Blog Fitness Building a Healthy Habit Is Much Easier If You Know These 3 Things

Building a Healthy Habit Is Much Easier If You Know These 3 Things

It’s easy to get trapped in a loop of procrastination and not take the first step toward building a healthy habit. “I’ll start tomorrow… when I have more time… I need to get this out of the way first… I’ll start next year…” 

Eventually, you find yourself stuck in a cycle of delay and inaction. In reality, building a healthy habit doesn’t require monumental strength or any kind of extreme lifestyle change.

You should think of it less like a huge, overwhelming task that requires a Herculean effort, and more like a series of small, manageable steps that will lead to big results over time. In this guide, we’ll demystify the process of habit formation and share three key insights that’ll make your journey toward a healthier lifestyle far easier.

What Is a Healthy Habit?

A healthy habit is any behavior or action that contributes to your physical, mental, or emotional well-being.

By definition, a healthy habit must (2):

  • Have a positive impact on your overall health. Whether it’s improving your physical fitness, cognitive function, or emotional well-being, a healthy habit should have long-term benefits.
  • Be done consistently, over a period of time. Doing something once or twice does not constitute a habit; it must become a regular part of your routine for it to truly have an impact.
  • Be sustainable. A healthy habit should not cause burnout or be so extreme that it’s difficult to maintain in the long term.

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The Science Behind Habit Formation – 3 Essential Ingredients

An often-cited book on habit formation describes three main elements to creating a new habit: cue, routine, and reward(2).

Firstly, you need something that can trigger the habit – this is the cue. Next, you must carry out the behavior, or routine. Finally, there must be a reward that reinforces the habit and makes you more likely to do it again.

The key to creating a new habit is to make the cue logical and the reward desirable enough that they act as motivators for the routine. This means you need to find ways to associate your desired behavior with something you already enjoy.

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For example, if you want to start running every morning, you should put your running shoes right next to your bed as a visual cue and reward yourself with a delicious breakfast afterward. By linking the new behavior with something that brings you joy or satisfaction, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

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How Long Does it Take to Develop a Healthy Habit?

Research has suggested that it takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic (7). This means that after approximately two months of consistently practicing a healthy habit, it should start to feel like second nature.

Developing a new habit is not a linear process and there will be ups and downs and good days and bad days along the way. It’s natural for motivation to ebb and flow, but by understanding the process of habit formation and remaining committed, you can continue making progress in the right direction.

Which Are Healthy Habits?

The list of healthy habits to start can be as long or short as you want it to be. Ultimately, you’re aiming to improve at least one of these three pillars of health: physical, mental, and emotional.

Here are 10 healthy habits you can follow every day to improve your overall well-being:

Move Your Body Regularly

A sedentary lifestyle (where you sit or lie down for prolonged periods of time) is linked to a variety of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Many people incorrectly assume that unless you do intense workouts at the gym, you’re not doing enough physical activity. So because they don’t have the time or energy to engage in intense exercise, they simply give up.

However, incorporating movement into your daily life doesn’t need to be complicated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week (or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise) to maintain good health (6).

Let’s break that down: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise is roughly equivalent to a brisk walk for 30 minutes, five days a week.

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Taking your dog for a walk, riding your bike to work, or even dancing in your living room all count as moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.

Granted, more specific health and fitness goals may require a different approach, but for overall health and well-being, simply moving your body more is an excellent place to start.

We cover more on this topic in our article about how to make working out a habit.

Go to Bed at a Decent Hour

Prioritizing sleep when you want to develop a healthy habit may seem counterintuitive, but hear us out.

Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. It’s when our body repairs itself, consolidates memories, and fights illness and infection (5).

At the same time, chronic sleep deprivation can cause a whole host of health problems, such as a weakened immune system, increased risk of obesity and diabetes, and decreased cognitive function.

Therefore, if you want to be at your best and have the energy to tackle your goals and build healthy habits, you must make sure you get enough sleep. Experts recommend adults to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night (5).

If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, try creating a nighttime routine that includes winding down activities such as reading, journaling, or meditation.

Read more: Vegan Weight Loss Meal Plan and Prep Tips

Take Time to Disconnect

In the modern hyperconnected world, taking time to disconnect from technology is more important than ever. Constant notifications, social media scrolling, and binge-watching shows can all contribute to increased stress, anxiety, and sleep problems.

You should set boundaries for yourself and schedule regular breaks from technology (4). Use this time to connect with loved ones face-to-face or engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

Incorporate Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to what, when, and how you eat. It involves being present and fully engaged in the eating experience, rather than the mindless consumption of food (8).

This practice can help with weight management and digestion and even improve your relationship with food. Try incorporating mindful eating by following these simple steps:

  • Start with a small portion: Rather than filling your plate to capacity, start with a smaller amount. You can always get more if you still feel hungry afterward.
  • Chew thoroughly: Chewing helps with digestion and also gives your brain time to realize you’re eating and signal when you’re full.
  • Eat slowly: Don’t rush your meals. Take time to savor every bite and enjoy the flavors.
  • Limit distractions: Try to avoid eating while working or watching TV. These distractions can lead to overeating.
  • Tune in to your body: Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re truly hungry, not just because it’s a mealtime.
  • Appreciate your food: Take a moment to acknowledge the effort that went into preparing your meal. This can help you feel more connected to your food.
  • Avoid eating on the go: Try to sit down and eat your meals without rushing.
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You can read more about mindful eating in our article “Why Do I Overeat?

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Consider a Plant-Based Diet

Several studies have shown that reducing the consumption of animal products and increasing plant-based food intake has numerous health benefits.

A plant-based diet can help with weight management, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve gut health, and lower inflammation (12).

This doesn’t mean you need to completely eliminate meat from your diet. Instead, you should focus on incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet. Aim to fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables, and choose whole grains and lean protein sources.

Swap Sugary Drinks for Water

One of the easiest healthy habits to adopt is simply swapping sugary drinks (such as soda, juice, and energy drinks) for water. Cutting down on added sugar will reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease while also helping with weight management (3).

If you find water too bland, try infusing it with fruits and herbs for added flavor. And if you need a caffeine boost, opt for unsweetened tea or black coffee rather than sugary energy drinks.

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Enjoy the Occasional Treat

One important aspect of developing a healthy lifestyle is balance. It’s okay to indulge in your favorite treats every now and then, as long as they aren’t a regular part of your diet.

Depriving yourself of all the foods you love can lead to feelings of restriction and ultimately, binging. Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to enjoy the occasional sweet treat or comfort food, but you should be mindful of portion size and frequency.

Whether you’re looking to simply pep up your fitness routine, jazz up your diet with mouth-watering low-calorie recipes or want to get your act together and significantly drop that number on your scale – BetterMe app has got you covered! Improve your body and revamp your life with us!

Bask in the Morning Sun Every Other Day

Your mood, energy levels, and sleep can all benefit from spending a few minutes outside in the morning sun. Sun exposure helps your body produce vitamin D, which plays a crucial role in bone health, immune function, and mood regulation (11).

In addition, getting some natural sunlight first thing in the morning can help regulate your circadian rhythm (your internal clock) and improve sleep quality.

However, timing can make the difference, as exposure to UV rays at the wrong time of day may increase your risk of skin cancer.

Research has suggested that 10-30 minutes of sun exposure in the early morning (before 10 am) or late afternoon (after 4 pm) can provide all the benefits without increasing the risk of skin damage (1).

Therefore, you should take a few minutes every morning to bask in the sunlight. Whether it is while sipping coffee on your porch or taking a walk around the block, incorporating this into your daily routine can be a refreshing and beneficial habit.

Improve Your Posture with Stretching

Many of us spend several hours each day sitting at a desk, which can take a toll on posture. Poor posture affects physical health and can also contribute to feelings of stress and fatigue.

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Stretching is ranked highly among healthy habits for men and women, simply due to its benefits. It helps alleviate muscle tension, improve circulation, and increase flexibility.

You don’t need to go full-on yoga master to reap the benefits of stretching either. Simply taking a few minutes during the day to stretch your neck, shoulders, and back can make a significant difference in terms of improving your posture (9). Desk stretches are a great option for people who spend most of their day sitting.

In addition, incorporating strength training exercises that target your core and back muscles can help improve posture over time (10). These exercises also offer a host of other health benefits, such as improved balance, muscle strength, and bone density.

Practice Gratitude

Taking a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the good things in your life can significantly impact your well-being. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can result in improved mental health, increased happiness, and better relationships.

Incorporating gratitude into your daily routine doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply take a few minutes each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for. You can even keep a gratitude journal to track your thoughts and feelings.

Why Is it Important to Develop Healthy Habits?

Healthy habits are preventative. If you develop them early enough and stick to them long enough, you may avoid some of the leading causes of death and chronic diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes (7).

However, physical ailments aren’t the only reason you should form healthy habits. Engaging in healthy behaviors can also improve your mental well-being and general quality of life.

Read more: How Many Miles To Walk A Day To Lose Weight? Scientific Tips For Success

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  • How can I be incredibly healthy?

Achieving optimal health involves a combination of balanced nutrition, regular physical activity, sufficient rest, and good mental well-being. You can start by consuming a varied diet that is rich in whole foods, particularly fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. 

Regular exercise, such as walking, cycling, or yoga, can help maintain physical health, while practices such as meditation, journaling, and mindfulness can support good mental health. Finally, make sure to get enough sleep, as restful sleep is essential for recovery and overall health.

  • What is a good daily routine?

A good daily routine is one that balances productivity, self-care, and relaxation. It can start with a nutritious breakfast and a few minutes of meditation or mindfulness to set a positive tone for the day. 

This could be followed by prioritized work or study tasks, making sure to take regular short breaks to maintain focus. Incorporating some form of physical activity, whether this is a gym session, walking, or yoga, is also important. Finally, winding down in the evening with relaxation activities such as reading or taking a warm bath can help ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

  • How do good habits make life easier?

Good habits act as automatic behaviors that can streamline daily routines, making life easier and less stressful. They can improve your productivity, health, and happiness by reducing the amount of decision-making and effort that is required to maintain a balanced lifestyle. 

For example, the habit of meal planning can simplify grocery shopping and cooking, while a regular sleep schedule can improve your energy levels and focus.

  • How do you break bad habits?

Breaking bad habits involves awareness, planning, and patience. You can start by identifying the habit and understanding its triggers. You can then find a positive habit to replace it. If you have a tendency to reach for unhealthy snacks when you feel stressed, try going for a short walk or practicing deep breathing instead. 

It’s also helpful to visualize the benefits you’ll get from breaking the habit to keep motivated. Remember, progress may be slow, and slip-ups may occur, but consistency and perseverance will lead to success.

The Bottom Line

As this article demonstrates, building healthy habits is not only about diet and exercise. Taking care of your overall well-being involves incorporating several different practices into your daily routine, from getting enough sleep to taking breaks from technology and mindful eating. Small changes can cause significant improvements to both your physical and mental health.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. At what time should one go out in the sun? (2008,
  2. Creating healthy habits (2020,
  3. Cut Down on Added Sugars  (2019,
  4. Five Reasons to Take a Break from Screens (2018,
  5. Get Enough Sleep (2023,
  6. How much physical activity do adults need? (2022,
  7. How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. (2010,
  8. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat (2018)
  9. The Power of Good Posture (2023,
  10. The real-world benefits of strengthening your core (2012,
  11. Vitamin D (2023,
  12. What is a plant-based diet and why should you try it? (2021,
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