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HABIT STACKING - HOW A LITTLE SOMETHING NEXT TO A HABITUAL TASK CAN BUILD LASTING HABITS

Updated: Apr 17, 2023


Today I encourage you to incorporate an exercise into your daily routine by

HABIT STACKING.


Use habit stacking to introduce new behaviours. If you want to build new habits, you could try stacking them on top of an existing habit.


  • While cleaning your teeth...stand on one leg to practice balance.


  • Waiting for the kettle to boil...do 10 squats to improve/maintain strength


  • Sat waiting for an appointment...do some pelvic floor exercises



Most of us will struggle to actually do something we know we should or want in order to improve ourselves mentally or physically. For example to improve posture after years of desk based work.


Here's a simple, 5-minute mobility exercises (with elastic) to improve posture:


The below summary from ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear and snippets from the book of similar topic ‘Making Habits, Breaking Habits’ by Jeremy Dean may help…..


A tiny behaviour will not transform your life overnight but turn that behaviour into a habit that you perform every day, and it absolutely can lead to big changes.


Changing your life is not about making big breakthroughs or revolutionising everything you do. Rather it’s about building a positive system of habits that when combined, deliver remarkable results.


Perhaps you’ve been instructed to do some mobility exercises or physio rehabilitation from a niggling injury. Many experience years of trouble post-injury due to failing to do the simple few exercises regularly. But those who nailed it know these tiny movements really do fix you!


Leave a mat on the floor in the living room or where you will see it and be prompted. Move the coffee table, lay on the floor, roll around, stretch up, lift a leg….or do your structured mobility exercises while the kettle boils or before you slump to the sofa after a long day.


MAKE IT EASY TO ACHIEVE:

Make it easy to do by having a pair of flexible clothing ready to slip on (or stay in your PJ’s if first thing) 5 mins… done.


We don’t notice tiny changes in our lives. Small changes leave a negligible and mediate impact. You’re out of shape today, go for a 20-minute jog…you’ll still be out of shape tomorrow. If you eat a family-size pizza for dinner, it won’t make you overweight overnight. But if you repeat these small habits day after day, our choices compound into major results. Eat pizza every day and it’s likely you’ll gain considerable weight after a year. Go jogging (or start with a walk!) for 20 mins every day and eventually you’ll be leaner and fitter, even though you probably won't notice it happening. The small habits can have a surprisingly powerful impact on your life and you won't necessarily see this happening in real-time.


BREAKING HABITS

Likely you’ve built habits in the past that stuck Eg. meeting with friends means drinking wine and eating pudding. Switch it up. Meet to walk and talk, meet to play a game, try a tennis court or ping pong table in the park.


MAKE A BAD HABIT DIFFICULT

In order to break a bad habit, make it more difficult to do something, ie move your social apps into a folder away from the home screen so they can’t be seen right away. (and just like that you've created more time for something life-changing!)


FEELING OVERWHELMED?

Yep, overwhelm is very real! Keep the habits small and manageable. Set an alarm to prompt you until it becomes a habit.



DO THIS TWO MINUTE TASK...

  • Chose one good habit you would like to implement in place of one that needs eliminating

  • Write out the steps of implementation:

Eg.

1) Get up

2) Switch the kettle on

3) Aimlessly use social media

3) Complete 3 mobility exercises (on the mat you left out last night)

4) Make/drink tea

5) Brush teeth standing on one leg (1min each leg)


Write this on a post-it note and leave by the kettle until it becomes habitual.


Give it a go!



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