There might be an easier way to form new habits by taking advantage of the connection to your current behaviors. Finding an existing habit you currently do every day and then adding your new behavior on top of it is one of the best ways to develop a new one. We refer to this as habit stacking.
How Does Habit Stacking Work?
The fact that your existing habits are already wired into your brain is one of the primary reasons why stacking habits works so successfully. You have routines and habits that you engage in that have been honed and perfected over the years.
You can increase the likelihood that you will maintain your new behavior by connecting it to a cycle that is already established in your brain. This will make it easier for you to maintain the new behavior.
After you have gained an understanding of this fundamental framework, you will be able to start building larger stacks by stringing together smaller behaviors. This enables you to make the most of the natural momentum that arises as a result of one act leading naturally into the next.
Examples of Habit Stacking
Think about your current habits. Pick simple ones. For instance, when you get up in the morning, you most likely brush your teeth. After you finish, take five minutes to focus on your breathing and center yourself. You’ve just added a bit of meditation to an already formed habit. Keep it up, and before you know it, it will be second nature to meditate after brushing your teeth.
Once you’re in a routine, have another habit after meditating to strengthen your stack. Take a look at all your habits and see what you can stack. It’s easier than you might think!
Taking the First Stacking Step
No matter how you decide to implement this tactic, picking the appropriate “trigger” to get things rolling is the single most important step in building a successful habit stack. The moment and place during the day in which you decide to introduce a new habit into your routine can make a significant impact.
If you are hoping to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, but your mornings are typically busy, and your children are constantly racing into the room, then you might be trying to meditate in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Think about the times when you have the best chance of succeeding. It is not fair to expect oneself to stick to a routine if you are going to be preoccupied with anything else.
Your cue should likewise occur at the same regular intervals as the habit you want to form. If you want to do something every day, but you also want to do something that only happens on Mondays, stacking those two habits together is not the best decision.
According to healthline.com, a person can form a new habit in anywhere from 18 to 254 days, and it takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. With habit stacking and picking the right cues, you might be able to create new habits even quicker.