Maybe it was sparked by an inspiring story you read. A workplace challenge. The realization that you couldn’t keep up with your grandkids at the park. A tough conversation with your doctor. That time you struggled to breathe after climbing a flight of stairs. You experienced a powerful lightbulb moment, and you’re ready to take some steps in a healthy direction. Now what?

Often, these bursts of motivation are so exciting, we can get carried away. If you want to create a healthy lifestyle that lasts, focus on one small step at a time. Over time, these steps will lead to powerful changes. Here’s how.

1. Start with one. Add one healthy habit to your family’s routine. This can be drinking one more glass of water a day, getting one more hour of sleep, adding one more vegetable to your meal or incorporating one more exercise break into your afternoon. Pick the one that feels the easiest.

2. Build from there. Harness the positive momentum from your first habit to tackle the next one on your list. Take Alex, who focused on food first. Once she’d been eating healthier for a while, she naturally had more energy for physical activity.

healthy habit rewards

3. Keep track. Whether it’s logging your successes in an app or adding fun stickers to a calendar, tracking your family’s progress can help you build consistency. Download this free Healthy Habits Reward Card for a fun way to keep your kids motivated.

4. Find a buddy. Stay accountable by enlisting the support of your kid, friend, coworker or significant other. Plus, it makes it more fun! Check out these workouts you can do with a partner or your kid.

mom and daughter

5. Pursue progress, not perfection. When you mess up (and you will, because you’re human), be gentle with yourself. One bad day doesn’t cancel out weeks of progress. Approach your slip-up with curiosity and identify what went wrong. Then, figure out a strategy for the next time you’re in a similar situation. Check out these tips for managing stress in a healthier way.

One day, when you least expect it — it’ll all sink in. You’ll realize you’re sleeping more, drinking water, eating healthy and moving daily … and it’ll feel effortless. That’s the power of building a healthy lifestyle because small changes will add up — one habit at a time. Where will you start?