Building habits is tricky. It is essentially rewiring your brain. I recently came across Habit Stacking while reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, and I have to say, I’m hooked.
What is Habit Stacking?
Habit Stacking, quite simply, is when you try to build multiple habits at once. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How am I supposed to build multiple habits when I can’t even build one at a time?”. Perhaps, you are thinking about the sustainability or effectiveness of this strategy. Let’s take a closer look.
Habit Stacking is Not the Same as Multitasking
I am not an advocate for multitasking. I mean, I can do it but it I find that if I try to multitask for long periods of time my head gets all fuzzy and at the end of the day I am pretty wasted.
No, habit stacking is slightly different. Let’s look at the example that I am currently working with. I want to exercise more and I would love to read more too. So instead of listening to music when I am out for my morning walk. I subscribed to Audible and listen to audiobooks. Boom – two birds with one stone.
Now, I know that this might not be quite the same as reading a book. But at least it is something. And you know what? Because I am consuming more books, I have started to develop a love for a certain material. This essentially led me to purchase an actual book and read a couple of pages before hitting the sack.
If it wasn’t for my stacking routine, I might not have developed an interest in reading.
The 1% Rule
What I love about James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits is that it is very practical. James writes about The 1% Rule. This rule takes a huge weight off of your shoulders. Because instead of trying to make huge progress in any particular area of your life, you should aim for 1% progress each day.
If you increase by 1% daily, that would mean you would reap major progress over time. This is known as habit compounding and while this might seem like a less exciting approach to habit building. It is a more proven method of building habits sustainably.