Habit Stacking

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A recent article in LifeHacker suggests building and maintaining new habits by habit stacking, “like gluing a new habit to an existing one”.

The art of habit stacking involves incorporating a desired behavior into your existing routine, blending it with your established routines, like brushing your teeth, drinking coffee, or walking your dog, to create a mutually beneficial connection between the two activities.

In 2017, S. J. Scott wrote a book about habit stacking, which has since been supported by psychologists and scientific research. Research shows that routines are crucial for our mental and physical well-being, as our brains naturally gravitate towards them, making it easier to establish more routines once they are established.

The article suggests the following strategies to get started:

  • Before building a habit stack, it is important to recognize the tasks you find challenging, such as sorting through emails, and think about adding them to the list.
  • Once you know what you want to do but find it hard, think about the things you already do, like taking breaks or doing the dishes, and find opportunities to combine them with the less sticky tasks. See if you can combine them with the easier one. For example, you can call to your mom while doing dishes or sort through your email, while having your morning coffee.
  • The important thing is to find tasks that can be done easily, like making phone calls during your commute or practicing deep breathing while brushing your teeth.
  • After figuring out which habits can be stacked, make a plan in a place like a Google doc and keep track of your progress. Over time, these habits will become automatic, just like the things you do with them.