The Best Day to Start a New Healthy Habit
â€œFor most people, mornings are great for habits,â€ Rubin explains. And she would know. The bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home is finishing up a new book all about habit formation. (Better Than Before comes out next March.)
â€œOur self-control tends to be strongest in the early hours,â€ she says. â€œAs the day goes on, it gets depleted by all the temptations and choices we face.â€ Plus, the morning tends to unfold in a predictable way. â€œLater on, complications arise and you may end up pushing off the activity.â€
But resetting your alarm clockâ€”and your bodyâ€™s natural rhythmâ€”to start a new habit, whether itâ€™s meditating or jogging, can be painful. (For me, it has become a daily habit of hitting snooze, with the hope that any day now,Â I really will hit the gym before work!) That's why Rubin suggests seizing the end ofÂ Daylight Savings Time, when getting up early doesnâ€™t actually feel like getting up early.
If youâ€™ve been thinking about joining a yoga studio, instituting a regular walk with a friend, blocking out time to read for pleasure, or picking up any other healthy habit, try starting this Sunday. Just make sure itâ€™s an activity you enjoy, says Rubin. â€œIf itâ€™s something you want to do, youâ€™ll be more motivated to get out of bed every day going forward.â€
One caveat for night owls: ThisÂ trick probably isn't for you.Â â€œThere are some people who prefer to stay up late, but struggle in the morning,â€ Rubin says. â€œFor them, a morning habit wonâ€™t make sense.â€ Heed your true nature, she says, and schedule your healthy habits at times that work best for you.