Habit stacking

Habit stacking

Habit stacking means adding new habits onto existing ones - to the things you already automatically do every day.

After waking up in the morning, you might put on a cup of coffee. When you visit the bathroom, you wash your hands. And before you go to bed, you brush your teeth. Throughout the day, we have lots of such behaviours that we perform automatically, and we can take advantage of them to establish new habits.

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  • Identify a habit that you do every day. Make a list of all your current habits, to identify which would be suitable to stack new habits onto. It could be anything, as long as you perform it consistently. This habit will serve as your cue to start your new habit.
  • Add the new habit right afterwards.
  • When you’re creating a new habit, make things as easy as possible. It’s recommended to make new habits so easy that you’re able to do them, no matter how tired or unmotivated you are.

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RELATED IDEAS

The Habit Loop

The cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and, ultimately, becomes associated with the cue.

Together, these four steps form a neurological feedback loop—cue, craving, response, reward; cue, craving, response, reward—that ultimately allows you to create automatic habits.

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IDEAS

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 - habit stacking.

Habit stacking is a special form of an implementation intention. Rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location, you pair it with a current habit.

Habit Ladder

This is a system that is automated by you. It is called a habit ladder because, from the time you wake up to finishing your first work task of the day, you're climbing up one rung at a time. Each new step is reached because of the last.

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