Our ability to succeed in anything we do today (in health, career, life or self-development) hinges on developing good habits and getting rid of bad ones.
We live busy lives, and we're bombarded by distractions and temptations, any of which can seriously derail our focus.
Here are 2 techniques I've found to be extremely powerful at achieving two things:
1. Breaking a bad habit
2. Developing a long-lasting positive habit
How to break a bad habit
Tool: using social media to force accountability.
Social media is probably the most powerful form of media today, and unlike TV, newspapers or even the broader internet, social media is interactive: you see what people are up to, but people also see what YOU are up to.
At the same time, psychologists have long talked about the benefits of "being accountable" to someone as a means to stay motivated and focused: this is why many people hire personal trainers not just because of their fitness knowledge, but mainly because they will have someone "to answer to" if they miss a workout.
Accountability is a massively powerful motivator.
So if accountability to one person is such a powerful tool, imagine what accountability to thousands of people can do?
So if you have a bad habit you're looking to break:
1. Make that decision.
2. Set a timeline.
3. Broadcast it and keep people updated about your progress.
4. (Optional) Ask 1 or 2 people to publicly ask you about your progress on a regular basis.
How to build a good habit
"Stacking" is probably the most successful tool you can use to build long-lasting positive habits that require minimal effort to maintain.
So what is stacking?
Just as the word implies, stacking means: stacking a new habit on top of an existing and established habit that you've already mastered.
Let's use some example of how stacking works:
New habit: drinking 2 glasses of water upon waking up.
Existing established habit: brushing your teeth, or putting on your glasses (for e.g.).
How: leave a bottle of water and a glass on the sink next to your toothbrush, and combine both habits into a new "single" habit: over time, the act of brushing your teeth and drinking 2 glasses of water stop being 2 separate tasks and become a single well-entrenched habit.
New habit: taking your daily supplements.
Existing habit: brushing your teeth and drinking 2 glasses of water.
How: repeat the same process: the "drinking 2 glasses of water" has now been firmly combined with the "brushing teeth" habit, so you don't have to think about it anymore. Now you "stack" the new habit (supplements) on top, essentially combining all 3 into 1.
New habit: doing 10 minutes of mediation every morning.
Existing habit: brushing your teeth, drinking 2 glasses of water, taking supplements.
How: do you see where I'm getting to here? Every time you master a new habit by stacking it on top of the previous one, you "stack on" a new one.
Trust me: before you know it, you will reach a point where your morning routine consists of 10 habits you go through without even thinking.
Give it a try and send me your feedback!
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