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Change Your Life with Habit Stacking

By |2023-12-28T20:22:48-05:00December 27th, 2023|Categories: Health A-Z|Tags: , , |

Resolutions, as well-intentioned as they are, don’t change your life; habits do. This year, instead of grand proclamations – I’m going to lose weight, eat clean and run a marathon – try something new. Start building healthy habits with a proven plan and simple strategies.

Make tiny adjustments with habit stacking:

Your body and mind have an aversion to abrupt changes. “If you go all-in with a drastic transformation, it’s likely to feel overwhelming and you’ll find it hard to stick to,” says Neftali Flores, RN, CentraState wellness coach coordinator. “Instead, start with tiny, almost inconspicuous adjustments. The goal is to make these adjustments so manageable they become second nature.”

For example, to start walking in the morning, sandwich it between two established habits like getting dressed and preparing your breakfast.

“These small changes add up,” says Flores. “A 10-minute morning walk, five days a week, is an extra 50 minutes of exercise.”

Expand habits with consistency and rewards:

Using a similar example, if you want to increase the number of days you are walking, start with what you can do and make it consistent. When that number of days has become a habit and you’ve successfully sustained those walking days for three weeks in a row, introduce a reward system and treat yourself to something you enjoy. The three-week point is also when you should add another walking day to your week.

“This approach applies to increasing any healthy habit,” says Flores. “It ensures you can maintain the change and keeps you motivated with rewards.”

Ditch the all-or-nothing approach:

All-or-nothing thinking sets you up for failure. Perfection isn’t the goal; rather, it’s about making better choices over time. Don’t beat yourself up over one bad day – see it as an opportunity to bounce back the next day. Just don’t let it happen for a few days in a row, because that can derail a new habit.

The power of planning:

To make your goals a reality, Flores suggests creating a written plan. What will you do? How often will you do it? When will you do it and for how long? Be specific with your answers and display this plan where you can see it daily. Allow for some flexibility and introduce one new healthy habit at a time to stay focused and keep momentum.

With the right mindset and a little patience, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.


Looking for other ways to take control of your health and well-being? CentraState’s LIVE LIFE WELL℠ program can help with education and support to live your best life, no matter where you are on the health spectrum. Visit LIVE LIFE WELL to learn more.

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