baby steps to health | celebrate

Celebrate. THAT’S IT!

If you’ve been following along with our Baby Steps to Health in 2022, we’ve reached the last step: you now have 12 simple activities you can make into habits and stack one on top of the other, forging a path to better health and lifestyle transformation.

If you missed any, here’s a quick synopsis:

  1. Hydrate or die
  2. Just. Breath.
  3. DGLs + PFCs
  4. Eat your veggies
  5. Meal plan
  6. Portion awareness
  7. Aim low
  8. Crowding out
  9. Inner voices
  10. Sleep hygiene
  11. Give (and receive) thanks
  12. Celebrate

celebrating baby steps

I recently read (okay, listened to) Barbara Kingsolver’s newest book, Demon Copperhead. How does this woman hit it out of the park every. single. time? This new novel is a strong contender for my favorite book by her—and perhaps not quite yet ready to take over the top spot held by The Poisonwood Bible.

What always jumps out at me in Kingsolver’s writings is her keen observations about the parent-child relationship. And one of the most powerful passages in The Poisonwood Bible speaks to something my kids are not shy about commenting on: the difference between how they are treated as first and second/last born.

Kingsolver writes that with our first-born, we cheer every baby step until they are literally running—away from us. The last child we hold closer, unwilling to allow that separation to take place until it’s inevitable. Perhaps we are trying to postpone our own obsolescence to some degree.

becoming obsolete

As a parent—and a health coach—I get it. One of the great ironies of being a health coach is, if I do my job well, I make my services unnecessary. Coming from the nonprofit world, I realize it’s similar to that: if social change organizations could achieve their visions, their work would no longer be required!

It’s why I tell my clients that one of my jobs is to be their biggest cheerleader … until they become their own!

It’s a happy sort of obsolescence—and I celebrate each time a client tells me that they now cheer themselves on, whether they’re succeeding or struggling.

how to celebrate yourself

So now that you have 12 baby steps you have been taking toward better health, don’t stop! Keep up with these 12 and keep adding one more each month or every few weeks. Whenever a baby step becomes a habit, it’s time to add another one. And another one.

And it’s important to recognize your achievement every time you do so: look back and recognize how well you have done rather than recriminating yourself for what you didn’t achieve.

If you want to take it a step further, find a way to reward yourself—obviously in a way that makes sense and doesn’t get in the way of your progress. (Yeah, food is not a good reward in most cases. Find a primary food way to celebrate whenever possible—it needn’t cost money.)

  • Take a day off.
  • Buy yourself a new pair of workout shoes or a new exercise outfit.
  • Get a special new herbal tea to have in a special mug.
  • Treat yourself to a walk in nature instead of putting in laps at the gym.
  • Sleep in.
  • Call a friend you’ve been missing.
  • Hire someone to deep clean your home.
  • ….


As I release you into the world to keep up the good work on your own, here are a few important reminders:

  • When thinking of the next baby step, think small—aim low! Keep asking yourself, how would this change look if it were easy? Break your bigger goal into the tiniest chunks you can imagine. Running a marathon starts with walking to the mailbox….
  • Set yourself up for success: only you know what sort of support and accountability you need on your health journey. There are apps, support groups, Meetups, and coaches for that!
  • When you fall short, look at the situation with curiosity rather than judgment: “Huh, why can’t I succeed?” not “OMGGG! WHY DID I FAIL???” Usually, your brain will be able to figure out how to set yourself up for success next time if you’re not attacking it.
  • For an activity to become a habit, make the better choice 50% of the time, then 75%, then 80–90%. And stop there. Allow yourself the not-so-good choice 1 or 2 times out of 10.

make the connection

This is the twelfth challenge in a 12-part series that has run for all of 2022: every month, I shared a small, simple, sustainable shift to make on your way to healthier food and lifestyle choices. By now, you may well be amazed at the difference in your health! 

Practice celebrating yourself for the month of December and beyond—you are now your own biggest cheerleader. You’ve got this.