In the 1990s, multitasking was the trendy skill to acquire. True multitasking however, for everyone who is not a machine, is impossible to achieve because it is like the spokes of a wheel – pulling you ever outward in all directions. When you get pulled too far in any direction, the inevitable result is getting pulled off balance and falling over.
Positive habit stacking, on the other hand, is like stacking Legos – interlocking one on top of the other. Balance and alignment. It is more easily attainable than multitasking, and yet, still requires practice and thoughtfulness. And, alignment in your life allows you to thrive.
The best part? These are your positive habits – not some list the internet told you to care about. How is your life organized and how would you like it to be organized? Make a list and then see what can be done simultaneously for maximum effect. Eventually, you will be stacking your go-to positive habits like a pro – and without consciously thinking about it.
In modern life we all bemoan how much we have to do and so little time to do it all. Think about all those things you want to do – those healthy habits you swear every January 1st you are going to tackle and master. These are not things that you should have to tack onto your calendar like one more obligation. These are things you can do while doing something else you already do daily. Which of those things you want to make time for can be coupled together with your daily routines? Starting with small micro-habits and moving up to bigger goals as you gain balance and self-awareness.
Getting more exercise and spending time with your kids? Two habits stacked! Eating a healthier lunch you pack yourself to save money and eat while connecting with co-workers or friends? Three habits stacked! The best part of positive habit stacking is that it is completely personalized and tailored to you and your life. It is scaled up or back based on where you are at the moment. When you are starting out, or if you get injured or go through hard times, you can dial it back to reserve your energy. When you are doing well and full of energy you can stack habit on habit to fully maximize and engage with life.
It is easy to start small. Practice listing all the things you are grateful for during your shower. Say a prayer or think good thoughts about family and friends while brushing your teeth. And, if you are one of those super multitaskers who brushes your teeth in the shower, then bam! You’ve got a stack of three or four right off the bat!
After awhile you will find yourself stacking habits without even realizing it. For example, every morning and evening, I walk my dog through the neighborhood and listen to podcasts while walking. I’m doing many things simultaneously, but not juggling or overreaching. This 30 minutes twice a day allows me to practice multiple positive, healthy habits: 1. Getting outside, 2. Connecting with my dog and nature, 3. Getting exercise, 4. Practicing deep breathing, 5. Learning new things by listening to a podcast, 6. Practicing conscious awareness and presence – I’m engaged in my surroundings and thinking of how grateful I am for being able to walk, have a pet to love and care for, learn new things and engage with the world around me.
The biggest part of positive habits are that they are positive. Start small, grow your confidence. Grow your gratitude. Find mindful meditation and positivity in the little things. What you will discover is the biggest positive habit of all – finding joy and contentment in the daily routines of life. You will find balance and alignment. You will thrive.