Piggybacking on our movement blog this month, applying the principle of habit stacking is a great way to help a new habit get established. Stacking a “must do” habit with a “should do” activity isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that can be easily overlooked. Think of this as a built-in reminder to do a new habit — one that you’d like to do, but you just kind of forget about it.
By linking, or stacking, your habits, you help your brain create connections in new ways. Also, because most of the “must-do” habits you’re already doing are usually done pretty quickly, adding in an additional element (a.k.a. your new habit) helps you actually stick to the new task.
Here are a few examples of ways you can stack your habits:
*Brush your teeth and then wash your face
*Clean a part of your kitchen after doing the dishes
*Go for a walk around the block after taking the trash cans to the curb
*Sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine after cleaning up the dog poop
*Drink lots of water to add more movement. It helps with hydration plus it makes you get up off your chair out of necessity
*While your morning coffee is brewing, stretch, do squats, or get some belly breathing in
*After making your bed, drink a full glass of (room-temperature or slightly warm) water
*Think of things you’re grateful for after snuggling under the covers once in bed
*Go for a short, mellow walk after eating dinner
*When your shower is warming up, do wall or countertop push-ups or heel lifts
*While heating up some food, do overhead arm stretches and hand mobility movements
*Stretch on the floor when you’re watching TV
*While you’re taking a shower, use your Fascia Blaster
Ready to think of your own? Excellent. Some ideas might quickly come to mind. But if you need a bit of help, take five minutes and jot down any new habits you’d like to add into your daily routine, and then write up some current activities you’re already doing that can be linked to the new habits.
You can use the format “Before/after I do_____ (current habit), I’ll do _____________ (new habit)”. Pro tip: Keep your list somewhere so that you can add any new habit ideas that you think of down the road. Before you know it, your new habits will be integrated into your daily routine, easy peasy.