March 17, 2023

Habit Stacking/Pairing

When trying to build multiple habits at once, try grouping them together, or 'stacking' them.

There are a number of posts and books discussing the concept of habit stacking. James Clear has a good definition of it:

“After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”

The idea is that by linking, or stacking, habits together, you’ve more chance of both habits sticking.

Personally, the principle itself has makes sense but I’ve found that, in practice (as always!), it needs a bit more detail to work for me.

James addresses this later on in his piece:

“Consider when you are most likely to be successful. Don’t ask yourself to do a habit when you’re likely to be occupied with something else.”

I’d go a little further than this - I’ve found that grouping related habits together works better for me. For example, I try and meditate after warming down at the gym or flossing my teeth while getting ready for bed. Doing push ups while I make my coffee, not so much. It makes sense for me to group related habits together - I’m just not as successful with them if I don’t.