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What is habit stacking and can it improve your well-being?

What if there was a simple way to create lasting, positive habits in your life? Habit stacking might be just the technique you’ve been looking for.

This is a concept popularised by author James Clear in his book Atomic Habits. It involves integrating new bite-sized habits into your existing routines, making them manageable and realistic.

Habit stacking is a simple yet powerful technique that harnesses the effectiveness of consistency and incremental progress. By incorporating well-being habits into your existing routines, you’ll find it easier to make positive changes in your life – ones that you can stick to. Over time, these small changes can have significant and long-lasting impacts on your overall well-being.

Here’s how you can start habit stacking:

Take an inventory of your existing habits

Start by taking a close look at your daily routine and make a note of the habits you already have. These can be as simple as brushing your teeth in the morning, making a cup of coffee or checking your email. You’re looking for the actions you do consistently.

Choose well-being goals

Decide which areas of your well-being you’d like to improve. Whether it’s physical health, mental well-being or personal growth, select specific goals that align with your values and priorities. For example, you might want to meditate, exercise or read more.

Find complementary habits

Once you’ve identified your existing habits and set your well-being goals, find habits and goals that complement each other. For example, if you want to improve your physical health, you can pair your morning coffee habit with a 10-minute stretching routine.

Create your habit stack

Develop a habit stack by linking your existing habit with your new well-being goal. In this example, it might look like this: “After I make my morning coffee, I will do 10 minutes of stretching.” Or, “During my commute, I’ll spend 5 minutes on breathwork while sitting on the train.”

Think little and often

The key to habit stacking is to start small. You don’t need to overwhelm your entire routine all at once. Begin with just one habit stack and focus on consistency. As you build momentum, you can gradually add more stacks to your daily routine.

Track your progress

  1. Use a journal or a habit-tracking app to monitor your progress.
  2. Celebrate your successes and learn from your setbacks.
  3. Tweak your habit stacks as needed, making adjustments to what doesn’t work, and this will make them more effective.

Remember that building habits take time and effort, so be patient. The key is to stay
committed and keep refining your habit stacks as you go along. With habit stacking, you can transform your daily routine, bringing you one step closer to a healthier and happier life.

Need some extra inspiration? Explore these examples of well-being goals to integrate into your routine.

Words by Carlie Barlow

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