What does being proactive instead of reactive mean to you? To me, this is the difference between you having a plan and knowing where you want to go vs you just winging it. We talk a lot in the Real Strong Coaching Club about how we do not do wagons. I do not like the term "fell off the wagon" because there are always going to be ups and downs and while it might be easy to say: “I fell off” when you have a less than stellar day – you didn’t fall. You had an off day, you rode the struggle bus, you failed but didn’t because you learned a lesson
and you moved on!!

Falling off the wagon, like completely off the rails, no basics to be found – doesn’t happen by

It’s not an accident that you didn’t fill your water in the morning and slacked all day because of it.
It’s not an accident that you didn’t have groceries or veggies in your fridge for dinner.
It’s not an accident that you didn’t make time to move your body for 20 minutes.
It’s not an accident that you didn’t have time to take your walk today.

These are all choices because you didn’t have a plan! Poor planning will get us every time. Planning ahead isn’t something that we are going to learn overnight but, it is something that we can start implementing right now. We can try today. We can try tomorrow. The more we try and practice, the easier it gets to have a plan that works for us.

So, let's discuss habit stacking. It’s a great way to start implementing plans and new habits with your BASICS!

Stacking habits is the process of attaching a NEW habit onto an existing habit and this is concept is super powerful! When it comes to building new habits you can use the connectedness of behavior to your advantage. One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking. So, rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location -- you pair it with a current habit.

A method out of BJ Fogg's book tiny habits is this habit stacking formula: After I (current habit), I will (new habit).

For example:
1. After I take off my work shoes, I will immediately change into my workout clothes.
2. Before I go to bed at night I will fill up my water bottles to be ready for the morning.

The key is to tie your desired behavior into something you already do each day. Once you have mastered this basic structure you can begin to create larger stacks by chaining small habits together. This allows you to take advantage of the natural momentum that comes from one behavior leading to the next...

A morning routine habit stack might look like this:
1. While I am waiting for my coffee to brew I will drink 8 ounces of water.
2. After I drink my water I will pour my morning coffee.
3. After I pour my morning coffee, I will meditate for 60 seconds.
4. After I meditate for 60 seconds I will write my to-do list for the day.
5. After I write my to do list for the day I will immediately begin my first task.

Or consider this habit stack in the evening
1. After I finish eating dinner I will put my plate directly in the dishwasher.
2. After I put my dishes away I will immediately wipe down the counter.
3. After I wipe down the counter I will make coffee for tomorrow.
4. After I make coffee for tomorrow I will set out my coffee mug.
5. After I set up my coffee mug I will fill up my water for the next day.
6. After I fill up my waters for the next day I will close the kitchen for the night.

Let's say you want to start a push-up habit and you say, "When I take a break for lunch, I will do 10 push-ups." At first glance this sounds reasonable. But soon, you’ll realize the trigger was unclear... Will you do your push-ups before or after you eat lunch? Where will you do them? You may want to say something more like, "When I close my laptop for lunch, I will do 10 push-ups next to my desk."

Habits like “read more” or “eat better” are worthy causes but these do not provide instruction on how and when to act. Remember to be specific and clear.

The first law of behavior change is to make it obvious! Strategies like habit stacking are among the most practical ways to create obvious cues for your habits and design a clear plan for when and where to take action.

Click HERE to join me and 140+ other women who are pros at stacking their habits in the Real Strong Coaching Club! 

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