Each month Cooking Light magazine features tips, tricks, real-life stories and scrumptious recipes to help implement a different healthy habit.  But I hope you're not stopping there.  The 12 Healthy Habits project is multi-platform (and eventually it will be a book).  So join the conversation here on The Twelve or on Facebook --  find out how other people are successfully making changes or tell us what's working for you.

Social media can be a powerful tool to help you adopt healthier habits.  In fact, social networking sites and smartphones have transformed the health communications landscape over the last few years, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.  People are going online and listening to each other and learning from one another—a phenomenon dubbed "peer-to-peer healthcare."  Pew Internet research shows that 80% of Americans go online for health information—and people are even more motivated to consume and share information online if they're living with a chronic condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart problems.  

There are loads of ways social media can help with your healthy habits:

  • -Gain support and inspiration. Healthy living can be a shared experience and online communities can be a powerful motivator.  No matter where you live, you can jump online to connect with others who want to make similar changes or have the same challenges as you.  Let us know how you've been doing with 12HH and share your successes with others. 
  • -Stick to goals.  Joining forces with other people can help you be more accountable.  If you want to make changes, share it with your friends on Facebook.  Tweet about it (tag it #healthyhabits). Or blog about your journey. They're all great ways to get feedback, support and encouragement.
  • -Track your progress. You'll find so many different tools that can help you monitor your daily successes—including social networking sites and iPhone apps to calculate your calories, evaluate the quality of your food choices or track your activity.  Self-monitoring has been shown to make a huge difference. When you see yourself making changes, enjoying small victories, it motivates you to do more.


So let us know how you've been doing with the 12HH.  Did you find a meatless meal that you really loved? What has helped you eat more whole grains?  Did you create a new breakfast routine? How did you find a way to be more active?  Share your success.  Give us your secrets.  It will reinforce your progress and inspire someone else.  

Your story might even be in the book. 

(image courtesy of panuarzc on flickr)