Health & Wellness
Dec 11, 2023

The Benefits of Habit Stacking: Building Daily Habits for a Healthier Life

Author: Jo Vos
Medical Reviewer:

Habit stacking, a term coined by author S.J. Scott in his book "Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less," refers to the practice of grouping together small activities into a routine that you perform daily. The concept is based on the principle that it's easier to build new habits by tying them to existing ones. Here's a deeper look into how habit stacking can be a powerful tool to better your own health.

Understanding Habit Stacking

The Basics: Habit stacking involves taking a series of small, manageable tasks and linking them together into a cohesive routine. The idea is to perform this sequence of activities consistently at the same time and/or place each day.

The Psychology Behind It: This method is effective because it leverages the power of existing habits. Since your existing habits are already ingrained in your daily life, attaching a new habit to them makes it more likely that the new habit will stick.

How to Implement Habit Stacking

  1. Identify Your Current Habits: Start by making a list of habits you already do every day without fail, like brushing your teeth or making coffee in the morning.

  2. Choose Small New Habits: Select small tasks that can easily be added to your existing habits. These should be simple and require minimal effort, like taking vitamins after brushing your teeth.

  3. Create Your Habit Stack: Link your new habits to your existing ones in a logical order. For example, after I make my morning coffee (existing habit), I will meditate for five minutes (new habit).

  4. Be Consistent: Consistency is key. Perform your habit stack at the same time and in the same order every day to reinforce the pattern.

Benefits of Habit Stacking

  • Simplifies New Habits: By attaching new habits to an established routine, the mental effort required to remember and perform them is reduced.

  • Increases Efficiency: Grouping tasks together saves time and mental energy.

  • Improves Overall Well-being: Regularly adding positive habits can lead to significant improvements in health and well-being over time.

Great Examples of Habit Stacking for Health

  • After I brush my teeth, I will do two minutes of stretching (or better yet - while I'm brushing my teeth, I'm going to do as many squats as I can)

  • After I pour my morning coffee, I will write down three things I'm grateful for.

  • On my way to work, I'm going to listen to a positive audiobook or podcast

  • After I start my dishwasher in the evening, I will spend 10 minutes reading a book on health and nutrition.

  • At bedtime, I will do a 10 minute meditation or write down three things I'm grateful for. 

Overcoming Challenges

Start Small: The key to successful habit stacking is to start with small changes. Trying to stack too many habits at once or choosing tasks that are too time-consuming can lead to overwhelm and abandonment of the routine.

Adjust as Needed: Your daily routine and life circumstances can change, so be flexible and willing to adjust your habit stacks accordingly.

Patience and Persistence: Building new habits takes time. Be patient with yourself and persistent in your efforts.

In conclusion, habit stacking is a simple yet powerful tool for incorporating new, healthy habits into your daily life. By systematically adding small tasks to your existing routines, you can improve your health, increase productivity, and enhance overall well-being with minimal effort. Remember, the key to success with habit stacking is consistency and patience. Start small, and over time, these small changes can lead to significant transformations in your life.

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