I enjoy experimenting with habits to learn what combination best fuels my body, brain, heart and soul. There isn’t one right set of habits for everyone, or even one right set of habits for the same person all the time. Seasons change, lifestyles change, and so habits will change.
I stack habits in my morning routine to keep things simple. Instead of focusing on 5 different habits, I know if I do one, the others will follow. Habit stacking is a powerful way of creating long-lasting healthy habits.
The Power of Habit Stacking
Even if you’ve never heard of habit stacking, you probably already do it. When you wake up in the morning, you might brush your teeth, drink a glass of water and start the coffee. In the evening, maybe you wash your face, brush your teeth, and floss, and when you take a shower, you likely have some routine of shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Whatever order you did those things in today, you probably do everyday. That’s habit stacking.
Harness the power of habit stacking to form new healthy habits. Start slow with 2 or 3 habits, only do them for short periods of time, and slowly build up.
My habits and habit stacks change over time, but right now, I practice some variety of these habits almost every day (5-7 days a week).
7 Daily Habits
2-3 times a day, I spend time either quietly meditating, or listening to a guided meditation or mindfulness practice. I recently started using the app Buddhify which offers short guided sessions specific to certain activities like waking up, going to sleep, traveling, eating, etc.
I write at least 3 pages of anything that is on my mind. These are words that I often never read again. The practice isn’t really about capturing my thoughts, but just setting them free. I started doing this years ago when I first read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and the habit came in and out of my life until I started habit stacking. Now it’s part of my morning routine.
I added this to my morning habit stack, not only because I enjoy reading, but because I want to be a better writer. As Jeff Goins says in this article, “Nothing inspires a writer like reading someone else’s words.” I’m almost finished with Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things and then starting Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford.
4. Eat the Same Meals
Some may think eating the same thing every day is boring, but I think making hundreds of food choices a day is overwhelming, and if I don’t have a plan, I don’t make the best decisions. There is a bakery only two blocks from my apartment with cupcakes that know my name in the late afternoon. When I eat similar meals, I eliminate the call of the cupcake.
This habit took me a long time to establish. I flossed after brushing off and on for years, but it never seemed to stick for very long. I needed a habit stack shake-up so I started flossing in the shower. Shampoo, conditioner, floss … I know it sounds weird, but after a few months, I had a strong flossing habit and was able to move it back to after brushing my teeth.
6. One green smoothie a day
I’ve been drinking smoothies for years, but recently I’ve been aiming for one a day. I create my own recipes depending on what I’m in the mood for, but every one is packed with spinach and kale. I love the very simple 30 day challenge from Simple Green Smoothies to drink one green smoothie a day for 30 days. They make it so easy for people to start a new smoothie habit.
7. Walk 5 Miles
I love to walk, and while exercise is a benefit, that’s not why I walk. I walk because it keeps me calm, inspires me creatively, and gives me time to notice and appreciate my surroundings. I love that I can take this habit with me wherever I go.
I’m currently working on 2 new habits:
- starting the day with a cup of hot water, lemon, and ginger.
- sending one thank you note a day.
If you want to experiment with healthy habits, start small and stack your habits.