pile of brown wooden blocks
Personal Growth

Habit Stacking for Building New Habits

Habit stacking is a simple technique to build a new habit by relating it with an existing one. James Clear used this term in his book “Atomic Habits”. The technique is very simple: “After <current habit> I will <new habit>”. Here the “current habit” refers to an existing habit you already have.

I want to give an example of building a habit of a 30-minute morning walk before starting work using habit stacking. On the days I work from home, I walk my son to the school which is close to our house. This is an established habit that I never miss. So I decided to walk for additional 30 minutes after dropping my son to school. There are several reasons why habit stacking worked for this. Firstly, as part of my current habit (walking my son to school), I get ready to go out which works as a cue or auto-reminder for the new habit (walking for additional 30 minutes). Secondly, by getting ready to go out I am also taking the action required for the new habit as well. And finally, when I am already outside and walked to the school, it’s much easier to walk for another 30 minutes at the same time than finding a 30-minute slot during the rest of the busy working day.

I am also trying to apply habit stacking for building other new habits. You can also try this. The first step is to identify the current habits you already have that you do in auto-pilot and never miss. Next, list down the new habits you want to build. Then, identify one of the current habits that you think will fit well with the new habit you want to build.