When changing your life for the better it really comes down to a few things but let's dive into one of the big one's which is shifting your habits...
Now habit changing can be easy or hard to commit to, mainly depending on your structure and routine set of course.
"If you had a goal of walking each morning for 20 minutes and you roll out of bed with no alarm, no reminder to walk and head straight to scrolling on your phone aka actively procrastinating then expect to forget about your walk, based on the facts that you're focusing on the wrong areas of ticking off your priority list...
If for example you set yourself the goal the night before, put out a sticky note or alarm reminder and set your walking shoes near the shower you will have now stacked one habit to another that leads you to your goal of walking"
So really what is Habit Stacking? well it's a really effective and powerful technique that helps you create new habits by adding them to your existing daily routines. It allows you to leverage the power of habits to make significant changes in your life without feeling overwhelmed.
"In this article, we will explore the concept of habit stacking, its benefits, and how to use it effectively to change your life."
So What is Habit Stacking?
Habit stacking is a simple yet effective technique that involves adding small habits to your existing routines. The idea is to stack new habits on top of existing ones, so they become automatic and part of your daily routine.
Now by doing this, you create powerful habits that can lead to significant changes in your life.
"Sounds simple right? Well it is, the hard bit is actually doing it!" Don't worry keep on reading and you will find out how you can make this an easy process.
What's the Benefits of Habit Stacking?
Now let's talk about the benefits of Habit Stacking, Habit stacking offers several benefits, including:
It helps you form new habits: Understanding how the brain works in creating new habits is essential to effectively using habit stacking to change your life, our brains have a natural tendency to seek out patterns and routines, which can be harnessed to create new habits. When we perform a habit, such as brushing our teeth, our brains create neural pathways that become stronger with repetition. These pathways make the habit easier and more automatic to perform over time. The stronger the neural pathway, the easier it is to perform the habit without conscious effort. For example, if you want to start meditating every day, you could stack this habit on top of your existing morning routine of brushing your teeth. By attaching the new habit to an existing routine, you're creating a new neural pathway that makes the habit easier to perform.
It saves time: Since habit stacking involves adding new habits to your existing routines, you don't have to spend extra time creating new routines and if these are replacing time consuming things you will also find the ability to gain time back into your life.
It reduces decision fatigue: Decision fatigue is a psychological phenomenon where the quality of decisions made by an individual deteriorates after prolonged periods of decision-making. This happens because decision-making requires cognitive effort, which can be mentally draining, leading to a state of reduced self-control and willpower. The science behind decision fatigue is rooted in the concept of ego depletion, which suggests that decision-making draws from a limited pool of mental resources, much like a muscle that becomes fatigued with prolonged use. According to this theory, the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for executive function, is the primary resource that gets depleted with decision-making. Research studies have shown that decision fatigue can have a negative impact on a variety of cognitive and behavioural outcomes. By automating your habits, you free up mental energy that you can use for other tasks.
It boosts productivity: By building positive habits, you can increase your productivity and achieve more in less time.
"If that didn't make you nerd out I'm not sure what will, anyway its time to learn how to habit stack effectively!"
How to Use Habit Stacking Effectively
Here are the steps to follow to use habit stacking effectively and start thriving!
Identify Existing Habits - The first step is to identify your existing habits. These are the things you do every day without thinking, such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or making coffee.
Identify New Habits - The next step is to identify the new habits you want to create. These should be small habits that are easy to do and take less than two minutes to complete.
Choose a Trigger - The third step is to choose a trigger for your new habit. This could be an existing habit or a specific time of day.
Stack the Habits - The final step is to stack your new habit on top of your existing habits. For example, if you want to start doing pushups every morning, you could stack it on top of your morning routine, such as after you brush your teeth.
Examples of Habit Stacking
Here are a few examples of habit stacking you can use to base your foundation habit stacking from.
After I brush my teeth, I will do 10 pushups.
After I make coffee, I will meditate for two minutes.
After I take a shower, I will write in my journal for five minutes.
"And just like that you have a new opportunity to shift your habits and alter your routines, behaviours and structures for the better!"
You probably have a few questions, don't worry I did as well when I started habit stacking.
What if I miss a day of habit stacking? Missing a day is not a big deal. Just pick up where you left off and keep going.
Can I stack more than one new habit at a time? Yes, you can stack multiple habits, but it's best to start with one new habit at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
How long does it take to form a new habit? It takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. However, this can vary depending on the habit and the individual.
Can I use habit stacking for any habit? Yes, habit stacking can be used for any habit, as long as it is a small habit that can be completed in less than two minutes.
How can I stay motivated to continue habit stacking? One way to stay motivated is to track your progress and celebrate your successes. You can also join a community of habit stackers to stay accountable and get support.
"Habit stacking is a pretty powerful technique that can help you create new habits and make significant changes in your life, the only thing holding yourself back now is the decision to give it a go!"
By following the steps outlined in this article and using the examples provided, you can start habit stacking today and take control of your life.
Remember to start small, choose a trigger, and stack your habits on top of existing routines. With practice and consistency, you can build powerful habits that will transform your life.
Try it out for yourself and see the difference it can make.
Happy habit stacking!
Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Sports Nutrition Advisor, Breathing Performance Coach, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist Coach, Over 10 years experience in the health and fitness industry, while also running his own businesses since 2014 allowing him to implement and practice tools that allowed him to thrive in life.
In the past Chris experienced first hand on how to overcome his own severe anxiety and depression through changing lifestyle habits and behaviours through holistic health.