One of the biggest keys to maintaining my health transformation was making incremental changes over time. This helped ensure that I wasn’t overwhelmed, allowing me to be consistent with those changes. Creating and maintaining new habits can be difficult. One tool you can use to create new changes is Habit Stacking.
What is Habit Stacking?
Identify a habit that you already have. Now you will stack the new habit you want to create on top of your current habit. Viola, You’ve started habit stacking!
Let’s look at an example. Say you want to start a habit of setting intentions for the next day each evening. Your current bedtime routine looks like this: wash your face > brush your teeth > set your alarm > go to bed. Insert the new habit into that routine. wash your face > brush your teeth > set your alarm > spend 5 minutes setting your intentions for tomorrow > go to bed. Now you have a cue for when to practice your new habit, setting your alarm, to help remind you to implement the change.
It helps when your cues and new habits are specific and happen with the same amount of frequency. Now in stead of I will practice intention setting every night, it’s Every night after I set my alarm I will spend 5 minutes setting intentions for tomorrow. Once you’ve added a few smaller habits, you can expand and stack in more.
To learn more about Habit Stacking, check out this blog post by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits.