Habit stacks can start with anything – even almost nothing.
The 2-minute rule
There are a bunch of reasons starting a new habit is hard. The new habit is
- too big
- too scary
- too time-consuming
There is a simple tactic that counteracts all of that: Ensure that the new habit takes less than 2 minutes.
It’s hard to be afraid of something that won’t take more than a few minutes. It seems silly or pointless. But it is a great way to get started. If nothing else, you’re building the habit of reacting properly to the trigger.
The power of getting a good start
Any habit can be the foundation of a habit stack
James Clear used the term “gateway habit”. Any habit, even a habit that only takes 2 minutes, can be grown into a bigger habit or used as the foundation of a habit stack.
Once you’re used to sitting down with a book at the same time every day, it’s easy to go from 2 minutes of reading to 3 minutes to 5 minutes to 15 minutes.
At the same time, reading could be the 1st of several habits. For example, when you put your book away, you could get out a notebook for journaling.
The earlier the decision, the more effect it has
Habits are automatic choices that influence the conscious decisions that follow.
Some decisions have more impact than others. It could be the timing of the decision. It could be that it affects your mood. It could be that the decision limits the options of future decisions.
Decisions (or habits) executed further “upstream” have more impact on your day.
Key takeaways and implementation
It’s time to double down on starting the day right. I’ve been working on my morning ritual. It’s time to stop messing around and define the 1st few steps.
I don’t have to know every action that I want to include in the habit stack. To start, I just need to decide on the trigger and the 1st action. Then I can start putting in the reps.