Stacking Habits

Having the right habits in place is important to our businesses and our lives. When it comes to breaking old habits or creating new ones, one thing that can help is to use existing habits as cornerstones to change. The idea of stacking habits is when you add a new habit directly after something you already do habitually. “When I do “X”, I will then do “Y”.

To use this you first have to acknowledge those things that you do automatically throughout your day. Say your alarm goes off in the morning, what do you do first? Second? Third? In example, I know I 1) get up, 2) go to the bathroom, 3) make myself a cup of coffee, 4) sit down and read emails, then 5) go through social media, yada, yada… Once you have created a list of your habits, you can start to tack on an additional task in the appropriate place.

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Say, you want to start writing a blog. Your evening routine is to eat dinner, clean up the dinner dishes, watch tv until 11pm, brush your teeth, and go to bed. You could stack writing into that schedule. “When I finish cleaning up the dinner dishes, I will sit down and write for 30 minutes before I turn the tv on…” You’ll have to keep reminding yourself for awhile, but this will soon become habit.

That’s to add a new behavior. You can also stack habits to help break or change bad habits. Maybe you come home from work and, before you even change out of your work clothes, immediately snack on chips or some other junk food. You could insert a behavior to help break that one. “As soon as I get home, I will go to the kitchen, take 5 minutes and eat an apple, then change my clothes, and then, if I still want chips, I can have them. The fact is that once you’ve cut your hunger by having an apple, and stalled the routine further by changing your clothes, you will find yourself in more control and be less likely to want the junk food.

By linking a new behavior to something you are already doing (stacking habits), you create an anchor for the new behavior and are much more likely to stick with it then if you just tell yourself to do the new behavior at some random point.

Try it out. I’d love to hear how this works for you.

 

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We Specialize In…

I cannot stress enough how important it is to specialize, to find a niche. Yet, this made me laugh. This list is from a personal training studio website. Their specialty is…. well, I don’t know. Did they leave anything off their list? They even specialize in “all sports”.

We specialize in...

For the record, if you “specialize” in everything, you are not a specialist. You are a generalist. The idea of specializing is that you become really good at one or two things and, having achieved this specialty, you market your services to the specific demographic that needs those particular services. Think about this, imagine you are a professional athlete and you find yourself needing shoulder surgery. Are you going to go to an orthopedic surgeon that does shoulders, knees, hips, back, feet, hands, and a little bit of elbow work, or… are you going to go to the doc that only does shoulders and has perfected treating that area? (FYI: I had my shoulder replaced by the top doc in the northeast US. I wasn’t taking any chances.) So, if you were looking at the exhaustive list above to choose a niche from, a great specialty might be golf conditioning. You could even go deeper and say women’s golf conditioning… or deeper still, golf conditioning for women over 50. You may think that that is too limiting, but think about the shoulder specialist. If you are a woman over 50 who wants to train for golf, who are you going to choose, someone that also does golf training, or, someone who only does golf training for women over 50?

Choose your niche and become the best at it. Then, market yourself to the population that needs your unique skills. You will become the go-to trainer for that specialty, not some other trainer that does “everything”.