Habit Stacking

Here we are in mid-February and many people are evaluating how their New Year goals for 2023 are coming along, many of which include building healthy habits. I think one of the best way to build healthy habits is called Habit Stacking. I recently read about habit stacking from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear and found it to be a great book for self improvement.

One question I get asked a lot as a physical therapist is “How do I get into the habit of exercise?” or “How do I remember to do my home exercise program for therapy?” The answer I give a lot is habit stacking! The idea is simple – just attach the new habit you want to build on the back of an old habit you already have.

For example every night when you brush your teeth, right after you put your toothbrush down go do your evening PT exercises. Every day when you come home from work, as soon as you arrive home it’s time to go on your daily walk. Building on your existing habits gives you an existing reminder to help keep your new habits.

The idea here is you don’t reinvent the wheel, you just stack one habit on top of another you already have. It lets you quickly build associations and change your lifestyle as desired.

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