Fort Wellness Counseling

What Is Habit Stacking? (And How to Do It)​

habit stacking

Supporting our mental health is one of those goals that we’re constantly striving for. However, it also happens to be a goal that’s usually easier said than done. As licensed professional therapists, our team helps clients improve their mental health one step at a time – through the creation of healthy habits. More specifically, we recommend a technique known as habit stacking.

Simply put, habits describe regular routines or practices. And incorporating small steps that improve your mood and overall well-being are some of the best habits you can form. If you’re struggling to start, habit stacking is a behavioral strategy that helps people create those healthy habits. Keep scrolling, and we’ll tell you how to implement it in your life.

What Are Healthy Habits?

As we mentioned, habits are regular routines or practices. And healthy habits are those that promote overall well-being (either physically, mentally, or both). Not only do healthy habits make you feel good at the moment, but they set you up for long-term, sustainable success. As mental health professionals, we can attest that taking care of yourself inspires stronger connections with others, a greater sense of meaning, and resilience in the face of challenges.

What Is Habit Stacking?

So, what is habit stacking? Well, this behavioral strategy helps people build healthy habits by leveraging their already-existing routines. Because your brain and body are used to your current routine, using it as a springboard for new habits is an effective way to initiate change.

Essentially, the brain relies on neural connections, and the stronger the neural connection, the easier it is for the brain to complete an action. If your brain has strong neural connections for your daily routines (which it often does), you can piggyback off those connections with new behaviors.

Habits That Improve Mental Health

There are countless habits that — when implemented and maintained — support our mental health. Here are a few examples:

  • Meditating for ten minutes before work to maintain focus.
  • Taking a short break after completing a meeting or project to allow your brain to reset.
  • Going to bed at a reasonable time each night, so you can get a full eight hours of sleep.
  • Writing in your gratitude journal before going to sleep to cultivate a greater sense of meaning.
  • Eating fruits, veggies, and lean protein with each meal, so you feel energized throughout the day.

How to Start Habit Stacking

Once you decide on the behavior(s) that you’d like to turn into habits, it’s time to start habit stacking. Here’s how:

Assess Your Current Habits

Step one is to figure out what your current habits are. An easy way to do this is to write out a list of things you do every day. Generally, these are going to be things you do on autopilot – without having to think about it.

Determine What Habit You Want to Start

The next aspect of habit stacking is identifying the new habit(s) that will bring you closer to your goals. You might have to workshop several habits before finding one that’s attainable – and that’s okay.

Pair Your New Habit with a Current One

Finally, you’ll want to match up your new and existing habits. Make sure they naturally fit together, as that increases your chances of success. Then, every time you perform your existing habit, also complete your new habit.

Need Help Habit Stacking?

When it comes to habit stacking, consistency is key. Dedicate yourself to your routine, and eventually those habits will turn into lasting change.

If you’d like help creating long-lasting change, Fort Wellness Counseling is here for you. Our team provides patient-centered care and individualized treatment to help people achieve a higher quality of life.

Transformative change is possible. Contact our team to get started.

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