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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Linderman

Build Better Habits with Habit Stacking: A Guide to a Better Life

Transform Your Daily Routine and Accomplish More with this Proven Method



Do you find yourself struggling to stick to good habits, like exercising regularly or reading before bed? Or maybe you want to incorporate new habits into your daily routine but don't know where to start. Habit stacking is a simple yet powerful strategy that can help you achieve your goals and improve your life.


What is Habit Stacking?


Habit stacking is a technique that involves pairing a new habit with an existing habit. By linking the new habit to a habit you already do every day, you create a trigger that helps establish the new behavior. For example, if you already drink a cup of coffee in the morning, you can stack a new habit of stretching or meditation onto that existing habit. This way, you create a routine that becomes automatic and easier to maintain over time.


Why Does Habit Stacking Work?

Habit stacking works because it takes advantage of the power of habits. Habits are actions we perform automatically, without much conscious thought. This is why habits are so hard to break and so easy to maintain once they're established. By stacking new habits onto existing habits, you tap into the power of habits to make the new behavior stick.


How to Implement Habit Stacking


Implementing habit stacking is straightforward and can be done in a few simple steps:

  1. Identify an existing habit: Choose a habit you already do every day, such as brushing your teeth, making breakfast, or taking a shower. This habit will serve as the trigger for the new habit you want to establish.

  2. Choose a new habit: Pick a new habit you want to incorporate into your daily routine. This could be anything from meditating, reading, or doing a quick workout.

  3. Stack the new habit: Simply add the new habit to the existing habit. For example, if you brush your teeth every morning, you could add a habit of stretching for five minutes after brushing your teeth.

  4. Repeat: Repeat the new habit every day until it becomes automatic.

Benefits of Habit Stacking


Habit stacking has numerous benefits, including:

  1. Improving productivity: By stacking new habits onto existing habits, you can accomplish more in less time.

  2. Increasing motivation: When you see the new habit becoming automatic and ingrained in your daily routine, it can increase your motivation to keep going.

  3. Simplifying goal attainment: Habit stacking can help you achieve your goals by breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps.

  4. Improving mental and physical health: Habit stacking can help you establish healthy habits, such as exercise or meditation, that can improve your mental and physical health.

How Habit Stacking Can Improve Your Mental Health


Habit stacking is a powerful tool for improving mental health because it helps to establish positive habits that can lead to improved well-being. Here are a few ways that habit stacking can improve your mental health:

  1. Reduces Stress: Habit stacking can reduce stress levels by establishing healthy habits that promote relaxation and relaxation. For example, you can stack a habit of deep breathing or meditation after a busy day at work.

  2. Improves Mood: Building positive habits, such as exercise or spending time outdoors, can help improve mood and boost self-esteem.

  3. Increases Productivity: Habit stacking can increase productivity by making it easier to form and stick to habits that are related to work, such as organizing your workspace or prioritizing tasks.

  4. Supports Self-Care: Habit stacking can help establish self-care habits that are critical for mental health, such as getting enough sleep or eating a healthy diet.

Tips for Habit Stacking with Mental Health Obstacles

  1. Start Small: When starting a new habit, it’s important to start small and gradually build upon it. Starting small makes it easier to stick to the habit and reduces the risk of feeling overwhelmed.

  2. Be Consistent: Consistency is key when forming new habits. It’s important to keep stacking new habits onto established ones, even if they are small and seemingly insignificant. Over time, they will add up and make a big difference in your life.

  3. Celebrate Your Progress: Celebrating your progress is important when forming new habits, as it provides motivation and reinforces the positive feelings associated with the new habit.

  4. Stay Positive: Staying positive is critical when forming new habits, especially when mental health obstacles are present. It’s important to focus on the benefits of the new habit and remain optimistic about the changes you are making.

Conclusion


Habit stacking is a simple but effective method for building new habits and improving mental health. By stacking positive habits onto established ones, you can make positive changes in your life and overcome mental health obstacles. Whether you are looking to reduce stress, improve mood, increase productivity, or support self-care, habit stacking is a powerful tool for creating positive change and improving your mental health.


Here's a daily routine that incorporates habit stacking with reading books and exercise:

  • 6:00 AM: Wake up and drink a glass of water. (Establishing a hydration habit)

  • 6:15 AM: Exercise for 15 minutes. This can be a walk, run, yoga, or any physical activity that you enjoy. (Stacking an exercise habit after hydration)

  • 6:30 AM: Read for 15 minutes. This can be a book, a magazine, or any other type of reading material. (Stacking a reading habit after exercise)

  • 7:00 AM: Have a healthy breakfast. (Stacking a healthy eating habit after reading)

  • 8:00 AM: Get ready for the day. Take a shower, get dressed, and complete your personal grooming. (Stacking self-care habits after breakfast)

  • 9:00 AM: Start work or attend any scheduled appointments. (Stacking work or appointments habit after self-care)

  • 12:00 PM: Take a break for lunch. Eat a nutritious meal and take some time to relax. (Stacking a relaxation habit after work or appointments)

  • 1:00 PM: Resume work or continue with any scheduled appointments. (Continuing the work or appointments habit)

  • 5:00 PM: End work or wrap up any appointments. (Ending the work or appointments habit)

  • 6:00 PM: Have dinner and spend time with family or friends. (Stacking a social habit after work)

  • 7:00 PM: Read for 30 minutes. (Stacking a reading habit after social interaction)

  • 7:30 PM: Exercise for 30 minutes. (Stacking an exercise habit after reading)

  • 8:30 PM: Get ready for bed. Turn off all electronics and read a book or listen to calming music. (Stacking a sleep preparation habit after exercise)

  • 9:30 PM: Go to bed and get a good night's sleep. (Establishing a sleep habit)

By stacking habits in this way, you can create a daily routine that includes reading books and exercise, and help turn them into automatic and efficient parts of your daily routine. The idea is to build upon an already established habit, making it easier to form new habits and stick to them over time.


References:

  1. Duhigg, C. (2012). The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Random House.

  2. Lally, P., Van Jaarsveld, C. H., Potts, H. W., & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(6), 998-1009.

  3. Martin, J. (2020). The Habit Blueprint: How Habits Are Formed and How You Can Control Them to Live a Better Life. John Martin.

  4. Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Avery Publishing Group.

  5. James, G. (2019). The Psychology of Habit: From How Habits Form to How to Break Them. Routledge.

  6. Neil, P. (2021). The Power of Habit: How to Create Good Habits and Break Bad Ones with the Latest Research. Udemy.

  7. Pychyl, T. A., Lee, J. M., Thibodeau, R., & Murrant, M. (2014). Procrastination and the priority of short-term mood regulation: Consequences for future self. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 8(2), 94-103.

  8. Williams, J. M. G., Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. V., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2007). The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness. Guilford Press.



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