Healthy Habit Stacking: Use Your Evening Routine for a Better Day Ahead
Eighteen months ago, during those unforgettable first few months staying home at the beginning of the pandemic, I found myself organizing my digital life and then investigating the concept of habits and routines. Something about being at home almost exclusively made me see how easy it is to let slide what’s most important to me while spending precious time on things that simply catch my attention despite caring little about them.
I picked up Atomic Habits by James Clear and was introduced to the simple yet powerful concept of habit stacking, which he notes was “popularized by BJ Fogg at Stanford.” As I read, it dawned on me that one of my most solid, healthy habits is the twenty-five-year ritual that turned into Breakfast Cure. Nightly, I start my breakfast cooking before I go to bed.
So What Is Habit Stacking, Anyway?
The idea is to stack another habit you’d like to incorporate into your lifestyle on top of a well-established trigger or habit. Success with Breakfast Cure depends on creating a new habit, ritual, or routine which can be challenging to create and adopt. I learned as I read that finding the best trigger for YOU is the key.
For example, I start my congee before sitting down to dinner because I’m more likely to remember, plus I enjoy creamy, well-cooked congee made with plenty of water, so longer cooking is great. I like to have a trigger, in this case starting dinner also means pulling out the slow-cooker and grabbing Breakfast Cure. Honestly, I also need an “Oops Trigger,” in this case, it’s when I start to set the table. “Ooops, don’t set the table until the congee is cooking!”
I’ve enjoyed the ease and benefits of this habit for a few decades so it’s part of my lifestyle. It occurred to me that this is the perfect habit for me to use for stacking on some other self-care. I too need help remembering to take my Chinese herbs! I want to relax and sleep deeply at night to help myself replenish during this time of extra stress.
Nightly Routines for Better Sleep + A Better Day Ahead
I started pulling out my crockpot and my Chinese herbs at the same time. Now I love enjoying my delicious (I do love herbs) cup of tea before dinner. I started with a traditional sleep formula, and now, over a year later, I have a new habit that has become part of my lifestyle.
Before, during, and after eating congee are other great habit stacking opportunities, especially for taking herbs. Medicinal congees have a long history because the congee base facilitates digestion and absorption, carrying nutrients into the bloodstream efficiently and effectively, even when a person’s digestion isn’t optimal.
Do you have a habit that Breakfast Cure can stack onto, turning congee-making into a lasting lifestyle? Perhaps you already have a good system for remembering to cook your Breakfast Cure? I’d like to offer a few suggestions for habit-stacking Chinese herbs onto your healthy habit to get even more benefit from it.
Stack a calming, relaxing, sleep-promoting tea onto your nightly congee prep as I did.
Too hot at night? Restless and waking up once you’ve been asleep? Menopause? Feeling dry, irritable, or agitated in bed?
Try sipping a cup of Physical Tranquility, based on a formula that is hundreds of years old and used in Chinese medicine to nourish Yin/fluids in the Heart and Kidney, just like Mega Omega Breakfast Cure.
Trouble falling asleep? Fatigue, loose stools, poor digestion, forgetfulness, anxiety?
Try sipping a cup of Mental Tranquility, based on a formula that is hundreds of years old and used in Chinese medicine to nourish Qi/Energy in and Spleen and build Heart Blood, just like Three Treasures.
I’ll be writing another article about habit-stacking a cup of Digestive Harmony in the morning as you eat your Breakfast Cure. There are aspects of the American diet and lifestyle that I believe broadens the traditional use of this formula to benefit many among us. Also, some Breakfast Cure flavors pair very well with this formulation by Dao Labs.
Keep it Simple
Habit stacking can also be as simple as pausing as you sit down to enjoy your congee to take several deep breaths, becoming present to your experience of the morning, the smells, the warmth, and as you begin to eat, the flavors, the feelings in your mouth, throat, and stomach. What else do you notice? Allow yourself a few minutes to consciously relax at will and enjoy the present moment, experiencing gratitude for this bounty.