Last week’s blog post explored how creating foundational keystone habits can make weight loss easier. These keystone habits form a platform for other beneficial habits to naturally and synergistically build upon.
This week, let’s take a closer look at how the strategy of habit stacking can work for you.
Habit stacking is a technique you can use to help you design your new habits for “stickiness” and long term success. Habit stacking increases the probability that you will be able to “lock in” and follow through on your desired habits. Especially if you haven’t yet quite figured out how to incorporate them into your routine.
When it comes to building new habits, you can use the connectivity of behavior to your advantage.
This means that one of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a keystone habit you already follow each day and then stack your new habit on top.
Pair a new habit with a current habit.
Habit stacking is a special form of an implementation intention.
Rather than pairing your new habit just with a particular time and location, you can also pair it with a current habit. This method, which was created by BJ Fogg as part of his Tiny Habits program, can be used to design an obvious cue for nearly any habit.
According to habit master James Clear, implementation intention requires that you make a specific plan in advance about when and where you will engage in the habit. You plot out how you intend to implement this particular habit.
Strengthen the “stickiness” of a new habit by identifying cues and triggers to signal your brain when to activate it.
Implementation intentions leverage the two most common cues, time and location.
Broadly speaking, the format for creating an implementation intention is:
“When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.”
Habit stacking works because your keystone habits are easy to perform.
You have many patterns and behaviors that you’ve strengthened over years of repetition.
By linking your new habits to a cycle that is already rooted in your brain, you make it more likely that you’ll stick to the new behavior.
Once you have mastered this basic structure, you can begin to create larger stacks by chaining small habits together.
This allows you to take advantage of the natural momentum that comes from one behavior leading into the next.
Here’s a sample morning habit stack to use as a guide to build your own.
Your morning routine habit stack might look like this:
- After I pour my morning cup of coffee, I will check my email and the news for 30 minutes.
- After I check my email and the news, I will shower and dress.
- After I shower and dress, I’ll compose my food plan for the day.
- After I I compose my food plan for the day, I will write my intentions for the day.
- After I write my intentions for the day, I will begin designated work projects.
Overall, habit stacking allows you to create a set of simple rules that guide your future behavior.
You always have a game plan for which action and behaviors should come next.
Once you get comfortable with this approach, you can develop general habit stacks to guide you whenever certain situation arise.
- When I prepare a meal, I’ll make enough food for two meals.
- When I serve myself food, I will always put veggies on my plate first.
- After lunch, I’ll take a walk.
- While listening to my favorite podcast, I’ll prep food for the week.
When and where you choose to insert a habit into your daily routine can make a difference.
If you’re trying to add creating a daily food plan into your evening routine but you’re tired and distracted, then that may be the wrong place and time.
Consider when you are most likely to be successful. Don’t ask yourself to do a habit when you’re likely to be occupied or distracted by something else.
Your habit cues should also have the same frequency as your desired habit. If you want to do a habit every day, don’t stack it on top of a habit that only happens once or twice a week.
Create a habit stack that to groove new habits that support your weight loss goal.
Since grooving supportive habits form the foundation of successful weight loss, let me help you figure out the ones that will optimize your weight loss efforts.
Let’s discuss your goals and strategize about the habits that will best serve you. And, we can work on a plan to help you loosen your grip on habits that stall or undermine your weight loss efforts.
Make it as easy as possible to lose all the weight you want by choosing and stacking habits that will work for you.
Why wait another minute? Schedule your free Strategy call right here.