Life Hack: Habit-Stack Your Way To Success

We’re exploring the life-changing practice of *habit-stacking* + how one simple pairing of everyday activities can help us dominate our goals!

So, what exactly is it? Habit-stacking is the concept [+ practice] that we can introduce new habits into our day-to-day lifestyle by simply *stacking* them onto ones we already have. Think about the last time you tried to start something new. How did it go? If you found it challenging to keep up with, there’s scientific reasoning to explain that!

James Clear, one of the top researchers of habit formation, has explored the power + significance of *synaptic pruning* — the concept that synapses [the connections between the neurons in our brains] strengthen or weaken, depending on how frequently we carry out the associated actions. His research comes down to this — the more we do something, the easier it gets! ++ In order to take full advantage of these strong synapses when we introduce an entirely new habit, we should consider building upon our stable habits in order to create a new [+ strong!] routine.

When it comes to trying out habit-stacking for the first time, there’s really nothing to lose. The idea itself makes sense — small shifts can help yield great results. It’s much easier to wrap our heads around the concept of adding a few new habits right before or after ones that are already a part of our schedules, than coping with adding a huge practice to our busy lives.

Ready to give this thing a try? Grab a notebook or your planner + follow these three easy steps in preparation for our first go at habit-stacking —

#1] Make a list of *ALL* of your daily habits. For a CHAARG girl, this might take awhile ; ). Include everything from waking up, making your bed, brushing your teeth, etc. Every action that you do on a daily basis — add it to the list! This will help set up which habits you can stack your new ones on.

#2] Be specific + start small. You’ll find it easier to stick with your new habit if you first lay out all the ground rules. For example — *I will drink more water* vs. *When I wake up at 6:30AM, I will drink 8oz of water + finish 100oz of water each day* — which one sounds more doable? By stacking on a glass of water right when you wake up, you’re pairing your new habit with a current one [waking up every morning at 6:30AM] + promoting increased water intake for the rest of the day.

With all new habits + goals, it’s important to start small. Don’t try to run 5 miles a day if you’re just getting into a running routine. Be mindful when creating your new habits, making sure that they are both obtainable + always point toward achieving your goals.

#3] Set yourself up for success. Use that smartphone to your advantage by adding notifications + alarms during the first few weeks of new habit formation. Change your iPhone’s morning alarm to read your new habit of *Drink 8oz of water now!*, so that you can’t forget ; ).

Remember, the more you practice your new habit, the easier it becomes [strengthen those synapses, ; ) ].  Don’t forget to note everything down in your planner + weekly schedule — new habits just don’t happen overnight!

. . .

We challenge you to incorporate habit-stacking for at least one week! Think of smaller habits + practices that can help you reach your goals for this semester. Personally, I’ll be adding a cool down routine after every workout using the NTC app [with my own goal of becoming a more *mindful* athlete]. Share your new habit-stacking combos with us in the comments below + on Instagram, using the hashtag #inCHAARG!

+ Jessica [@jessicasmith_inchaarg] // VirtCHAARG NYC


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