How Atomic Habits Apply to using Standing Desks during Workday

In the book, Atomic Habits, author James Clear provides many great tips on setting habits that will help you live a better life. If a person primarily works sitting down in a traditional chair, starting the habit of using a standing desk may be challenging to adjust to at first.  Let’s take a look at the Atomic Habit ideas and how we can relate them to moving and changing positions more with a standing desk or standing angle chair.

What is an Atomic Habit?

An Atomic Habit is a routine or practice that is small and easy to do but leads to overall growth.  Changes that seem small at first can compound into meaningful results when a person sticks with them over a long period of time.

“Habits are the compound interst of self-improvement.”


We know from numerous research studies and surveys that standing reduces the risk of back, shoulder, and neck pain, lowers blood sugar levels, lowers your risk of weight gain, lowers your risk of heart disease, and more. Overall well-being benefits of a standing desk can include improving your mood and energy levels and even boosting your productivity.  With all these amazing standing desk benefits, building the habit of using a standing desk throughout your workday can make huge improvements to your health and well-being over time!

“If you want better results, then forget about setting goals.

Focus on your system instead.”

Habit Stacking System – Standing at Work

Rather than just making a goal to stand two hours per day, build a system for ensuring that it happens. Using habit stacking can be a great way to encourage standing desk use. This habit stacking formula pairs a currently established habit with a new habit. For instance, using the habit stacking formula of “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]”. Maybe your system includes using your standing desk whenever you check you first check your email for the day, or after your daily walk. If you like to do office workouts or stretches, the standing desk habit could be habit stacked with it for a great combination.

In Atomic Habits, the author cites 4 Rules of Behavior Change. Let’s take a look at each of them to see how we can apply them to more regular use of a standing desk.


Rule #1: Make it obvious.

If you have a sit-stand desk, one way to make it standing obvious is to leave the desk in the standing position at the end of the day, rather than the sitting position. Then when you come back to your workspace in the morning, you will start your day in the standing position.

Rule #2: Make it attractive.

If aesthetics are important to you, ensure that you are happy with the look of your standing desk in your office. There are many people on Twitter and across social media and pop culture who are using standing desks. It can feel good to be part of a growing trend and be supportive of each other.

Rule #3: Make it easy.

If your standing desk or standing angle chair is hard to adjust, or piled with junk, it will be easy to make excuses to not use it today. Purchase an ergonomic standing desk that is easy to adjust and position for your specific needs and body. Rather than trying to do something challenging from the beginning (four hours a day), start small (20 minutes a day) and gradually improve to a longer time standing. As you progress, your willpower and motivation will increase, which will make it easier to stick to your standing desk habit.  Do you have an Apple Watch or other device that reminds you to stand each hour?  Using something like that to use the 2-minute rule can be an effective way to make starting the habit easy.

“The Two-Minute Rule states, ‘When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”


Rule #4 Make it satisfying.

Why did you get the standing desk in the first place? To be a person who felt better during and after work? To be a better co-worker, parent, or spouse because you are not burned out or in pain? Or maybe you see yourself living a longer, healthier life in retirement?  Whether the reason is health-related, or for productivity or well-being, focus not on what you want to achieve, but who you wish to become.

“Once a habit is formed, it is unlikely to be forgotten.”


HealthPostures is Here to Help.

Give HealthPostures a call at 800-277-1841 or contact us here if you are ready to improve your workday and your health, one small habit at a time. We have several different options for home offices, corporate settings, and even medical offices.  The Stance Angle Chair transforms how we think about sitting and products like the Clever Electric Lift Legs can turn any work surface into an adjustable desktop.