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Building better habits easily - what is habit-stacking?

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Many aspects of human behaviour follow a chain reaction type effect. We often decide what we get up to next based on patterns and routines we get ourselves into. Let’s think about this simply – we go for a wee, we wash our hands (at least I hope so, filthy!!), we get up, we brush our teeth, we have tea, we do the washing up – behaviours almost never happen on their own in isolation.

We could perhaps call each action a ‘cue’ for the next one.

Can you see how this could be important in trying to change your habits perhaps?

We can use this to our advantage.

Habit stacking is the idea that when building a new habit, we can find something that we already do, without fail, and ‘stack’ it with this new behaviour, or more simply, do them together, one after the other.

Let’s have a think about some super simple examples:

· After I get out of bed and turn my alarm off, I will do 10 burpees to start the morning by my bed.

· After I have loaded the dishwasher every night after tea, I will meditate for 10 minutes.

· After I make my 10am coffee every day, I will text my husband to check in to see if he is having a nice day.

Can you see how, over time, these things will be ingrained into new cemented habits if we are consistent?

The behaviour that you choose to tie the new one to MUST be something that you do each day though, because, as above, consistency is absolutely key here.

This drastically increases the chances of you sticking to this new habit that you’re trying to implement but creating routine and simple rules that fit seamlessly within your lifestyle making the new behaviour that you’re looking to implement, easy! You don’t have to think about what will come next, it’s a game plan that you know ahead of time, it just happens, it’s non-negotiable.

It is important, though, that you look to implement new habits into the right place in your life though – there’s no use trying to add something new in within your routine in the morning when you’re already flat out and struggle to fit everything in as it is, it simply won’t lead to success. Make it easy!!

Habit stacking sees most success when the ‘cue’ or action you’re stacking on top of is obvious and allows immediate action – something worth thinking about when deciding when to fit it into your day. Again, lose the ambiguity, make it easy. The how and when need to be clear, obvious and specific for the best chance of success.

Have a go this week – have a think about something you would benefit from implementing into your every day, give it a crack consistently alongside something you ordinarily do, see how quickly it becomes cemented into your life!

Would love to know how you get on.

Peace and love, A x

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