March 17, 2024

Habit Stacking – The Key to Making Your Health Habits Last

Have you heard of habit stacking? It’s a way of making positive changes to your life by adding a new habit to one that is already established. But is there any evidence behind this technique? And how do you get started?

 

What Are the Benefits of Habit Stacking?

Habit stacking is a popular method for supporting sustainable behavior change. The author S.J. Scott is credited with coining the term for his 2014 book Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less. It is now recommended by health professionals all over the world, including the American Heart Association and the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The habit stacking technique helps you embed new healthy habits into your daily routine in a manageable, sustainable way.

Making changes to your diet and lifestyle isn’t always easy! Many people give up because they try to change too many things at once. This can feel overwhelming, especially if you already have a lot of demands on your time. It’s far easier to add one new habit at a time and attach it to something that is already part of your routine.

 

How Do I Start?

First, make a list of all the changes you would like to make in your diet and lifestyle. Get everything down on paper – big ideas, small ideas –  then highlight the ones that are most realistic for you right now.

For example, you might want to run a marathon but realistically, you don’t have enough time for long training runs. However, you could fit in three shorter runs each week, so you could add that to your list.

Once you have your ideas organized, decide which one is your top priority. This is the first one to stack.

There are 3 ways to habit stack.

  1. Pairing is when you add a new habit to a fun activity you already do. For example, if you plan to meditate more often, you could listen to a guided meditation while enjoying your morning coffee.
  2. Make a chain: Link your new habit to something you repeatedly do. Want to drink more water every day? Keep a small glass by your kitchen sink and top yourself up every time you wash your hands during the day.
  3. Sequence: Add your new habit to an established sequence of events. Think about the small routines you have every day, such as having a shower, cleaning your teeth, and getting dressed. Or coming home from work, getting changed, and having a snack.

 

Add your new habit into one of these routines. For example, if you have a new vitamin pill, keep the bottle next to your toothbrush and take it when you clean your teeth. Need to add a stretch routine into your day? Keep your yoga mat by your after-work clothes and do the stretches before having a snack.

person pouring a glass of water for a new habit

What is the Evidence for Habit Stacking?

Scientists have known for decades about the benefits of habit formation for promoting health changes (Gardner et al, 2012). Making small, consistent changes that are linked to other external cues (i.e. other habits or behaviors) enables your brain to quickly form new connections in the areas associated with learning and behavior.

This plays out in the research too. One study compared a control group with participants who were given simple diet and activity suggestions for weight loss. The group with the new habit suggestions lost an average of 2kg over 8 weeks compared to 0.4kg in the control group (Lally et al, 2008).

 

Habit Stacking and the Eat Burn Sleep Lifestyle

The Eat Burn Sleep approach is perfect for habit stacking. Each part of the program comes with meal plans and food lists, plus recipes, guided meditations, movement videos, and health Masterclasses.

It is designed with busy people in mind as I know only too well what it’s like to juggle work, family, and health issues. Too often our health is the thing that suffers and I don’t want that to happen to you.

cup of herbal tea and a napkin that says build good habits

Here are some of the incredible, life-changing results our Eat Burn Sleep members enjoy…

“I have been following the EBS lifestyle and wanted to thank you for all your work in creating this program – it has been life-changing for me.

I have ulcerative colitis, and I have never gone this long without a flare-up. I also travelled to America at the end of last month and for the first time in 5 months managed to travel without any bleeding.

My other half has been following along with me and he has lost almost 2 stone in under 7 weeks.

I can’t believe the improvements in my energy, sleep, and skin.”

Claire

 

Start making your healthy habit ideas a reality today. Check out our membership options here and begin your journey to optimum health.

 

You might also like to tune into these podcast episodes:

Mindset Tips for Long-Term Health

Finding Self Love

And enjoy these articles:

Financial Wellness with The Dura Society

A Compilation of 5 Incredibly Nutritious Healthy Food items

 

Happy habit stacking!

Yalda x

 

Author

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