Recent Blog Articles
Can we prevent depression in older adults by treating insomnia?
Want to try veganism? Here's how to get started
Vitamin B6 flies under the radar: Are you getting enough?
The formula shortage is hurting families: What parents should know and do
Gyn Care 101: What to know about seeing a gynecologist
Swimming lessons save lives: What parents should know
Strong legs help power summer activities: Hiking, biking, swimming, and more
What is a successful mindset for weight loss maintenance?
French fries versus almonds: Calorie for calorie, which comes out on top?
Summer camp 2022: Having fun and staying safe
Mind & Mood
Why it's hard to change unhealthy behavior -- and why you should keep trying
Researchers say successful change comes only in stages. How long it takes is an individual matter.
When it comes to health recommendations, we mostly know the drill: Exercise most days of the week; eat a varied and nutritious diet; maintain a healthy weight; get enough sleep; keep up with medical screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar; don't smoke; and limit alcohol to seven drinks a week. Reducing stress, improving relationships, and developing new interests or hobbies also contribute to healthy living.
Making healthy lifestyle changes affects not only our risk for disease and the way we feel today but also our health and ability to function independently in later life. What we do for ourselves is often more important than what medicine can offer us. Yet making healthy lifestyle changes is easier said than done. Even when we're strongly motivated, adopting a new, healthy habit — or breaking an old, bad one — can be terribly difficult.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!