Aug 25 2020

Habit Stacking- 8 Steps to Sustaining Healthy Habits

Would you love to read, exercise, or drink more water but aren’t sure how to incorporate new habits into your daily routine? Give habit stacking a try! The idea of habit stacking is to take something that you already do regularly and incorporate a healthy habit on top of it.

For instance, let’s say you want to read more. You know that every morning you get up and drink your coffee for about ten minutes. Instead of scrolling social media or watching tv, try reading for those 10 minutes while you enjoy your morning coffee.  Another example would be incorporating more water into your diet. If you stop at a gas station or go through a drive through to get a soda or coffee each morning, try ordering a large water with your regular order. Yes, it would be ideal to just order the water but that can come with time.

Once you have incorporated your healthy stacked habits and are comfortable with your new routine, you can start increasing your goals. Creating new and healthy habits is more of a marathon than a sprint—small, sustainable changes can lead to bigger changes over time. Whether it’s wanting to lose a few pounds, read more books or get more organized, forming healthy habits can be a challenge. Success can seem like a long way off, but with these steps you can achieve simple, everyday goals that will put you on a path to building long-term healthy and sustainable habits.

  1. BE SPECIFIC: Come up with a solid game plan that is thought out and sustainable. Pick a time, pick a location, pick a date, etc. Be sure you are set up for winning all along the way, right from the beginning. EX.: “I want to go to the gym more.” Change that to, “I will go to the gym on Monday’s and Friday’s at 6:00pm and have my clothes with me.”
  2. CREATE CHECKLISTS: Create a daily, weekly, or monthly checklist to keep you on track. Start with the daily checklists and make the tasks attainable and repeatable, something to build on. EX.: “I want to read more.” Make yourself a weekly checklist to read 15 minutes a day, check it off each time and build from there.
  3. Make Swaps: Think about some unhealthy things you do during the day and exchange them for something healthy. Example: If you start feeling sluggish in the afternoons, instead of drinking or eating something sugary, try going for a short brisk walk to get your blood flowing.
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY: Make sure you share your goals with someone who will hold you accountable. Having someone you can talk to about victories, set backs, and everything in between will keep you on track!
  5. REWARDS: Have rewards set it place that will not only be an incentive to keep going, but will continue to keep you on track. If your goal is to lose weight, having a reward to eat cake probably isn’t the best idea. Instead, you could have a reward to go buy yourself a small gift, get your nails done, or go to a movie!
  6. SMALL WINS: Small wins that are consistent add up to be big wins in the end! If your goal is to be more organized and you make it through a full day getting your checklist completed, celebrate that!!! That feeling of victory is something that will keep you going!
  7. SETBACKS: The occasional set back is common and happens to every single person working towards a goal. Don’t let these setbacks derail and discourage you! Figure out what happened, and how you can avoid it next time.
  8. REPETITION AND BUILDING: If there are many goals you have for your life like wellness, organization, consistency, etc., don’t try to change everything overnight. Start with one goal, stay consistent, then start on the next goal and let them build off of each other. One step at time. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got this!
Tara Willis

Health Coach & Client Coordinator