Making Habits Stick

Join Healthy for Good and learn tips to build healthy habits.

Woman practicing squats against a wall at home

Every journey, including your own journey to better health and well-being, begins with just one step.

Although getting and staying healthy can feel like a big challenge, it doesn't have to be. Working small, positive steps into your daily life can help you build a healthier life routine.

But just putting them on your mental to-do list might not be enough.

Tying those positive steps to other things you already do regularly — a practice called "habit stacking," or "habit chaining " — can help turn them into ironclad habits. For instance, you could take a daily habit, like brushing your teeth, and add in a little movement, like doing five squats.

Here are a few other ideas.

You don't have to do the new habit at the same time as the current habit. You can add new habits before, during or after the original habit.

Daily habit Healthy habit to add
Taking a walk Focus mindfully on the sights and sounds of your walk (instead of daily stressors at work or home).
Writing a to-do list Start by listing one or two things you are grateful for every day.
Making coffee or tea Wash and slice up a vegetable for snacking while you wait for water to heat or tea to steep.
Happy young women in the kitchen making a fresh salad.

Meet the Habit Coach

Find it hard to stick with healthy habits? You’re not alone! The American Heart Association is here to help, acting as your Habit Coach. Our science-backed tips will help you build lasting habits for better health.

Healthy Habit Hacks

Nibbling at Healthy Eating

Young woman sitting on couch, eating and smiling

Whether you’re striving for a healthy weight or just eating for wellness, try a technique called habit stacking to help you tap out a healthier daily regimen.

Fit Bits

Woman exercising at home, leaning on couch

Use habit stacking to help reclaim your rhythm and to renew your focus on fitness.

Easy Does It

Close-up of young woman with eyes closed, feeling the sunshine

If the pandemic has thrown you out of step, habit stacking might help you regain your rhythm with modest, stress-busting practices.