Habit Stacking – How to Adopt Healthy Habits that Last Longer
Dr. Renuka Dangare

Dr. Renuka Dangare

May 30General wellness

Habit Stacking – How to Adopt Healthy Habits that Last Longer

When we link together or form a chain of series of actions, we create a routine. This routine comprises several mini-habits and repeating them in a scheduled way contributes to the concept of habit stacking. The method used here, is building a set of new habits on top of or with help of already established habits.

But what is habit stacking exactly?

Habit stacking is a series of small changes and habits that are further built into a routine that is followed on a daily basis. It allows you to paint a larger picture of success and change, with the help of smaller actions that are easier to do and also sustain longer. Habit stacking eliminates the stress of multi-tasking and over-burdening one’s will power and potential, while allowing you to focus on a single routine with baby steps.

 How does habit stacking work?

There have been several studies and literature pieces to support the success stories of habit stacking. A renowned author, James Clear, has given a very well detailed and scientific breakdown of this method and how it works.

Here it goes:

Synaptic pruning is a process through which your brain creates habits. And as you age, the brain starts pruning away these synapses (connections) between unused neurons and further builds stronger synapses with neurons that have been used.

Your habits are a result of connections that are nourished and strengthened over the years by your brain. Hence, when we attach a new habit to a habit that is already well-established and connected in the brain, it sticks for longer and becomes valid.

What are some ways of doing it?

Firstly, you must identify the habits that occur to you naturally, are a part of your existing routine or are second-nature to you. Consider brushing your teeth after waking up, or prepping up tea/coffee and then attaching another healthy habit to these, so as they are integrated perfectly in your routine.

Having a checklist to follow every single day, is the foremost way of benefitting from habit stacking. This makes it easier for your brain to accept the new habits and fit them well in a routine. The key is to start small and enjoy it.

Here are some examples of habit stacking that can help you kick start your healthy habits routine:

  • On waking up you can do some basic stretching exercises, before you leave your bed or the room. This will slowly help you in making morning workouts a part of your routine.
  • When you are in the kitchen waiting for your tea/coffee/warm water to be ready, you can list down 3 things you’re grateful for or look forward to for the rest of the day. This way, you begin to start your day on a positive note.
  • After brushing your teeth, meditate for at least 5 minutes. Gradually, you can increase the timing once this habit becomes a routine.
  • Make a habit of consuming at least one fruit along with the rest of your breakfast and at least one type of salad in both your meals.
  • After you consume your breakfast and before you begin the work day, grab a book and finish up at least one chapter.
  • Set alarms for every 3 hours once you begin your work day – and take a break for 15 minutes and try doing some simple on spot workouts.

You can list down your goals and figure out which habits should essentially be a part of your routine. Once you have this figured, you can keep tracking your habits on a daily basis until a routine is set.

How can one apply habit stacking for good health?

Motivation can also be derived from the smallest wins and tiniest steps. This phenomenon has worked in surprising ways for many, with the help of habit stacking.

We are aware that maintaining good health is a combination of-

  • balanced eating
  • regular physical activity
  • stress management
  • improving mental health
  • keeping the mind active with knowledge

But all of these can only be achieved by following a routine of healthy habits that will ultimately help in attaining your health and life goals. It is always easier to embark on these journeys, but what matters is how you manage to overcome all the demotivation, hindrances and keep up with the routine.

In conclusion

Once you decide to start, there’s no turning back. Make sure that you write these habits down and read them every day to stay reminded and motivated. Slowly and steadily, your commitments will overcome your distractions.

There isn’t any perfect/testified way of building a morning routine. You have to experiment and see what works out best for you and what you actually enjoy doing. Once you start changing one habit at a time, after a while you’ll realize how far you’ve got.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

Proactive is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalized, and confidential health-care solutions. We offer products and services for out-patient health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause. To know more on the sexual and reproductive health of women, visit https://www.proactiveforher.com/