If You're Trying to Get a New Habit to Stick, This Is When You Should Do It

If You're Trying to Get a New Habit to Stick, This Is When You Should Do It

Nora Taylor
Oct 31, 2017

There's a new study out in the Journal of Health Psychology that offers some insight into how to make a healthy habit stick for good. If you're trying to create a new routine, you increase your odds of success by tackling tasks or performing new rituals first thing in the morning rather than at night.

The study followed 48 students over 90 days while they tried to create a stretching routine. Half of the students were told to complete their series of stretches in the morning, the other group was to complete them at night. The participants then filled out a survey via an app and had salivary measurements taken every 30 days.

The morning team picked up the routine more quickly than the evening team and by using a predictive curve they expected that the morning group would achieve "automaticity" almost 50 days earlier than the evening group. The researchers noticed that people's cortisol levels were generally higher in the morning, a factor they think may have played a significant part in the AM folks adapting to their new behavior with more ease. As pointed out in Southern Living, they are reticent to attribute it entirely to cortisol levels: "it is possible that the behavior was perceived as less difficult, more satisfying, or more easily cued in the morning than in the evening."

More research is needed to see if the findings can be applied to other habits and activities, but for now it certainly can't hurt to add a good habit or two to your morning routine.

h/t Southern Living

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