Habit Stacking: A Helpful Way to Make Lasting Change

January 29, 2024


Today is January 29th of 2024. How are those new year goals coming along? Maybe you had grand plans 29 days ago to start a new habit in your life. Maybe you're nailing it!! But, if you're like most people who set goals of habit change, it's not quite going as planned. Amiright? First of all, it's okay! Don't beat yourself up. Establishing new habits is hard, so please give yourself some grace. AND... there are strategies to make it easier. Keep reading.

Research at Oxford University showed that adults have 41 percent fewer neurons than newborns. How can this be? Adults are obviously more skilled and smarter, right? Well yes, but think of all of these neurons from a newborn brain as "use 'em or lose 'em". Our brain has synapses that connect neurons. When we don't use these connections, our brain "prunes" them away. It's a phenonmenon called synaptic pruning.

So how does this relate to establishing new habits? Well.... to avoid this synaptic pruning with skills/habits we want to have, we have to do them regularly in order to rebuild those connections rather than prune them away. This is called neuroplasticity.

It doesn't matter if it's learning to play the piano or cooking a healthy breakfast every morning or learning to jump rope. No matter what your daily habit is that you're trying to implement, the concept of habit stacking is a great way to give yourself a fighting chance. The idea is to build a new habit by taking advantage of one you already have in place by "stacking" the new habit before or after the established habits.

For example, I think it's safe to say that we all brush our teeth everyday (if not, I encourage you to prioritize this as a new habit...ha!). So, if my goal is to start taking my vitamins everyday, I will stack the vitamin taking right before I brush my teeth.

Another example, maybe you want to drink more water and you regularly start your day with a cup of coffee. While your coffee is brewing, drink a 10oz glass of water to start your day.

The other thing about this habit stacking is to make it "up in your face" and convenient. So with the vitamin example, put your vitamins in a weekly calendar vitamin box next to your toothbrush with a cup you can fill with water. Just let it live there! If you see it when you brush your teeth, you're more likely to actually take them.

With the water example, same idea. Set your 10oz cup of water by your coffee maker so you can fill it at the same time you're coffee is brewing. If you see the cup, you're more liking to grab it and drink up.

A reminder, that you're not a failure if you've not made the change you're striving for.. in fact quite the opposite. You've set the intention, which is awesome! Now hopefully you have a tool to help you actually succeed!

More Like This...

Habit Stacking: A Helpful Way to Make Lasting Change

January 29, 2024


Habit stacking is the concept of putting our desired/new habits around habits that already regularly exist in our daily routine. This proves to be an effective way to create new habits and make lasting change.

The "Right" Approach to Nutrition

January 6, 2023


Is it low carb? Or flexible dieting? Or fasting? Or counting macros? Or 3 meals a day? Or 5 meals a day? Or FODMAP diet? Or elimination diet? The "right" approach to nutrition is the one that works for YOU!

Food Stress Mess

November 27, 2019


Thanksgiving... a time to gather with friends and family, walk/run a Turkey Trot, eat scrumptious food, watch some football, play some games, partake in old traditions and make new ones. Also a time when we can get so far in our head about our food decisions that we create a stress mess. Let's approach our holiday meals with gratitude, compassion and confidence.

Join My Community!

Sign up to my newsletter to receive health and wellness knowledge bombs, real-life adventure tactics and be a part of the tribe.

Don't Miss Out!