How to make a new habit last a lifetime
Here is a quick tip for you today that could be a total game-changer for you!
If you are trying to create a new habit (aren’t we all?!), it’s 99.999%. This tip will help. It works because it couldn’t be any simpler.
But first, have you ever struggled to stick to something? Like taking vitamins? Some people have said they’d buy vitamins, and they would sit on a kitchen shelf, basically untouched. They always intended to take them, but for some reason, they could never remember – even the ones their doctor suggested!
And then they read about “habit stacking” and decided to give it a try (it’s outlined in the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, which is a great read, with lots of practical tips!).
Habit stacking is a no-brainer way to create a new habit in your life – pretty much any habit, not just taking vitamins. All you do is “stack” whatever routine you’re trying to create on top of the activity you already do every day.
For example, when you brush your teeth every morning, all you would do is add another habit on top of that (like taking vitamins).
Or doing the dishes immediately after eating dinner each night, and then (bonus stack!) going on a short walk, which studies show helps manage blood sugar and improve your digestion!
Eventually, every time you do your “regular” activity (like brushing your teeth or eating dinner), you don’t even think about doing the “stacked” movement because it becomes automatic.
Others have said this works because now they don’t have to remind themselves to take their vitamins constantly. Instead, it’s just part of their routine!
The author lays out some pretty long “stacking” routines in the Atomic Habits books, but those are aspirational. Just start with one habit at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed or end up with an hour-long routine you have to go through before you go to bed.
Do you have a new habit you’re trying to create? Give some thought today about how you can “stack” it with an activity you already do! Here are a couple of ideas:
- If you’re trying to get back into your workouts every night, put your gym bag by your door right after you brush your teeth.
- If you’re trying to eat healthier, plan the next day’s meals (including those healthy snacks we’ve been talking about lately!) the night before, just after you eat dinner.