Happy New Year! It’s that time of year where even the most stoic among us reflect on our lives. Habit stacking, unlike chicken stacking, helps you turn goals into habits. When it comes to long term change and transformation, it’s not the huge efforts that get the work done, but rather small consistent actions over time.
Many of us will make some formal commitment to bettering ourselves – you know who you are. Many others of us will make a point to tell everyone how you don’t make New Year’s Goals and resolutions because you’re pretty much perfect as you are – you also know who you are.
I’d love to present a different twist in approaching our goals with the idea of habit stacking. Essentially, habit stacking means to link a new habit to an already existing habit to help reinforce patterns. Someone who wants to start taking walks could stack that activity with a daily activity such as getting the mail. Someone who wants to read more can set out their book at the same time they make their bed so it’s harder to forget.
Think about the different goals that you have made for 2021. Find a way to add a small step to your already established habits that will help you automate your new goals. If you want to drink more water, you can fill up your favorite water bottle while you’re brushing your teeth. If you want to eat more nutritious foods, you can place good choices in the places where you’d usually be reaching for junk food. Whatever it is you want to accomplish, by building a new action into an already established habit, you’re already ahead of the game.
I’ve waffled back and forth between being a strict goal setter and a goal rejecter depending on the year. This last year I wanted to be better at taking my vitamins. In the past, I’ve relied on willpower alone and consistently missed days. When I linked taking my vitamins to when I give my kiddos their vitamins, I did way better. In fact, now the only days I slip up are the days where school is off and the morning routine changes. I’m looking forward to setting one or two more sensible goals this year and linking them to habits to help them stick.