Habit stacking uses the brain’s desire to be efficient. With habit stacking, we use an existing habit and add a new habit to it.
Now to add a new habit is tough. In the beginning, you’re so excited about starting something new, like going to the gym, and with time the excitement goes away. I know this feeling. I’ve been there too.
Looking back, I had many attempts and maybe as many failures in the past. But back then, I just wanted some new habits, but I haven’t known how can I make the process enjoyable and stick with the habit.
The purpose of habit-stacking is to create simple and repeatable routines. When you want to start a new habit, it is essential to start small. What used to be tough becomes easier when you start pairing your new habit with a current one instead of pairing it with a particular time and location.
When it comes to building new habits, you can use the connectedness of behavior to your advantage. One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking. – James Clear
I’ve learned that implementing this method was not just about adding new habits, but I’ve started creating a new system for myself. I was getting things done, and I am most proud that I felt relieved and worked with ease.
As James Clear in Atomic Habits teaches us the habit stacking formula is:
After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].
Below I’m sharing five micro habits stacking I’m using.
- I meditate first thing in the morning, and is my way of setting up for success right the day starts. I’m doing it to get grounded and centered, setting up how I want to feel that day while going through the tasks.
- I’m tidying up the house before I start working. My workday starts around 9 am. I’m working from home and what helps me feel good doing the work is to know that my house is in order. So, between 8 and 9 am, I tidy up the house.
- I’m recording YouTube classes and matching them up with another yoga class that I’m teaching. In time I’ve learned that I need a different kind of energy for every task or thing that I’m doing. Teaching yoga requires you to be present 100% while delivering the class. To show up as my best self, I need to know that are no other things that need my attention for at least half the day, so if I’m teaching at noon, I’m making sure to schedule the recording of my YouTube class right after the yoga class that I’m teaching live for Mpower Yoga.
- I’m revising and writing out the next day’s to-do list. I’m revising my day to see if something hasn’t been done and schedule it for the next day or when. I also write down everything that goes through my mind to clarify what’s going on. Most of the evenings, I’m teaching yoga, so I’m doing it right before giving myself some time between them to recalibrate myself for teaching.
Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them. – David Allen
- I am reading before bed. Quality sleep is the best way to invest in your mind and body and how you’ll feel throughout the day. Reading before bed is how I let go of the current day, preparing for the next day. To ensure I do not forget about reading, I’m leaving my kindle on the pillow. The moment I’m grabbing it works as a reminder.
I’ve started to use productivity tools not just because they keep me productive but because they are rooted in improved mental health.
I was tired of feeling guilty about what I was not doing and feeling like a failure.
This system pushes you to make small changes but invites you to start today. Think about where you have an old habit and add to it a new one?
Start by writing down your most important tasks or things you want to see happening, and then write down your existing habits and look for how you can link to them.