What Is Habit Stacking (And How To Make It Work For You)
We all have habits that are built into our days. We may sit down and check emails with a cup of coffee and then review our to-do list for the day. Or we may end our day by tidying up our workspace or reviewing the calendar for the next day. Maybe there’s something more you want to do, but you just can’t seem to make it happen. Habit stacking involves combining current habits with ones you want to start. Like it sounds, you’re “stacking” new habits right onto your current ones.
Charlotte Grainger, a writer and podcast host, says this technique makes it easier to complete both the new habit and the old one. The more you repeat a behavior, the more it becomes ingrained in your brain. Are there some new habits you want to develop? Try habit stacking. We share Grainger’s expert tips for getting started in this issue of PromoPro Daily.
Start small. When you start with a simple goal, it’s easier to gain momentum. For example, instead of aiming to get to inbox zero, you might start with a goal to address any client emails by the end of each day. Make sure the new habit you stack onto an existing one isn’t too difficult or overwhelming.
Track your progress. Just as it’s a great idea to create milestones for yourself when you’re moving toward a destination, Grainger says the same is true for habit stacking. Just because you want to do something doesn’t mean you’ll actually do it. By tracking your progress with milestones, you can often beat procrastination.
Reward yourself as you go. Fun activities or treats can make the action of habit stacking more enjoyable. Try rewarding yourself with a walk around the block or a tea or coffee you enjoy if you finish a task ahead of schedule.
Just do the thing. Many people fall into the trap of overthinking. Grainger recommends sticking to the five-second rule — don’t spend longer than five seconds thinking about your next step before you take action. As soon as you finish your existing habit, go straight into the next.
Reach out for help when you need it. An accountability buddy can be helpful as you get started with habit stacking. No person is an island, Grainger says, so consider sharing the experience. Whether you connect with a colleague, family member or friend, chose someone who can help you stick with the positive new habits you want to build.
Habit stacking can be a great way to make progress toward your goals. Keep in mind the tips above to make your habits stick.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Charlotte Grainger is a writer and journalist based in Sheffield, United Kingdom. She cohosts the podcast, Help! I’m a Freelancer, with her friend and fellow writer, Holly Cope.