Struggling to build and maintain good habits? You’re not alone. Many people find it challenging to create lasting routines. But there’s a simple technique that can help: habit stacking. In this post, we’ll explore what habit stacking is and how you can use it to supercharge your productivity.

What is habit stacking?

Habit stacking is a simple but powerful technique for building new habits. The idea is to “stack” a new habit on top of an existing one. By linking the new habit to something you already do consistently, you make it easier to remember and stick with.

For example, let’s say you want to start meditating every day. You could stack this new habit on top of an existing habit, like brushing your teeth. After you brush your teeth in the morning, you sit down and meditate for five minutes. Over time, the two habits become linked in your mind, and meditating becomes a natural part of your morning routine.

Why does habit stacking work?

Habit stacking works because it takes advantage of the power of cues and rewards. When you link a new habit to an existing one, the existing habit becomes a cue for the new one. This makes it easier to remember and follow through on the new habit.

Additionally, by stacking habits together, you create a sense of momentum and accomplishment. Each completed habit becomes a small win that motivates you to keep going. Over time, these small wins add up to big results.

How to get started with habit stacking

Getting started with habit stacking is easy. Here are the basic steps:

1. Choose a new habit you want to build.
2. Identify an existing habit you already do consistently.
3. Link the new habit to the existing one.
4. Practice the new habit stack until it becomes automatic.

Let’s look at each step in more detail.

Step 1: Choose a new habit

The first step is to choose a new habit you want to build. This could be anything from exercising more to reading every day to keeping your workspace tidy. The key is to choose a habit that is specific, measurable, and realistic.

For example, instead of setting a vague goal like “exercise more,” set a specific goal like “do 10 pushups every day.” This makes it easier to track your progress and stay motivated.

Step 2: Identify an existing habit

Next, identify an existing habit you already do consistently. This could be something you do every day, like brushing your teeth or making your bed. Or it could be something you do regularly, like going to work or checking your email.

The key is to choose a habit that is already a natural part of your routine. This will make it easier to link the new habit to it.

Step 3: Link the new habit to the existing one

Now it’s time to link the new habit to the existing one. This is where the magic of habit stacking happens.

To do this, simply add the new habit to your existing routine, right after the existing habit. For example, if you want to start doing 10 pushups every day, you could link this to your existing habit of brushing your teeth in the morning. After you brush your teeth, drop down and do 10 pushups.

Step 4: Practice the new habit stack

The final step is to practice the new habit stack until it becomes automatic. This means doing it consistently, even when you don’t feel like it. Over time, the new habit will become a natural part of your routine, just like the existing habit.

It’s important to be patient and persistent during this stage. Building new habits takes time and effort. But by stacking them on top of existing habits, you make it easier to stick with them long-term.

Examples of habit stacks

To give you some inspiration, here are a few examples of habit stacks you could try:

– After you pour your morning coffee, meditate for five minutes.
– After you get home from work, do 10 minutes of stretching.
– After you eat dinner, write in your gratitude journal for five minutes.
– After you check your email in the morning, write down your top three priorities for the day.
– After you brush your teeth at night, read for 10 minutes.

The possibilities are endless. The key is to find habit stacks that work for you and your lifestyle.

Tips for making habit stacking work for you

Here are a few tips to help you make habit stacking work for you:

1. Start small. Don’t try to stack too many habits at once. Start with just one or two and build from there.

2. Be specific. The more specific your habit stack is, the easier it will be to follow through on. Instead of “exercise more,” try “do 10 squats after brushing my teeth.”

3. Make it visual. Write down your habit stacks and post them somewhere you’ll see them every day. This will help remind you to follow through.

4. Celebrate your wins. Every time you complete a habit stack, give yourself a small reward. This could be something as simple as a mental pat on the back or a checkmark on your calendar.

5. Be flexible. If you miss a day or slip up, don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on track as soon as possible. Building new habits is a process, not a perfection.

The science behind habit stacking

Habit stacking is more than just a productivity hack. It’s backed by science. Research shows that linking new habits to existing ones can make them stick better over time.

One study published in the journal “Neuron” found that when people practiced a new habit consistently, it created a neural pathway in the brain. Over time, this pathway became stronger and more automatic, making the habit easier to do without thinking about it.

Another study published in the “European Journal of Social Psychology” found that it takes an average of 66 days to build a new habit. By stacking new habits on top of existing ones, you can make this process easier and more efficient.

The benefits of habit stacking

Building good habits can have a profound impact on your life. Here are just a few of the benefits of using habit stacking to build lasting routines:

1. Increased productivity. By automating good habits, you free up mental energy for more important tasks. This can lead to increased productivity and better results over time.

2. Improved health and well-being. Many habits, like exercise and healthy eating, can improve your physical and mental health. By stacking these habits together, you can create a virtuous cycle of self-care.

3. Greater sense of control. When you have good habits in place, you feel more in control of your life. This can lead to greater confidence, self-esteem, and overall happiness.

4. More time for what matters. By streamlining your routines, you free up time for the things that matter most to you. Whether that’s spending time with family, pursuing a hobby, or working on a passion project, habit stacking can help you make the most of your time.

Overcoming common challenges with habit stacking

Of course, building new habits is rarely easy. Here are some common challenges people face when trying to stack habits, and how to overcome them:

1. Forgetting to do the new habit. This is where visual cues and reminders can be helpful. Post a note on your bathroom mirror or set a reminder on your phone to help you remember.

2. Feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. Remember to start small and celebrate your wins along the way. Building new habits is a marathon, not a sprint.

3. Losing motivation over time. This is where having a clear “why” behind your habits can be helpful. Remind yourself of the benefits and reasons for building the habit, and focus on the long-term gains.

4. Slipping up or missing a day. Don’t let one setback derail your entire habit stack. Just get back on track as soon as possible and keep moving forward.

The role of accountability in habit stacking

One of the most powerful tools for building new habits is accountability. When you have someone else holding you accountable, you’re more likely to follow through on your commitments.

Here are a few ways to build accountability into your habit stacking routine:

1. Find a habit buddy. Partner up with a friend or family member who also wants to build new habits. Check in with each other regularly and celebrate your wins together.

2. Join a habit-building community. There are many online communities and forums dedicated to building good habits. Joining one of these groups can provide support, motivation, and accountability.

3. Use a habit-tracking app. There are many apps available that allow you to track your habits and see your progress over time. Some even allow you to share your progress with friends or compete with others.

4. Work with a coach or mentor. If you’re serious about building new habits, consider working with a coach or mentor who can provide guidance, support, and accountability along the way.

How to use habit stacking to achieve your goals

Habit stacking isn’t just about building random habits for the sake of it. It’s a powerful tool for achieving your goals and creating the life you want. Here’s how to use habit stacking to achieve your goals:

1. Identify your goals. What do you want to achieve in the next month, year, or five years? Be specific and write down your goals.

2. Break your goals down into habits. What habits do you need to build to achieve your goals? For example, if your goal is to write a book, you might need to build a daily writing habit.

3. Stack your goal-related habits. Look for ways to stack your goal-related habits on top of existing habits. For example, you could stack your daily writing habit on top of your morning coffee routine.

4. Track your progress. Use a habit tracker or journal to track your progress over time. Celebrate your wins and adjust your habits as needed to stay on track.

5. Stay consistent. Building habits takes time and consistency. Stay committed to your habit stacks, even when you don’t feel like it. Over time, your efforts will compound and you’ll see real progress towards your goals.

The future of habit stacking

As more people discover the power of habit stacking, we can expect to see this technique continue to evolve and grow. Here are a few trends and predictions for the future of habit stacking:

1. More personalized habit stacks. As we learn more about the science of habit formation, we may see more personalized habit stacks tailored to individual needs and preferences.

2. Integration with technology. We may see more apps and tools designed specifically for habit stacking, making it easier than ever to build and track new habits.

3. Greater focus on mental health. As awareness of the importance of mental health grows, we may see more habit stacks focused on building resilience, reducing stress, and improving overall well-being.

4. Expansion into new areas. Habit stacking has applications beyond just personal productivity. We may see this technique used in areas like education, healthcare, and business to drive better outcomes.


Habit stacking is a simple but powerful technique for building lasting routines and achieving your goals. By linking new habits to existing ones, you make it easier to remember and follow through on your commitments. Over time, these small habits compound into big results.

Whether you’re looking to boost your productivity, improve your health, or achieve a big goal, habit stacking can help you get there. By starting small, being consistent, and celebrating your wins along the way, you can create the life you want, one habit at a time.

So what are you waiting for? Start stacking your habits today and see where they take you. With a little effort and persistence, you might just be surprised at what you can achieve.