This is the year I brought reading back into my life and it’s made for seriously magical mornings. Today, I want to share some life changing info with you that I learned in several of my morning read sessions — it’s about changing habits with habit stacking.
Of course, I play a game with myself. My Magic Mornings is centered around the letter M!!!
#magicmorning #miraclemorning #makeyourbed #mentorship #moveyourbody #makecoffee #moneymove #meetpeople #mentalstimulation #othermstuff #habitstacking
Atomic Habits by James Clear
After I finished Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear, I learned how to make my reading habit super satisfying.
I created a little reading log so I could get a dose of dopamine every time I read another five pages. Five pages of reading a day is only a small daily goal, but it adds up to 35 pages a week! And, that’s about 30 pages more than I was reading before I started habit stacking.
No matter what your goals are—read more, eat better, exercise more, etc.—Atomic Habits teaches you how to achieve them using a proven method. James Clear is a global expert on habit formation and, in this book, he shares practical strategies that teach us exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to major results.
It’s all about changing your system.
With this book, you’ll learn how to:
- Make the time for your new habits (even when life gets crazy)
- Overcome your lack of motivation and willpower
- Create an environment that will help you succeed
- Learn how to get back on track when you get off course
What is Habit Stacking?
You might be thinking something along the lines of:
“But habits seem impossible hard to change!” and/or “If it was that easy, we’d already have changed our habits!”
Yes, changing habits is difficult. And, usually the hardest ones to change are the habits that are worst for us.
That’s why I highly recommend changing habits with habit stacking.
So, what exactly is habit stacking?
It’s combining small and easy new habits to habits we are already doing. It’s making incremental changes before, during and after our existing habits.
Here’s the formula: After (YOUR EXISTING HABIT), I will (YOUR NEW HABIT).
It’s honestly that simple. And, it WORKS.
Examples of Habit Stacking
Changing habits with habit stacking has worked so well for me!
Here’s how it changed my reading habit:
I always carry my phone with me to keep me occupied when I’m out and about, so I’m already in the habit of grabbing it before I leave.
I decided to try stacking the habit of bringing my book with me, too. And, split my time between reading and chatting and surfing social media.
I also started tracking the pages I read to help boost the satisfaction I get from doing it.
We actually get a dose of dopamine when we make a tally or scratch something off a list and that is positive reinforcement for our new behavior.
Making five little tally marks feels so good that I found myself wanting to do it again…and again…and again.
Habit stacking totally helped me create the new habit of reading five pages of personal development every day!
I’m using it to help me stay on track with my healthy lifestyle as well.
Here are some other examples from Atomic Habits:
- “After I take off my work shoes, I will immediately change into my workout clothes.”
- “After I sit down for dinner, I will say one thing that I am grateful for that happened today.”
- “After I pour my cup of coffee in the morning, I will meditate for one minute.”
Why Does Habit Stacking Work?
Changing our deeply ingrained habits feels impossible, especially we’re busy, tired, overworked, and overwhelmed.
James makes it feel less so in his book Atomic Habits. It’s really a simple formula.
The key is to tie our new habits to something we’re already doing each day.
James emphasizes that it works if the new habits are each of these four things:
Little Changes Over Time = Big Results
Here is a little bit about how changing habits with habit stacking works over time:
Think about your money in the stock market. It may not be much and it may not be gaining a lot every day, but, over time, the interest compounds and adds up to big gains.
If you put a few thousand dollars into a mutual fund when you’re 20, then never put in another dime, you’ll make more money than someone who waits until they’re 50 and puts thousands into the same fund!
Two words = compound gains. Small changes over time become a big changes!
In this example, the “change” is actual money. In the case of a healthy lifestyle, the change is results.
Here are some other examples of compound gains:
A small new habit could be giving up one sugar-filled drink per day. It’s only one drink, but over the course of a month, that’s 30 fewer sugary drinks that go into your body!
If the drink is a 150-calorie soda, that’s 4,500 calories a month you’ve saved — or over one pound! If you do this over the course of a year, you’d lose more than 12 pounds by making this one small change.
You want to eat more vegetables? Start by adding one vegetable to your daily routine. Make it a vegetable that’s easy to prepare and something you like. (Even the most hard-core vegetable haters usually have one vegetable they can tolerate!)
Adding in that one serving of veggies a day adds up to seven servings per week. That’s 365 servings of veggies per year you wouldn’t have eaten otherwise!
How Your Environment Relates to Your Habits
Your environment plays a major role in your success at changing habits with habit stacking.
It’s important to set up your environment to support your good habits and discourage your bad ones.
If you’ve been doing the 21 Day Fix/Portion Fix, you (hopefully) already know how to do this. You’ve set up your kitchen to support healthy eating and good portion sizes.
- You keep your color-coded containers in a place where they’re easy to see and get to.
- You’ve removed the bad food from the house.
You’ve made your environment conducive to the good habits and discouraging to the bad ones!
Changing Habits Little by Little
Are you ready to make some BIG changes little by little? Start with habit stacking and make SMALL habit changes. Aim to get 1% better in your life every day.
It’s amazing how changing small habits adds up to BIG change in a short period of time! And, trust me, those little dopamine hits go a long way toward keeping you on track.
Before you know it, you have created wonderful new healthy habits for life!
Get Help Changing Your Habits
Do you need some help changing your habits? I’m passionate about helping people transform their lives! Let’s connect so I can help you change your bad habits and live the healthy and fit life of your dreams: