3 Ways To Establish New Habits

Bullet Journal Clear Stamps Habit Planner Planner Stamps Planning system Tracking

Turning new habits into established habits can be hard. REALLY hard. 

There are always some habits that come more easily than others, and there are hundreds of books, articles and videos giving advice and suggesting methods to help get them to stick.  But it’s amazing how complicated some of them can make it seem too! 

I’m far from an expert on habits but it’s something I’ve been reading in to recently.  A few things have really resonated with me and I thought they were worth sharing, mainly because they’re pretty practical.  I’m all for understanding the theory behind different methods, but for me what’s key is that they’re versatile and I can adapt them specifically to me.  Even better if I can do it without needing to spend a fortune on loads of new equipment with just good intentions to go on. 

Habit Stacking

I first came across habit stacking when I read ‘Better than Before’ by Gretchin Rubin, but I’ve seen it mentioned in so many other places since.  (One of those ‘once it’s clicked you notice it everywhere’).  The general idea is that if you stack the new habits you want to ones you’ve already got then you’ll develop a new routine which takes less brain space and is therefore more likely to stay. 

So, for instance, if you want to start taking vitamins in the morning, keep them next to the kettle/teabags to prompt you to take them as it’s boiling. This way you’re being prompted when doing something you already do everyday so no need to go out of your way to try to establish a brand new trigger.  

It’s similar to the idea of batching together similar tasks or, if you’ve errands to run, collecting together what you need and planning an efficient route so you’re not going out, doing the errand, and coming home again to start from scratch on the next.

Top right hand corner of an open notebook, with two lists with stamped square check boxes - Admin with Stats check, check calender, book a/s club and order bday card.  Finance stuff list with Check off invoices and Sales Stats | Alongside notebook are 3 pens - mint green, peach and pastel yellow highlighter, and a gold paperclip shaped like a bow.


  • If you've got regular tasks you want to get in to the habit of batching together, making a small checklist with them in categories can help you identify what could be done at the same time and keep you help you remember. 



Personally I’ve found habit stacking really useful for smaller things and it’s been really effective at needing to think about them less.  And for bigger habits I’ve found breaking them down into smaller chunks has made it easier to stack them.  For instance, if I’m hoping to exercise the next morning I get my sports kit and water bottle all ready the night before as part of my night time routine.  It doesn’t make the getting up, or the actual exercising, any easier but it’s put less in the way and made it much less stressful. 

Tracking those habits - watch your good work add up

Sometimes having the habit itself just isn’t enough of a reward on its own.  It’s not that we don’t don’t appreciate having our new habit but the day to day the satisfaction can wain.  That’s where habit tracking** can come in - helping you see your progression, and maybe even identify patterns, and give you a boost.

For some it could be just a tick in the box, for others you might want to keep a tally of distance walked or use a colour code instead.  But seeing how your habits can accumulate, especially in some sort of visual way, can really help it hit home how much value your new habit is bringing you. And help you celebrate your achievement! 

Three stamps you can use to help track habits - Weekly tick boxes, 8 Water droplets to monitor hydration, and a calendar wheel you can colour or tick throughout the month | All stamps available from Mint Maker Studio


Record Steps taken, distance travelled and time taken with this footprint stamps from Mint Maker Studio | Black footprint (sole of a shoe) on the left with distance and Time written to the right with lines underneath for recording each.
  • Record daily/weekly exercise targets with a stamp like this - recording distance (or steps) and time, either across the day or added up across the week.  Stamps like this are perfect for lining up along the bottom or side of a planner spread or in the corner of a paper diary.




  • Wooden handled Square Month Calender Planner Stamp | Simple grid with 5 rows of 7 squares, with a header row of single initials for each day of the week | Images feature an open notebook on an angle, with the top right showing the stamped page, the wooden stamp and a black ink pad.  Next to the book is a pencil and small brass ruler | Part of the Planner Stamp Collection from Mint Maker Studio
    Month grids are a really versatile tracker, enabling you to change up what you might want to track each month.  Or have more than one on the go.  From colour coding for tracking moods, colouring in for what day you've kept your new habit or just crossing through the box to see the whole month add up.




A progression from tracking, gamification of a new habit and turning it into something with a very tangible reward at the end can be a great way to help get a habit in place. Even if just for the early days. In a way it’s a step on from a reward chart you might have had when you were younger, but let’s face it there’s a reason they can work as in the right circumstances the same principles apply regardless of age! 

Complete a certain habit daily? Get a point.  Do it 10 days in a row and you could get a 5 point bonus.  Hit 30 points and unlock a special treat that you can use to remind yourself of your success. 


Top right corner of open notebook, on a 45 degree angle in the photograph, with a set of coloured felt tip pens in the top right of the image and a golden metal ballpoint in the bottom right..  In the top corner of the notebook is a honeycomb lattice with 42 segments and the title 9k Daily Steps.  Segment 10, 20,30 and 40 are all marked and there are 17 segments with blue ticks demonstrating those days the step target has been met.
  • Honeycomb lattice comes as a blank stamp so you can mark different points on it, giving you something to aim for and watch as you tick them off and get nearer your goal. 





Top right corner of an open notebook, fitted into the corner of the square image, on a mint green table top. There is a set of 4 pens on the bottom left of the image - orange, yellow, pink and purple. On the notebook is a habit stamp, with 6 rows which then turn round 270 degrees to form a spiral continuing the 6 rows and with 31 segments per row to track habits completed over a month.  On the stamp 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 are all marked and the habits listed are Water, Gym, and Read my book.  Each row has a number of squares crossed for days when those habits were completed.
  • Habit tracker stamps like this are a great way to track multiple habits, especially ones that you might not necessarily do everyday but are still important.  Crossing the boxes as the month continues, you can then add up how many you've done each month, seeing your progress and maybe identifying patterns. 

Whilst turning it into a game with an incentive might not work for every habit, it can be a great way of harnessing some of that ‘new habit enthusiasm’ and reinforce the behaviour while you’re still getting used to it.  But pick your treat wisely - too easy to attain and you won’t enjoy it the same, something you’d probably get anyway won’t feel as special.  


One thing a lot of the literature I’ve read agrees on is that when it comes to new habits, picking smaller ones and steadily implementing them has a much higher chance of success.  And whilst not everyone wants to record minute detail, having something, no matter how simple, to help you look back and see what you’ve achieved can be a really great way of reaffirming your commitment to the habit. 

And celebrate how fantastic you’re doing! 


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3 Ways to Establish New Habits - How to use your planner to get new habits to stick | Open notebook on lilac tabletop, at a 45 degree angle on the image.  In the top right are a selection of brightly coloured felt tip pens and in the bottom left is a gold metallic ball point pen.

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