The Habit of All Habits …
Today I wanted to talk about habit stacking and how to make waking up early a habit.
Habit stacking is where you link together habits like a keychain. For example, I have a personal passion to study my dreams.
So every morning I try to remember my dreams and then I write down my dreams. I then practice habit stacking by jotting down my intentions for the day in the journal and sketching out my schedule.
After a few minutes of dream journaling and planning, I’m more awake, and so I’ll just put the journal to the side and meditate or be quiet for a few minutes. So today I’m going to be talking about habit stacking and some of the basic principles.
First, we have to understand the basics of habits which means understanding a habit loop.
Second, we have to understand the mentality of habit stacking which is based around momentum.
And third, we have to start small and get going.
Let’s dive in.
How To Make Waking Up Early A Habit Commentary:
The first point Is all about understanding a habit loop which has three parts. There’s the cue, the routine, and the reward.
In my example, the cue is my alarm. The cue is a reminder to do something. And my alarm is a soft guitar that slowly gets louder.
There are many other cues like leaving the house first thing in the morning, getting back at night, cooking dinner, or even seeing a pack of cigarettes on your counter.
Anything that triggers you or reminds you of a behavior is a cue.
Next is the routine, which for me started out with dream journaling. I’m going to talk a little bit more about routines in the following points but for now I just want to mention that the routines have to give you an emotional reward.
They have to make you feel good. For me and my dream journal, I get a sense of accomplishment when I successfully remember a dream.
Now the second point is having the mentality of habit stacking, which as I said earlier is based around momentum, or building up speed.
To understand the concept of momentum I want to talk to you real quick about multitasking.
Multitasking has shown to be highly detrimental.
When you switch your mind from different topics back and forth, your mind has to load different associations and mental schemas for each topic.
This causes a delay.
However, if you batch things together and focus on certain topics all at once, your brain processes things more smoothly.
In terms of habits and habit stacking, you want to string together similar habits. That’s how to make waking up early a habit.
Notice how above that I’m journaling, and thinking, and then all the sudden I’m planning my day, and then I’m not thinking I’m just laying there and letting my brain process.
These habits flow nicely together and my brain is essentially in the same gear the whole time. A bad example would be doing unrelated tasks. Like planning my day, brushing my teeth, cooking breakfast, and then meditating.
There is no rhythm or order in this example in how to make waking up early a habit.
And this brings me to the third point, which is making the habits coherent and rewarding.
So I’ll be honest with you that habit stacking sounds great on paper but is difficult to pull off.
Grouping together similar habits and doing them back to back is important as well as being honest with yourself and asking afterwards, did this make me feel emotionally good?
That’s why it’s so key that you are in tune with your emotions, because body awareness is the fundamental skill. I wrote a blog post here about how body awareness is the ultimate skill.
If it doesn’t make you feel emotionally good, it’ll be hard to stick with it long term. Finally don’t bite off more than you can chew, go small when you’re starting out.