‘A marathon is hundreds of miles. The finish is the last 26.2’
Nobody runs a whole marathon without putting in the miles first – each mile becomes a daily habit and it gets easier and easier every single time.
Today’s theory, inspired by James Clear, is going to explore how approaching personal development through daily, sizeable chunks will reward you with leaps and bounds of progress over time.
Clear’s target of just 1% improvement every day is embodied in the diagram below. All of a sudden, by practicing tiny positive habits daily, an upward trajectory is more than feasible and over time the results are nothing short of life-changing.
So what kind of incremental habits could you implement into your day to capture that daily 1% improvement? At Alive, we have developed a resource called Better By The Day. It shares small systems and processes to be implemented daily which will result in big changes over time. We’ve also taken concepts from behavioral science into consideration by making each tip as easy and as rewarding as possible. As discussed by BJ Fogg, when our efforts are easy and rewarding they are more likely to become second nature and part of our routine (see the model below).
Now, once we have a couple of habits ingrained, why not push further? Let’s create a "habit stack" by linking multiple Better By The Day tips so that they linke together to become a seamless sequence of habits. To "stack" habits, make the start or end of one activity the trigger for another positive habit, this can be a powerful and low-effort way to completely change our day-to-day quality of life.
I’ll now give an example of a low effort way to smash multiple habits through stacking. To do this I've used three of my favorite practices from Better By The Day, one for each of our three core pillars:
Physical health- Better by the day tip: control light exposure for hormone health
If I start my day by going outside for a short walk in natural sunlight, then I find myself so much more awake, energetic, and optimistic throughout the rest of my day.
Let’s stack this with our next pillar…
Mental wellness- Better by the day tip: Expose yourself to new experiences
When I go outside for this short morning walk, I decide to stack this with a habit by making sure my walk includes exposing myself to new places. If I ensure that I am experiencing something new daily (by exploring a new park for example), then my mind is stimulated and I can continue to be inquisitive and learn more throughout my day.
How can we stack yet another positive habit onto this morning sequence...
Life philosophy- Better by the day tip: Expand your positive social circle
When I go outside each morning and expose myself to a new place or experience, I also decide to find a way to invest in the people around me. If I am going outside in the morning to experience something new, I will reach out to someone to catch up with. Then I'll spend my morning feeling more fulfilled based on the positive interaction I've had and the sense of community I'm building.
By stacking each of these tips on top of each other, we've turned a simple morning walk into a daily routine that 1. Enhances our health through early morning sun exposure 2. Cultivates mental wellness through frequent new experiences and 3. Helps us act out a life philosophy that leaves us fulfilled by investing in our community.
Ultimately, boosting one area of the three Alive pillars will inadvertently help another and it becomes a looping cycle. If we invest in our physical health we are more likely to want to do the things that are good for our mental wellness. If we invest in our mental wellness we are more likely to adhere to the life philosophy that we want to live by.
With a low friction system like the daily tips within Better By The Day, we’re able to see tangible progress across all these areas over time.
Keep an eye out on socials for Rich & Nick who will be kicking off our first challenge – They’re committing to showing you the benefits of each of our Better By The Day tips on our social media! – Do you think they can stack their habits as we did? 😉