The Complete Hierarchy of Habits

Habits based on Maslow and Frankl

Hierarchy of Habits © Erik Back 2011

Yesterday I searched for some sort of checklist of habits. I found a couple of good lists and I gave you some links to these lists. While I studied these lists I started to categorise the habits and I scribbled and circled the categories and habits on a sheet of blank paper. After I while I started to notice a similarity to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that I remember so well from marketing in business school.

I rediscovered Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I started to plot in the different habits and they all make perfect sense. I added the extra dimension of Victor Frankl – transcendence and ended up with a complete model for the habits that form your life. I will call it The Hierarchy of Habits.

This model only represents the categories and grouping of habits and you can use it to get a sense of perspective before starting working on your habits. About a week ago I wrote a bit about the Shaolin monks; in that post the message was that you have to master the basics to become a master. These wise words apply well in the hierarchy of habits, because you have to master and optimise the basic habits that will form your foundation.

That means that you should practice your habits at ground level before proceeding to the next level. Before you even consider start working on your self-esteem you have to master the first three levels. You have to master the physiological habits before anything else. This means that all your focus should be on getting good sleeping habits; getting exercise; have a good diet and make sure that your digestion works well. These are the absolute basics and you will not succeed in the following levels if you do not master the basics.

Take a closer look at the hierarchy of habits by clicking it to enlarge the image. Spend some time thinking about every item in the model and feel free to comment below. In my coming posts about habits I will refer to this model and develop it further.

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