Last week’s podcast and blog were all about the upcoming mid-term elections – with Tennessee’s upcoming election featured. If you haven’t already voted – you can vote early or wait and vote on November 6th. If you haven’t already read the article or listened to the podcast, be sure and go back and listen so you’ll be an informed voter! I’m not endorsing any candidates, just making sure you are ready to cast a vote!
TWO weeks ago, I talked about how Self-Discipline is the key to accomplishing anything important in your life. In my book, Adulting Like a Boss, I call it, “Do the Hard Thing.” You do the hard thing NOW and the payoff comes! Do the easy thing – and you’ll still have to do the hard thing, but you’ll do it later – and it will be much harder than if you had done it to start with!
What’s the hard thing? It’s different for everyone. It could be as small as putting your keys away so you can find them every time – to paying your bills on time. Maybe it’s getting up on time, or going to the gym. MY hard thing is probably not YOUR hard thing.
The hard thing is that thing you know you SHOULD do – that you KNOW would make life easier if you would just DO it… but you somehow can’t find the initiative to do until it’s “later.” And then, it’s much harder because you put it off. If you’re thinking of something right now – that’s probably YOUR hard thing.
Two weeks ago, I promised you that I would give you a secret to getting the hard thing done. Something that will make your life SOOOO much easier in whatever area of your life that your hard thing lives.
So what’s that secret? What’s the key to making life easier? Okay, I’m going to tell you. Are you ready? Listen up.
Some people call it habit. Some call it ritual. Some call it routine. Whatever you want to call it (I’m calling it habit,) it’s forming a habit so that the hard thing you find so difficult to do isn’t quite so hard in the future – in fact, if you form the right habit, it won’t ever be a hard thing again. You’ll do it without thinking!
But here’s the key – you STACK this habit on something you already do. STACKING a habit means adding it to something you already do – putting that NEW habit on top of an OLD habit you do so easily that you don’t even think about it.
Let’s use your keys as an example. Let’s say for instance, that you can’t ever find your keys because you toss them “wherever,” when you come home. Sometimes on the table, sometimes on the bed, or sometimes on the sofa. You never know where to look if you don’t see them. Are they under the bed? Behind the sofa? Lost in the cushions?
You want to “do the hard thing” and always put your keys in the same place so you can find them when you’re ready to leave the house, – but it’s a hassle and it’s kind of hard, so you don’t.
So let’s form a habit.
First – the plan: Every day you come home, you have a peg by the door, and you hang your keys as you come in. If you forget and you MAKE yourself do the hard thing, get up from the sofa, and go hang the keys on the peg. (Hard thing.)
But to form the habit of hanging them up – you want to STACK the habit of hanging the keys with something you already do. Let’s say every day when you come into the house, you kick your shoes off at the door. You do that without thinking. It takes zero effort to kick your shoes off.
Now you want to STACK the habit of hanging the keys with kicking your shoes off. So AS you kick your shoes off, you reach over and hang the keys. No matter how hard it is, for a week, kick shoes off, hang keys up. Say it aloud of you need to.
After a while, kicking your shoes off will feel strange if you’re not also hanging your keys up because you’ve STACKED the habits.
Taking a habit you’re already doing – and STACKING the habit you want to start doing is an easy way to form a habit. And it can also help you BREAK a bad habit – in this case, tossing your keys wherever.
Remember that doing the hard thing may be hard at first, but after a while, if you keep doing it, you won’t find it any harder than those things you do automatically – the things you do without even thinking.
But it will be hard at first. That’s the hard part. But… Do the Hard Thing!