What’s the Best Way to Start a New Habit?
There are many ways to start a new habit, but the easiest way is to identify a current habit, and then stack your new behaviour on top. This is called habit stacking.
Let’s dive straight into examples.
1. A new exercise habit: You’ve decided that your new habit is 50 squats per day. Afterall a ‘peachy bum’ is made in the winter months! Habit stack this with boiling the kettle. I boil my kettle at least 5 times a day in winter … so my new habit is 10 deep squats while my kettle boils. It’s as simple as that. The lady in our picture today is habit staking knee lifts with her ‘current habit’ of waiting for her coffee to brew.
2. A new ‘gratitude’ practice: I have read many articles on the benefits of keeping a Gratitude Journal. Over the years my great friend @Helen Nicolson has given me a few beautiful Gratitude Journals with my name engraved on them. Helen speaks about the advantages of using these Journals in her Mindfulness Talks, and her awesome Book: ‘Mindfulness. How to stay sane in an insane World'. However, whenever I have set out to use my Journal, this ‘new’ habit only lasts a week or two, and then it somehow ‘slips off my radar’. Here’s my personal habit stack for this: In my morning shower- as I turn on the hot tap- I say (out loud) what I am grateful for. This is normally after a run / walk with mates, and there has always been a lot of natter & laughter, and invariably a few ‘gold nuggets’ of learning as well. In a similar way, at night I habit stack my gratitude practice with my evening bath / shower. There are always key learnings from the day. It could be from good or bad feedback that I have received. We all know that ‘feedback is the breakfast of champions’.
To sum it up: the only way that I have a DAILY GRATITUDE PRACTICE … is to keep it ‘verbal’ and habit stack it with turning on the hot tap in my shower / bath. … and that happens twice a day, and 7 days/ week! A daily gratitude practice is game-changing, and it’s now been incorporated into my daily life…seamlessly and time effectively, as a CONSISTENT HABIT!
What new habit are you going to ‘kick-start’? Pair it with a specific current habit… remember that specificity is key. Link the new habit to an existing habit that you do at a certain time of the day / location. You brush your teeth twice a day … what new habit can you stack with this?I would love to hear your ideas, and most importantly how the new habit STICKS ... once you have 'habit stacked it' !