In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about the concept of habit stacking. The idea here is to couple something you are trying to do with something that you already do. A great example of this was provided by a friend of mine the other day. We were commiserating about how much we both dislike exercise and yet both are committed to being healthy. He shared that he installed a tv in his work out room. And, rather than “going downstairs to exercise.” He would go downstairs to watch the game. He just happened to watch the game while on the treadmill.

For him, this did two things. First, it gave him the motivation to get on the treadmill. Second, it changed his focus from something he doesn’t enjoy to something he does…from exercising to watching the game. This simple shift has enabled him to regularly perform this one aspect of leading a healthier life.

The habit that you are trying to form doesn’t need to be one that you dislike. Say, for example, you are trying to get better at saving money. Many debit cards have now made that process easier by rounding your purchase to an even dollar amount and tucking the difference into a savings account for you. The habit stack would be to remember to use your debit card for purchases. That act would enable you to begin building a savings habit.

Why did I entitle this blog, “Leveraging Your Time?” Because one of the reasons my clients offer as to why they haven’t begun doing something that they have identified as important to them is because they don’t have the time. As you can see from these two examples, building new habits doesn’t have to take more time, it does, though, require you to think about the time you have differently.

Sometimes it can be hard for us to identify these stacks for ourselves. Just as my friend offered me a new way to think about incorporating exercise into my daily routines, an outside perspective whether that be a coach, a friend, or a lamp lighter, can be key to seeing these opportunities.

What are some of your favorite habit stacks?