The ultimate method to effectively include a new habit into your daily routine

How important tradition is. In any aspect of life, it plays a significant role.

Tradition, on many occasions, brings a sense of familiarity, which translates into a sense of tranquility. The known things, what we have experienced before, and what we like to do on a regular basis, becomes something easy to digest and that, after all, is what we could define as a state of tranquility.

However, that tranquility can become routine. And sometimes, if we stay in routine, we could stall and stop growing. Growing up and moving forward involves having to start doing other activities and ‘acting’ in unknown scenarios.

And that’s where we don’t know what to do. As we are not familiar with new activities, the mind start to resist, it starts to push us to procrastinate, and insisits on being constantly distracted…Here is where problems begins.

This is one of the main reasons I get frustrated. When I want to start doing a new project, learn something or include a new activity in mi daily routine. As much as I say I want to do it, I find it hard to keep my promise.

And that’s when, one day, frustrated with that fact that I never keep my promises, I began to think about the activities I was currently doing…When did I manage to include them into my habits? How did I do it?

Now, think of these activities (or projects) as if they were people. It’s the exact same thing with people. It’s more difficult to trust and accept in our social circle someone we don’t know. Many times when we talk to someone unknown, we do it with caution and distrust.

But what if a relative introduces us to a stranger? Situation changes. Now we have less prevention, and we feel more confident because an element of familiarity was included: Someone known and trusted introduced us to that person.

Why not apply the same logic with the activities and projects you want to include in your daily routine? What if an activity that is already familiar, is the one that helps to adapt to a new, unknown activity? If we are anchored with an activity we like and is familiar to us, it will be easier to do the unknown activity.

The ‘sandwich’ technique

Thinking about this, I remembered something I read a couple of years ago in Charles Duhigg book “The Power of Habit”. In his book, Charles explains that an effective way to include a new habit in our routine is to use the same technique that radio stations use to make a big hit out of a new song: The ‘sandwich’ technique, where they first put a song that people love, then they put the new song, and as a third song they put another song people adore.

And that’s where I came up with the idea of testing what Duhigg’s book says: Make a “sandwich”, where the first activity is something familiar and that I like to do, an “anchor” activity. Then, I’m going to do the new activity, and after that, I will do another activity I enjoy. This last activity will act a “valve of escape”, to relieve the stress and frustration that may involve doing a new or difficult activity.

So, if you want to include a new activity in your daily routine, an effective way to do it is with the “sandwich” technique:

  1. ‘Anchor’ activity – Known activity.
  2. New activity – That activity we need to include in our daily routine, but being difficult or unknown, we continue to procrastinate the start forever and we never end up doing anything.
  3. ‘Valve of escape’ activity – Known activity, something you love doing, and that could help you release the stress or the anxiety doing a new activity could imply.

Sometimes we overreact to things. Sometimes we forget that there are alternate solutions to solve an obstacle.

Sometimes, the only thing we need is a sandwich and keep going…