21 Days to Create a New Habit? NO way!
You hear it all the time, it takes 21 days to…lose weight, stop smoking… to stop a bad habit or create ANY NEW habit. That’s kind of a weird idea though, isn’t it? It doesn’t take that long to form a BAD habit. And sometimes no matter how hard we try, it takes us a lot longer to form a new habit. The research actually says, it takes 346 days to change a habit.
21 Days or 346 days to change a habit??
So how long does it really take to create a new habit? The answer is that it depends. It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change it is from what you are doing now. If it is your habit to eat a bowl of ice cream at night and you switch from regular ice cream to a low sugar frozen yogurt version, it’s probably not going to take you very long to make that new habit. Giving up ice cream altogether though or cutting out all sugar on the other hand might take a lot longer.
When we ask the question, “How long to change a habit?” what we really want to know is how long do we have to tough it out before it gets easier. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel when it won’t be so hard anymore? When will this new behavior become automatic?
While it will be different from one person to the next and even from one habit to the next, there are a few things to keep in mind.
It’s easier to make a new habit than get rid of an old one. Be prepared to work a lot harder to giving up smoking or snacking late at night. Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one. For example, if you’re wanting to give up coffee, brew a pot of herbal tea in the morning, put in a hot thermos, so it is easy to drink at any time during the day, without prep.
Habits will form faster if you stick to the same time, place each day or tag it to a good, positive habit. For example: Instead of going for a walk whenever, keep your sneakers next to the door and schedule your walk every day before breakfast.
A constant reminder of why you’re trying to change your behavior is also helpful. Remind yourself every day that you’re exercising so your body stays strong and you can go play with the kids or grandkids in the yard. Keep your reason why you’re changing in the front of your mind by placing reminder notes and setting alarms to remind you of your commitment to a new habit.
Yes, it will take some time to make new habits and replace old ones. But it will be well worth it in the end.
Need some Habit Help? Let’s chat. Email me Georgia@BoldlyBrilliant.com
I am happy to help.