Take Tiny Steps to Form Healthy Habits That Stick


May 23, 2022

My sister swears her good skin is a result of the massive water cup she drinks throughout the day. I’m no beauty aficionado, but after diving deep into a research spiral I came to realize that being adequately hydrated is not only important for our physical health, but our mental well-being too. Since I was finding myself constantly parched throughout the day, and learning that proper hydration impacts mood, sleep and mental cognition, I decided to tackle this habit. 

If you’ve ever tried to create a new habit, you know that they usually aren’t just a switch that you can turn on and off. But, the beauty of these habits is that once they are established they become automatic, taking up a small amount of mental energy and freeing our minds to focus on more complex tasks. Plus, when the habits we build are healthy ones, we feel better and live longer. 

5 Research-backed Tips from Behavior Change Experts On Building Healthy Habits 

  • Keep it simple and start with a habit so easy you can’t say no. Want to start practicing mindfulness? Commit to deep breathing for just one minute.
  • Set an intention that is specific and repeatable. Rather than a vague plan to get in shape, commit to a daily 15-minute walk around the block at noon.
  • Combine activities that make your goals appealing. If you’re not a fan of meal prepping, but love podcasts, combine the two activities.
  • Mind your surroundings. Add a fruit bowl to the kitchen counter and move the cookies to a hard-to-reach shelf, or leave your devices to charge outside of the bedroom.
  • Reward yourself. Treat yourself to a nice cup of tea after your morning routine, high five yourself in the mirror, or do a little happy dance – whatever works for you.

Circling back to my quest for better hydration, I put these tips into practice by committing to drinking one glass of lemon water first thing when I woke up. I kept a water pitcher in the fridge and banished sugary drinks to the basement. And I rewarded myself with a fun tall water glass that I keep on my desk for motivation. 

Get Into the Habit of the STOP Practice to Check In On Your Mental Health

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here’s a simple mindfulness habit that you can build to check in on your mental state throughout your day. 

  • Stop. Whatever you’re doing – take a pause, even momentarily.
  • Take a deep breath. Your breath is your anchor to the present moment.
  • Observe. Notice what’s happening around you and direct your attention inward to also notice what’s happening inside you – where is your mind going and what feelings or physical sensations are surfacing?
  • Proceed. You can choose to either continue what you’re doing or change course depending on what came up for you during the check-in.

Join us for a 30-minute live webinar on May 26th to learn more mindfulness practices for a healthier, happier you. Register for Boost Your Mental Health and Thrive. You may also want to check out eM Life’s on-demand program 7 Days of Building Healthy Mental and Emotional Habits for more inspiration.

Written by Annie Slaby