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Create new habits that ACTUALLY stick

Does this sound like you?

You decide to finally start doing that thing you've been putting off for a while - for example, exercising, meditating, doing some yoga, ...

But then you just ... don't.

Don't worry - you're not alone. Many (if not most) people struggle with creating new habits because changing your behaviour isn't easy AT ALL.

The struggle of sticking to new habits

Trying to change existing habits or introduce new ones is notoriously difficult because you’re not just doing a one-time thing - it is a behaviour that should be engaged in nearly every day, if not multiple times per day. For most people, making a habit stick is especially hard; some may have success building habits easily or with impressive discipline, but for the rest of us mere mortals, finding an effective technique can feel like a hopeless endeavour.

But it's not our fault. Habit-building is hard. The neurons in our brains are strongest for what we're already used to doing and weak (or nonexistent) for those things that we don't do often. Scientists think this might be how the brain avoids being overloaded with too many things — by letting some connections weaken as other connections grow stronger. You're wired for what you're used to or good at, but it also doesn't mean you're doomed to never create new habits.

The easiest way for creating (and sticking to) new habits

There's an ingenious technique that most people don't know about: using habit stacking so that adopting a new behaviour is easier. This involves *stacking* your new habits with existing ones so you remember to do them. It's excellent because it taps into our ingrained habits and routines instead of forcing us to form completely new habits and is thus much more effective.

For example, let's say you already drink a glass of water before starting your day. You can pair a habit such as 5 minutes of meditation with it - your morning would thus start with a glass of water + some meditation.

If you want to get into the habit of, for example, cleaning up your email inbox, you can do it while drinking coffee every morning.

If you want to start taking walks, pair it with a habit such as going grocery shopping - before going into the store, take a brisk 5-minute walk around the area.

Implementing a new habit into your life with habit stacking isn't going to be effortless, even though it's much easier than trying to form a new habit without this technique. When you start trying to stack your habits, don't be too hard on yourself, and remember that persistence and consistency are key - even if you miss a day or two in between. And if you're really struggling to pick up a new habit, don't be afraid to set a reminder on your phone to practice it - technology is supposed to assist us, after all.

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