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Behavior Stacking: 5 Steps to Taking Management of Your Funds

We all have little habits every day that go unnoticed. For example, brushing your teeth, making your bed or paying credit card bills. While they may seem small at first, these little habits can mean a lot more than just accomplishing a simple goal. Making your bed could be the foundation of a more productive day at work and earn you a raise instead of just having a clean house. Setting and building these mini-habits can be the ultimate trick to realizing your lifestyle and budget goals. This trick for trading is known as habit stacking.

Created by James Clear, a personal development writer and keynote speaker, Habit Stacking is about using simple habits to achieve big goals. James points out how stacking habits can help you get one percent better every day without causing burnout or over-exhaustion. This habit stacking routine consists of adding actions that you want to create in addition to the actions already taken.

For example, you may want to pay off credit card debt, but you have no control over your spending habits. Make a habit of checking your budget every morning after brushing your teeth to encourage mindful spending. This keeps track of your expenses from the start of your day and makes it easier to carry out consistently.

Want to learn more about how habit stacking works? Read on or jump to our infographic to see how this can work for you and your goals.

What is habit stacking?

Stacking habits is the art of combining your current habits with those you want to start with. Essentially, you take a habit you already make every day and combine it with a simple habit that you want to make every day. For example, you can already make coffee every morning and want to exercise more. This stacking routine allows you to do a few stretches right away while your coffee is brewing.

Once you master the art of stacking one habit on top of another, build on each habit until you have a complete routine. This can transform your two-step stack into something like: making coffee, doing two pushups, making your bed, drinking a full glass of water, and checking in your budget.

Stacking your habits is a great way to create routines that you can show yourself to, even if you feel unmotivated. Once you've demonstrated your ability to consistently show yourself, you can broaden your habits. Instead of doing two pushups after brushing your teeth, you might want to do 20. These simple changes will help you determine your dream life, career, or budget.

What is habit stacking?

5 Steps to Stack Your Habits and Improve Your Finances

By creating a habitual roadmap at the start of your journey, you'll keep track of your goals. Here's our five-step approach to building and maintaining your ideal habitual routine.

Step 1: List your current habits

First, list simple habits that you already had when you woke up. Common morning habits include making coffee, brushing teeth, checking emails, and exercising. Notice what habits you make every day and what habits you only do occasionally. For example, if you only exercise a few mornings, you may want to pile up your daily cup of coffee instead.

Step 2: brainstorm money habits you want to implement

Now write down the financial habits you want to create. Would you like to save more this year? Would you like to take better account of your spending habits? List the goals you want to achieve and what habits could get you there. Here are some examples of achievable mini-goals that you can apply to your current routines:

Read a page of a financial newsletter after turning on your coffee maker
Check your budget after brushing your teeth

Step 3: make your new routines a breeze

Once you understand what habits will help you achieve your money goals, make them as simple as possible. Your goal might be to spend money more carefully. Make it a habit to check your budget every morning after you shower. This could help you keep track of your purchasing decisions. Plus, taking a minute to check in your budget might be too easy not to do it every day.

Step 4: add a new money habit to a current habit

It's time to get used to curating your perfect daily routines. Start with a habit that you make every day and combine it with a habit that you want to make every day. It could look like this:

"When I make my morning coffee, I'll check in my budget."
"After brushing my teeth every morning, I'll add a dime to my jar."

Use this model as you map your stacks of habits:

Step 4: add a new money habit to a current habit

Step 5: Stay Positive and In Line With Your Money Goals

If the goals and habits you want to create are broken down into mini-goals, they can be easier to achieve. But there will still be times when you feel unmotivated – this is completely normal! When you are feeling ambitious, think about the goals you are working towards. Checking into your budget every day can motivate you to make your coffee at home while ordering something to take away.

Stacking habits can be the perfect recipe for establishing financial habits for self-care. To see what this strategy could look like in other areas of your lifestyle, check out our infographic below. Before you know it, you may have been on budget or saved more than you ever thought.

Habit Stacking: How to Create Successful Daily Routines

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