21 Days To Make A Habit? FALSE!
I’ve been been listening, reading, and watching how some of the most successful people go throughout their average day. I’ve been soaking in their day-to-day schedules and reviewing which ones I should incorporate into my own. Obviously, this will be trial and error for me in the next several years and, I don’t exactly have the flexible income as most of the intelligents I look up to. However, there is no excuse great enough to stop success from happening. I am a firm believer that schedules and plans help outline the future for success, however, I found something interesting about forming new schedules that I think everyone should be aware of.
Did you know that a habit is not normally formed in 21 days like most may think? That was the original research from a plastic surgeon’s, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, studies on self-image. He observed that it took nearly 21 days for a patient to get use to their “new look” which may include everything from a nose job to a lost limb. However, this gave everyone the idea that, no matter the habit, it would only take 21 days to make it routine. This is in fact, false.
In my nose-dive of research, I found that psychologists after Dr. Maxells Maltz’s, found the information intriguing and decided to, “run,” with it. If you look in the marketplace for books, anything developed prior to 2009, most likely assumed the 21 days (or some random number close-to) to form that random habit. Fortunately University College London’s Researcher, Dr. Phillippa Lally, and her team decided they wanted to revisit how long it takes for someone to develop a habit. Over a 12 week-period, 96 people were examined by picking a random habit and reporting every day whether or not the did said habit and how, “automatic,” this behavior felt. During this research, they discover something shocking… On average, it takes someone 66 days to develop a habit that feels automatic (meaning with little to no thought).
Now, everyone is different. It may take someone only 15 days to make a habit feel automatic while for someone else, it may be 200 days. Also, you must take in account how much of an impact the habit has on you (timewise, difficulty) as this could lengthen the time more than average. This also shouldn’t make you feel discouraged - the only way to form a healthy habit is to do it. If you beat yourself up or say you can’t - you wont. So get up, make the decision, and go do it. That’s what I have been trying to implement into my lifestyle. Do I always get it right? No. But trying and doing is better than doing nothing at all. Eventually it will become a habit… It just might take you more than 21 days to get there.
Want to learn more? Here are some articles I read while researching this subject: