Written by: Dr. Filza Swalah, ND
Buying the right supplements is an important step toward optimal health and wellness, but there is something that’s even more important: actually taking them. Are your supplements sitting in the back of your cupboard, collecting dust and inching one day closer to their inevitable expiry date? It happens to the best of us and it’s probably because you haven’t tapped into the science of habit stacking, the foundation of building a stronger routine. Read this blog to understand how habit stacking can help you unlock the next level of wellness.
Habits are important
When it comes to getting the most out of your supplements, it truly is all about consistency. That’s why it’s so important to build strong, sustainable health habits to ensure you take your supplements daily. There are many benefits to building healthy habits. First and foremost, when you build a habit, it reduces decision fatigue1 as it doesn’t require too much thought.2 Take brushing your teeth as an example of a strong, sustainable health habit. Do you really have to think about it? Or do you just find yourself reaching for the toothpaste in the morning and before bed? It’s something that you rarely need to think about, yet you still find yourself doing at least once a day.
The foolproof way to build healthy habits
There is a science behind building a good habit that sticks.
The Initiation Phase
This is where you understand what habit you want to build and, most importantly, what is keeping you from it. In the example of taking your supplements, ask yourself: did you simply forget? Or are there other factors, like convenience or format, that makes it undesirable?
This is where you build a plan. In this case, the easiest way to do this is to answer the “Ws” :
When will I take my supplements?
- This should be in line with your supplements. If you are taking them for sleep support, it would be closer to bedtime. If they’re meant to be taken with food, it would be during mealtime.
Wherewill I take my supplements?
- This should be somewhere visible so that you remember to take them! If it’s a supplement that’s meant to be taken with meals, maybe keep them on the kitchen counter. If it’s meant to be taken at bedtime, maybe place them by your bedside table.
Whywill I take my supplements?
- This, by far, is the most important question to answer. Knowing the answer to this question can remind you of the importance of taking your supplements and keep you motivated.
Hack into Habit Stacking
Another great way to build a habit is to habit stack. Habit stacking is when you add a new habit to one that already exists. Experts in the field say it’s easy to pair a new habit with one that’s already been implemented.3 Most of us have habits that are mindless and require very little effort, like brewing the morning cup of coffee or steeping tea. You could add a new habit to this already, well-established one and it would require half the effort and you won’t have to start from scratch.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, has a simple and clear formula for adding new habits to the existing ones: “After/before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].4” Because the current habit is so well built and strengthened, it’ll be easier to add something and stick to it. An example of habit stacking is adding Progressive’s Complete Collagen to your morning coffee or Progressive’s VegeGreens to your daily smoothie.
And once you’ve mastered stacking one habit, you can add another one and build larger stacks. For instance, want to incorporate mindfulness into your morning routine but don’t have time? Why not add it when you make your morning coffee? Take a few deep breaths while the coffee is brewing, add Progressive’s Complete Collagen once brewed, and enjoy. That’s how simple and easy habit stacking can be!
Make the reward, rewarding!
Another great way to make a habit stick is to enjoy it! The habit loop, created and featured in Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit, explains how a cue results in an action, which then creates a reward that feeds back into the cue, and inevitably develops a habit and makes it stick!5You want the reward to be so satisfying that it keeps you coming back for more. A rewarding response from taking your supplement can be instant, especially if you enjoy Progressive’s health-made-tasty products like VegeGreens, PhytoBerry, and even Fish Oils! It’s the delicious taste and health benefits that’ll be the perfect reminder to take your supplement the next day!
Unlock next-level health by hacking habit formation! With habit stacking, taking your supplements will be easier and with practice, will become second nature to you!
- Polman, E., & Vohs, K. (2016). Decision Fatigue, Choosing for Others, and Self-Construal. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(5), 471–478. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550616639648
- Matthew W. Anastasi and Andrew B. Newberg.A Preliminary Study of the Acute Effects of Religious Ritual on Anxiety.The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.Mar 2008.163-165.http://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2007.0675
- Gardner B, Lally P, Wardle J. Making health habitual: the psychology of 'habit-formation' and general practice. Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Dec;62(605):664-6. doi: 10.3399/bjgp12X659466. PMID: 23211256; PMCID: PMC3505409.
- James Clear. (2020, February 4). How to build new habits by taking advantage of Old ones. James Clear. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://jamesclear.com/habit-stacking
- How habits work. Charles Duhigg. (2017, November 20). Retrieved August 10, 2022, from https://charlesduhigg.com/how-habits-work/