Changing Your Habits for Better Health


From: National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Are you thinking about being more active? Have you been trying to cut back on less healthy foods? Are you starting to eat better and move more but having a hard time sticking with these changes?

Old habits die hard. Changing your habits is a process that involves several stages. Sometimes it takes a while before changes become new habits. And, you may face roadblocks along the way.

Adopting new, healthier habits may protect you from serious health problems like obesity and diabetes. New habits, like healthy eating and regular physical activity, may also help you manage your weight and have more energy. After a while, if you stick with these changes, they may become part of your daily routine.

The information below outlines four stages you may go through when changing your health habits or behavior. You will also find tips to help you improve your eating, physical activity habits, and overall health. The four stages of changing a health behavior are

  • contemplation

  • preparation

  • action

  • maintenance

What stage of change are you in?

Contemplation: “I’m thinking about it.”

In this first stage, you are thinking about change and becoming motivated to get started.

You might be in this stage if you

  • have been considering change but are not quite ready to start

  • believe that your health, energy level, or overall well-being will improve if you develop new habits

  • are not sure how you will overcome the roadblocks that may keep you from starting to change

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