Create Habits

The Four Layers of the Habit Hierarchy

The four layers of the habit hierarchy

A few months back, pre-Rare Broad era, I was running a challenge for Invoking Joy (Rare Broad’s predecessor).

It was an accountability challenge for the Sticky Habits workbook and on one particular day, we were talking in depth about the setbacks we were encountering. Particularly in creating a daily miracle morning routine.

I was thinking about how there are habits that are more “advanced” than we realize and need to have a certain set of foundational habits in place to make the new desired habit “stick”.

With the goal of creating a miracle morning, for example, we first need to make a container of time to be able to have the routine at all.

I started thinking about how we can determine if the habit we’ve chosen to implement is simple or made up “habit layers”. And the more I thought it the more I started drawing a connection between this idea of mine and Maslow’s Hierarchy.

*Powerpuff girls theme music*

And thus the habit hierarchy was born! (No chemical X necessary.)

While creating this theory, I’ve stuck to four levels (in contrast to Maslow’s six) for the sake of simplicity.

My hierarchy isn’t about mastery or transcendence. So I just left those out. (If you’ve got your shit that well put together well then you’ve got a whole lot you could be teaching me.)

I know this is going to evolve over time especially as we spend more time with it together through workshops and in the Facebook Group – which P.S. if you aren’t already a member, we would LOVE to have you!


The habit hierarchy tiers break down like this:

Tier One – Physical

    • Well hydrated
    • Well-rested
  • Three plus meals a day (learning to recognize hunger and thirst cues)

Tier Two – Mental

    • Healthy meals planned and made
    • Regular routines established
    • Exercise/movement is occurring
    • Healthy relationships (probably culling some toxic ones)
  • Mental health management

Tier Three – Social

    • Mindfulness/meditation
    • Developing positive relationships
    • Sense of community
  • Social media audit (clearing out what makes you feel bad about yourself)

Tier Four – Emotional

    • Self-love/like
    • Striving for goals and achievements
    • Active focus on self-improvement
    • environment improvement
    • Further refining social media (creating a place that aligns with your thoughts/beliefs/who you want to become)
  • Learning new things

While you don’t have to work through the tiers in order or one at a time their importance lies in that they are a tool in creating an action plan for putting a habit solidly into place. If you’re aiming for a tier three or four you’ll know what makes a solid foundation for that habit. This can look like laying the groundwork first, building it while you go or simply recognizing that you already have what you need in place.

The Sticky Habits Mini-Course

If you’ve worked through the Sticky Habits workbook and wondering how this applies to your minimum, medium, and maximum effort variation I lay it all out for you in the brand new Sticky Habits Mini-Course.

I created this six-day course to help you work through the workbook in bite-size manageable chunks. I know the workbook can be immensely useful but only if you sit down to actually use it. The course helps you carve out the time and elaborates on each question of the worksheets so you never feel stuck. It’s the daily accountability you need to jumpstart consistent action.

It’s ready and waiting for you right here, sign up now!

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1 Comment

  1. Reply
    Ashley Edwards
    July 3, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Yes! This is genius and it’s so true, about the layers of our habits. This is why I have been making very small choices with my health, rather than just overhauling everything. I’m trying to establish the simple habits so that larger ones don’t seem overwhelming.

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