Habit Stacking

Mar 21, 2023

If you’re looking to create positive habits and make lasting changes in your life, you may have heard of “habit stacking.” But what is it exactly, and how can it help you reach your goals faster?


Habit stacking is a simple technique which focuses on building new habits by linking them to existing habits. It works by pairing a new habit you want to start with one you are already doing consistently. By linking the existing habit to the new habit as a reminder, you increase your chances of making the change stick in the long run.


For example, if you want to start practicing mindfulness but know you can be forgetful, you could pair it with brushing your teeth in the morning. That way, you are more likely to establish the habit because you are reminded to do it every time you brush your teeth.  I often recommend this to clients because brushing your teeth is a 2-minute window, twice a day, with enough sensory input to make it a great mindfulness activity.  You can feel your feet on the cold tile, taste the toothpaste, hear the water, feel the toothbrush-it’s a great way to plug in to your body.


Habit stacking can be especially useful for those who want to make sweeping changes or start a new goal by breaking it down into smaller tasks. If you don’t like the idea of “one size fits all” approaches, or don’t think you can just change overnight, habit stacking is a great way to make gradual changes in your daily life. We want changes to be sustainable over the long haul!


Plus, you don’t even have to limit yourself to just one habit. You can use habit stacking to help you create beneficial habits and break deleterious ones. For example, if you’re trying to give up improve your sleep,  you could pair that with reading an inspiring book to make you less likely to pick up your phone and scroll.


Building new habits can seem overwhelming. But by using habit stacking, you can break down the process into smaller, more achievable steps that can help you reach your goals faster.