So you want better habits? As you well should. Your habits are the defining factor in the life that you create and perpetuate. They determine what you eat, where you go, how you move and how you feel. They shape your reality.

Oftentimes people get so caught up in negative behaviors that they overthink how simple it actually is to change a habit. No, not easy, but yes, simple.

According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, we each follow a feedback loop of cue, behavior, reward. Repeat. Taking on new habits by giving yourself new cues and rewarding different behaviors will help interrupt old habits. It will reshape your choices and responses.

Remember, this is a process. You are quite literally rewiring the circuitry of your brain. So it’s probably not going to feel like second nature on the first day. But you can expedite this process of making self-care exercise a habit.

Make self-care your keystone habit to fast-track your fitness goals

The good news about habit-building is that once you’ve hard-wired a new habit, it becomes automatic–so you don’t have to put so much effort in anymore. To turbo-charge into newer, healthier habits, consider changing a keystone habit. A keystone habit is a shift in behavior that leads to “chain reactions that help other good habits take hold,” according to Duhigg.

“Keystone habits influence how we work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate… they can start a process that, over time, transforms everything.” -Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

Adopting a new keystone habit will create a cascade of positive effects on the rest of your life. For instance, if you’ve been sleep-deprived for months and you suddenly commit to getting eight hours a night, that’s going to positively impact many other parts of your life: You might drink less caffeine, make better eating choices, be more productive at work.

The special magic of keystone habits is that they change your self-concept. When your idea of who you are changes, you experience a paradigm shift. You come to think of yourself as a different kind of person and see your life through new eyesThen you begin to behave as that kind of person would.

If you want to make health and fitness top priority, we suggest that you make self-care a keystone habit. By regularly setting aside 10, 15 or 20 minutes to relieve tension, breathe deeply, tune in to yourself more fully, all other decisions will be touched.

Regular self-care practice will help you think of yourself as someone worthy of care–someone who deserves to reach and actualize your bigger hopes and dreams. It will help you out of the frustrating reactionary cycle of stress and poor choices in your daily life.

[QUOTE] "We can never free ourselves from habits. The human being is a creature of habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones. We can trade in the habit of the amateur... for the practice of the professional..." - From Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. Peak Performance Month, Tune Up Fitness Blog

Why do I need self-care fitness?

Committing to a regular self-care practice means you set aside time to do activities that make you feel peaceful, vibrant, fulfilled and cared for. This helps inspire regeneration in your body. You become a more resilient self-healing, self-repairing organism.

Examples of self-care: Practice self-massage by rolling on therapy balls. Do gentle yoga postures to ease tension and increase circulation. Experiment with conscious breathing practices. Meditate on a new mindset. Engage in dynamic stretch and movement that feels good. A committed habit of self-care will nourish your body and mind to set your attitude and nervous system up for optimal health.

This probably sounds like a brilliant idea, but you may have the nagging feeling that it might not be so easy to prioritize. As previously mentioned, it might not be easy at first, but it is simple. The following chart provides habit-building practices that will support a smoother shift into regular self-care. Print it out and stick it on your refrigerator. It’ll be your first “cue!”

[INFOGRAPHIC] Five steps to make self-care fitness a habit, Peak Performance Month, Tune Up Fitness blog


If you want us here at @TuneUpFitness to be your first accountability buddy, tell us your self-care goal in the comments below! Let us know why you know you knead it (sorry, self-massage joke), and what your plan is… we’ve got your back.


Author: Ariel Kiley


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I like this inspiring quote by Charles Duhigg ““Keystone habits influence how we work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate… they can start a process that, over time, transforms everything.”
I really believe in the power of self care to allow us to transform ourselves mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally and also the importance of accountability in finding a good support system . By creating new positive changes or keystone habits as Duhigg says we can transform.


I’ve learned that accountability is really important here, whether it’s on your own or from other people, you just have to find what works best for you. There are some challenging days when I come up with so many reasons and excuses not to go through with my goals but it’s the accountability aspect that gets me to do them anyway.

Abi Rose

I notice in my daily life that my habits absolutely create “…a feedback loop of cue, behavior, reward. Repeat.” For me, reading about the concept of “keystone habits” provides me with a clear and helpful directive to re-orient myself within and re-prioritize my daily choices. Having fallen out of what has been in the past a regular self-care practice, this post is well-timed. Between travel and other life demands, a very important piece of keeping myself well and healthy has often fallen to the wayside. Having recently begun to reincorporate with daily intention and attention, I welcome these strategies and… Read more »

Mélanie Roy

Thank you for your article. Indeed, you have to change your habits one at a time to see all the benefits. Do not think to arrive at the top of the mountain before having climbed.

Cindy Côté

I like the idea to alloting time for myself in calender…its my goal!


Great inspiration, creating a habit for yourself takes process and mindset. It might be harder in the beginning but setting goals and start slow and build up to it, until it becomes part of you.


I like the idea of allotting time for myself in my calendar. I live by my planner in order to keep track various classes and clients that I teach, so it seems this could be a way I hold myself accountable and show up in the same way I show up for my appointments. Thanks for the inspiring tips!

Katie Fogelson

This is such a great reminder and personally, has had a huge impact on my life. Once I introduced the therapy balls into my life, I truly started to enjoy and savor my self-care practice. Like the article suggests, reframing the mindset and deeming yourself as worthy of care is a huge first step in the process and can really trickle down into multiple areas of your life, just like other keystone habits like sleep, meal planning, etc.

Martine Lauzon

I have also found that adding reminders or self care objects in key places around the house is helpful. If I see it, I am more likely to use it. An example would be that I keep my YTU balls on a shelf in my living room where I can see them every day. I also leave my yoga mat and meditation cushion on the floor ready for use. My entire house is filled with self care cues.

june kim

Thank you for your great tips. I think it is the most important for me to get inspired. I will try to read, watch,and listen to great story.


Changing habits / lifestyle can be challenging but I’ve heard – and can attest – that if you can keep the new habit for three months, it would be second nature after that. I had a phase of being somewhat sedentary and sleeping poorly, and primarily to get my sleep back, I jumped into a strict and regularly scheduled crossfit and yoga routine. Got my sleep back, and haven’t been able to give up the active lifestyle since. Definitely a keystone habit, considering the changes in energy, diet and mindset that come along with this in time. Thanks for sharing!

Kila Divina

I will definitely use these five steps in helping me to take more time for self-care practices. Adding a new keystone habit every month is a small step to make big changes! We are worthy of our own care and commitment!!

Polly swingle

One of my Sankullas is:I will take care of my body, by giving me proper self care daily to bring me health and wellness.

Suzanne O'Donnell

Thanks for the idea of blocking time on my calendar for self-care- i do it for the dentist and doctor, I even do it for my car.. time to value practice enough to make an appointment with myself!

C Coleman

Great tips for self-care. I especially like the suggestion about putting it on the calendar.


Wow. That’s exactly what i needed! I started to learn about neuroscience, about how habits are being created, how difficult it is to create new positive habits and this article is right on point! I love 5 steps to make self-care fitness a habit. Will try to integrate it into my daily life. Thank you!


Upon reading I reflected back to a time when I took my body and all it could do for granted. It wasn’t until I received a lesson by experiencing the life of another that was unable to use their body that I began to see my body in a new light. I began to schedule in time for myself to develop new skills in my body. Create new routines of sleep, nutrition and movement to support my body as a resource and partner. I found that through this support of my body, I became more at ease in my mind.… Read more »


Great tips. Thanks for this. Knowing we are deserving of healthy habits is something I had not even considered!

deborah liu

this is a very important article because we often push our bodies with activities but in the long run, would benefit from taking a step back and making sure that muscles are loosened and nagging pains are addressed. it’s being mindful about our wellness.

Randy Williams

This post is huge and really resonates. Especially this time of year when new year new me habits/goals begin to fade or even disappear completely to be replaced with old habits/behaviours. The part about keystone habits is really cool and something I am going to reflect on to determine some keystone habits that stop me from engaging in the things that energize me. Thank you for this

Debra McKay

I have an obstructive lung disease that causes inflammation of the bronchi called bronchiectasis. I really want to develop a rolling regimen that will help with this. Any suggestions? I’m a medical provider, so don’t worry about overstepping your bounds. I have a pulmonologist. I’m also in Jill’s YTU in LA. There is magic here.

Karla Knight

Thank you for your article?? You can never be reminded enough how to change old habits. I love your chart. I want to incorporate meditation in my day and will us these suggestions to do it! ❤️??

Ella Maghen

Thank you for the article. I think that in order to practice self care you must make sure that you embody your body. Accept it for all that it is and then better it by implementing the methods outlined in the article.


I love the idea of targeting a keystone habit. It makes the daunting work of attacking a list of bad habits more manageable. If I change one thing I can trust the other things will follow. Even if they don’t, I have the positive reinforcement that I could change one thing, so now I can tackle another.

Andrew Chung

Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” and this article do a great job in giving a very tangible and realistic situation where “Your perception/attitude creates your reality.” Habits are systems that exist just beyond our superficial realities. It takes observation, practice, and a willingness to listen (to ourselves) to recognize and notice our habits. It’s easy to not be aware of habits and to live in a non-skillful way. Bad habits are something that I think everyone can relate to and to know that there are simple, evidence-based exercises/tools to rewire our habits is not only inspiring on it’s own… Read more »


Self care is the new black.. thank you for this helpful article and inspirational too! Which is how we can find momentum to create healthy habits and the focus of what self care actually looks like – which can be discipline masked as many things.The biggest factor for me has been to actually schedule things into my calendar.. thanks to technology we actually have lots of free accountability right at our fingertips.

Dawn Williams

I’m focusing each day, through meditation, on being positive, non judgmental and accepting life as it is presented. This stops the pushing away and encourages the joy of every day.


Wonderful! Thank you for sharing Dawn 🙂