Habit stacking is not something that I just made up so I could sell it to you. I have practiced Habit Stacking naturally for years. I just never had a name for it until I read Atomic Habits by James Clear. It's a fantastic book, and it explains Habit Stacking. I was sitting there reading this book, and my mind was blown because someone was giving me the science behind why I had been so effective at building habits my whole life.
One of the best Habit Stacks I ever had was how I would remember to stretch every day. When I was in college, I would also stretch as I watched TV. The partnership was great because I loved to watch TV at night to slow down before I head to bed. I even knew I needed to stretch, so as soon as I turned the TV on, it was my cue to begin stretching. They went hand in hand.
Habit Stacking allows you to build as many habits on top of each other as you desire.
What is Habit Stacking?
Habit Stacking is an effective method for building habits. The standard way that we fall into habits is by following a habit loop.
- Cue – Something that happens that makes you desire a reward
- Craving – When you begin to yearn for the prize
- Action – The action is the habit that takes place to get the desired prize.
- Reward – The reward is receiving what you desired in the first place
Example of Habit Loop
- Cue – Boredom
- Craving – Desire having something new to see or do
- Action – Look at phone and go on Instagram
- Reward – Relief that you get to be stimulated with the latest activity
Habit Stack is where you use a Habit as a Cue to begin another Habit. Instead of waiting for cues that are outside of your control. Some people wait until they are thirsty to drink water, and that is a standard habit loop. A Habit Stacker works out and swallows an entire bottle of water, whether they are thirsty or not.
Habit Stacking allows you to build as many habits on top of each other as you desire. Understanding this is easy, but grasping why this is so powerful can be harder for some.
Why Habit Stacking Works – Positive Habits Don't Always Come With Cravings
The reason I love habit stacking is that positive habits don't come with intense cravings at first in the same way that negative patterns do. One smell of a cookie and I can taste that bad boy in my mouth right away. I can't even look at a gummy bear or my mouth waters.
I have been training as an athlete since I was 7, and I would say it took 6 or 7 years of training before I craved running. I needed it in my life. Things like drinking water and stretching, which were just as important I have never desired. I don't crave veggies, but I do want chocolate and chips.
When you crave something, that is a crucial step that drives you to take action. This is why it's so hard to break negative habits vs. building positive ones. Habit Stacking smashes this because the reward is completing the Habit Stack.
Example Habit Stack
- Read Bible
- Read current book
- Reward – End of Habit Stack
The second you wake up, you crave the completion of your Habit Stack, but you may not have to complete it because it feels so good to accomplish so much so quickly.
Why Habit Stacking Works – More Control
Habit Stacking works because it puts the control in your hands. You don't need to wait for cravings and desires to get things done. You get things done at the same time each day, and you do it in the same way. You build your habit stack off of a keystone habit you know you will do.
I strongly suggest that you build it on waking up because if you don't wake up, you have more significant problems. Once you are up, then its right into the habits. Every day starts with a bunch of successes to thrust you into the day.
Even if you try and use a Habit Track, the issue is that you still have to make it a habit to check the Habit Tracker. If you can't do that, then you're in trouble. With a Habit Stack, you can use an App like Habit Stacker for history, but during the day, you don't need it. You know what your habits are, and you just go through them one after another until you are done.
Why Habit Stacking Works – You Own Your Morning
When your habits are made at random times all throughout the time, there is more chance of something throwing your day off. My family knows that when I get up, that time is blocked. The first two hours of my day is for my habits.
I get the essential things needed for my day and life out of the way right away. That is why our system calls that you schedule your time. It does not matter how much time you block. What matters it that you own that time and take it seriously for your habits.
The Results Are Awesome
I don't miss my habits. I am in the routine of getting up and going right into my habits. Waking up is the cue for me to get straight into the start of my day. I know Habit Stacking can work for you too. I have seen so many people make this simple change, and they enter into their day like a champion.
Successful people all around the world pair habits and stack them up in creative ways to make sure they get the essential practices done each day.
As you continue to stack your habits, what you also are doing is building up a tonne of small wins. Each day you succeed at your habit, your name gets another win behind. In the long run, if you keep stacking these frequent wins, you will eventually smash your goals. Then one day you will get to lie on your death bed with a completed life mission