How to stack habits for better results

How to stack habits for better results

Building good habits can often seem like an uphill battle. With so many demands on our time and energy, it's challenging to focus on personal growth. However, there's a powerful strategy that can help you overcome these challenges: habit stacking. This innovative approach to habit formation is not just a trend, but a practical method to make lasting changes in your life.

What is Habit Stacking?

Habit stacking, a concept popularized by James Clear in his book "Atomic Habits", involves integrating new habits with existing ones. The basic principle is to take a habit you already do consistently and stack a new behavior on top of it. By linking the new habit to a well-established one, you leverage the strength of your current routine to support the new behavior.

Why Habit Stacking Works

  • Simplifies New Habits: It's easier to remember to do something new when it's tied to an existing routine.

  • Creates Natural Triggers: The existing habit acts as a cue for the new habit, creating a natural flow.

  • Builds on Established Patterns: Using the momentum of existing habits can make it easier to adopt new ones.

  • Reduces Resistance: By connecting the new habit to something you already do, you're less likely to feel overwhelmed.

How to Implement Habit Stacking

Step 1: Identify Your Current Habits

Start by making a list of your daily routines. These can be simple tasks like brushing your teeth, brewing morning coffee, or checking emails.

Step 2: Choose a Habit to Stack

Select a small habit you want to develop. It should be something manageable and specific. For example, if you want to read more, your habit could be reading one page of a book.

Step 3: Stack Your Habits

Link your new habit to a current one. Using the reading example, you could say, "After I brew my morning coffee, I will read one page of my book. Just reading one page is enough to at least keep your habit momentum going, which is crucial.

Step 4: Make it Rewarding

Ensure that your new habit gives you a sense of accomplishment. Maybe after reading a page, you allow yourself to enjoy your coffee. 

Step 5: Adjust as Needed

If you find the habit isn't sticking, tweak your approach. The key is consistency and flexibility.

Examples of Habit Stacking

  • Fitness: After brushing my teeth, I will do five push-ups.
  • Mindfulness: After I sit down at my desk, I will take three deep breaths.
  • Hydration: After checking my email in the morning, I will drink a glass of water.
  • Reading: When commuting, I’ll listen to an audiobook. Or if taking public transport, I’ll read on kindle, which is easily available at any time.

The Power of Small Changes

The beauty of habit stacking lies in its simplicity and the power of small, incremental changes. It's not about making drastic changes overnight but about gradually building a more productive, healthy, and balanced lifestyle.

By implementing habit stacking, you create a domino effect where one positive change leads to another. It's an approach that respects your existing routines while gently introducing new patterns. Over time, these stacks of small habits can lead to significant transformations in your life.


In conclusion, habit stacking is a straightforward and effective strategy for anyone looking to improve their daily life. By building on the habits you already have, you can seamlessly introduce new behaviors into your routine. Remember, the key to success with habit stacking is consistency and patience. Start small, stay committed, and watch as your stacks of habits lead to substantial life changes.

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