“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” – James Clear
In the pursuit of personal development and self-improvement, setting goals is the first step. For more on goal setting, check out Craig’s book, Rocks, GRAVEL, Sand and our episode of CRE – The Unspoken Truth on this topic.
We all have aspirations, whether it’s becoming more physically fit, reading more books, or simply being more productive. However, what often gets overlooked is the importance of our daily habits in achieving these goals. This is where the concept of habit stacking, popularized by James Clear, comes into play.
James Clear, author of the bestselling book “Atomic Habits,” explains that the key to achieving long-term success is not solely dependent on setting ambitious goals, but rather on establishing effective systems or habits. And habit stacking is a powerful strategy that can help you do just that.
So, what exactly is habit stacking?
It’s a simple yet highly effective technique that involves identifying a current habit you already do each day and then stacking your new desired behavior on top of it. This method leverages the momentum of an existing habit to kickstart a new one, making it easier to adopt and sustain.
Let’s look at a few practical examples:
- Morning Routine Enhancement: If you already have a morning routine that includes making coffee, you can stack a new habit onto it. For instance, after you start the coffee maker, you can dedicate the time it takes to brew to a short meditation session or some light stretching. This way, you transform your daily caffeine ritual into an opportunity for mindfulness and self-care.
- Workplace Efficiency: Suppose you have a habit of checking your email as soon as you arrive at work. You can stack a productivity habit onto this by dedicating the first 15 minutes of your workday to setting clear priorities and creating a to-do list. With our deal tracking software, Deal View, a lot of our customers have a morning habit of reviewing their Dashboard for 2 minutes every morning. This enables them to prioritize the most important parts of their business and never let something slip through the cracks. This habit stack ensures that you begin your workday with focus and purpose.
- Healthy Eating: If you typically grab a snack when you watch TV in the evening, you can stack a healthier eating habit. Instead of reaching for chips, prepare a plate of sliced vegetables or fruits beforehand. When you sit down to watch your favorite show, you’ll be more likely to indulge in the nutritious option you’ve conveniently prepared.
The beauty of habit stacking lies in its simplicity. It doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your daily routine. Instead, it builds on what you’re already doing, making it easier to incorporate positive changes. Over time, these small shifts can lead to significant improvements in your life.
Remember that your goals are important, but it’s your daily habits that truly shape your life. By embracing the concept of habit stacking, you can harness the power of your existing routines to create a more productive, fulfilling, and healthier life. So, start identifying those opportunities to stack new habits onto old ones and watch your systems propel you towards success.