How to Keep Habits Hierarchy

June 22, 2019

3 min read

How to Keep Habits Hierarchy

Building good habits or activities and then keeping them isn't an easy task. Especially in times when you want to start building a few habits at once or come back to good old ones. The most common advice in such situations is to start doing one activity at the time and, when you stick with it, go to another. However, I want to show you an approach that can help you more.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

I think you heard about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. In simple words, it shows that man starts going after upper-level needs after he satisfied the ones below. For example, he will not feel an urgent desire to meet his esteem needs until he feels safe. Or he will start searching for self-actualization only when he has love and belonging. Of course, an order of these needs may vary from person to person, yet I want to remind you about this concept before going farther since Pyramid is quite similar.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Building the Pyramid of Habits

The same concept as in Maslow's hierarchy can be applied to your habits too. First, list bad habits that you want to remove from your life and good ones you want to keep or add in your life. Go through each of them and give them value from zero to ten based on their importance. Finally, organize the list the way that the most important habits are in the base of the Pyramid and the less important at the top.

Track the Progress

With the Pyramid in place, you can see what is most important, and you are ready to start building and maintaining habits and activities at the base. When you feel momentum with those habits, you can go to the next level. It is more reliable to keep the Pyramid and your progress somewhere so that you can be self-accountable and see patterns that harm your habits system. I would recommend updating the progress every morning on paper, Google Sheet, or any other place.

Keep Order up to Date

Our lives are in constant change. Activities that were important for us can lose value with time. Give yourself time to go through the pyramid from time to time and think about how each habit relates to your life right now. You can build a practice to reshape it when something changes in your life or do this every week or month.