I hope your week is off to a great start.
Are you finding time for your health and fitness so far?
If you have been trying to make the time, week in and week out without much luck, know that the beginning is always the hardest part.
In the beginning, you haven’t yet built the habit. And anything that is not a habit we naturally resist.
The resistance, of course, comes from having to put ourselves out of our comfort zone – jumping off that high diving board if you will. And it’s uncomfortable and sometimes scary and sometimes sucks.
Ok, so I’m not selling this building new habits thing yet, but keep reading.
I think we can all agree, that staying in our cozy bed feels better, eating what tastes good feels better, sitting on the couch and watching NetFlix feels better, going out for drinks feels better – ….but only short term.
That short term pleasure that you get from the things that you are comfortable doing doesn’t come close to how you feel when you have dived headfirst into the uncomfortable zone and realized that it’s not as scary as you thought. And then realizing that you are capable of it and so much more, and that it’s worth it, and that living in a healthy body feels so much better than all that other stuff you once thought were better.
Ok….so getting there does not come easy. It definitely doesn’t happen overnight.
So I’ve got a great tip for you that will help you build that habit with less resistance.
It’s called habit stacking.
This method, created by BJ Fogg as part of his Tiny Habits program, can be used to create any new habit.
With every habit we build, the brain builds a strong network of neurons to support your current behavior. So the more you repeat something, the stronger and more efficient the connections become.
We all have really strong habits that we don’t even think about; opening the blinds in the morning, taking a shower, making coffee in the morning, reading the news…and with habit stacking we can take advantage of those already existing connections to build new habits.
This is how:
Take any already ingrained habit and stack a new behavior that you want to make a habit on top.
So rather than trying to create a habit based on time or location, you are pairing it with something you already do.
Makes sense right?
By linking your new habits to a cycle that is already built into your brain, you make it more likely that you’ll stick to the new behavior.
Here’s a few examples:
- After I turn off my alarm, I will meditate for 1 minute
- After I drink my coffee, I will put my running shoes on and head to the gym
- After Sunday breakfast with the family, I plan my healthy meals for the week
- After I turn off my work computer off at 5pm, I will grab my gym bag and head to the gym.
Once you get good at this you can begin to create larger stacks by chaining small habits together.
I hope this was a helpful tip to get you revved up about building new habits this week!
P.S – Want to get better at building habits? I highly recommend you read Atomic Habits by James Clear. This is where I learned about habit stacking and so much more.
Source: Atomic Habits, by James Clear