9 Example Habit Stacking Routines

At this point, you know how to build a habit stack and you’ve reviewed the 127 habits that can be added to a routine. But what you might not know is how to put these actions into a simple framework. In this section, you’ll discover nine example stacks that best demonstrate how this concept would work in your life.

Before we get started, I want to remind you that the following are just examples. At no point should you feel like you “need” to complete any (or all) of the suggested habits. Instead, use them as a launching pad for possible ideas.

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Example 1: Morning Routine Stack

Total Time: 40 to 50 minutes

A morning routine can help you shake off that groggy feeling when you first wake up and get you ready to attack the day in an energized state. That’s why I recommend a series of habits that focus on health, mindfulness, and planning your schedule.

•      Fill a thirty-two-ounce water bottle (habit #45)
•      Prepare a smoothie drink (habit #44)
•      Take daily vitamins (habit #43)
•      Complete a seven-minute workout (habit #48)
•      Review your goals (habit #3)
•      Identify your three most important tasks (habit #2)
•      Read a book chapter (habit #63)
•      Meditate (habit #53) or do shower meditation (habit #117)
•      Pack a meal, snack, and coffee (habit #28)
•      Leave a caring note (habit #97)

Example 2: Lunch Break Stack

Total Time: 45 minutes

Your mind (and body) requires a break after working for a few hours. You could do what most people do during their lunchtime: eat, chat with friends, and browse the Internet. But a better use of this time is to grab a quick bite and practice a few habits that will provide an energetic boost when you need it the most.

•      Get outside (habit #69)
•      Practice mindful walking (habit #118)
•      Practice progressive relaxation (habit #113)
•      Complete a “deskercise” routine (habit #50)
•      Clean your office desk (habit #82)
•      Drink a calming beverage (like tea) (habit #120)
•      Read a book chapter (habit #63)

Example 3: Evening Stack

The way you end each day sets the tone for your productivity and attitude when you arrive at work the next morning. The following habits can help you finish the workday on a high note. (Plus, you can complete a few more habits when you arrive home that will prepare you for yet another successful day.)

Total Time: 20 minutes (at work) + 25 minutes (at home)

AT WORK:

•      Track time for your activities (habit #12)
•      Write a “done list” (habit #14)
•      Clean your office desk (habit #82)
•      Practice self-education on the drive home (habit #61)

AT HOME:

•      Put away three items (habit #80)
•      Plan a morning “getting out the door” routine (habit #89)
•      Maintain a food journal (habit #41)
•      Enjoy a distraction (habit #74)
•      Follow a “shut down” routine (habit #54)
•      Use the sleep cycle app (habit #55)

Example 4: Productivity Stack

Productivity isn’t measured by the number of hours you work—it’s measured by the quality of the tasks you’ve completed. A simple way to improve your career success is to structure your days so that you work on important tasks in your most energetic, motivated state. The following productivity habits can make that happen.

Total Time: 26 minutes

•      Create an interruption-free environment (habit #7)
•      Identify your three most important tasks (habit #2)
•      Do the hardest task first (habit #4)
•      Improve focus by playing music (habit #9)
•      Track time for your activities (habit #12)
•      Work in Pomodoro blocks (habit #13)
•      Reward yourself for completing a task (habit #11)
•      Write a “done list” (habit #14)

Example 5: Gym Stack

Sometimes the little things can make or break your commitment to a habit. This is especially true when it comes to exercising. It’s far too easy to skip a day when the weather isn’t cooperating or you don’t have the right equipment. But if you follow this stack (in conjunction with a regular exercise habit), you will eliminate every excuse to miss a workout.

Total Time: 19 minutes

•      Follow a “getting out the door” routine in the evening (habit #89)
•      Connect your location to Beeminder (habit #56)
•      Complete your workout
•      Increase your flexibility (habit #51)
•      Weigh yourself (habit #40)
•      Track your workout in a journal

Example 6: Weight Loss Stack

Creating a permanent weight change doesn’t happen by following the latest fad diet. It comes from building small habits that encourage positive behavior. If you add the following stack to your day, you’ll create subconscious changes that will result in a slow but consistent loss of weight.

Total Time: 35 to 40 minutes (weekly) + 5 to 15 minutes (daily)

WEEKLY:

•      Plan your meals (habit #32)
•      Prepare a food shopping list (habit #33)

DAILY:

•      Maintain a food journal (habit #41)
•      Replace one food item (habit #42)
•      Fill a 32-ounce water bottle (habit #45)
•      Wear a step-tracking device (habit #46)
•      Walk between blocks of focused effort (habit #47)
•      Connect your location to Beeminder (habit #56)
•      Weigh yourself (habit #40)

Example 7: Dating Stack

Total Time: 5 to 10 minutes (weekly) + 22 minutes (daily)

Your dating life should include more activity than scrolling through an app, swiping left and right. If you want to find the perfect match, then you need to put yourself out there … you know … in the real world.

A few ways to do this is to focus on what you enjoy, increase your social network, and become a well-rounded person who naturally attracts others. The following habits will help you expand your network while providing opportunities to enjoy fun with friends and your dates.

WEEKLY:

•      Research a fun activity (habit #102)

DAILY:

•      Dress for success (habit #121)
•      Do an activity that makes you happy (habit #91)
•      Introduce yourself to someone new (habit #92)
•      Contact one person on a dating site (habit #93)
•      Give a compliment (habit #94)

Example 8: Weekly Stack

Total Time: 81 minutes

There are many activities you can do weekly to have a well-rounded life. My suggestion is to set aside at least an hour (preferably on a Sunday) to plan the next seven days.

Here you’ll review important personal obligations, schedule activities that can be shared with friends and family, and then map out your work projects. The following habits can help you get started.

•      Perform a safety check (habit #60)
•      Chunk down a project (or task) into manageable steps (habit #5)
•      Identify one task to delegate or outsource (habit #15)
•      File away loose paperwork (habit #83)
•      Check your billing statements (habit #24)
•      Plan your meals (habit #32)
•      Prepare a food shopping list (and stick to it!) (habit #33)
•      Add to your “bucket list” (habit #71)
•      Add to your “soon list” (habit #72)
•      Schedule a volunteering activity (habit #124)

Example 9: Power Stack

Total Time: 60 minutes

A power stack is simply a combination of the best habits that will have the biggest impact on your life. The idea here is to identify the habits that most successful people complete and then do them daily—preferably first thing in the morning.

The habits you choose are up to you, but the best example of a power stack can found in The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

What Hal recommends is the S.A.V.E.R.S. formula, which stands for silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, scribing. Each takes ten minutes to complete, which totals an hour of effort. If you’d like to put Hal’s idea into practice, then the following is a very brief overview of the stack that he recommends.

•      Silence: Meditation, prayer, or breathing to block out the “daily noise” and calm your mind.
•      Affirmations: Encouraging words that focus on your goals and habits.
•      Visualization: Creating a mental movie where you walk through your goals and picture what it’s like to achieve them.
•      Exercise: Simple, quick workouts that get the blood flowing and elevate your mood.
•      Reading: Going through high-value, nonfiction books related to your goals, or anything that enriches your daily existence.
•      Scribing: Journaling as a way to express your thoughts and think through the current challenges you are facing.

These are just nine examples of habit stacks. However, the options (and the combinations 0f habits) are limitless. That’s why I encourage you to cherry-pick the ones that look interesting to you and then ignore everything else.

To get started, think about your immediate goals and the specific actions you need to accomplish daily to make them happen. Whatever sticks out in your mind are the habits that will become part of your next stack.

Now, I’ll admit that this is an idealistic view of habit stacking. As much as I’d like to think everything will go perfectly for you, I’m also a realist. I know there will be times when you encounter challenges—even disruptions—to your routine. That’s why it’s important to plan for these situations and know what to do when they occur.

Let’s talk about that in the next section.