Changing Your Habits:
Steps to Better Health Introduction What stage of change are you in? Are you thinking about making changes? Have you made up your mind? Have you started to make changes? Have you created a new routine? Research Resources Introduction

Are you thinking about being more active?

Have you been trying to cut back on fattening foods?

Are you starting to eat better and be more active but having a hard time sticking with these changes?

Old habits die hard. Changing your habits is a process involving several stages. Sometimes it takes a while before changes turn into new habits. You may face challenges along the way.

But adopting new, healthier habits may protect you from serious health problems, such as diabetes. New habits may also help you look better and feel more energetic. After a while, if you stick with these changes, they may become a part of your daily routine.

This fact sheet offers strategies to help you improve your eating and physical activity habits and outlines four stages people may experience when changing a health behavior which include:

Contemplation Preparation Action Maintenance

Whether you feel like change is a world away or just around the corner, this fact sheet can help you move closer to your healthy eating and physical activity goals.

Step up to healthy habits.

Get 150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense or vigorous physical activity each week.

Brisk walks, tennis, swimming, soccer, basketball, hikes, hula hoops—do whatever you enjoy best.

Strengthen your muscles at least twice a week.

Do push-ups or pull-ups, lift weights, do heavy gardening, or work with rubber resistance bands.

Eat more of these foods:

fruits and vegetables whole-grain breads and cereals> fat-free or low-fat dairy seafood, lean meats, and eggs beans, nuts, and seeds

Limit these foods and drinks:

sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts foods made with butter or other fats that are solid at room temperature refined grains (bread, chips, and crackers)

For more ideas, see the links to federal dietary and physical activity guidelines in the Resources section of this fact sheet.