Have you just started a new fitness routine or diet? New analysis reveals science-backed tips that will keep you committed

Experts say it is possible to stick to new healthy habits, provided you adhere to some scientifically backed rules

About 40% of Americans will embark on a new health journey each year — usually in the first few months.

But research shows that less than 10% of people will see their plan – whether it’s a diet or exercise regime – last longer than a few months.

Now, experts have offered some hope — they say new healthy habits can work, provided you follow some simple, evidence-based rules.

“Science has proven that there are tools that can greatly help you as you pursue goals,” says psychologist Katie Milkman, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“There are some moments that are more motivating to start new goals than others – and of course the most famous one is the new year.”

Experts say it is possible to stick to new healthy habits, provided you adhere to some scientifically backed rules

So what are these rules?

According to a new analysis, there are four vital behavioral adjustments to consider that will give you the best chance of maintaining a new routine.

Do a quick workout at home instead of the gym

Research shows that while major habits – like visiting the gym daily or overhauling your diet – take about three weeks to get started, smaller changes become the norm much faster.

Last month, a team of behavioral scientists studied the habits of tens of thousands of gym-goers and hospital workers to determine when and why people neglect exercising and washing hands regularly.

Reporting their findings to CNN, the experts said one clear pattern is that those who initiate less intense or low-level changes are more likely to stick with them.

Experts advise: “If you want to build a habit around physical activity faster, consider trying a faster form of exercise – for example, doing some jumping jacks or squats – and do it every hour.”

“Doing this may help put your new habit on autopilot in a shorter time frame.”

As for those who have invested in a new gym membership: ‘DrDon’t beat yourself up if you don’t put on those running shoes without thinking by week four. It will likely take a few months for your workouts to become automatic. “A good dose of patience will serve you well,” say scientists, including Professor Katie Milkman.

The New Year is the most popular time for people to embark on a new health kick – whether that's exercising, dieting, or both

The New Year is the most popular time for people to embark on a new health kick – whether that’s exercising, dieting, or both

Play with Olivia Newton-John before the gym

According to experts, habits last longer when combined with a “friendly signal.” It means something you enjoy, look forward to, or generates a positive feeling.

Additionally, anchoring your new behavior to a particular day or time creates associations, which reinforce the habit.

“So, if you want to start going to the gym, our research and other people’s research suggests it’s best to plan out the day of the week you want to go and perhaps add a unique cue like an alarm on your phone that triggers ‘workout.’ By Olivia Newton-John When you’re supposed to go to the gym, scientists advise.

As they say, try different cues for the first few weeks, until you find something that works.

Be flexible…it will make your habits last longer

Experts warn of the “dark side” of healthy habits: once they are set, it is difficult to stop practicing them.

Research shows that the more inflexible you are about a routine — for example, canceling plans with friends to go to the gym — the shorter the lifespan of the habit.

Furthermore, studies have also shown that obsession with healthy behaviors can lead to mental health problems, including eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

do not lose hope

If your new healthy habit goes as you hoped, there’s no reason to give it up.

Experts say that one common mistake is to give up if the eating plan’s exercise routine is not adhered to within two weeks.

But there’s nothing to say that you can’t restart the process over and over again.

‘IIf 21 days have passed and you still have to add a workout to your calendar to make it a reality, don’t give up hope.

“There’s nothing wrong with you, and the habit of going to the gym is probably still around the corner.

Habits are not a pipe dream. With repetition, most people can eventually develop predictable routines that are difficult to break.

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