Ahhh, I can already feel some stress thinking about all of the daily habits I’ve accumulated (both good and bad) that need some kind of tweaking. Daily deposits are the things we do on a daily basis either adding to or separating us from the desire for success with a specific habit.
Atomic Habits was written with the intention of helping #1 NYT Best-Seller James Clear share the habits that helped him reach success with his audience through personal stories, trials and errors, and interesting analogies on the reasons we are able to succeed with a future goal or not. Habit stacking helps us build something out of nothing by doing something on a daily basis to reach that goal. Preparing for this new habit you’re trying to build can be connected to previous habits in order to grow (read James Clear’s Habit Stacking in this Atomic Habits summary: How to Build New Habits by Taking Advantage of Old Ones for a better understanding.)
- If your goal is to exercise for 30 minutes three times a week: create a workout schedule, plan your meals in advance while food shopping, set reminders on your phone, wake up earlier to work out before work, and set your clothes and necessities out the night before, etc.
- If your goal is to read 10 minutes a day: keep a book near your bed for easier reach in the morning or at night, have a newspaper or reading app extremely visible on your phone, leave one in the bathroom, take a book with you on a walk, and keep one in your bookbag for your daily commute, etc.
- If your goal is to write a new song every two weeks: write for 15 minutes in the morning before starting your day, keep a notebook by your bed every morning and night, and reach out to collaborators after you eat breakfast, etc.
Add your new habit to whatever habit you’ve already established in your life.
For example, a morning routine habit stacking could look like this:
- Before I leave my room to shower, I fix my bed
- Before I get out of bed, I read my to-do list and visualize having a successful day
- Before I get breakfast, I drink one 8oz cup of water
- Before I leave my house, I check my texts and emails
The Law of Association
Coined by Aristotle, the law of association has four different laws associated with its success: the law of contiguity, law of similarity, law of contrast, and law of frequency. The law of association implies there are a variety of reasons we are able to make a habit stick when we pair them with other habits already set in place in our lives. They create different reminders in our minds of habits we have and are trying to connect.
The law of contiguity may feel like a “deja-vu” moment. When you experience some kind of event, it will feel like a trigger moment that will remind you of another similar event. Both experiences will feel like one and when you think of one, the other one will feel very closely together. This one is handy when creating habits because of the power of remembrance when it comes to immediately doing something because of the first memory.
This next one relates to the previous law due to its ability to help you remember something by the act of doing something. Law of similarity places different habits into a group based on their “categories.” Brushing your teeth and flossing will be in a similar group since we often remember to floss either before or after flossing our teeth. This may be the easiest way to introduce a new habit into your life.
In contrast, the law of contrast is more about human perception and how we can make two obviously different habits unite. Putting on your sneakers and turning off the television take different processes to accomplish but can be tied together to let out subconscious minds know that we’re headed out the door in a few minutes.
Repetition allows the habits to stick around for a long time. The law of frequency explains how doing something over and over again will compute this habit in your subconscious mind as something that will be done every time after or before accomplishing “X,Y,Z.” Breaking a habit will take some adjusting, time, and mercy in order to change. Just like we start a habit by repetition, we can change it to another type of routine with some tweaking and prioritizing.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like James Clear mentions in his post on Atomic Habits, having a game plan ahead of time will influence us to follow through with the next thing on our list. Habit stacking is about combining habits that will help you achieve a goal. If you have that plan set in your mind, it will make it a lot easier to do. His examples include:
- When I see a set of stairs, I will take them instead of using the elevator
- When I want to buy something over $100, I will wait 24 hours before purchasing
- When I buy a new item, I will give something away. (“One in, one out.”)
- When the phone rings, I will take one deep breath and smile before answering
- When I leave a public place, I will check the table and chairs to make sure I don’t leave anything behind
Regardless of what your goal may be, practice makes perfect. It will take multiple days or weeks to really make the habit stick.
Reading Atomic Habits is just one of the ways to become better at creating a routine that works for you and your goals. Check out our past posts for more resources: Recently Launched Gig Booking Platform Aims to Transform the Live Music Industry and Hire Fiverr Freelancers To Grow Your Online Presence.