Why you need to be Habit Stacking

As mentioned in my previous blog post, habits only truly become habits when they are done subconsciously. If you have to remind yourself to wash your hands every time before you eat, then this is not a fully formed habit. There are a couple of sure-fire ways to speed up this process, but the easiest and best that I have come across is to implement Habit Stacking in your routines.

Habit stacking is simple. Effectively, you are just taking a habit that you currently have and enjoy doing, and pairing it with a habit that you wish to achieve. Rather than pairing it with a time or place.

For example, say the habit that you are trying to get to stick is to go to the gym more. Rather than pairing this with the time being each morning, or the place being the gym itself, try stacking going to the gym with an already developed habit, such as putting on your runners, or making a healthy smoothie.


Your habits will go from looking like this:

Each morning, I will go to the gym.

To this:

After I make my morning smoothie, I will drink it on the way to the gym.


After doing this for enough time, the act of making that smoothie will trigger that next habit of going to the gym to follow and soon enough, every time that you make that smoothie, you’ll be subconsciously heading off to the gym.

Many habits will take a quite a while before seeing results. It is for this reason that Habit stacking is so versatile and can be changed in many ways. Say that you are the type of person who needs to see instant results when starting a new habit, one way to use habit stacking to in your favour is to flip the your current habit with your habit that you wish to achieve.

For example. Say that you love coffee — who doesn’t? If your goal is to start reading more, you can either habit stack the two normally, being that after making a coffee, you will read your book while drinking it. Or you can flip the stack and make coffee the reward for reading. Your habit will be that after reading, you will make a coffee. But if you don’t read, you don’t get a coffee.


Your habits will go from looking like this:

Each morning, I will read my book.

To the regular habit stack of this:

After I make my morning coffee, I will read my book while drinking it.

To the flipped habit stack of this:

After I read 25 pages of my book in the morning, I can have my coffee.


For me, habit stacking is most beneficial as it visually reduces the amount of habits or goals that you are trying to achieve. It can be as simple as grouping your new habits/goals in order to achieve them faster.

Below is an example of a list of new years resolutions before and after habit stacking is applied.


After:

  • After waking up before 6am, I will read my book for 30 mins

  • I will drink a smoothie every day before I go to the gym

  • I will play my guitar for 15 minutes before I go to sleep

  • For each meal that I make myself, I will transfer $15 to my savings account

Before:

  • Read More

  • Go to the Gym

  • Drink a smoothie every day

  • Wake up early every day

  • Use technology less before bed

  • Save more money

  • Learn an instrument

  • Eat healthier


And just like that, we have turned eight small new years resolutions into four stacked habits to build, and since they are stacked, one cannot be done without the other. This is the true beauty of habit stacking. Even if it is something as simple as brushing your teeth after having a shower each day, habit stacking is something that everyone can use to simplify their life and create more meaningful and important habits to build. While keeping them easy to achieve by using current habits to get the ball rolling on learning the second.


This blog post has been based off James Clear’s ‘Atomic Habits’. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about habits and how we can easily implement them into our daily lives.

Buy it here: https://australia.kinokuniya.com/bw/9781847941831

Pat Barlow

Pat Barlow is a Sydney based Photographer and Content Creator who has a keen eye for Architecture and Design.