Habit Stacking 101

Habit Stacking 101

Hack your Habits! 

Make positive changes, one micro-habit at a time.

Gin and tonic, eggs and toast, soup on a cold day… some things are just better together!

The same thing is true of habits. Just like the tasty examples above, sometimes we develop habits or behaviours that ‘go together’. When you repeatedly do one behaviour at the same time as another, the two become associated in your mind. Think about behaviours like having a piece of chocolate when you’re watching TV at night, or pouring a glass of wine while you’re cooking dinner. These behaviours become linked, and one habit starts to trigger, or reinforce, another. 

Welcome to habit stacking 

Habit stacking is the process of linking a new habit that you want to create with a habit that you already consistently do. This technique is a really easy and effective way to introduce new habits into your routine. If you’d like to make healthy changes in your life, don’t think about it as a complete overhaul. A drastic change is often a recipe for failure. You are much more likely to create lasting change in your life if you make small changes in an intentional way. 

Let’s break it down:

  1. Choose a habit that you’d like to create. For a breakdown of how to workshop your habits to align with your goals, check out my Mid-Year Reset here.  
  2. Pair your new habit with another behaviour that you already do regularly. Linking the old and new behaviours will help to trigger or reinforce the new habit. 
  3. Introduce new habits one at a time. By making a small change, it’s easy to develop a consistent behaviour without feeling overwhelmed. The key is to start small.  
  4. Set your intentions. Try writing your new behaviour or action on your fridge magnet planner, in your daily journal, or in a place where you’ll see the reminder regularly, to help nudge your new habit along. 

Not sure where to start? 

Here’s some easy examples that you can try, right now:

  • Drink more water: Keep a filled bottle on the bathroom bench. Sip it while you do your hair and makeup each morning to achieve your morning hydration goal.
  • Find time to journal: Each morning, use the five minutes while the kettle boils or your coffee or tea brews, to journal or reflect. Keep your Write it Out journal in the kitchen so you’re more likely to stay on track!
  • Cut the clutter: Whenever you’re chatting on the phone, wipe down benches, sort through piles of ‘stuff’ on benchtops, or empty out kid’s school bags while you chat.
  • Read more (without reading): Pop your earphones in when you walk the dog and listen to audiobooks or podcasts while you’re on the move.
  • Introduce more fresh fruit or veggies: While you’re cooking dinner, chop a few extra vegetables and pop them straight into your lunch bag ready for the next day’s snacks. The same goes for water. If you keep a filled water bottle in your lunch bag, you’re more likely to drink it every meal time. 

The power of five minutes

I don’t want you to feel overloaded by the idea of new habits. Honestly, you don’t need a lot of spare time to introduce positive change. Think about the micro-gaps in your schedule, and fill those first. 

For example, if you wait in the car for your kids at school pick-up, or music practice, keep a weekly planner notepad or notebook in the car. Take five minutes to do meal planning for the week, brain dump your to-do list, or journal your worries. Five minutes can make a huge difference to how organised you feel!

Be flexible

Changing your behaviour takes time and persistence. Reward yourself for your progress, and please don’t be too hard on yourself if you find your new habit drops off. Be realistic with what you can achieve, give it your best shot, and give yourself permission to change your plan if it’s not working for you.

You’ve got this!




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