How to Create New Positive Habits that STICK - Real Deal Magazine - January 2017

photo credit Annie Spratt

How to Create New Positive Habits that STICK


Have you ever wished you could get your day off to a better start? Or that you could actually get to bed on time without getting hooked into staring at Facebook for two hours?

If so, I get it. And I want to share something that could really change everything for you.

The idea is based on creating morning and evening routines using something called habit stacking.

What is Habit Stacking?

Habit stacking is when you take a current habitual action and add a new, desired habit to it. You add the new habit either just before or just after your existing action. You can even add more than one new habit, and create an entire routine.

Here’s a great example. Let’s say your current habit is to wake up in the morning and immediately get a cup of coffee. You want to add a meditation or prayer habit to your morning. So to habit stack, you decide that immediately after you get your coffee, you will sit down and meditate for 10 minutes.

zona-garrett-how-to-create-new-positive-habits-that-stickBecause you’ve connected your new habit to an existing, hardwired action that’s already in your brain, it will make it much easier to add your new habit. It’s like having a shortcut already built in!

You can add any number of small habits to your “stack”,but keep in mind that the more you add the harder it
will be to get them all accomplished. Not only are there more opportunities to be distracted, but the power of your initial ingrained habit diminishes as you get further past it in your morning.

You can work small, positive changes into your life with minimal resistance. And small changes add up quickly!!

If you’re like me, this is very exciting to you and you immediately want to start creating six new stacks in your life. Unfortunately, this isn’t setting you up for success. Instead, start with just one. Here are two ideas:

Existing morning habit: Get up and get coffee

Additional habit 1: Meditate or pray 10 minutes

Additional habit 2: Think of one thing you’re grateful for

Additional habit 3: Read one chapter of a devotional or motivational book

Those four habits together constitute one “stack”. You should be able to complete the stack in 30 minutes or less, making it easy to add to your day.

Additional Habit 1: Tidy one messy “hot spot”

Existing Evening Habit: Brush teeth right before bed

Additional Habit 2: Lay out clothes for the next day

Additional Habit 3: Pray or meditate for 10 minutes

With this evening routine, you’ve stacked one habit before your existing action of brushing your teeth, and two afterward. This also creates a great stack. Again, the whole routine should take 30 minutes or less. Wouldn’t you sleep better if you did this routine every night?

As you can see, it’s very easy to pick an existing habit and stack 1 – 3 new habits you’d like to add.  Begin with one new stack per month.  Just think of how much your life can positively change by the end of 2017. You won’t even recognize yourself at this time next year!

bio-zona-garrettZona Garrett works to maximize the impact with local and online entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations through team building, leadership development and community solutions as a community strategy coach. She has over a decade of experience and has drawn on her travels and study abroad to bring fresh and transformative perspective to you! Zona is currently working on the plans for a tiny house and enjoying life near the beach. Reach out at

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