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What Is Habit Stacking, and How Can It Help You?

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New habits are difficult to implement. Whether it’s something simple like drinking more water or a larger goal like working out a specific number of times per week, there might be a way to make doing so easier.

Habit stacking helps attach a new habit to an existing habit so that you’ll be more inclined to stick with your goal.

The concept was developed by SJ Scott, author of Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less, and it’s based on how our brains already work. The neural connections in our minds are strongest with habits that we already have and practice. Makes sense, right? Habit stacking takes advantage of those existing connections by tacking on a new habit.

Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less

Find out more about habit stacking in Scott’s book.

For example, if you want to drink more water, you’d add it to an existing habit. If you take vitamins or medicine in the morning, that’s a concrete habit that’s already established. To habit stack, once you take your pills, go ahead and fill a cup with water and drink it. Over time, these habits will start to link up, and you’ll be closer to your goal.

“In the midst of a busy lifestyle, habit stacking can also be helpful because the new habits often feel less like an ‘add-on’ when tied to something you already do anyway,” said Melissa Ming Foynes, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist. “This approach can feel more integrated, and therefore, less overwhelming.”

If you’ve been struggling to adopt new habits, stacking might be worth a shot.

[Via Real Simple]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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