Absolute Health Chiropractic
Family & Sports Chiropractor in Beverly HillsCA 90211


Build Habits Better

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A habit is defined as a settled or regular tendency or practice. Humans are described as creatures of habit. The reality is that old habits are hard to break, while new habits are hard to create. However, there is a way to build habits better, and it’s a lot easier than you think. Let’s take a look at the science of habit stacking. 

Habit stacking is a term coined by S.J. Scott in his book “Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less.” Instead of trying to create a new habit from scratch, he suggests linking new habits to existing habits, thereby leveraging the power of routines to create behavior change. 

The Science

So let’s take a step back, way back, and look at your brain at birth. We know that the brain is the command center of the body. However, in 2007 researchers at Oxford University found that newborns have on average 41% more neurons or brain cells than the average adult. How is that possible? Of course, adults have more knowledge and skills than newborns.

Well, it’s not the existence of neurons but rather the connections between these brain cells that are responsible for the brain enabling us to do everything we do. Early childhood is the time when those connections are made – at least one million new connections (synapses) each second

Synaptic Pruning 

While the rate at which we continue to create synapses as we age is controversial and complicated (depending on which section of the brain we’re talking about, for example) it is currently believed that we do continue to create new synapsis, at a much, much slower rate than newborns. Instead, what happens in adults is that the brain begins to thin out the connections that don’t get used and builds up connections that are used more often. This process is called synaptic pruning and it’s a way that our biology assists us in skill development. 

So, for example, you’ve been playing the guitar for years. Your brain is continually strengthening those connections. It actually puts energy into building those connections and gets rid of or prunes away other connections that you don’t or no longer use. In layman’s terms we’re talking about use it or lose it. 

Promise and Possibility

Back to the newborns, they are filled with promise and possibilities, but don’t have any strong connections as of yet. Adults, on the other hand, may have already pruned away a high percentage of their neurons, but in the process have created strong connections that have made them very good at certain things. 

So, based on what we now know about synaptic pruning, established habits are literally hardwired into our brains. Whether we’re talking about taking a shower when you wake up, kissing your kids good night, or taking your dog for a walk at the same time each day, all habits, big or small, are habits that you follow without thinking, each supported by a strong connection of neurons in the brain. 

Habit Stacking

Habit stacking involves identifying existing routines or habits and inserting new behaviors into them. By anchoring new habits to familiar triggers, individuals can overcome resistance to change and seamlessly integrate positive actions into their daily lives. 

Steps to Start Habit Stacking

First identify your existing habits. Create a list of your current routines and behaviors.
Choose new habits. To start, focus on small, manageable actions that align with your goals. 
Identify trigger points. Determine specific cues or moments within existing habits where new behaviors can be inserted. 
Choose new habits. Pair each new habit with a corresponding trigger point, forming a new chain of events. 
Practice consistency. Repetition is key to solidifying habit stacks. Commit!
Adjust and refine. Constantly evaluate and tweak your habit stacks to optimize effectiveness and sustainability. 

Notice that each step requires a degree of specificity. For example, if you wanted to start drinking more water, you could just set a goal number of glasses to drink per day. Or you could also say you’re going to drink a glass of water in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. Or, you could stack your desired behavior on top of an existing behavior by saying that you’re going to drink a glass of water each time you finish brushing your teeth (an existing 3 times a day habit). See the difference? Habit stacking is an easy way to quickly add more good habits into your life.


Habit stacking looks something like this. 

Existing habit: Checking phone for messages.

Trigger point: Before I check my phone for messages.

New habit: Practicing gratitude.

Habit stack: Every time before I check my phone for messages, texts, or emails I will first express gratitude for something in my life.


Existing habit: Eating lunch.

Trigger point: After I finish eating lunch and putting my dishes away.

New habit: Taking a short walk during the workday.

Habit stack: After I finish eating lunch and putting my dishes away I will take a 10 minute walk around the block to aid my digestion, clear my mind, and increase productivity in the afternoon. 


Existing habit: Making a morning cup of tea.

Trigger point: While I am waiting for the tea to brew.

New habit: Every morning while I am waiting for my tea to brew I will set a positive tone for the day by smiling and thinking about 3 enjoyable things I will be doing during the day. 

Build Better Habits

If you’ve been trying to build better habits, try building habits better. Habit stacking might be what you’ve been waiting for. Living your best 100 Year Lifestyle means always making the right choices for you at any given moment. But even with the best of intentions, stuff happens and we all could benefit from a few hacks from time to time. 

One habit you might not be aware of is that every time you get a chiropractic adjustment you leave the office with a smile on your face because you’ve done something great for your health! Every time you do, share the good news with a friend, loved one, or a stranger and put a smile on their face as well! A 100 Year Lifestyle provider is ready to help you create good habits for a lifetime!


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