How to build a Habit Stack 🥞

The key to creating a consistent, daily routine

Do you want to be really good at something?

Then try to improve just 1% everyday.

If you can do that, in the span of one year, you will have improved 3778%! 📈

That’s the power of daily habit (and compound interest).

And the best way to build a good habit? Attach it to an existing routine such as eating a meal, getting home from school, or taking a shower. It’s called habit stacking 🥞.

Here’s the formula for habit stacking:

After/before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].

For example, let’s say you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a little “you” time. A habit stacking statement in this scenario could be:

After I eat breakfast (current habit), I will meditate for five minutes (new habit).

Building on our previous post about exponential little bits, habit stacking is a fantastic way to combat procrastination. And we all know that teenagers are prone to procrastinating! Applying this formula to the activities and ambitions we value most will help ensure that our kids are making steady progress toward their goals.

In the previous post, we challenged you to ask your child about a goal that they want to accomplish in the next 90 days. Think back on that goal (or any other for that matter), and break it down into the smallest, most manageable chunks. Then try and create a daily habit stack that will slowly add up over time to accomplish that goal.

For example, if my goal is to write a screenplay, then my habit stack might be:

As soon as I wake up each day, I will write one new page of my screenplay.

Or let’s say your student is struggling with math and wants to improve. In that case, a potential habit stack could be:

Before I play video games, I will do 10 minutes of math practice with Everydae.

Humans are creatures of habit. We all create little routines throughout our day that we rarely think twice about - brushing our teeth, walking the dog, the exact route we drive to work, etc. Our brains are wired to minimize effort whenever possible, so it’s second nature to create this mini routines. Stacking newly desired habits on top of these existing routines is often more effective than trying to say something like, “I will mediate at 4pm every day” because that 3pm meeting lasted longer than expected and the next thing you know, your routine is now to disregard that calendar reminder.

When it comes to schoolwork, we all know that cramming at the last minute is stressful, and mostly ineffective. But yet most students still do it. Part of the reason being that they don’t have the right tools in place to avoid it. Simply saying “don’t procrastinate” only highlights the problem. It doesn’t offer any better alternative. But habit stacking does.

The power of exponential little bits (and habit stacking) is in their daily occurrence. Small, consistent action compounds, and little actions lead to big results.

Curious to learn more about habit stacking? Check out this article.

Success, Actually is a publication of Everydae — a self-directed online learning system that optimizes teenager persistence. We help teenagers ace high school (and life) in as little as 10 minutes a day.