Do you know Tom Petty’s song where he says, “The waiting is the hardest part”? When it comes to losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle, a more apt lyric might be the starting is the hardest part.

Somehow we develop specific habits that, over time, become ingrained in our daily lives. And we often adopt them without thinking. For instance, each morning you wake up and may head bleary-eyed to the kitchen for the hot cup of coffee you had timed to brew exactly at 7 a.m. Do you stop and ask yourself, Why am I drinking this coffee first thing in the morning? Is it good for me? Should I be drinking water first Probably not. You just do it because that’s the way you have done it forever.

Many habits start because they meet two basic criteria they make us feel good and they are easy to do. Human nature gravitates towards achieving the greatest level of satisfaction with the least amount of effort. The problem with this is that these kinds of habits generally fall into the quick fix, bad habit category and fail to take long-term consequences into account. Smoking is a great example of a quick-fix habit. The nicotine in cigarettes acts like a switch, lighting up the pleasure centers in your brain like a Christmas tree. With this kind of effect, you can see how smoking can quickly become a habit. However, over time, smoking cigarettes significantly increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, and death.

The same type of quick-fix effect happens with food. Too many food options today contain ingredients like sugar, salt, and fat that are designed to create a sense of delight for your taste buds and brain. Eating foods like this meets the feel-good and easy criteria. They are tasty, convenient, and often cheap, which makes it even easier to become a quick-fix habit. Fast food restaurants fit this model. If it’s lunchtime, it must be Taco Bell time. But like cigarettes, eating these kinds of foods habitually increases the risk of obesity and other weight-related chronic disease.

Developing bad habits is something most people can identify with all too well. It’s how to start good habits that seem to stymie even those with the best of intentions. One reason? The attributes of good habits are practically diametrically opposed! While good habits lead to long-term optimal health, they are often perceived as painful and hard.

That’s why we created this new How To Get Started With Good Habits series. We want to let you know that starting and sticking with good habits can actually be really enjoyable. We will cover various habits that relate to weight management, like healthy eating, exercise, and quality sleep, and show you the easy steps you can take to incorporate them into your lifestyle. It has a lot to do with identifying your current habits, defining what is important to you, starting slowly, and reframing the habits (we emphasized the word perceived earlier for good reason).