Do you buy a planner each year (or even two) and find that after the first few weeks of school you’ve stopped using it? You had the best of intentions: you’ve read or been told that by putting everything in a planner you will feel better, be more productive, stay focused and overall stay on top of your life. But you just can’t seem to get into the habit of using it everyday.
Habits are powerful. They allow you to automate your behavior, which can save you time and energy. Without a habit of using your planner, remembering and managing important deadlines becomes a struggle and you start to feel overwhelmed with balancing assignments, extracurriculars, a job and your social life. However, forming a habit can be difficult, especially if it's a new behavior that we're not used to doing. One way to make forming a new habit easier is through habit stacking.
Habit stacking is the process of taking a new behavior and “stacking” it on top of an existing habit. By pairing a new habit with an existing one, you can make it easier to remember to do the new behavior and create a stronger association between the two actions.
Using a planner is a great habit to form because it can help you stay organized, manage your time better, and reduce stress. But how do you make it a habit? Here are some steps to help you use habit stacking to form the habit of using a planner.
Step 1: Identify an Existing Habit
The first step is to identify an existing habit that you do regularly. This habit should be something that you do daily or almost daily. For example, you might have a habit of grabbing coffee first thing in the morning or going to the library after your first class is over to study.
Step 2: Choose a Trigger
The next step is to choose a trigger for your new habit. The trigger should be something that immediately follows your existing habit. For example, if you have a habit of going to the library, you might choose to use your planner immediately when you g.
Step 3: Determine the New Habit
The third step is to determine the new habit you want to form. In this case, the new habit is using a planner. Be specific about what this new habit involves. For example, you might decide to spend five minutes each day writing in your planner.
Step 4: Create a Plan
Once you have identified your existing habit, chosen a trigger, and determined the new habit, it's time to create a plan. Decide when and where you will do the new behavior. Make a commitment to do it every day for at least 21 days. This will help to solidify the new behavior as a habit.
Step 5: Start Small
When starting a new habit, it's important to start small. Don't try to do too much at once. Instead, focus on making small changes that you can maintain over time. For example, if you decide to spend five minutes each day using your planner, start with just one minute and gradually increase the time each day.
Step 6: Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress can help you stay motivated and accountable. Keep a record of each time you use your planner. This will help you see how far you've come and give you a sense of accomplishment. Consider putting a check next to each date that you engage with your planner so that you can quickly see your progress.
Step 7: Reward Yourself
Finally, reward yourself for your efforts. When you successfully complete your new habit, give yourself a small reward. This could be something as simple as a piece of chocolate or a few minutes of relaxation time. The reward will help to reinforce the new habit and make it more enjoyable.
In conclusion, habit stacking is a powerful technique that can help you form the habit of using a planner. By identifying an existing habit, choosing a trigger, determining the new habit, creating a plan, starting small, tracking your progress, and rewarding yourself, you can make using a planner a regular part of your daily routine. Remember, forming a new habit takes time and effort, but with persistence and patience, you can make it happen.
Forming any new habit takes a little time and perseverance, but it’s totally doable. Check out some more strategies for how to forming a daily habit of using your planner.