The trick to creating new good habits –
and making them stick –
is to do what experts call “Stage 3.”
What was the last thing about yourself that you tried to change?
Have you ever desired to make an improvement in your weekly or daily habits, but then fizzled-out?
Sometimes, acquiring new little good habits seem almost as difficult as learning new big ones!
Maybe you want to wake 20 minutes earlier each morning, or go for an outdoor “powerwalk” once a week, or say something very kind to your spouse each evening.
What has been well-researched, yet little-known is this: when people acquire new good habits, it’s most often because they move through five stages of permanent change.
Making New Changes “Stick”
How people change has been relentlessly studied, and by being careful to move through each of five distinct stages — without skipping any — you can succeed in developing new good habits!
5 Stages of Permanent Change of Habits
When people are not able to make changes stick, it has been proven that it’s most often because they skip over stage 3: preparation.
“…if I were to get in my own way, how would I do it?”
What Happens During the Third Stage of Change
Stage 3 is preparation. Preparation means spending some time processing:
- ▸ how will I adopt this new habit?
- ▸ when will I do it, specifically?
- ▸ where will I do it?
- ▸ with whom will I hold myself accountable?
- ▸ for what real reason am I doing this?
- ▸ if I were to get in my own way, how would I do it?
Have you ever “skipped” stage 3 and excitedly moved right into action? Were you able to sustain the habit?
Each of us needs to periodically correct our course as we pursue our goals and increase our success. Each positive new habit we permanently acquire, increases our leverage in the world and moves us closer to our big goals. If you can consistently course-correct, choose new lifestyle and professional habits, and make those habits “stick,” then you will feel fantastic — for there are few sensations more empowering and energizing than the feeling of true accomplishment!
“…when people are not able to make “changes stick,”
it has been proven that it’s most often because
they skip stage 3: preparation”
(One method of preparation that could work for you is The Dane Technique — a checklist system that will help keep you accountable for your new habits until they become muscle-memory.)
“…break your goals down into smaller steps,
then make steady progress toward the life of your dreams!”
Here is a trick of “stacking good habits,” that can help you to get the most out of your days: instead of making some huge change in your life, stack together several small improvements, and watch the cumulative effect of those small improvements surpass what the huge change would have achieved!
Stacking Good Habits Has Cumulative Impact
The Japanese have a word for stacking, “kaizen,” which means, essentially, “small steps.”
If you’re hoping to add more health and self-care protocols into your life, “stacking” can help you implement a new habit regularly into your weekly schedule by making progress in bite-sized pieces.
What Improvements Should I Make to My Life?
Having identified your challenges, now write down a few possible solutions for each problem.
For each solution, you should be able to come up with at least one (maybe more) daily or weekly habit that would be helpful to you.
“watch the cumulative effect of those small improvements
surpass what the huge change would have achieved!”
Here are some examples of some small changes that could reap huge improvements for your life:
- ◕ limit eating red meat to 3 times a month (and no more) could add 3 to 4 years to your lifespan
- ◕ eating 300-400 calories less than the average American could at least 4 healthier years to your life
- ◕ consistent strength training could add over 5 high-energy years to your lifespan
These are just a few examples. You can see how implementing small changes, routinely, can cause enormous overall improvements.
I would enjoy hearing about your experiences: what small changes have you begun stacking in your life?