Nutrition | POSTED January 31, 2024

Top Strategies To Boost Your Success with Habit Stacking

In the quest for a healthier lifestyle, putting as many health-promoting behaviours on autopilot as possible will reduce decision fatigue and boost adherence. To this end, habit stacking can really boost your chance of success and consistency. With habit stacking you will find yourself better navigating around the obstacles of incorporating new habits into your daily routine. 

We have all the best intentions of making these health-promoting behaviours in our day consistent. Doing so ensures we are kicking off the year on the right foot. However, our busy lives and schedules can make implementing new healthier habits feel quite tedious.

So, how do some people stay so consistent and continuously implement their new healthy habits?

This is where the art of habit stacking can come in. It’s a powerful strategy that involves piggybacking new behaviours onto already existing ones. Overall, this approach not only streamlines your efforts but also helps promote a seamless integration of positive habits into your daily life. 

The Ripple Effect of Success

Firstly, the beauty of habit stacking lies in its ripple effect. As you successfully integrate one habit into your routine, the sense of accomplishment and positive reinforcement spills over into other aspects of your life. 

Small victories breed confidence, creating a momentum that propels you toward more ambitious health and fitness goals. Therefore, habits are going to be the backbone of consistency as they have seamlessly merged with your routine. They will continue to be present after the motivation and interest dissipates. 

Rewiring Our Routine with Habits

In a weight loss study conducted over eight weeks, habit stacking was put to the test. Participants were split into either a habit focused with diet and activity behaviours or dietary intervention alone. As a result, the habit focused group had lost 2kg compared to 0.4kg in the diet alone group.

In addition, at the end of a 32-week follow-up, researchers found that the participants in the habit focused group had developed these behaviours for the long term. Some had even stated that they felt ‘quite strange’ if they did not do them. 

To sum up the research findings above, habits help you pave the way for living a sustainable healthy lifestyle. It becomes second nature in your routine. This reduces the cognitive load required when trying to make health-promoting decisions.

Habit Stacking In Practice

Here is an example of how I used the method of habit stacking in my client, Brooke’s routine.  One of Brooke’s intentions was to increase her daily movement. To begin, we investigated what her daily routine looked like. 

Each day she was commuting on the train into work. As a result, we established that she could get off the train a stop earlier to get a 10-minute walk in on her way to work.

How we habit stacked on that daily action was by incorporating movement around this already existing routine that she did. Each day an extra 20 minutes of walking was being done without it having to be an allocated walk in the day. 

Secondly, we focused on increasing her daily water intake. We looked at here we could piggyback this off an already existing daily action. For instance, she found she was having about 5 cups of tea and coffee. Each time she had a cup of tea or coffee, she consumed a glass of water. In short, she very quickly increased her water intake without having to think spontaneously about it during her day.

Keeping Habit Stacking Easy

In conclusion, habit stacking is a game-changer for those seeking sustainable health and fitness improvements. Through strategically linking new habits to existing routines, you not only simplify the process but also create a balanced alliance between various aspects of your life. Whether it’s incorporating physical activity, optimising nutrition, or embracing mindfulness, habit stacking empowers you to build a foundation for lasting well-being, one small change at a time. If you’re looking to create new healthy habits in your life and aren’t sure where to start, you can contact us here.

References:

  1. Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice