How to learn new habits faster

Implementing new habits to get more done in your day can be easier than you think. Habit stacking is a process where you ‘stack’ new habits on top of old habits. Studies have shown that it is quicker and easier to add a new habit into a series of established habits as your current habits are strongly wired in your brain already.

The process of habit stacking involves neurons, specialised cells that transmit information in the brain; and synapses, the connection between neurons in the brain.

The more you perform the habit (for example, playing the guitar), the stronger the neurons will become, and the connections between the synapses in your brain will be faster and more efficient, meaning you play guitar better and faster with more practice. I've been learning to play the guitar for just over 2 years now, and I'm only getting better and faster in the last few months - it's bloody hard! :)

You've probably formed strong habits in your daily routine - for the most part you are a creature of habit. You have cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning, brush your teeth after your morning shower – when you think about it, your whole morning routine is one long ‘habit stack’ as you perform a sequence of tasks almost on autopilot.

How to start a habit stack

The best way to get started on a habit stack is to write down all of the habits you have during the day (especially the boring ones!), and at what time they normally occur, and decide where you would like to add in new habits. If you sandwich or stack a new habit in between two old habits, it will be quicker to implement due to all those lovely neurons and synapses kicking off in your brain from the more established habits.

If there are things you want to change or implement, try the following:

1. Decide on the new habits you wish to implement

2. Plan a time to do each one on a daily basis

3. Have a way to track your progress

 

To use habit stacking, just fill out this sentence using the structure below.

 

After/Before [CURRENT ACTIVITY/HABIT], I will [NEW ACTIVITY/HABIT].

 

1. Before my 7am start, I will get up 45 minutes earlier to work on my business ideas and goals

2. Before my morning shower, I will spend 15 minutes working out

3. After getting organised for the next working day, I will write in my daily journal to keep focused on my business and personal goals

 

Make the Commitment and track your progress

It takes between 21 - 66 days of consistent daily action to form a new habit. If you’re committed to succeeding and creating habits to help you start your side business, you have to track them daily and make yourself accountable. Make the habits small and manageable to start with, you can always build them up later, for example, going from 20 minutes every week day working on your business plans to 40 minutes a day to an hour or two at the weekend.

Tracking doesn’t have to be perfect, making a mistake or missing a day will not affect your long-term habits. The most important thing is to get back on track; you can do this by writing the habits into your daily journal as a reminder or keeping track with an online productivity app or calendar.

Making these small changes to your daily routine could be the difference between your definition of success and failure.

Action step

What habit stacks could you get started on today to help you move forward in your business quest? Hit Reply and let me know!

 

Lynsey Hanratty

, County Dublin,