300 posts on instagram, on the button. That was my day today. I was at 299 and today I was to post my 300th picture. A big moment, one not to be underestimated in my mind.
I had made a commitment to myself a couple of months ago to post a picture on my Instagram every day… as an exercise in building up habits using the idea of ‘habit stacking’.
Habit stacking is something I had picked up from some of the books I had been reading on productivity and achievement. There was a rich theme of working to habits, not goals, and within that was the idea of achieving a lot of incremental habits that lead to something bigger.
What is habit stacking?
The term ‘habit stacking’ was coined by author S.J Scott in his book Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness
I have been building up my habit stacks and it has been paying back.
It is very much an ongoing exercise and it looks like it will be an exercise in perpetuity, as I try and build a series of tiny habits to form a chain of change.
Where this differs for me from before, and what I slipped into on the monumental moment of posting my 300th Instagram post, was that I was getting the energy and desire to make this post mean something.
I was moving between thinking about going out to capture a very special picture, to posting something super important or to go all symbolic by posting a still picture of the movie 300. Why?
I was getting caught up in the moment.
I decided to just post a picture, quickly, as I wanted to get over this hump of getting caught up on making something special when what I was actually doing was just building my habit stack.
In the end up, I actually posted three pictures as a set and it was the pictures of a previous holiday in Sanya, a beautiful beach resort in the south of China.
There is no massive significance in the pictures other than I am heading there for a break soon and I liked the pictures. They changed my mood for the day and made my morning by refreshing the thought of getting to take a short break soon.
I also continued my habit stacking.
This is a bit extreme but hear my out on this.
The habit stacking idea is working for some parts of my life, it is proving enjoyable and I am achieving and getting things done.
It is not running my life, but it is complimenting my thoughts, desire and passion for other things, it is helping me be more creative and so it is supporting my mental health and giving me a sense of fulfilment.
All of that and more. It’s cool.
The alternative for me would have seen me start something new and then looking to discard it after a while because I wasn’t achieving it big enough, quick enough or fast enough…
Like the ‘New Year, New Me’ mindset. Evident on January the 1st 2021. I would have been there making new year resolutions to swear in some change only to loose interest after the third week.
We all do it, it’s ok to do it and there is the benefit of it sometimes, when something clicks in, the benefit of making some real change stick.
I am not that person now. I am no longer torturing myself with the deadlines, the big days, the special occasions… the anniversary or the milestone. It is all good, but the in-between is much more important. That is where my focus is aimed.
I am in a place of looking to make continuous change and to make things happen gradually.
I am definitely focused on the here-and-now, but I have also got a big beady eye on the five years from now.
A focus on where I want to be and be who with and that is going to take a whole lot of habit stacking to deliver that desired change.
What will that milestone be?
The milestone will be to live more of my life on the virtual beach and in that place of having my time freedom, the irony is when I achieve that, I will be habit stacking past it.
It is a continuous mindset, it’s now getting to be my habit…. it’s definitely part of the way I am thinking now.
A Growth mindset.