Have you read Atomic Habits by James Clear? In a genre that has exploded in the past few years, his approach offers practical, actionable solutions to breaking bad habits and creating good ones. In Clear’s deconstruction of human behavior he shows very clearly that we are ruled by our habits — those pesky behaviors we mindlessly, repeatedly do over and over again. Some of them are great behaviors that serve us well; some of them are insidious, unstoppable behaviors that fill us with regret and unwanted outcomes.
One of the techniques for creating a good habit that Clear suggests is called Habit Stacking. Habit stacking works like this: You identify a habit you already have and then you use that as a trigger for the habit you want to build. My current example: I want to get up to 50 full plank pushups every other day, but I don’t have a regular workout habit. I do, however, have a regular shower habit, so I decided to experiment with that as a trigger.
I started off doing three sets of three full plank pushups (for a total of 9 pushups), and currently, I’m up to three sets of 8 pushups (for a total of 24 pushups). How’s it work? Pretty simple, really. When I move to turn on the water in the shower, I drop down and do 8 pushups. Then I turn on the water, get clean, turn off the water. Still wet, I drop down and do another set of eight. Chilly! Then I dry off, moisturize and, you guessed it, drop down for a final set. After three months of this I’ve already noticed increased strength and a more toned appearance of my arms, and it actually seems effortless.
Habit stacking. If you try it, email me about it. I’d love to hear from you!