Habit Stacking for Achievement of Goals

Darryl Bachmeier
Mar 20, 2020

As each day goes by, we engage in a range of activities that are born out of habits. From taking your bath to picking up your phone, you are certainly doing something that has become a part of your life. Learning a new language, visiting the new bridge, and becoming a World Superstar are all a few of the many things we want to achieve, but we are restricted by time and energy. No one needs to tell us that we must take deliberate steps and imbibe healthy habits in order to achieve the goals that we set in life.

It is often said that change is the only permanent thing, yet habits are not so easy to change. It is mostly difficult to develop strengths, improve on work performance, or change behaviors. A lot of discipline is required to make good habits, as there are no short cuts. One strategy that helps in the development of new and healthy habits is habit stacking.

Now, what is habit stacking? Habit stacking connotes laying of habits on top of one another so that they can become a lifestyle. When you cluster desirable habits with the ones that you already have, they are more likely to develop into new habits. In addition, that is how you create routines-one habit stacked right on top of another.

How does Habit Stacking work?

You stack habits by first identifying your existing habits. Then, you attach new healthy habits to anchor habits such as brushing your teeth and taking your bath, so that the new ones can be integrated into your routine. That helps your brain adapt to new habits seamlessly. By attaching this new habit onto an existing one, you are helping your brain to adopt it more seamlessly. Habits are created through synaptic pruning, which is the pruning away of the connections that exist between neurons that are not used by the brain; and the building up of the more frequently used connections.

For instance, when you have practiced the guitar consistently for five years, your musical neurons are strengthened, and the connections grow faster and become more efficient such that you can play with so much ease and expertise. The Buddhist quote, ‘the path to many always leads through one’ is correct when it comes to Habit stacking, since pairing a new habit with a current one, rather than a particular location or time, brings stability. You would find that you no longer need the checklist, except as a reminder.

Habit stacking comprises two components, which are the Minimal Habits and Overlapping tasks. The Minimal habits concept advises that a minimum but consistent effort be made towards a goal so that the advancement from a zero friction to a little more effort in the same direction ends up being a good investment. For instance, an individual is expected to focus on fifty push-ups per day as opposed to an extreme 200 pushups.

The other component, which is the Overlapping tasks, is also known as multitasking. It involves minimal habits in different activities. For instance, listening to music (mental activity) while exercising (physical activity), or learning a language while cleaning is both achievable, and it gets to a point where the brain expects them to be performed together.

How to Form Habit Stacks that Work

All you need to do is find the right trigger and then stack the habits.

First, you must find the base habit that should be stacked upon. To figure this out, make a quick list of your habits, and then mark the habits that are already a daily part of you. Habits such as getting out of bed, having breakfast, and turning off the lights, which you do each day, are then examined. You would then have to consider the time of the day that you want to exhibit the new habit so that you can lay the new habit on an existing habit that you do at that time.

The formula for habit stacking is this:

Before/After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]


After I get up from the bed, I will lay my bed.

After I get into the car, I will do some meditation.

After I have my dinner, I will tell stories to the kids.

Before I turn off the lights, I will lock all the doors.

Once you have stacked the habits, repeat the routine, and in less than two months, you would find that you are able to associate the activities together.

Quick Tips on Habit Stacking

Start small Include it in your to-do list Master one before adding another Know why you’re creating the new habit

Habit stacking is necessary for developing the actions that would help you achieve your goals. By linking new habits to an in-built cycle, you are more likely to stick to the new conduct.

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