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Experts say this is the best way to stick to a new habit

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Helen Booth
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Whether it’s incorporating exercise into your daily routine, devoting 15 minutes to a stress-relieving meditation or creating a regular writing habit, it can be tough to stick to something new.

But if you’re struggling with those tricky early days of forming a habit, there’s hope in sight.

A new study by the Journal of Health Psychology has found that you increase your odds of success by tackling the new task in the morning rather than the evening.

The study assessed 48 students as they tried to create a stretching routine over the course of 90 days. Half of the students were instructed to complete their stretches in the morning, while the other half were told to complete them at night. The participants were then monitored via an app and monthly saliva measurements.

According to the results, the morning group picked up the habit much faster than the evening group - with the data suggesting that the morning team would achieve ‘automaticity’ (ie. the point at which the daily stretching would become a true habit) almost 50 days earlier than the evening team.

Researchers found that the participants’ cortisol levels were generally higher in the morning, which may have made it easier for them to stick with the new habit. However, they also acknowledged that the stretches may have been seen as less difficult and more satisfying in the morning, or simply naturally better suited the first part of the day.

Whatever the reason, the conclusion is clear: set your alarm bright and early tomorrow morning - it’s time to sign up for that 7am yoga class.

Images: iStock, Emily Sea

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Helen Booth

Helen Booth is a London-based writer, digital editor and part-time maker who loves interiors, crafts and keeping tabs on trends. She also co-founded the weekly newsletter Lunch Hour Links.

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