“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
I am sure you have heard the adage that it takes 21 days to develop a habit…and when you have “failed” at doing so, you have given up. Originally the concept of “21 days” came from Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of a 1960 book entitled, “Psycho-Cybernetics. He originally said it takes “a minimum of about 21 days”.
Phillipa Lally(a psychology researcher at the University College in London) published a study to figure out how long it takes to form a habit. 96 people over a 12 week period chose one habit and were required each day to report on whether or not they did the behavior and how automatic it became.
The study found that on the average, it took people more than 2 months before the behavior became an automatic behavior…66 days. It took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days. They also found that making a mistake now and then doesn’t mean that you won’t complete the habit. (www.jamesclear.com/new-habit)
On the website (www.essentiallifeskills.net/develop-good-habits,html) 7 steps were given in order to develop new habits:
1. Identify the habit you wish to develop.
2. Make the decision and commit to it
3. Discover your triggers and chance obstacles
4. Devise a plan.
5. Use Visualization and Affirmations
6. Ask for support from family, friends and other means
7. Find healthy ways to reward your successes.
There are many ways to keep track of your habits…but if you would like some help along the way you could sign up for Tiny Habits with Dr. BJ Fogg. Sign up on a Saturday to be set up for the coming week. Every day you will receive an email asking you if you did your habit for the day…(http://tinyhabitsacademy.org/5-day-tiny-habits-program/) Dr. Fogg’s theory is that it is more beneficial to develop tiny habits…baby steps…and each week build up on the baby step.
There are also Aps for habits…( http://www.joesgoals.com) is a free daily online habit tracker that might keep your habits on track.
Some habits are going to be easier than others…and take less time to accomplish than others. Dr. Fogg’s method is great for the complicated ones because you gradually put all the pieces together after a couple of weeks of tiny habits.
When you work on your habits, be kind to yourself. There are going to be days when you might not accomplish your goal and that’s just being human. Just pick yourself up and make sure to do it the next day.
til next time…Eva