The Happiness Cycle of Habit Stacking
A couple of months ago, I started noticing the effects of not being consistent with some of my daily practises. I wasn’t sleeping as well and was not as energetic and focused as usual. I decided to pay attention and become more mindful of my daily activities and embraced some new habits and behaviours that has helped me immensely. This is called Habit Stacking, which is a tip that relies on a concept in neuroscience called “synaptic pruning,” where the brain gets rid of connections between neurons that don’t get used and reinforces connections that get used often.
Stacking Your Behaviours
Habit stacking increases the likelihood that you’ll stick with a habit by stacking your new behavior on top of an old one. With this method, it will be much more likely to form a new habit and stay with it!!
Here are some habit stacking examples that may give you some inspiration:
- After I turn my alarm off in the morning, I brush my teeth and will drink 8 ounces of water.
- After I brush my teeth, I will do twenty minutes of yoga.
- After I start the coffee maker and prepare breakfast, I will open my emails.
- After I get into bed at night, I will journal or say 3 sentences of gratitude from the day.
These are some habits that I have been successful in implementing. What about you?
More Habit Stacking Tips
I know the concept of habit stacking seems simple. And believe me, it can be. But as you know, most things are easier said than done.
Here are a few extra tips to help you get started with habit stacking:
- Start small. If you start by trying to add a 30-minute habit on the first day, you may not be able to sustain it. Start with something small and a short time period
- When I start trying to add a new habit, I write it in my to-do list or sticky pad every single day. That way I have an extra reminder to get it done
- Wait until you’ve mastered one habit before adding another to the stack
- My favourite as many of you have heard me …. Know WHY you’re trying to create the new habit. Trying to increase your hydration isn’t going to be sustainable if you’re only doing it because you think you should, and not because you actually want to or understand the health benefits
Lastly, A psychological principle called the Hawthorne Effect states that we perform better when we know we’re under the observation of others. This is why accountability is so powerful when it comes to building and stacking new habits.
Do you need some assistance with accountability and habit stacking? Please feel free to reach out to me.
Marsha Fenwick, C.N.P. R.R.T.
Marsha is not your typical nutritionist. She began her career 20 years ago as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. Later, she earned her certifications as a Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner, Certified Nutritional Practitioner, and Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner. Marsha is also a Certified Cancer Coach. Her clinical practice specializes in: sustainable healthy weight loss, digestive health, women's hormones, diabetes, heart health, and cancer prevention and recovery. For more information and to book a FREE 15 minute consultation go to Marsha Fenwick Nutrition.