Develop new habits using the small habits stacking method

Jim Rohn an American entrepreneur used to say, “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” Just the way compound interest keeps stacking if you cultivate tiny habits in your life it adds up and will give benefits in long run. You can easily develop new habits using the small habits stacking method.

Once a rich man asked an old, wise man to help his son change his bad habits. The old man agreed and took the kid for a walk through the garden. After walking few steps wise man asked the young one to pluck a small flower out of the ground. It was easily done, the wise man nodded and they resumed walking.

Few minutes later they stopped again and the wise man pointed towards another plant. This time plant was larger than the last. The young man could pluck it with a bit of effort. “Now pluck out that one”, the wise man pointed towards a bush. The young man grabbed the bush with two hands with all his strength, he could barely managed to pluck it out of the ground.

“Now try that small tree, there?” The young man grabbed the trunk with both hands, pulled as hard as he could but he couldn’t even move it.

“Master It’s impossible. I can’t do it.”

“You see my boy, it’s the same with habits. If you let them grow and take root it will become harder and harder for us to stop them.”

Habits take continuity and effort to cultivate. Just by adding small increments to your habits in long run, you can achieve great success. It is easy to overestimate the defining moment or achievements and underestimate the value of making small daily improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success can only be achieved by massive actions. Whether it is building a business, losing weight, writing a book, winning a championship, or achieving any goal we put an immense amount of pressure on ourselves so that our improvement can be visible to the outer world.

If you are improving by 1% every day doesn’t even noticeable but in a long run it will stack up into a drastic change in yourself. It is the same with bad habits if you keep getting bad by 1% every day soon you will end up being bad. Think about this if you wake up 1 minute early every day in a couple of months you will start waking up 1 Hour early its a noticeable change.

How does habit stacking work?

Habits are like mutual funds it keeps on stacking your self-improvement. The same way compound interest multiplies your money, by repeating the small habits over time the effect of your habits multiply. These small habits seem to have very little or no difference at all but as months and years pass by, the value of good habits significantly increases.

The impact created by a change in your habits is similar to the effect
of shifting the route of a spaceship entering the atmosphere. Imagine a spaceship traveling at a very high speed say 8km/sec. The re-entry corridor is a narrow region in space that a spaceship must fly through. If the vehicle strays above the corridor, it may skip out. If it strays below the corridor, it may burn up.

Develop new habits using the small habits stacking
Spacecraft entering earth’s atmosphere

While cultivating your habits it is important to keep track of your small habits. You need to keep on correcting them so that you keep on track of achieving your desired goal.

Your habits can make you or break you


Accomplishing smaller tasks are easy. By adding and completing one small task every day doesn’t change anything to you but it will definitely add value over your entire career. Automating your existing tasks and mastering a new skill opens new paths for you. You will get new ideas for your personal growth.


Learning one new idea will not make you a genius overnight, but it will add up neurological connections in your brain. You will start thinking more clearly and the effect of compounding knowledge will transform your life. Each book you read each concept you learn it opens up a different way of thinking about your old ideas.

There is a famous quote by George R.R. Martin

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, The man who never reads lives only one.”


People often reflect back on your behavior. Being a little bit nicer to each other can help in a strong connection between your peers and family members. The more you help others, there is a probability that people will love to help you back.


When you are frustrated you sending out those signals and your surrounding gets contaminated. Stress imposes an immense amount of pressure on your health. Stress can be manageable most of the time. But we keep on stressing up every day and in long run, it affects your health badly.

Negative thoughts

With each setback, failure to achieve goals we start blaming ourselves. These thoughts keep on intensifying as time passes. It becomes an endless loop and becomes difficult to break. The same way you start seeing other people too. Once you start seeing angry, selfish people around you start finding them everywhere. Soon you start loosing faith in youself as well as in other people.


Some people live with so many grudges and conflicts in their minds. A little spark can bring out their outrageous behavior. These outrages take roots when people come together. Mass movements, riots, protests are rarely the result of a single event. Outrages are the long series of small events collectively they turn into mass outrage and spread like a wildfire.

How change really occurs?

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Thomas Alwa Edison

When Thomas Edison was inventing the light bulb, he has failed more than ten thousand times but he still keeps trying, and finally, he got success. When a news reporter asked him about how he is feeling for failing 10,000 times and finally got success then he replied: “I didn’t fail 10,000 times, but I found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Such breakthrough moments are often achieved by persistence and tiny improvements. These small improvements add up to the required potential to unleash a major change. The bamboo tree takes a lot of time to show up visible growth first 5 years it builds a strong network of roots. After that, it explodes to nine feet into the air within 6 weeks. Similarly, habits often take time to show a visible effect on our lives. But most people give up right before it’s time to see the results and fail.

Persistence is key. You should never lose faith in yourself some habits can be quickly mastered whereas some take time. People often make small changes and they crave quick results, and when the results are not visible they give up and fail.

If you are struggling to develop new habits using the small habits stacking method and couldn’t see visible results its not like you have lost ability to improve. It is often means you need to give more time along with proper direction to cross the threshold and see the results.

And when you break the threshold people call you the OVERNIGHT SUCCESS!

Don’t Just Focusing on your goals, focus on the path itself

By attaching our life to the success of our goals we make a big mistake. When we achieve our goal we get happy when we fail we fill with anger and disappointment. Success or failure is a consequence of the choices you make. It is related to every tiny action you take to achieve your goal.

You need to closely observe your actions, every now and then you need to correct your actions and you achieve what you need. If you course-correcting your path in tiny fractions towards your goal nothing can stop you from achieving it.

Problems associated with developing new habits

1. Winners and losers both set goals

We alway think that winners are always more ambitious that lead them to the success. We always overlook people who share same goal with successful people and fail to achieve them. What is the cause of failure is the lack of motivation or lack of efforts?

Every Olympic runner wants to get a Gold medal, every candidate wants to get a job. But these people concentrate more on their goals rather than those tiny habits which will lead them to their goals. There’s always a desire to win but the required capabilities are not fine-tuned for the task. Winners always focus on small improvements day by day to help them achieve success.

2. Goal achievement is momentary

Imagine you hate cleaning your room all your stuff spread all across your room. One fine day you set a goal to clean your room. You cleaned it and achieved your goal. It stayed clean for a day, a couple of days passed and your room is the same again. You achieved your goal for one time but you are the same person who hates cleaning. If you fail to discipline yourself for cleaning your mess you will end up achieving the same goal over and over with not positive effect in your life. There is no point in treating the symptom without understanding the cause.

Achieving a goal only changes your life momentarily. We always think about results but achieving desired results is not a problem. Instead, we really need to change the system which is responsible for the results. When you solve problems for results you are solving them temporarily. To fix problems forever you need to think at the system level. If you understood the cause and fixed the input you will succeed.

3. Goals can restrict your happiness

We often attach our happiness to the goal. We think “If I reach this goal, then I will be happy.” We often reach the goal but the moment we reach there our goal changes now we tie our happiness to the new goal. This process never makes us happy. Millionaires want to become billionaire and billionaires want to be trillionaire on and on the process continues till we die. Time simple ticks away and we forget to enjoy the process.

Furthermore, if we fail to achieve goals we get disappointed. Some people confine themselves in a small cage of depression and spoil their health. You have to understand that it is highly unlikely that your path will exactly match the journey in your mind. You might end up achieving something better in the process. Never restrict yourself to one path of success there are countless other paths waiting for you. Once you fall in love with the process itself rather than end result you enjoy the journey towards your goals.

4. Goal achievement is a product of long-term commitment

At some point, you think that you achieved the goal and break the continuity. The moment you stop cleaning your room it will become messy again and you end up staying the same person. The purpose of setting goals should not be about winning the game it should motivate you to continue playing games.

Once you achieve all the set goals there is nothing more to achieve at that moment life becomes meaningless. The long term thinking is not about single accomplishment it is about continuous improvements. Ultimately, your commitment to the process determines your progress.

System of habit stacking

If you are facing problems with changing habits, the problem is not you. The underlying problem is the system. The system of micro habits you build over time. Your bad habits keep coming back to you until you understand the cause of problem. If you solve the problem at root it will never occur to you.

Always keep in mind that you always need to focus on the system of micro habits rather than any single goal. Always aim for tiny changes in your life every day it combines in a long run and helps you live happily. These small habits are not just any habits these are part of the large system. Habits keep on building like roots of a bamboo tree you just need to control which small roots are good for your growth and at a specific time you will achieve overnight success.

Habits are like the roots of the tree, each one is important for its growth. A single root has no specific importance but a network of roots combines together to help trees achieve great heights. Regular practice of particularly small routine not only easy to do but it holds the power to build the entire system of habits which is essential for your personal growth.


Habit is the result of stacking small improvement in yourself. Getting better by a tiny fraction every day can add up a significant improvement in the long run. But you always need to remember just like good habits you can easily cultivate bad habits. Small changes often appear to make no difference until you break the threshold. You need to be patient and persistent to achieve any goal.

Habits are divided into small micro habits just like atoms combine to create large systems. If you want better results along with your goals concentrate on the small habits. Until you improve the quality of your small habits you cannot level up your goals.

Sanjeev Jikamade

Hello, I’m an experienced mobile developer and a Data Science enthusiast from Mumbai. I have special interest in exploring technological advancements and write about it in my blog. I love reading, mostly about biographies, self help, psychology. You can explore here some blog posts about my reading experiences mixed up with my thoughts about life. Happy Reading :)

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