There’s a saying you might have heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.
Not totally false. It comes from Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, who in 1960 published his finding that it takes a MINIMUM of 21 days to form a new habit -- he noticed that it would take his patients 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. More recent studies on this have shown that it takes 66 days for a new habit to form. That’s a little over 2 months. And sometimes it takes people closer to 8 months for a habit to stick.
Things we do every day are habits: getting in our cars and putting our seatbelt on, brushing our teeth in the morning/before bed, having that cup of coffee to start our day, lighting up a cigarette, etc. These are things that are second nature to us, that we don’t even think about doing but do them anyways -- these are habits. Think about how you don’t even think twice about doing these things, now think about changing the way you do them.
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Maybe that means instead of just brushing our teeth every morning, you are now going to floss too. Or instead of lighting a cigarette you’re going to chew gum, or maybe you’re going to start getting to the gym 30 minutes early to stretch before the workout. Whatever it is, this new thing you’re going to start doing is going to take some time to make second nature. 21 days is a great starting point, in fact you should be the most consistent in the first 21 days of trying to create a new habit for that habit to actually stick.
The more consistent you are in the beginning of trying to form a new habit, the more likely the habit will in fact be a habit.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And it’s ok if you have a slip up once or twice, just get back on track.