If you’re trying to make a healthy new behavior stick, best to get to it when you get up earlier research from Health Psychology suggests. Turns out your body’s level of cortisol, a hormone linked with habit-formation, is highest around 7 a.m.
In the study, people who were told to stretch when they woke up made it a habit in a third of the time of the evening stretchers. The implications are big for anyone trying to incorporate healthy changes into his life, but researcher Marion Fournier says if the evening is the only time you have to commit to certain activities, you can still turn them into habits with practice.
“Repeat the behavior every day, or at least every two days, at the exact same time for several weeks,” she says.
And if you’re trying to make a post-work workout part of your daily routine? “Schedule an email or phone reminder that you’ll receive in the afternoon with a motivational phrase like, ‘Go ahead, you’ll feel good after!’” That message becomes the trigger for your behavior— an important part of habit formation.