This is the third post in our series about habits. You can read the others here and here.

The next strategy I want to introduce you to is the strategy of habit stacking. Habit stacking works well if you already have some habits. And, because 43% of our daily activity is based on habit, I’m willing to bet you’ve already got a few that you can work with.

Habit stacking works by simply adding a new behavior onto an already existing habit. When you think about the habit loop, you’re just extending the routine of the already existing habit.

In this way, you don’t need to change the trigger, or the reward; you’re just taking an already strongly held habit (the routine) and adding a little something on the end.

Here are a few examples of this strategy at work:

  • Let’s say you’d like to drink more water. Try adding “drink a glass of water” to the end of your morning toothbrushing routine. (To take it a step further, you can double up on strategies and use the strategy of convenience that we talked about last week to you can put a glass of water next to your toothbrush.)
  • Once I was working with a client who was an OB-GYN, and she was delighted to realize that by telling her patients to take their birth control when they brush their teeth, she was already using the strategy of habit stacking to help them without them even knowing it, without her knowing either.
  • Recently, I had to start doing some physical therapy exercises for my shoulder. I’m using the strategy of stacking to do my PT directly after I exercise each day.

Have you used this strategy before? Or are you game to try it out?

Let me know in the comments!