How to Habit Stack and Make Lasting Positive Change

I recently heard about how to habit stack and my mind was blown! As a coach who often talks about welcoming more joy and ease into your life through positive change, I knew I had to investigate further.

So in this post I’m going to break down habit stacking. And show you how you can apply it to your working homeschool mom life to bring about positive and lasting change.

What is Habit Stacking

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, speaks about habit stacking in his book. The idea originally comes from Dr. BJ Fogg of Tiny Habits fame. Here is habit stacking in a nutshell:

    • The more you do something, the stronger the neurons in your brain supporting that action/skill/habit become.

    • Your brain prunes any connections that aren’t used in favour of those that are.

    • Many daily tasks we do, have very strong neural connections. Examples are brushing your teeth and having dinner.

    • You can create new habits by attaching them to existing ones.

    • And then you can form long lines of habits joined to each other.

Seems very simple, right? But I think that’s the genius of it. Making lasting change is hard. But if you can utilize what you already have, it seems so much easier!

How to Habit Stack Effectively

Learning how to habit stack is definitely not hard. But in order to make the most of this simple but powerful method, you need to keep some things in mind.

    • You need to have a very clear and specific existing habit.

    • Then you must be able to tack the other habit on immediately.

    • And start small to begin with!

Now let’s see what this does and doesn’t look like in practice. Let’s say the habit you want to start is being healthier. The intention is good. But it’s too vague. Being healthier is a huge task. And it can take many different forms. You need to be much more specific.

Let’s Break it Down!

So let’s take this and make it more specific, actionable and sustainable.

    • First, think of your existing habit. Drinking coffee.

    • Then, break it down into steps (This is my method. It’s very manual so it might seem really strange to you). Turn on the stove. Grind the beans. Fill the kettle with water. Fill the moka with water. Put the ground coffee in the moka. Put the moka on the stove. Turn on the kettle. Get out two cups. Wait for coffee to pull. Pour coffee into cups. Top up with water. Take coffee to my husband. Sit down. Enjoy my coffee.

    • After that, find a step that lends itself to habit stacking. Taking out the two cups

    • Finally, add a small habit onto that step. Drink a glass of water after I take out the two cups.

Before you know it, you’ll be drinking water every day. And as you start feeling more confident about it, you can add the rest of the water you want to drink onto other habits. You’ll get to 8 glasses a day in no time!

How to Habit Stack as a Working Homeschool Mom

I know that as a working homeschool mom, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things. We have so much to do every day, that it can easily feel like there just isn’t any time. That’s why I believe habit stacking is a must!

So I want to use two things that lots of working homeschool moms struggle with. And to show you how to habit stack so that you can welcome more joy and ease into your life.

Ideas for How to Habit Stack Self Care

Self care is not a nice-to-have for us working homeschool moms. It’s a must have! But it can be hard to find the time to do it! So let’s apply habit stacking once again, and get you self-cared to the max!

    • Spend 2 minutes meditating when you open your eyes in the morning.

    • Run in place for 5 minutes as you wait for your coffee to percolate.

    • Journal for 5 minutes after you’ve eaten breakfast.

    • Drink a glass of water whenever you get a phone call.

Obviously this is going to look different for everyone. But the idea is to make it simple, to make it clear and to start small. And then you can stack other self care habits onto these ones as they become more natural.

Ideas for How to Habit Stack Chores

Cooking and cleaning can also cause loads of stress and overwhelm. So once more, habit stacking can help with making these must-do tasks more manageable.

    • Clean bathroom counters when your kid is having a bath. This is from Kelly over at Simple Home Mom.

    • Clean out the fridge when you make dinner.

    • Make your bed immediately after you get up.

    • Throw in a load of laundry every morning after your coffee.

Final Thoughts on Habit Stacking

Habit stacking is definitely a good method to create new habits. But it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. And it’s certainly not the only way to create change. You should keep these things in mind…

    • Be sure you know what your values and goals are before you start a new habit.

    • Give yourself some quiet time to see what habits you want to start.

    • Start really, really small.

    • Don’t be hard on yourself if it doesn’t take right away.

    • Use trial and error until you find what works.

    • Change or stop habits if you need to.

If you ever need help to figure all of this out, be sure to book in a session with me. This is totally my jam and I want to support you!

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