Daniela Mercado Beivide, a PhD researcher for Holly Health, an app that focuses on building better mental and physical health through habit stacking, tells us that the idea is to 'create habits alongside a routine to keep up the habit'. 'It usually takes an event or change of mindset to want to create new and healthy habits - for instance, a health diagnosis, or the New Year,' she says. 'However, we find that setting up a new habit isn't the hardest part: practicing the habit and maintaining your momentum is often the most challenging.
'We all have intentions and habit stacking is a good strategy to turn those into actions that can improve your wellbeing in the long-term. 'By stacking new habits onto existing ones, we're saving our brains a whole lot of effort, and sparing ourselves the disappointment that comes when we rely on "willpower" to achieve our goals.'
How do you make habit stacking work?
Daniela advises working with no more than four new habits to begin with, but even having just a couple is a good place to start. 'Pick an activity that you already do automatically and without thinking about it (this is called hinging event in behavioural science) and then "piggyback" an extra action you want to start incorporating into your routine,' she says. 'For example, every morning while waiting for bread to toast, you will do five jumping jacks. Try to be as specific as possible. 'Start with small actions that feel easy enough for you to do on a daily basis, and work up from there,' she says.