be incredibly time-consuming, but just the thought of having to complete this task will deter you from even starting it to begin with. This obviously leaves you in a worse position than if you’d have just read 1-5 pages initially post-breakfast.
My biggest tip with habit stacking and eventually accomplishing your aspirations is to start very small. Starting small allows you to complete the desired behavior continuously over time which will not only build strong, fixed habits that lead you in the direction of success, but will also build the motivation needed to continue doing these habits and forming new habits that lead you towards success. Strong habits and fixed routines are the key to achieving anything you’d like to achieve in life. Just remember that all it takes is one small step in the right direction to set you up for long-term success.