Want to get a new and positive habit in your life, but having trouble making it stick? Some advice that’s gained considerable traction in the behavioral science world is Habit Stacking.
It’s not new. We do it all the time, in fact. We eat breakfast, then we brush our teeth. We finish dinner, then reach for a piece of chocolate. A certain friend walks in the door and we start making cocktails. These are stacked habits; one behavior leads to the next and we’ve done the two back-to-back so many times that it would be hard to break them up.
Stacking positive actions is advantageous because it automates them to a certain extent. Behavioral scientists like B.J. Fogg, author of Tiny Habits: The Small Change that Change Everything, actually recommend using this phrase to plan a new habit: After I ________, then I will _____________ . After I pull into the garage after work, I will meditate for one minute. Or this variant: While I brush my hair, I will think of 2 things I’m grateful for.
The logic goes that if there’s already one thing you’re doing automatically, why not piggy-back another? With new habits especially, many of us simply don’t know where to plug them in, and because they’re new, we don’t have the benefit of a pattern. It’s almost too simple to mention, but simplicity itself is key to the successful development of good habits. So plan your stack and see what happens!