Get the low-down on habit stacking and learn how to implement small changes for big results.
Daily snacks, daily habits, Daily Food. That’s what we’re all about. Building small, sustainable habits that stack up to help us feel good every single day.
You already know we have the snack bit covered (starts with S and rhymes with Mooper Fights). But we wanna help you with the habits bit too.
Cue: habit stacking. Popularised by James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits (and those cute girlies on your TikTok FYP), habit stacking is a simple way to help you incorporate healthier habits into your life without disrupting your normal routine.
Let’s get into it.
First things first. The science bit.
Habits. Bad ones, good ones – we’ve all got ‘em. But did you know the reason we fall into them so easily is that they’re literally hardwired into our lil noggins?
In our brains, habits are formed through the creation of neural pathways. The more we engage in said habit, the stronger the associated neural pathway becomes.
You know when you’re at your desk, trying to work, when all of a sudden your phone is in your hand and you’re scrolling Instagram and you don’t even know how you got there? You can thank that naughty little neural pathway for that.
Eventually, these pathways become so well-established that the habit becomes automatic, almost unconscious and pretty hard to change or break.
Habit stacking is all about using this science stuff to our advantage. Think of it like tricking the Big Pink Boss upstairs into changing our behaviour for the better without it really noticing.
So, what’s habit stacking?
Habit stacking is the art of pairing new habits with existing ones to build a routine that sticks. Think of it like a game of Tetris for your daily habits – stacking one on top of the other, one at a time, in a way that fits into the routine you’ve already established.
By linking the new habit to an existing one, you're essentially piggybacking on the neural pathway that's already established in your brain for the existing habit. This can make it easier to form the new habit and to make it automatic over time.
How do I do it?
Habit stacking is just as it sounds: “stacking” a new habit onto an existing one. So, take a simple habit that’s already ingrained into your everyday routine (like brushing your teeth or making your coffee) and stack a new one right on top of it.
The formula to follow is:
“After [easy habit], I will [new habit]”.
So, this could look like:
- “After I get out of bed, I will think about three things I’m grateful for”
- “After brushing my teeth in the morning, I will meditate for 5 minutes”
- “After writing my to-do list, I will time-block my tasks for the day”
- “After my morning coffee, I will drink a glass of water”
- “After washing my face in the evening, I will read 10 pages of my new book”
* Tip: the more specific you can be with your habits, the better.
By pairing new habits with something you already do, you're more likely to remember and execute them consistently. This is because that old habit already has its own neural pathway carved out, so your new habit is basically just jumping in for the ride. A freeloader, if you will.
The idea is that the existing habit acts as a trigger for the new habit, making it easier to remember and more likely to become a permanent part of your routine. And, as you get into the swing of it, you can grow your stack by chaining smaller habits together until a solid routine starts to form.
Positive, healthy habits are fundamental to long, happy lives. They benefit all aspects of our health, so we reckon they’re worth investing in.
So, ready to get stackin’?
While you’re here… how about snackin’? Give our Super Bites a red hot crack here.