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Change can be daunting, but creating a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to mean taking on all fronts at once. If your goal is to eat better and be more active, set yourself up for success. Taking one step – making one change – can be the best place to start!

We do many things out of habit, and breaking the inertia of unhealthy routines can be a tough nut to crack. The good news is that it only takes one blow to crack it!

Research has found that making one positive change in our health habits can be the seed that allows other healthful changes to grow. A six-month study looked at changing four common, unhealthy habits in 204 adults from age 21 to 60, who:

  • Ate too many saturated fats,
  • Ate too few fruits and vegetables,
  • Spent too much time being sedentary, and
  • Didn’t get enough physical activity.

When given incentive to target a change in one of those behaviors, participants also began to make better choices in the other areas. By spending less time in front of the TV or computer, they also cut back on high-fat snacks. Decreasing sedentary leisure also opened the door to being more physically active.

If you want to change an unhealthy habit, rather than focus on not doing that one thing keep your focus positive by also adding one healthy choice to your routine and sticking with it.

Challenging yourself to make a lifestyle change can feel overwhelming, particularly when you want to transform everything at once. Starting with one healthy change is a more realistic approach to the overall change you’re looking for. As that new, healthy behavior becomes a habit it can create a sense of success that motivates you to add others that further your health goals.

Unhealthy habits build up over time, and replacing them with good habits can take time, too. Rather than try to change too much, too fast, be patient with yourself and allow for a sense of accomplishment in making one change at a time.

If you would like to eat healthier, consider replacing dessert with a healthier option like fruit or yogurt. To be less sedentary, carve out a regular hour that had been spent on keeping up with social media or watching a TV show and use it to get moving.

Not only can it can reduce your risks for disease and other health complications, changing one thing for the better can move you closer to creating lasting change for a healthier lifetime.