Discover the power of habit stacking. Learn how to seamlessly transition your healthy summer wellness habits into fall for a successful and balanced lifestyle. Unlock the secrets to lasting positive change today!
You can feel the days getting a little bit shorter, the nights a little bit cooler and you know that summer’s lazy (and oh so lovely) days are numbered. You’ve rocked your wellness routine all season long. So now what? Fall is coming. What does that mean for all the work you’ve done? It means it’s time to start habit stacking!
Chances are you keep hearing about “habit stacking,” so let’s break down this phrase that’s floating around in wellness circles.
First things first, what’s habit stacking? It’s taking one of your existing positive daily habits and adding a new behavior on top of it. So why do it? It’s an easy way to build a sustainable routine. And who doesn’t love a good routine–especially as the seasons change and priorities shift?!
Understanding Habit Stacking
To adopt the thing, you need to understand that thing. Habit stacking isn’t just something to do, but as we mentioned it’s a way to incorporate new habits into your daily routine and it works to actually strengthen your existing positive behaviors and in turn, making it easy for you to layer on new ones. A sometimes less mentioned aspect of habit stacking is that it’s a way of decluttering your neural pathways and making room for things that matter to you or in this case more impactful habits. The scientific term for this is synaptic pruning and we all do it in one way or another.
The truth is the human brain loves routine. So the more routine we can introduce the more it can essentially become a part of our fabric. A simple example of this is brushing your teeth. Surely, you’ve been doing it since childhood so now, it’s a part of you and you don’t even have to think about doing it everyday. This is the same way habit stacking works. We create these routines and our brains can link related activities so doing what needs to be done next becomes simpler when we stack therefore we are subject to relying on willpower.
There’s the example of brushing your teeth but there are other habits that you’re stacking and didn’t even realize. I find that I’ve adopted the habit of waking at 6am, dressing for the gym and taking my morning supplements as the Nespresso brews my morning coffee. It’s one of my favorite healthy habits because it’s sustainable and flows from one activity to the next. Another everyday habit stack is making the decision to set down your phone at a certain hour in the evening and committing to being present with the people you live with or reading a book. This is a wonderful wellness habit that also gives your brain and your eyes a break from screens, messaging and constant communication.
Analyzing Summer Wellness Habits
This is the fun part–looking backward as a catalyst to help me move forward. Think about all of the habits you created this past summer. Now put them into buckets, one of them being wellness. Let’s peek into that bucket. Perhaps you committed to beach runs or you got serious about those pilates classes, religiously showing up for 6am class. Maybe you made it a point to eat lunch outside or replace your afternoon coffee break with an afternoon walk to recharge. Or maybe your habit was ordering the side salad over fries–every time or making fruit your new favorite dessert or taking your supplements at the same time everyday. Whatever seasonally-inspired change you made–however big or small–applaud yourself, maintain those new, positive behaviors and prepare to build upon them. If you step back and observe the macro of these changes, you’ll undoubtedly see the positive effect this had on both your physical and mental health. It’s really something to be proud of as you overcame obstacles to maintain those habits throughout the season, now you’ll face new obstacles as you build on these habits. But, personal growth, right?!
Preparing for the Fall Transition
It goes without saying that’ moving your routine from summer to fall is going to come with challenges. Especially if your wellness habits were built around good weather. But even if they weren’t, a change in weather can cause a lack of motivation. Rather than get discouraged by thoughts of how difficult it might be to continue your routine, start to think about ways to modify your routine that won’t throw you too far off course. Keep the habit, but just make a slight adjustment so in the cooler months, you can maintain that motivation. Remember, habit stacking is all about growth, so having to adapt is just another part of your growth, so embrace all the challenges that are coming your way–even when you don’t want to.
Habit Stacking for a Healthy Fall
The seasonal transition from summer to fall presents a timely opportunity to take on habit stacking. If you’re like me, you’ve adopted some summertime wellness habits that are worth maintaining like spending more time outdoors and in nature. Usually as the weather shifts, you might plan to spend more time indoors, but here’s a chance to keep your outdoor exposure at its peak. Don’t forgo morning hikes because the weather is a little chilly, either bundle up or move your trek to later in the day. Another summer habit that’s too good to give up? All the extra greens you treat yourself to when the weather is warm. While it may seem easy to dive into pumpkin spice season, keep your nutritional gains going. Update your salads to suit the season with pumpkin seeds, cubes of butternut squash, seasonal berries and herb-infused vinaigrettes. The goal isn’t to abandon the work you’ve done but just adjust it–slightly–to support the season’s change.
And since we’re talking about how to keep the habit stacking going strong, we might as well address ways to stay motivated. I’m always a fan of the buddy system. Encourage a friend to habit stack with you and hold one another accountable with daily text message check-ins and pics. Another motivator? Progress pics. Create an album in your phone tracking how far you’ve come. If you ever start to feel like you can’t do it anymore, check in with yourself and see how far you’ve come. Looking back will help you continue to go forward. Because who wants to undo all of the good work?
Embracing the Seasonal Change
Another thing to acknowledge is that habit stacking is very personal and it’s a chance for you to challenge yourself to embrace change. That means the seasonal change as well. As we all know fall comes with many opportunities to up our wellness game–trying nutritious new recipes with seasonal produce, making time for fall outdoor activities like fishing, more brisk outdoor walks or runs, apple picking, camping and more. Because habit stacking is personal, it’s a chance for you to practice some self-compassion and let yourself embrace the adjustments of your habits with graces.
All in all, you did the work over the summer and you want to keep that wellness work and habit stacking going strong even as summer comes to a close. And you can.That may mean days where you have to make adjustments or days where you need a little push to keep yourself in check. All of that is absolutely fine. Building healthy habits is an ongoing journey and some days will be easier than others and sometimes you’ll be honest with yourself and realize you have to adapt or refine your routine. Like we said, it’s all about growth right?! And this is growth. Your brain craves routine, but it doesn’t come without some work and its own challenges. But you’ve gotten this far so you’ll be able to handle the transition. We’re sure of it. We know how important your wellness is to you. With that, we want to invite you to take your habit stacking journey to the next level and keep it going from summer into fall–whatever that looks like.