Your habits will make or break you. This is especially true if you’re an entrepreneur who’s trying to build a thriving business. Unlike working for someone else where you can ‘slack off’ every now and then and still not suffer, you don’t have such a luxury when you work for yourself.
Everything is on you and if you don’t have the right habits, failure is inevitable. Like author Jack Canfield says, “Your habits will determine your future.”
One of the best ways to instill a few beneficial habits in your life will be to use habit stacking.
- What is habit stacking?
Habit stacking is a strategy where you group a few habits together into a routine. Every single day, you’ll go through this routine without fail. Over time, not only will the routine become second nature to you, but you’d have ingrained the positive habits into your daily life.
- Why it matters?
When habits are stacked into a routine, you’ll not need to constantly think of each habit as an individual task that has to be completed on its own. It’s more difficult to treat each habit as an isolated event and aim to complete it regularly.
A habit stacking routine will increase your compliance. Let’s look at an example.
Imagine that you’re trying to cultivate 5 new habits that you aren’t accustomed to. Most books will tell you not to work on more than 2 or 3 habits at once because it’s difficult to spread your efforts, but with habit stacking, you’ll just be completing a routine that has it all.
In this example, the 5 habits shall be:
- Reading for 15 minutes a day
- Meditate for 5 minutes a day
- Drinking more water daily
- Practice 10 minutes of yoga daily
- Gratitude journaling for 10 minutes daily
Now, if you were to haphazardly work on each habit whenever you felt like it, you’d inevitably miss 1 or 2 habits every now and then. But here’s what happens with a habit stacking routine…
You wake up in the morning and once you’re done brushing your teeth, you do your yoga practice for 10 minutes. After that, you’ll drink a liter of water. The next step will be to meditate for 5 minutes.
When you’re done meditating, you’ll take out your gratitude journal and write down 3 things that you’re grateful for. When that’s completed, you’ll read for 15 minutes.
By the time you’ve completed this routine, it might have taken you about 30 minutes or so. During these 30 minutes, you’ve completed ALL 5 habits that you’re trying to cultivate. Do this daily for 2 months and these habits will be a part of you.
This is much easier than trying to fit in each habit whenever time permits.
- How to do it effectively
When creating a habit stacking routine, it should feel natural and sequential. For example, if your goal is to exercise daily… and you have another goal of increasing your flexibility, you may wish to follow up each exercise session with a 15-minute stretching routine.
Now you have a short habit stacking routine. Thinking of hydrating more often? Add the habit of drinking a liter of water at the end of each session. Now you have a little routine that incorporates all 3 habits.
Alternatively, if you wish to instill a habit where you stop using digital devices 2 hours before bed, you may decide to meditate, stretch, read, gratitude journal, spend time with your family, or add in a few other habits to occupy time that you normally spend in front of the screen.
The goal of habit stacking is to make things easier for you. So don’t do too much too soon. Have a logical flow when it comes to stacking habits.
You may wish to set a fixed time limit for each habit. In this way, you’ll not go overboard. Consistency is more important than quantity in the beginning.
So, your habit stacking routine may be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and should allow you to accomplish the daily habit tasks without much ado.
- Tracking your compliance
It would be a good idea to keep a journal and record your compliance rate. For example, if you have 5 habits to work on and you complete all on Monday, you’d have a 100% compliance rate.
If you neglect the entire routine, you’d have a 0% compliance rate. If you only completed 4 out of the 5 habits, you’d have an 80% compliance rate.
Generally, if you have a smooth routine, you’ll have a 100% compliance rate, provided you start on it.
If you notice that you’re constantly neglecting one or two habits or you’re not working on the habit stack, you may need to alter the routine or move it to another time of the day and see if it improves your compliance rate.
It’s all a matter of trial and error. Once you get it right, you’ll breeze through it daily and master the habits in no time.
The importance of your daily habits cannot be overstated. So, practice habit stacking and develop positive habits that will help you live a rewarding life.