How ‘Habit Stacking’ Can Help You

Have you heard of this term, ‘habit stacking’? It’s simply a way to form a new habit by connecting it to an existing one.

It can be hard to get into a new habit, to make it stick and to remember to do it regularly. But attaching it to something you already do every day or week makes it much more achievable.

Perhaps you’re looking to learn a new language. You have the Duolingo app downloaded, you know you want to learn Greek, but you just keep on forgetting to go into that app and spend a few minutes a day on it. 

You are already in the habit of adding your exercise into My Fitness Pal. You log into the app every evening and add your food and activities that day, you never forget. Well, now you’ll do this and then go into Duolingo straight afterwards. Every time. Connect the two habits. 

You’re habit stacking. 

That’s a really simple example, but you get the idea. 

Have a think about something you’d love to do but never seem to get into the habit of doing it. Then think about when and where it would fit in your day and attach it to something relevant that you already do. 

Got it? You’re habit stacking now.

Take a moment to list the habits that you are wanting to form, alongside those you already have. You’ll be able to start making connections.

When thinking about new habits, it is important to make the shift from aspiring to do something to actually intending to do something about it.

These two things might sound like the same thing, but they’re really not, and seeing the difference and doing something about it is what will get you moving towards those aspirations. 

The idea is you think about what you’d like to achieve, think about the actions you need to take to get there and then translate them into regular habits. 

It’s worth thinking of the long term goal or root reason, rather than just the action initially, as it can help your focus and motivation.

For example, you hear a lot of people saying they’re going to drink more water. But they’re struggling to do so, struggling to get into the habit. 

They might be falling at the first hurdle here, as the goal shouldn’t be to drink more water. The goal should be about the reason you’re drinking more water, which can be personal to you. Maybe it’s because you want it to lubricate your joints as they’re paining you, maybe you want it to improve your digestion, maybe it’s about weight loss for you or perhaps it’s to brighten your skin. Water has tonnes of benefits, we know this, but until you make it about something that will in some way impact your life in a way that’s meaningful to you, you’re not going to have the drive to stick with it. 

OK, goal defined, then you can think about the actions you’ll take to get there.

I want to improve my digestion, so I plan to begin by drinking more water. Makes sense. Now that you’ve defined it in this way, you’re likely to be more motivated to reach for that glass. 

With motivation and some thought going into how you can habit stack a new habit, you’re well on your way to sticking to it and seeing those changes and we all know that when we start to see the changes we’re looking for, it gets easier and easier to stick at things.

Before you know it that new habit will become ingrained and you’ll find you can habit stack on top of that one with your next aim. 

Habit stacking and nailing down your motivation to do something makes it much more likely you can make it work. 

Give it a go this week with that ‘thing’ you’ve been meaning to try for ages. Do let me know how you get on!



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