Habit Ladder - How to Supercharge Good Habits
When one habit triggers another, results will multiply.
Habit creation involves creating one trigger-response-reward routine at a time. This strategy is effective for creating one habit... and that is better than failing at two, but I don't like it.
Have you ever created a habit that distracted you from other targets? I want improve in a lot of areas, so sacrificing many goals to improve at one is unappealing. When you're going on runs every day to enforce that habit, it can distract from success in other areas. Before long you'll notice other areas slipping. You'll notice you're reading less books or not eating well.
These lapsed areas can nag away at you. If only there was a way to focus on multiple habits without getting overwhelmed...
I woke up this morning, ran 3 laps of the park. When I got home, I put the kettle on, jumped in the shower before settling into my most important task. Today was not out of the ordinary. This happens at the same time, every day. Nothing changes.
A strong morning routine defines my day and good habits are the only reason I can stick to it.
I use a method that merges one habit with the next. It enables me to complete many tasks with little thought. You see, because one habit triggers the next, they compound...
- Waking up triggers me to go for a run. (This was the most difficult stage of the habit ladder to form!)
- I feel tight after the run so stretch using yoga techniques.
- Yoga and running have made me sweat so I jump in the shower.
- The endorphins from running have made me feel great and want to start working.
You see, when one trigger fires a habit and the result of that habit triggers the next, you don't hesitate. You keep moving. Each habit forms a rung on the Habit Ladder - a method of compounding positive habits. Every individual habit leads to the next.
The thought of working on your most difficult task can be daunting at the start of the day. By preparing with a morning routine that includes eases you in, you feel less daunted by your plan. Every habit we fulfil will offer a signal of progress. I enjoy running so I start my morning habit ladder with it.
When starting work I use the Pomodoro technique. It tricks your brain into thinking you have a deadline every 25 minutes. Add short focused sessions to your day and it'll surprise you how much you can get done. Every 25 minutes take a 5 minute break to keep your bran sharp
After a healthy meal I kick off the afternoon with another habit ladder. I read for a least half an hour which eases me back into work, then meditate which sets me up for an afternoon of work. I like to write in the afternoon and reading and meditation set me up well for that.
I try and tick off these two Habit Ladders every day (what name do you think we should give to combining habit ladders?). Achieving both of these ensures i'm pushing forward on targets. By creating ladders, I can work on multiple goals without losing focus.